Jenner & Block

James Dawson is a litigator whose practice focuses on critical motions and appeals.  He has been the primary author of appellate briefs and dispositive motions in courts throughout the country, with a particular focus on complex issues of administrative law, civil procedure, energy law, antitrust law, and statutory interpretation.

Mr. Dawson is a member of the firm’s Complex Commercial Litigation and Appellate and Supreme Court practice groups.  He has served as the lead associate on cases in the United States Supreme Court, in state and federal appellate courts, in federal district courts, and in private arbitrations.  In the antitrust sector, Mr. Dawson was an integral part of a Jenner & Block team that recently secured summary judgment in favor of a Fortune 500 client in a case concerning allegations of tying and exclusive dealing.  In the energy sector, Mr. Dawson recently served as the primary author of appellate briefs that resulted in a state supreme court unanimously reversing an adverse ruling and rendering judgment in favor of the firm’s client.  In the financial services sector, Mr. Dawson was part of a team that recently won the dismissal of a securities class action and was the primary author of the subsequent briefs in a federal court of appeals.  He has also been the primary author of appellate briefs on issues such as federal jurisdiction, civil procedure, federal criminal law, judicial sanctions, confirmation of arbitration awards, and state administrative law.  In trial courts, he has authored dispositive motions on issues such as environmental law, ERISA, securities law, and antitrust law.  

Mr. Dawson also maintains an active pro bono practice.  In 2017, Mr. Dawson was part of a team that secured the release of a client who served more than twenty years in prison after being wrongfully convicted of murder on the basis of junk arson science.  The following year, Mr. Dawson successfully briefed and argued a motion for spoliation sanctions in a federal case concerning cold conditions in a prison.  Those sanctions—which were based in large part on information uncovered during Mr. Dawson’s depositions of the prison’s warden and litigation coordinator—later led to a favorable settlement for the firm’s client. 

Mr. Dawson, who is a native of Texas, received his B.A. from Columbia University and his J.D. from Yale Law School.  While at Yale, Mr. Dawson won the top team and individual prizes in the moot court competition and was a member of the Supreme Court Clinic.  He also served as a Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Yale Law & Policy Review and as a Notes Editor of the Yale Law Journal.  Prior to joining Jenner & Block, Mr. Dawson was the Fellow for the San Francisco Affirmative Litigation Project (SFALP), a Yale Law School clinic in which students assist the San Francisco City Attorney in litigating public-interest lawsuits.