James Murphy

James A. Murphy

Founding Shareholder


All courts in the State of California

Federal District Court for the State of California, Northern, Eastern and Central Districts

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal

Pro Hac Vice, numerous jurisdictions (see below)

  • Profile
  • Experience
  • Pro Hac Vice
  • Affiliations
  • Publications
  • Recognitions
  • Education

A founding shareholder of Murphy Pearson, James practices from the firm’s San Francisco and Los Angeles offices. A sought-after veteran attorney, he has tried in excess of 75 jury trials to verdict and is a Certified Specialist in legal malpractice by the State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization. He is the past Chair of the State Bar of California Board of Specialization Legal Malpractice Consulting Group.

Professional Liability

With deep experience representing lawyers and others in professional liability matters, James represents lawyers sued for malpractice nationwide. His practice also extends to the representation of judges in disciplinary proceedings before the California Commission on Judicial Performance.

In addition, James counsels directors and officers relative to their duties and responsibilities under California and federal law and represents corporations, directors and officers in litigation matters.

General Litigation

Representing business clients in a variety of disputes, James has litigated and tried cases involving a wide range of subject matters, including regarding software licenses, copyright and patent issues, and unfair competition.

Select Published Appellate Decisions

  • Schultze v. Chandler, 765 F.3d 945, United States Court of Appeal, Ninth Circuit, August 1, 2014
  • Nemecek & Cole, et al. v. Steven J. Horn, 208 Cal.App. 4th 641, 145 Cal. Rptr. 3d, California Court of Appeals, Second District, Division Eight, July 23, 2012
  • Desert Outdoor Advertising v. The Superior Court of San Francisco City and County, 196 Cal.App.4th 866, 127 Cal.Rptr.3d 158, California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, Division One, June 17, 2011
  • Obert v. Republic Western Insurance Company, 398 F.3d 138, United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit, February 18, 2005
  • Mussier v. Provencher, 28 Cal. 4th 274, 121 Cal. Rptr.2d 373, Supreme Court of California, June 27, 2002
  • Gianini v. Lee (1995) 36 Cal.App.4th 60
  • Republic Western Insurance Company v. Spierer, Woodward, Willens, Denis and Furstman, 68 F.3d 347, United States Court of Appeals, Ninth District, October 17, 1995
  • Baumer v. Pachl, 8F.3d 1341 (9th Cir. 1993)
  • U.S. Roofing, Inc. v. Credit Alliance Corp, et al., 228 Cal.App.3d 1431, 279 Cal. Rptr. 533, California Court of Appeals, Third District, March 29, 1991

James has extensive experience representing clients in  jurisdictions throughout the United States:

  • United States District Court
    • Southern District of New York
    • Western District of Kentucky
    • Rhode Island
    • Hawaii
    • Arizona
    • Northern District of Illinois
    • Nevada
  • State of Washington
  • State of Oregon
  • State of Nevada
  • Commonwealth of Kentucky
  • Commonwealth of Massachusetts


  • Olympic Club, Board of Directors
  • American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA)
  • Cal-ABOTA
  • National Board of Trial Advocates
  • American College of Trial Lawyers, Fellow
  • American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys
  • American Arbitration Association
  • Association of Defense Counsel of Northern California
  • America’s Top 100 Attorneys, Lifetime Achievement Membership
  • Litigation Counsel of America
  • State Bar of California Board of Specialization Legal Malpractice Consulting Group, former Chair


  • California Civil Practice, Torts, consultant for chapters on professional malpractice, Bancroft-Whitney


James is frequently quoted as an authority on issues related to professional liability, ethics and malpractice, including in the following recent articles:

  • “Calif. High Court Oks New Judiciary Ethics Rules,” by Christopher Crosby,, October 10, 2018
  • “SF Judges’ Backing of Colleagues Raises Ethical Concern,” by Winston Cho, Daily Journal, March 27, 2018
  • “Contra Costa County Judge Accused of Misconduct for 3rd Time,” by David Mendenhall, Daily Journal, October 19, 2017
  • “Contra Costa County Judge Accused Again of Misconduct,” by Bob Egelko, SF Gate, October 17, 2017
  • “Cox Castle Shakes $15M Suit Over Failed Real Estate Deal,” by Kat Greene,, August 16, 2017
  • AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell (AV Preeminent is a
    Certification Mark used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell®
    certification procedures, standards and policies)
  • Selected for inclusion in Northern California Super Lawyers Magazine (2004 – present)

BS, St. Mary’s College of California U. Jerome Griffin medal as ranking member in Department of Economics

JD, University of California, Davis, Order of the Coif