Mr James Hurst > Kirkland & Ellis LLP > Chicago, United States > Lawyer Profile

Kirkland & Ellis LLP
United States
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Jim Hurst is a trial lawyer who serves on Kirkland’s global management committee. He’s been trying cases for 30 years, including patent, products liability, trade secret, antitrust, fraud, and contract cases. He’s also argued dozens of appeals including before the U.S. Supreme Court. He’s was named Benchmark’s “Trial Lawyer of the Year” in 2018, and is one of only three lawyers honored twice in The American Lawyer’s biannual “”Litigator of the Year” contest—the first for eight straight trial wins and the second for six straight trial wins. His trial wins are regularly reported in the press, including a 2019 American Lawyer articled entitled “Kirkland’s Hurst Wins, And Then He Wins Some More–How Does He Do It?”


University of Pennsylvania Law School, J.D., 1989 cum laude; University of Delaware, B.S., 1986 magna cum laude.

Lawyer Rankings

United States > Dispute resolution > Leading trial lawyers

(Leading lawyers)

James HurstKirkland & Ellis LLP

(Leading trial lawyers)

James HurstKirkland & Ellis LLP

James HurstKirkland & Ellis LLP

United States > Dispute resolution > General commercial disputes

(Leading lawyers)

James HurstKirkland & Ellis LLP

Frequently involved in high-value, complex litigation with industry-wide repercussions, Kirkland & Ellis LLP distinguishes itself through its highly respected courtroom advocacy, and the breadth and depth of its practice. The team has particular strength in the pharmaceutical sector, alongside deep expertise in manufacturing and tech. Recently, James Hurst, Diana Watral and New York-based Patricia Carson won a unanimous defense verdict for Bristol-Myers Squibb in a 12-day trade secrets jury trial worth $600m over a cancer drug in Delaware state court. In another major highlight, Craig Primis and Erin Johnston from the DC office are representing Boeing in a trade secrets case claiming $100m in damages in the Northern District of Alabama. A key generalist lawyer working across industries is Andrew Kassof. The firm made a number of significant hires in 2019, among them former Attorney General of Illinois Lisa Madigan, and a team of three leading privacy lawyers from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP in the DC and Dallas offices: Olivia Adendorff, Richard Cunningham and Sean Royall. All lawyers are Chicago-based unless otherwise stated.

United States > Industry focus > Healthcare: life sciences

Kirkland & Ellis LLP acts for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, as well as private equity and venture capital investors. The team was instructed on a number of recent mega M&A, having advised AbbVie on its $63bn acquisition of Allergan, and acting for Bristol-Myers Squibb Company in the acquisition of Celgene Corporation. Nationally recognized trial lawyer James Hurst (Chicago) and trial and appellate lawyer Jay Lefkowitz (New York) are the key names to note, and jointly lead the team with New York-based IP litigators Patricia Carson and Leora Ben-Ami. Recent trial wins have included Hurst successfully representing Alere in a patent infringement case, and also representing Flexus Biosciences (now a Bristol-Myers Squibb subsidiary) in a trade secret trial.

United States > Intellectual property > Patents: litigation (full coverage)

Kirkland & Ellis LLP impresses with its successful track record before all major patent litigation venues in the US, including the PTAB and the ITC. The practice stands out through its commitment to preparing every case for trial, drawing on its excellent bench of senior and junior litigators with experience in a wide spread of technologies thanks to a team consisting to three quarters of practitioners with a science or engineering background. Major domestic and, increasingly, international clients entrust their complex high-stakes disputes to the team, including several pharma giants, global telecommunications and consumer product companies, blue chip technology and electronics players as well as food and beverage multinationals. Gregory ArovasJeanne Heffernan, Todd FriedmanJoseph LoyJames McConnell and Robert Appleby in New York, Adam Alper in San Francisco, Michael De Vries in Los Angeles, John O’Quinn and Jason Wilcox in Washington DC and Chicago trio Amanda Hollis, James Hurst and Gianni Cutri are key names in the practice. In Ellisen Shelton Turner, who arrived from Irell & Manella LLP in September 2019, the firm gained one of the country’s finest patent and trade secret litigators. In summer 2019, Sarah Piepmeier joined Perkins Coie LLP and Kenneth Adamo left to open an independent practice.