Our Attorneys

James M. Hanlon, Jr.


Phone: (925) 210-2810

Fax: (925) 945-1975

Email: jhanlon@glynnfinley.com


James Hanlon is a trial and appellate lawyer with experience in federal and state courts as well as ADR programs. He has worked on a wide variety of commercial, product liability, environmental, employment, and wage-and-hour litigation. Mr. Hanlon has tried cases in federal and state court and argued appeals before the California Court of Appeal and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He was designated an under-40 Rising Star in 2012 and a SuperLawyer every year since 2013. Mr. Hanlon is the firm’s relationship partner with General Electric Company, the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART), and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC). Mr. Hanlon also maintains an active pro bono practice, including the ten-year habeas corpus representation of an Alabama death row inmate who was successfully awarded a new trial and then released from prison for time served.

Mr. Hanlon graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law. Prior to joining the firm, he served as a law clerk to the Honorable Michael Daly Hawkins of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and practiced with Covington & Burling LLP in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco.

Representative Cases:

  • Yarbrough Russo v. Andrews (Solano County Superior Court). Trial counsel for plaintiffs in four-week bench trial of a contract and business tort dispute concerning ownership and operation of a real estate development company with significant assets.

  • Pacific Imaging Technologies, Inc. v. OEC Medical Systems, Inc. (Contra Costa County Superior Court and U.S.D.C. D. Utah). Lead counsel representing GE healthcare affiliate in suit alleging breach of contract and business torts arising from termination of distribution relationship.

  • Garcia v. Flora Springs Wine Company (Napa County Superior Court). Lead counsel representing winery in putative wage-and-hour class action alleging meal and rest break violations, among other claims.

  • California Public Utilities Commission v. BART (Administrative proceeding). Lead counsel representing BART in responding to an Order Initiating Investigation and Order to Show Cause issued by the CPUC concerning an October 2013 accident that resulted in the deaths of two workers.

  • Spring Ridge, LLC v. Park Wine Company (San Mateo County Superior Court). Lead counsel for winery in defending alleged business torts brought by vineyard owner and in prosecuting claims for misappropriation of intellectual property. Case settled on favorable terms after plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction was denied.

  • Scantlin v. General Electric Company (U.S.D.C. C.D. Cal.). Trial counsel for GE in defense of a defective design personal injury lawsuit brought by an electrician who sustained third-degree burns over more than 65% of his body in an industrial accident. After a first trial resulting in a directed defense verdict was reversed on appeal, GE was awarded summary judgment on remand. Mr. Hanlon then handled the appeal to the Ninth Circuit, which affirmed the judgment.

  • Disability Rights Advocates v. MTC and BART (Pre-litigation). Lead counsel for MTC and BART in negotiating pre-suit resolution of claims concerning accessibility of universal fare card for blind and visually-impaired transit riders.

  • County of Santa Clara v. Atlantic Richfield Co., et al. (Santa Clara County Superior Court). Trial counsel for DuPont in defense of a public nuisance suit brought by 10 counties and cities seeking more than $1 billion for abatement of residential lead-based paint. DuPont was awarded a defense verdict after a two-month bench trial.

  • Soto v. Castlerock Farming & Transport, Inc. (U.S.D.C. E.D. Cal.). Lead trial counsel for a table grape grower in a putative wage-and-hour class action. Class certification was denied (2013 WL 6844377) and the plaintiff’s individual case dismissed.

  • Covenant Services, Inc. v. General Electric Company (Kern County Superior Court). Lead trial counsel for GE in defending against claimed business torts related to the delayed delivery of an electrical switchboard. The case settled on favorable terms the day after Mr. Hanlon argued GE’s summary judgment motion.

  • Cortese Properties v. Chevron Corp. (Arbitration). Lead counsel for Chevron in the two-week private arbitration of a multi-million dollar construction delay claim based on remediation of a former service station site.

  • Hat v. HomeFed (Madera County Superior Court). Trial counsel for real estate developer in lawsuit involving a 2,000-acre wine grape vineyard. Former owner who stayed on as tenant attempted to reverse the sale and to recover millions of grape stakes from the ranch. The developer prevailed in a two-week jury trial.

  • Smith v. Alabama (Alabama state courts). Co-counsel for an Alabama death row inmate in habeas corpus proceedings. Led investigation of prior counsel’s conduct and the evidence. After a week-long evidentiary hearing conducted with co-counsel Covington & Burling LLP, the state circuit court overturned both the guilty verdict and death sentence. The ruling was unanimously affirmed by the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals in State v. Smith, 85 So.3d 1063 (Ala. Ct. Crim. App. 2010). After exhaustion of the State’s appeals, Mr. Hanlon’s client was released on a time-served agreement.

Areas of Practice:

  • General Litigation

  • Trial Practice

  • Appellate Practice

Bar Admissions:

  • California, 2001

  • District of Columbia, 2001

  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California

  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California

  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of California

  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California

  • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit


  • J.D. – University of Virginia School of Law, Charlottesville, Virginia, 2000

  • B.A. – University of Southern California, 1997

    • Honors: Trustee Scholar Honors: Participant, Resident Honors and Thematic Option Programs

    • Major: International Relations

Professional Associations and Memberships:

  • State Bar of California

Past Employment Positions:

  • Covington & Burling, LLP, Associate

  • Hon. Michael Daly Hawkins, United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, Law Clerk