901 F Street, Ste 200
Sacramento, CA  95814
T: 916.325.1000
F: 916.325.1004

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Education

University of California, Berkeley
A.B., 1982

University of California, Davis
King Hall School of Law
J.D., 1985

Bar Admissions

California, 1985

Practice Areas

Complex Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution

James J. Banks

Mr. Banks represents private and public sector clients in litigations in state and federal court. He has a trial practice emphasizing complex, document intensive, commercial and public agency litigation, claims against attorneys, administrative law matters and appellate litigation. Mr. Banks counsels law firms in risk management, ethics and State Bar disciplinary matters. He has served as outside counsel to numerous law firms.

Mr. Banks is certified by the California State Bar as a specialist in Legal Malpractice Law.  Mr. Banks has been rated an A-V “Preeminent Lawyer” by Martindale-Hubbell since 2001.  Mr. Banks has been recognized in the publication “Northern California Super Lawyers” in 2006, and 2010 – 2020.  He is listed in the peer-reviewed publication “Best Lawyers in America” and has been named in the Sacramento Business Journal’s “Best of the Bar,” which recognizes leading local attorneys after nomination and vetting by a panel of their peers.  In 2017, Best Lawyers in America selected Mr. Banks as Sacramento’s litigation/real estate lawyer of the year.  In 2020, Mr. Banks was recognized as a Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a global honorary society of attorneys, judges, law faculty and legal scholars.  Membership in the Fellows is limited to one percent of lawyers licensed to practice in each jurisdiction.

Mr. Banks is a member of the State Bar of California, the American Bar Association, the Federal Bar Association, the Association of Professional Liability Lawyers and the American Bar Foundation.  He is a member of the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel, whose membership is by invitation only following an extensive peer-reviewed selection process.  Mr. Banks has been a member of numerous community and charitable boards and lectures on legal ethics and law firm risk management.

  • As lead trial counsel represented a physician’s assistant in a wage and hour dispute with a Northern California dermatology practice. Litigation results include judgment following a binding arbitration in excess of $1 million for the client and an award of approximately $1.5 million in statutory attorneys’ fees.
  • As lead trial counsel represented the seller of a large ranch in litigation filed by the purchasers over alleged environmental and other issues. Litigation resulted in a favorable settlement during trial.
  • As lead trial counsel, successfully represented a national law firm through trial in the District Court, Douglas County, Nebraska in a litigation initiated by a former partner over the value of his partnership interest.
  • As lead trial counsel, successfully represented a construction company in a wage and hour class action and individual employment discrimination claims, both of which settled for a nuisance amount on the first day of trial.
  • As lead trial counsel, successfully represented an issuer of municipal securities in litigation against its bond counsel arising from issues in connection with a $130 million bond refinancing.
  • As lead trial counsel, successfully represented an East Coast and European investment group in litigation concerning working interests the group had purchased in natural gas wells, which resulted in a $1.4 million judgment in the group’s favor.
  • As lead trial counsel, successfully represented an attorney in federal and state court litigations in California and in Hawaii, through the commencement of trial in the Court of the Third Circuit, State of Hawaii (Hilo). Litigation results included obtaining a judgment of $2.8 million for the client in California Superior Court litigation and successfully resolving the Hawaii litigation, which arose out of an alleged breach of a settlement agreement by client’s co-counsel.
  • As lead trial counsel, won a jury verdict in favor of a real estate investor against the County of El Dorado permitting the investor’s right to rescind a tax-sale contract and recover funds due to the County’s failure to disclose delinquent assessments under the Improvement Bond Act of 1915, which the County previously had stripped from its tax roll.
  • As lead trial counsel, successfully represented the sellers of a large tract of real property to a national home builder in litigation in which the purchaser was seeking damages in excess of $60 million, resulting in a favorable settlement on the first day of trial.
  • As lead trial counsel, successfully defended a law firm at trial in a Virginia Court, resulting in a judgment in the firm’s favor in a breach of contract action.
  • As lead trial counsel, successfully represented a property owner in a fair value hearing following a judicial foreclosure in which a lender was seeking a $12 million deficiency; the litigation resolved on the eve of trial with the lender accepting $1.6 million in satisfaction of its deficiency claim.
  • As co-trial counsel, won a multi-million dollar jury verdict on behalf of a motorcyclist critically injured in an accident caused, in part, by visual obstruction negligently created through a packing company’s vineyard harvest.
  • As lead counsel, successfully defended claims against a law firm in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York alleging violations of the Lanham Act.
  • As lead counsel, successfully defended a California attorney accused in a North Carolina state court of participating in a multi-million dollar embezzlement scheme.
  • As lead counsel, successfully represented a law firm through a Department of Justice criminal inquiry initiated by its exercise of search warrants seizing that firm’s files.
  • As lead counsel, won a reversal on appeal of a multi-million dollar malicious prosecution jury verdict against a local attorney.
  • As lead counsel, successfully represented a large Central Valley school district in a multi-million dollar claim involving 70 separate workers compensation claims that had been improperly adjusted and administered by that district’s third party administrator.
  • As lead counsel, successfully represented the Boy Scouts of America in a claim by its former attorneys to some $1.1 million in unearned attorneys’ fees.
  • Represented attorneys and their law firms in nearly 125 professional liability and malicious prosecution claims. Mr. Banks has also defended numerous accountants, insurance and real estate professionals in negligence claims.
  • Represented over 200 attorneys in California State Bar inquiries.

Bank of America National Trust & Savings Association v. Superior Court of Stanislaus County (1988) 200 Cal.App.3d 1000

Richard S. Olney v. Sacramento County Bar Association (1989) 212 Cal.App.3d 807

Vinod C. Bhan, C.R.N.A. v. NME Hospitals, Inc. (9th Cir. 1990) 929 F.2d 1404

Kevin Sosinsky, et al. v. Allen R. Grant, et al. (1992) 6 Cal.App.4th 1548

Municipal Court v. Superior Court (1992) 15 Cal.App.4th 1101

Modesto City Schools v. Riso Kagaku Corp. et al., (E.D.C.A. 2001) 157 F.Supp.2d 1128

Krough v. Reynolds Packing, Inc. (2001) 91 Cal.App.4th 1243

Ribeiro v. County of El Dorado (2011) 195 Cal.App.4th 354

Antelope Valley – East Kern Water Agency v. Los Angeles County Waterworks District No. 40 (In re Antelope Valley Groundwater Cases) (2018) 30 Cal.App.5th 602.

Mr. Banks lectures on risk management, ethics, malpractice and litigation issues. His speaking engagements include:

October 2019 – Presenter
Schwartz-Levi Inn of Court.
Topic: Proposed rules permitting lay ownership of legal firms.

March 2019 – Speaker
Schwartz-Levi Inn of Court.
Topic: Delivered lecture on the revised California Rules of Professional Conduct.

July 2014 – Lecturer
Shanti Bhavan School, Baliganapalli, India.
Topics: Delivered lectures in Contract Law, appellate advocacy and Human Rights.

August 2011 – Speaker
Sacramento Law Firm Seminar.
Topic: Conflicts of Interest, with emphasis on rules 3-300 and 3-310 of the California Rules of Professional Conduct.

2007 – Panelist
United States District Court for the Eastern District Bench/Bar Conference
Topics: “Erosion of the Attorney-Client Privilege,” “Attorney-Client Privilege, Crime Fraud Exception.”

2006 – Panelist
United States District Court for the Eastern District Bench/Bar Conference
Topic: “Ethical and Legal Obligations of Leakers, Whistleblowers and Their Attorneys in a Post-9/11 World.”

March 2005 – Speaker
Sacramento Law Firm Seminar.
Topic: Conflicts of Interest.

March 2002 – Speaker
University of California, Davis, King Hall School of Law.
Topic: Attorney Ethics.

November 2001 – Speaker
University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law.
Topic: Ethical Issues Impacting Class Action Practice and Complex Litigation.

April 2001 – Speaker
University of California, Davis, King Hall School of Law.
Topic: Attorney Ethics.

February 2000 – Speaker
Seminar, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Topic: Law Firm Risk Management Issues.

April 1999 – Speaker
University of California, Davis, King Hall School of Law.
Topic: Attorney Ethics.

October 1997 – Speaker
Sacramento Law Firm Seminar.
Topic: Selected Risk Management Issues for Lawyers.

July 1997 – Speaker
Sacramento Law Firm Seminar.
Topic: Evidentiary Privileges and Their Use in Civil Discovery.

November 1996 – Speaker
Sacramento Association of Health Underwriters.
Topic: Selected Risk Management Issues for Insurance Agents and Brokers.

August 1996 – Speaker
Sacramento Law Firm Seminar.
Topic: Selected Risk Management Issues for Lawyers.

July 1996 – Speaker
Sacramento Association of Professional Administrators.
Topic: Selected Risk Management Issues for Public Accounting Firms.

March 1996 – Speaker
Sacramento Association of Legal Secretaries.
Topic: Avoiding Malpractice.

February 1994 – Speaker
Reliance Insurance Group Seminar for Attorney-Insureds, San Francisco, California.
Topic: How to Avoid Being Sued for Malicious Prosecution and What to Do If You Are.

1993, 1994, 1995 – Panelist
Topic: “Taking Effective Depositions,” Lorman Education Services.


His professional and community affiliations include:

▪ California State Bar Association

▪ American Bar Association

▪ Federal Bar Association

▪ Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers

▪ Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel

▪ Board of Trustees, St. Michael’s Episcopal Day School (1998-2003)

▪ Trustee, Sacramento Children’s Home (1996-2000)

▪ Secretary and Counsel, Trinity Cathedral Episcopal Church (1991-1996)