James R. Murray
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CHAIR, INSURANCE COVERAGE PRACTICE GROUP
Jim Murray leads Blank Rome's policyholder-only insurance coverage practice, formerly the insurance practice of Dickstein Shapiro LLP. Mr. Murray assisted his clients in securing more than $400 million in insurance recoveries in the last two years alone, and well over one billion dollars in the last decade on matters involving almost every line of insurance. In 2013 and 2011, Law360 named him an MVP in Insurance Coverage, making him one of only two insurance coverage attorneys to ever receive this recognition twice. In Chambers USA, commentators have credited him with “as much start-to-finish trial experience as any coverage lawyer out there” and with “the ability to earn immediate respect in the courtroom.” In a recent edition of Chambers, one client observed that he “has the ability to be a consummate professional but speaks in layman’s terms to the jury.” Legal 500 says he “knows the insurance industry and how to maximize claims.”
Mr. Murray is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and a member of the College’s District of Columbia State Committee. Membership in the College can never be more than one percent of the total lawyer population of any state or province, and fellowship is extended only by invitation, after extensive investigation, to those trial lawyers who have mastered the art of advocacy and whose professional careers have been marked by the highest standards of ethical conduct, professionalism, civility, and collegiality. He is also a Fellow of the American College of Coverage and Extracontractual Counsel and is listed in the National Trial Lawyers’ “Top 100 Trial Lawyers” for the District of Columbia (Civil). He has litigated cases in 24 states for top-tier corporate clients, and has represented individuals and an array of religious institutions and governmental entities.
Mr. Murray was formerly a leader of the insurance coverage practice at an Am Law 200 firm and a partner in the litigation and insurance practices of an Am Law 100 firm where he served on the firm’s Partnership Evaluation and Business Development Committees. From 1996 to 2007, he was a founding and managing partner of a trial practice boutique in Seattle, Washington.
He was a clerk for the Honorable James Hunter III of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit from 1981 to 1982 and was special assistant to William H. Webster, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, from 1983 to 1985. In 1981, he was a Teaching Fellow in Moral Reasoning in the Philosophy Department at Harvard University (Professor Fried).
Mr. Murray’s work in high-profile and exceptionally challenging cases across the country has earned him consistent praise from clients and opposing counsel alike:
- A Delaware Superior Court recently approved a $123.1 million class action settlement involving underlying claims of sexual abuse, noting in its published opinion that “…the Court must commend Beebe and its nationally renowned coverage counsel, James R. Murray, Esquire, for their tireless efforts in overcoming many obstacles to obtaining insurance coverage […].”
- The 2012 edition of Chambers USA reported “particular praise for his calm and common-sense approach to cross-examining.” As one source explained, he “understands the issues and where the bottom line is, and he makes the winning argument based on reason.”
- The 2012 Benchmark Plaintiff edition ranked him as a national “Litigation Star” and, according to the 2012 edition of Legal 500, he “knows the insurance industry and how to maximize claims.”
- The Chief Financial Officer of the Society of Jesus, Oregon Province, summarized his views in commenting to Best Lawyers: “I cannot imagine anyone as able to calmly represent what we stand for in the midst of the storm as Jim.”
- In a June 2011 Law360 interview, a former adversary representing AIG singled out Mr. Murray as a litigator he feared facing in court, telling the publication, “Jim is a savvy trial lawyer capable of quickly and effectively adjusting his presentation during trial.”
- Another former opposing counsel on behalf of London insurers recently told U.S. News “my view is that Jim provides the highest level of advocacy on behalf of his clients. He is a formidable though professional and fair adversary.”
- Of all his accolades, he is most proud of juror feedback, such as these unsolicited comments from a Jury Foreperson: “Mr. Murray, I wanted to convey to you what a comprehensive and methodical case you presented to the jurors over these past weeks. There was hardly a juror in that room who didn’t at one time voice that of all the attorneys present, any one of them would hope for your representation. Your demeanor was professional, non-judgmental, non-condescending and sans ‘smoke and mirrors’ tactics. Thank you for an eye-opening experience.”
COMMUNITY SERVICE & AFFILIATIONS
Mr. Murray is a Fellow of the American College of Coverage and Extracontractual Counsel, an invitation-only organization of preeminent lawyers representing the interests of both policyholders and insurers dedicated to improving the quality of the practice of insurance law and to increase civility and professionalism in the field.
He was an adjunct professor in trial advocacy at the University of Washington School of Law for many years and serves on the faculty of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (both trial and deposition programs).
He has served as secretary of the Montana State Rhodes Scholarship Selection Committee and was on that committee for more than a decade. He currently serves on the advisory board of the University of Montana College of Arts and Sciences.
Mr. Murray is married to Lynne Bivona and has a son and daughter. He was raised on a farm on the Fort Peck Reservation in Eastern Montana. He plays folk and country music when he has time, and for many years has caught the occasional gig with his brother in their Northwest band Smoke Creek.
- 2009–2016, Insurance: Dispute Resolution: Policyholder Law (DC), listed in Chambers USA
- 2007, Civil Litigation (Washington State), listed in Chambers USA
- 2010–2017, listed in Best Lawyers in America
- 2009–2015, listed in Benchmark Litigation
- 2014–2015, listed in Legal 500
- 2007–2015, listed in Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers
- 2009–2015, listed in Who’s Who Legal: Insurance & Reinsurance
- 2014–2016, “Top 100 Trial Lawyer,” listed by National Trial Lawyers
- 2013 and 2011, “MVP in Insurance Coverage,” listed in Law360
A description of the standard or methodology on which the accolades are based can be found here.