James D. Zirin, a leading trial lawyer for over 30 years, is a partner in the New York office of Sidley Austin llp which he joined in 1993. He had previously been a partner in Breed, Abbott & Morgan. For three years, he was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and served in the criminal division under Robert M. Morgenthau.
Mr. Zirin has appeared in state and federal courts around the nation. His practice has featured the defense of major accounting firms charged with violations of professional responsibility and in substantial class actions. These matters have included the American Express salad oil and Equity Funding cases where he represented Deloitte, and the IOS and DeLorean litigations. His clients have also included The Rockefeller Foundation, Merrill Lynch, Citibank, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and the City of New York. He represented a Brazilian trader who was a significant figure in the silver debacle of 1979 and 1980. He has handled white collar criminal cases, shareholders’ litigation, directors and officers liability cases and patent infringement litigation. His experience includes litigation involving reinsurance on the London market, arbitration and alternate dispute resolution.
He recovered over $100 million in cash and property for Armco in its requirements contract litigation with Allied Chemical. He has appeared in major estates litigation, most notably the Rothko case, the estate of William S. Todman as well as the litigation involving the estate of the widow of the expressionist artist, Max Beckmann. He served as an arbitrator in the complex disputes involving the limited partnership owning the Helmsley Palace Hotel. He successfully represented a take-over target against a $90 million claim for a break-up fee.
James D. Zirin has written over 100 op-ed articles for Forbes, Barron’s, the LA Times, the London Times, the Washington Times and the New York Law Journal. He is co-host with James Goodale of the weekly prime time cable television program “The Digital Age” where he has interviewed such guests as Governor Thomas Kean, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, Ambassador Frank Wisner and Princeton Dean Anne-Marie Slaughter. He spoke on the litigation aspects of "Accessing the American Capital Markets" at the São Paulo Stock Exchange, São Paulo, Brazil; on officers and directors liability at an insurance colloquium in Santiago, Chile; and on the resolution of China disputes through international arbitration at Fudan University, Shanghai. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is a member of the executive committee of The Pilgrims of the United States. In August 2003, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg appointed him to the New York City Commission to Combat Police Corruption.
He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, a member of its governing downstate committee and a past chair of its alternatives for dispute resolution committee; a member of the advisory board of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs of Princeton University; a trustee of New York Law School; and a member of the Consolidated Corporate Fund Leadership Committee of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. He is a member of the Board of Editors of the New York Law Journal. He is a member of The Brook and is listed in “Who’s Who in America.”
A graduate of Princeton University with honors, Mr. Zirin received his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School where he was an editor of the Michigan Law Review and a member of the Order of the Coif. He is married to Marlene Hess and has two children.
September 7, 2006
James D. Zirin
Sidley Austin LLP
787 Seventh Avenue
New York, NY 10019