Jim specializes in the trial and creative resolution of substantial disputes for a diverse client base, including Fortune 500 companies and major e-commerce firms. While much of his practice has focused on intellectual property, corporate, and commercial matters, Jim believes that knowing how to win a case–developing and executing a strategy to prevail by motion if possible and by trial if not–is the most important skill of a lawyer handling complex litigation.
Jim teamed with David Bruce to establish Savitt Bruce & Willey in 1999, after a nine-year tenure as a partner at Perkins Coie. Jim began his career with Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in New York City before finding his way to the Great Northwest. He is a graduate, magna cum laude, of the Georgetown University Law Center.
Outside of the office, Jim recently completed service as the Chairperson of the Pike Place Market Preservation & Development Authority (which owns and operates Seattle’s famed Pike Place Market) and is a past President of the Federal Bar Association of the Western District of Washington. Jim enjoys skiing in winter, playing infield on the firm’s softball team in summer (when we can field one with enough young guns to do serious harm), his morning workout, reading novels that his partner Steve Willey sneers at and, not least, time with his family, including two teenage sons who, depending on the day, are either keeping him young or making him old.
Areas of Practice
- Contracts and Commercial Litigation
- Corporate Governance Disputes
- Financial and Banking Litigation
- Intellectual Property Litigation
- Risk Management and Litigation Avoidance
- Real Estate Litigation
- Securities Litigation
Prior Professional Experience
- Perkins Coie LLP, Seattle WA, 1987-1999
- Partner, 1991-1999
- Associate, 1987-1990
- Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP, New York City NY, 1983-1986
Bank One v. Westar Financial Services. Defended breach of contract and lender liability claims relating to multi-billion dollar auto lease securitization portfolios, and prosecuted counterclaims for securities fraud and breach of contract; obtained preliminary injunction, obtained dismissal of all claims against bank by summary judgment, and then obtained favorable settlement on counterclaims.
Alliance Packaging v. Altivity Packaging, et al. Prosecuted patent infringement claims relating to retail product packaging; prevailed at Markman hearing, defeated defendant’s summary judgment motions and prevailed on motions for partial summary judgment and motions dismissing counterclaims, and then obtained favorable settlement.
Straitshot Communications v. Telekenex, Inc., et al. Prosecuted corporation’s claims for trade secret misappropriation, tortious interference, Consumer Protection Act violations, and breach of employment agreements and of duty of loyalty; obtained $6.5 million judgment at jury trial.
Amazon v. Expedia. Defended claims and prosecuted counterclaims for breach of linking and co-branding agreement between national e-commerce giants; defeated motions for summary judgment, developed counterclaims, and then obtained favorable settlement.
Stilwell Value Partners v. First Financial Northwest, et al. Defended claims against inspector of elections alleging improprieties in corporate election following proxy fight; obtained summary judgment dismissing key elements of claims, and then dismissal of all claims with prejudice as part of favorable settlement involving no concessions from client.
Investigations regarding Washington Mutual Bank. Represented former Washington Mutual officers in regard to investigations by FDIC, United States Attorney, and United States Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations regarding failure of Washington Mutual Bank, including testimony before United States Senate subcommittee.
Moomjy v. HQ Sustainable Maritime Inc., et al. Defended class action against public offering underwriters alleging claims under sections 11 and 12 of Securities Act; brought motion to dismiss and then obtained favorable settlement dismissing all claims against clients without any payment on claims.
Weld v. Dawson, et al. Defended claims for breach of fiduciary duty, minority shareholder oppression, and violations of Blue Sky laws against senior corporate officer; obtained dismissal of all claims against client on motion to dismiss.
Garrett v. Swedish Health Services, et al. Defended group of physicians against claims for breach of fiduciary duty and contractual obligations arising out of joint venture; obtained dismissal of all claims against client by summary judgment and also favorable settlement from co-defendant on affirmative claims.
Titus v. Bank One. Defended claims for misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty and violation of Consumer Protection Act arising from interest rate swap financing transaction; obtained dismissal of all claims and recovery of attorneys’ fees by summary judgment.
Seelig v. Seelig. Defended claims and prosecuted counterclaims involving allocation of assets and profits from long-term real estate partnerships; obtained summary judgment prevailing on all claims relating to division of assets and profits, and then negotiated settlement to wind up partnerships and distribute monies accordingly to end litigation.
Skinner v. May. Prosecuted claims to enforce right to convey real property obtained as part of settlement agreement; obtained summary judgment on all claims for full damages claimed plus prejudgment interest.
Professional Recognition & Honors
- Selected to Best Lawyers in America, 2014-2020
- Ranked in Chambers USA Guide to Leading Lawyers, 2013-2020
- Selected to Washington Super Lawyers, 2003-2020
- Selected to Washington Super Lawyers Top 100 List, 2007, 2010-2020
- Named one of “Washington’s Most Amazing Attorneys,” Washington CEO magazine, 2006
- Selected to Washington Rising Stars, 2000
- AV Preeminent Rating from Martindale-Hubbell (5.0 out of possible 5.0 peer review rating)
- 10.0 Rating from Avvo.com
Professional Associations & Leadership
- Federal Bar Association of the Western District of Washington
- Immediate Past President, 2011-2012
- President, 2010-2011
- Vice President, 2009-2010
- Secretary, 2007-2009
- Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America
- King County Bar Association
- Judiciary and Courts Committee, 1998-2000
- American Bar Association
- Member, Section of Litigation, 1999-present
- Member, Diversity Law Institute
- Member, Trial Law Institute
- Washington State Bar Association
Civic & Community Leadership
- Pike Place Market Preservation & Development Authority
- Chairperson, 2009-2013
- Chair, Finance Committee, 2008-2009
- Councilmember (Mayoral appointee), 2006-2018
- Delta Society, Inc.
- Board of Directors, 1991-1997, 2001-2007
- Treasurer, 1992-1996
- Washington Biotechnology Foundation, Board of Trustees, 1997-2005
- Tribes Project, Inc.
- President of the Board, 1999-2001
- Board of Directors, 1998-2001
- Leadership Tomorrow, 1996-1997
Publications & Presentations
- James P. Savitt & Caitlin K. Hawks, Statutes of Limitation: Washington, Practical Law, http://us.practicallaw.com/w-000-2463
- Finessing the Fine Print: Agreements to Arbitrate and Covenants not to Compete, Washington Association of Corporate Counsel, presenter, 2014
- Covering Your Bases: Practical Tips to Deal with and Avoid Litigation, Washington Association of Corporate Counsel, presenter, 2013
- Annual Federal Practice CLE of the Federal Bar Association of the Western District of Washington, Chair and presenter, 2005-2007
- Litigating Year 2000 Cases, West Group, contributing author, 1999
- Speaker at Continuing Legal Education seminars
- Georgetown University Law Center, J.D. magna cum laude, 1983
- The Georgetown Law Journal, 1981-1983
- Cornell University, College of Arts and Sciences, B.A., 1980
- United States Supreme Court
- United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
- United States District Court, Western District of Washington
- United States District Court, Eastern District of Washington
- United States District Court, Southern District of New York
- United States Court of Federal Claims