Kerr & Wagstaffe
Jim, partner and co-founder of Kerr & Wagstaffe, handles diverse litigation emphasizing professional and governmental representation, business litigation, First Amendment matters, and media cases. He represents individual and corporate clients in federal and state actions, and specializes in the firm’s intellectual property and First Amendment practice areas. Educational Background In 1977, Jim received his B.A. degree with distinction from Stanford University. In 1980, Jim received his J.D. degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law (San Francisco), where he was honored for his achievements in moot court competition. Following law school, Jim served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Spencer Williams in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. Super Lawyer In December 1999, California Lawyer named Jim as one of its Top Twenty Lawyers of the Year. Jim also was added to the 2004 list of Northern California Super Lawyers, an honor given to the top 5% of attorneys practicing in Northern California. Federal Civil Procedure Expert Jim is a nationally-known speaker on federal civil procedure and is considered to be an authority on that subject. He is an instructor at the Federal Judicial Center's 'New Judges Workshops,' educating newly-appointed federal judges on all aspects of federal procedure. Jim’s numerous publications include the widely-used Federal Civil Procedure Before Trial (TRG 2005 - Three Volumes), Removal and Remand; Commencing Actions in Federal Court, 'Much Ado About Doe Defendants,' 5 Cal. Lawyer; and 'Life After Remand,' Federal Litigation. He also co-authored the Summary of California Ethics Rules. Jim is a frequent lecturer and moderator for programs on federal civil procedure presented by the Rutter Group. Important Cases, Important Results Jim's cases reflect the depth of his experience and ability to obtain results, particularly in complex and novel areas of the law. For example, he represented the State Bar of California before the California Supreme Court. Warden v. State Bar of California, 21 Cal. 4th 628 (1999). In that case, he successfully defended the State Bar against a constitutional challenge to the Bar's requirements for continuing legal education for lawyers in California. Jim also successfully defended the State Bar in separate federal and state court lawsuits that challenged the constitutionality of the California Legislature's decision to allow only California-resident lawyers to vote and sit in elections for the State Bar Board of Governors. Hoffman v. State Bar of California, 113 Cal. App. 4th 630 (2003). Jim also is one of the most sought after First Amendment lawyers in the country. His First Amendment and media experience is exemplified by his successful defense of The New Yorker Magazine in the libel trial Masson v. New Yorker, 832 F. Supp. 1350 (N.D. Cal. 1993), aff'd 85 F.3d 1394 (9th Cir. 1996) held in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. He has successfully defended numerous broadcasters, newspapers, and magazines at trial, on summary judgment, and under California’s Anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) statute. Recently, Jim represented sex.com in a dispute with Verisign/Network Solutions over their mishandling of the famous domain name. He successfully obtained a sweeping victory from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in a landmark decision with far reaching implications in all areas of Internet infrastructure. Kremen v. Cohen, 337 F 3d 1024 (9th Cir. 2003). Author, Speaker, Professor In addition to his legal publications Mr. Wagstaffe also has authored Romancing the Room (Three Rivers Press), an adroit, step-by-step guide to public speaking. Most recently, Mr. Wagstaffe was a contributing author to The Expert's Guide to 100 Things Everyone Should Know How to Do alongside fellow contributors Donald Trump, Larry King, and Ira Glass, among others. Jim is an in-demand speaker for both private and public speaking engagements. Sharing knowledge and experience within the legal community is core to the firm’s belief system. To further reinforce this belief, Jim is committed to teaching graduate and undergraduate level students. Jim is an adjunct professor in constitutional law and civil procedure at Hastings College of the Law and in Media Law at San Francisco State University. He has also taught the Practical Speech Communication course at Stanford University for over 25 years. Awards and Recognition In addition to the previously mentioned honors, in 2004, Jim shared a Peabody Award for his copyright contributions to the PBS documentary, The DNA Files. In 1991, he received the prestigious James Madison Freedom of Information Award from The Society of Professional Journalists. As a native of the Bay area, Jim lives in Burlingame with his wife, Karen and their four children.