Jim Cooley
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Jim Cooley

Resolving complex business disputes has been the focus of Jim’s practice since joining Womble Bond Dickinson (formerly Womble Carlyle) in 1985. In addition to his many years of litigation experience, including over 50 jury trials, Jim brings a keen understanding of alternate dispute resolution techniques to his clients’ problems. He served on the North Carolina Bar Association’s Committee (now section) which designed and implemented North Carolina’s court-annexed dispute resolution process, and he currently serves on the Council of the Dispute Resolution Section of the NC Bar Association. He has actively participated in the work of the International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution, studying dispute resolution in the construction and financial services industries. Jim has represented clients in hundreds of mediations and arbitrations and is now certified as a mediator in North Carolina, specializing in complex business disputes and class actions. Jim brings to bear a complete arsenal of techniques and skills for evaluating and solving business disputes in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

In recent years, Jim’s practice has centered on the representation of financial institutions in a broad range of matters arising out of the 2008 financial crisis. He has frequently represented clients in class actions and multidistrict litigation of antitrust, unfair competition, wage and hour and securities fraud claims, numerous corporate and partnership control disputes representing both majority and minority interests, commercial contract disputes for a wide variety of business clients in the United States and abroad, and conducting internal corporate investigations. Jim’s interest in constitutional rights litigation continues, primarily on behalf of local governmental bodies.

Jim is a Senior Partner in the Charlotte office and a member of Womble Bond Dickinson’s 40-lawyer Financial Services Litigation Team. He was the Practice Group Leader of the Firm’s 90-lawyer Business Litigation Practice Group from 1996-1998 and again from 2006-2012, and he headed the Financial Services Litigation Team from 2013-2018.


  • J.D., 1973, University of North Carolina School of Law
    • Member, Associate Justice, Holderness Moot Court
    • Member, National Moot Court Team
    • North Carolina Law Review
    • Union Theological Seminary (N.Y.), 1969-70, Rockefeller Brothers Fellow
  • B.A., 1969, Davidson College
    • cum laude
    • Phi Beta Kappa
    • McConnell Scholar

Admitted to Practice

  • All NC State Court, 08/19/1973
  • S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, 08/01/1974
  • S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, 04/30/1976
  • S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina,10/30/1973
  • S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, 06/19/1974
  • S. Supreme Court, 01/21/1997

Professional or Trade Affiliations

  • Senior Partner, Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP (formerly Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, LLP) (Charlotte), 1985-Present
    • Firm Management Committee, 1990-1998; 2006-2008
    • Practice Group Leader, Business Litigation, 1996-1998, 2006-2012)
  • Partner, Pfefferkorn Cooley Pishko & Elliot (Winston-Salem, NC), 1976-84
  • Reginald Heber Smith Community Lawyer Fellow (Winston-Salem, NC), 1974-76
  • Judicial Clerk, Judge J. Braxton Craven, Jr., United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, 1973-74
  • Mecklenburg County Bar Association
  • North Carolina Bar Association
    • Member, Dispute Resolution Section Council, 2016 – present
    • Litigation Section and Constitutional Law Section
    • Chair, Large Law Firm Committee, 1997-1998
  • Member, Select Drafting Committee of the N.C. Board of Bar Examiners, 1986-1993
  • Member, International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution

Honors and Awards

  • Chambers USA (Litigation: General Commercial)
  • BTI Consulting, Client Service All-Star (2017)
  • The Best Lawyers in America
    • Bet-the-Company Litigation
    • Commercial Litigation
    • Litigation – Banking and Finance
    • Litigation – Real Estate
    • Litigation – Regulatory Enforcement
    • Lawyer of the Year for Litigation – Real Estate (2016)
    • Litigation – Mergers and Acquisitions
    • Lawyer of the Year for Litigation – Mergers and Acquisitions (2018)
    • Education Law (2017)
  • N.C. Super Lawyers (Business Litigation)
  • Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory (AV rating)