Biography

James A. Bruen is nationally recognized for his extensive criminal and civil litigation, emergency response and product development/claims counseling, experience. He is a past president of the American College of Environmental Lawyers, where he also a member of the Executive Committee and leader of the international pro bono program. He also serves as vice president of the newly-formed charitable nonprofit ACOEL Foundation.

In 2018, Jim was honored as an environmental “Trailblazer” by the National Law Journal. He has been repeatedly listed as one of the top environmental lawyers in California by Chambers USA. He was listed as one of the top environmental experts in the United States in Legal Media Group's 2018 Guide to the World's Leading Lawyers-Best of the Best USA. In 2009, he was designated as one of the nation's 16 "Distinguished Environmental Advocates" by the American Bar Association. He was recently named a global thought leader in environmental law by Who’s Who Legal: Thought Leaders -Global Elite: 2019-2020.

Jim's practice has included representation of industry, universities and governmental institutions in complex domestic and international products and environmental counseling and litigation. He is also a highly regarded expert in product stewardship with wide-ranging experience in product design, manufacturing, distribution and stewardship issues, as well as on plant sitings, plant closures, raw material sourcing, EHS management systems, codes of conduct, effluent guidelines and other sustainable development issues. He has coordinated and supervised domestic and international products and environmental litigation. He has served as lead trial counsel (to trial teams and "virtual law firms") in mass tort litigation, natural resource damage litigation, environmental enforcement litigation, environmental cost recovery/contribution litigation and white collar environmental crimes defense. He has extensive experience in leading the successful prosecution or defense of litigation while simultaneously managing confounding regulatory or business matters. He is nationally known for his expertise in emergency response and crisis management. He has been trained as a mediator by the Strauss Institute for Conflict Resolution at Pepperdine University. He has also served as an arbitrator of complex environmental issues. 

Prior to joining Farella, Jim was the founding partner of Landels Ripley & Diamond's Environmental Law Department. Before entering private practice, he served for seven years as a Criminal Division Assistant United States Attorney, a Civil Division Assistant United States Attorney, and Chief of the Civil Division, in the Office of the United States Attorney for the Northern District of California.

Jim is a widely known author and lecturer in environmental and products liability law. His articles and teaching materials have been used by law departments and governmental entities throughout the country. Jim has been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America in the areas of Environmental Law, Environmental Litigation, Mass Tort Litigation and Natural Resources Law and was named the Best Lawyers 2014 San Francisco Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions - Defendants “Lawyer of the Year.” He is the recipient of the 2015 Client Choice Award for Environment & Climate Change for California. He has been recognized in Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the World, International Corporate Law's Guide to Environmental Law Experts, Practical Law Company's Which Lawyer? Yearbook, Expert Guides' Best of the Best USA, International Who's Who of Environment Lawyers, International Who's Who of Business Lawyers, PLC Cross-Border Environment Handbook, Who's Who Legal USA (Environment), Who's Who Legal California (Environment), and Who's Who in American Law.

Distinctions

  • Environmental “Trailblazer”, National Law Journal (2018)
  • “Thought Leader” in Who’s Who Legal: Thought Leaders – Global Elite (2019-2020)
  • Band 1 environmental lawyers in California, Chambers USA (2001-2018)
  • Legal Media Group's Guides to the World's Leading Lawyers – Best of the Best USA
  • 16 "Distinguished Environmental Advocates" by the American Bar Association (2009)
  • Best Lawyers in America in the areas of Environmental Law, Environmental Litigation, Mass Tort Litigation and Natural Resources Law
  • Best Lawyers San Francisco Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants “Lawyer of the Year” (2014) 
  • Client Choice Award for Environment & Climate Change for California (2015)
  • Who's Who in America
  • Who's Who in the World
  • International Corporate Law's Guide to Environmental Law Experts
  • Practical Law Company's Which Lawyer? Yearbook
  • Expert Guides' Best of the Best USA
  • International Who's Who of Environment Lawyers
  • International Who's Who of Business Lawyers
  • PLC Cross-Border Environment Handbook
  • Who's Who Legal USA (Environment)
  • Who's Who Legal California (Environment)
  • Who's Who in American Law
  • Northern California Super Lawyers (2004-2019)

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Fellow and Past President, American College of Environmental Lawyers
  • Vice President, ACOEL Foundation
  • Member, International Society for Environmental Epidemiology
  • Member, International Society of Environmental Forensics
  • Master-at-Large, Edward J. McFetridge (San Francisco) Chapter of the American Inn of Court
  • Life Fellow, American Bar Foundation
  • Former Chief of Civil Division, Office of the United States Attorney, Northern District of California

Firm Highlights

News

Threat of Cyberattack by Iran Still Critical, Experts Say

Insurance Recovery Partner Tyler Gerking commented in  The Wall Street Journal article "Threat of Cyberattack by Iran Still Critical, Experts Say." In the article, Tyler said that such direct actions by a nation-state against...

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Publication

Trade Secret Hygiene for Current Employees

Published on  ACCDocket.com . By Walt Norfleet, Smiths Group plc and Eugene Y. Mar, Farella Braun + Martel LLP In the first two parts of this series on best practices in protecting trade secrets, we...

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News

Farella Braun + Martel’s Jerome Braun Honored With Bill Edlund Award for Professionalism in the Law

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Publication

End of a Decade - Checklist for California Nonprofits

As 2019 comes to a close, we thought about our customary note to nonprofit officers and directors to take a few moments to confirm that important year-end responsibilities have not been overlooked. But since this...

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Event

ABA 34th National Institute on White Collar Crime

Jessica Nall will be speaking at the 34th National Institute on White Collar Crime session, "Updates in Cybercrime: Are We Fighting an Impossible Battle?" Details: Information security has now become an essential part of corporate...

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Publication

New Laws for California Employers in 2020

The California Legislature and Governor Newsom have passed a sizable list of new laws governing the workplace in 2020. Employers are, once again, advised to evaluate their workplace rules and practices to insure they keep...

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News

Plans for SF’s 4th-tallest building win key OK as developer resolves opposition

C.J. Higley was mentioned in the article, "Plans for SF’s 4th-tallest building win key OK as developer resolves opposition."  According to the article, the Transbay district Parcel F tower would include 165 condos, 189...

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Event

2020 Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee CLE Seminar

Join Erica Villanueva for a discussion on "Coverage Arguments that Work in Court but May Backfire at Mediation" at the 2020 Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee CLE Seminar. Details: In mediation, context is everything. Who are you...

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Publication

AB 37: State Tax Deductions for Cannabis Businesses

cannabis leaf
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Event

2020 Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee CLE Seminar

Raymond Sheen will speak at the 2020 Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee CLE Seminar session, "Fingerprints, Facial Recognition, Permission? Oh My! Biometric Privacy Coverage Litigation Arriving Soon in Your State." Details: The Illinois Biometric Privacy Act...

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