James A. Petkun is a partner in the firm’s Litigation Practice Group. An accomplished trial lawyer and former federal prosecutor, James concentrates his practice on white collar criminal matters, government investigations, and related complex litigation. James defends and protects individuals and institutions targeted by government authorities in federal and state courts across the country, conducts internal investigations on behalf of companies and organizations, and counsels corporations and corporate committees in responding to formal and informal government inquiries. James also represents clients in litigation arising under the federal False Claims Act, and in various healthcare matters involving claims of fraud and abuse.
James previously served for eight years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney at the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia, within the U.S. Department of Justice. During his appointment, James led the prosecution of complex matters involving corporate fraud, money laundering, cybercrime, bank fraud, mail/wire fraud, tax crimes, ID theft and RICO, as well as violent crimes and child exploitation offenses. James was lead trial counsel in over 60 trials, including over 25 jury trials, and led the investigation and prosecution of hundreds of matters. He also briefed over a dozen appeals on behalf of the government, and argued five — two before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and three before the D.C. Court of Appeals. In recognition of his service, James received formal commendation from the FBI Director, was nominated by DOJ for a Director's Award, and twice received DOJ Special Achievement Awards recognizing his trial and investigative work.
Prior to joining DOJ, James served as a law clerk to the Honorable Michael M. Baylson of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and worked as a litigation associate at a large international law firm. A native of Ardmore, Pennsylvania, James received his B.B.A. from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, and his J.D., magna cum laude, from the Villanova University School of Law, where he served as a managing editor of the Villanova Law Review, was elected to the Order of the Coif, and received the school’s award for excellence in the study of criminal law.
Villanova University School of Law, J.D., magna cum laude, Elected to Order of the Coif; Managing Editor, Villanova Law Review (2007)
Emory University, B.B.A. (2003)
U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Court of Appeals – Third Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals – District of Columbia Circuit
U.S. District Court – Eastern District of Pennsylvania
U.S. District Court – District of Columbia
Anti-Defamation League, Regional Advancement Team / Fellow, ADL Glass Leadership Institute
Barrister, University of Pennsylvania Law School American Inn of Court
Speeches and Publications
A Look at Legal Ethics Through the Lens of the Mueller Investigation 2019 White Collar Practice Seminar: Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (PACDL), November 22, 2019
As a federal prosecutor, James successfully handled numerous high-profile white collar criminal matters, including: