James M. Wagstaffe

James M. Wagstaffe

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Appellate Attorney in San Francisco, CA

Kerr & Wagstaffe LLP
 | 101 Mission St, 18th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105
Phone: 415-371-8500
Selected to Super Lawyers: 2004 - 2018
Licensed Since: 1980
Practice Areas:
  • Appellate (50%),
  • General Litigation (30%),
  • Constitutional Law (20%)
Attorney Profile

James (Jim) M. Wagstaffe, partner and co-founder of Kerr & Wagstaffe LLP, handles a diverse range of litigation matters and also leads the firm’s successful appellate group. His practice focuses on complex litigation, professional and governmental representation, legal ethics and First Amendment matters. In addition, Mr. Wagstaffe is recognized as an authority and frequently is consulted by other law firms and clients alike on complicated civil procedure, legal ethics and trial practice issues.

About James Wagstaffe

Admitted: 1980, California

Professional Webpage: http://www.kerrwagstaffe.com/attorneys/james-m-wagstaffe/

Honors and Awards:

  • In December 1999, California Lawyer named Mr. Wagstaffe as one of its Top 20 Lawyers of the year. 
  • In 2011, Mr. Wagstaffe was selected by the students at Hastings College of the Law as the Teacher of the Year and was chosen to be the graduation speaker at commencement.
  • In 2009 and 2011, Mr. Wagstaffe won the Federal Judicial Center’s Judge John R. Brown award for Judicial Scholarship and Education, recognized as the top teacher in the country of federal judges.
  • In 2005, Mr. Wagstaffe received a Peabody Award Peabody Award for his legal counsel on the documentary “The DNA Project.”
  • In 1991, Mr. Wagstaffe received the prestigious James Madison Freedom of Information Award from The Society of Professional Journalists.

Bar/Professional Activity:

  • Bar Associaion of San Francisco
  • California Bar Asssociation
  • American Bar Association

Scholarly Lectures and Writings:

  • Game Changers: New Federal Rule Amendments , Thomson Reuters, 2011
  • Contributing author with Donald Trump, Larry King, and Ira Glass, among others, Co-Author, The Expert’s Guide to 100 Things Everyone Should Know How to Do, Clarkson Potter, 2004
  • California Legal Ethics, The Rutter Group, 1999
  • Commencing and Removing Actions to Federal Court, The Rutter Group, 1986
  • Mr. Wagstaffe has authored and  co-authored a number of publications, including the widely-used Federal Civil Procedure Before Trial (TRG 2011 – Three Volumes, 3,500 pages), the nation’s leading practice guide on federal court practice., Federal Civil Procedure Before Trial
  • Romancing the Room, A spirited step-by-step guide to effective public speaking, Author, Random House
  • "Much Ado About Doe Defendants,” 5 Cal. Lawyer, No. 9

Verdicts and Settlements:

  • Mr. Wagstaffe was the successful lead attorney in the seminal e-discovery case, Qualcomm, Inc. v. Bathchelder et al., 327 Fed. Appx. 877 (Fed. Cir. 2008)
  • In Warden v. State Bar of California, 21 Cal.4th 628 (1999), Mr. Wagstaffe represented the Bar in a lawsuit in which the plaintiffs alleged the exemptions from the MCLE (continuing education) program were unconstitutional.
  • Mr. Wagstaffe's 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).
  • In Theofel v. Farey Jones, 359 F.3d 1066 (9th Cir. 2003), cert. denied, 543 U.S. 813 (2004), Mr. Wagstaffe succeeded in obtaining a reversal of the district court’s dismissal of his clients’ lawsuit in a published decision that established new boundaries on subpoenas aimed at email communications
  • In Kremen v. Cohen, 337 F 3d 1024 (9th Cir. 2003), Mr. Wagstaffe secured a sweeping victory from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in a landmark decision with far reaching implications in all areas of domain name registration and Internet infrastructure.
  • Mr. Wagstaffe represented the Australian government in high profile litigation involving the patent for indoor wireless technology. See Microsoft Corp. v. Commonwealth Scientific and Indus. Research Organisation, 297 Fed. Appx. 970 (Fed. Cir. 2008). Jim and the firm continue to represent the Australian government in litigation over its WiFi patents.

Other Outstanding Achievements:

  • Mr. Wagstaffe 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.
  • Mr. Wagstaffe has served as an instructor at the Federal Judicial Center’s annual “New Judges Workshop” since 1990 educating newly-appointed federal judges on all aspects of federal procedure.
  • Mr. Wagstaffe has taught the "Practical Speech Communication" course at Stanford University for more than 30 years.

Educational Background:

  • J.D. University of California, Hastings College of Law, 1980
  • B.A. Stanford University, 1977
Office Location for James M. Wagstaffe

101 Mission St
18th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105


James M. Wagstaffe:

Last Updated: 2/16/2018

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