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James D. Zirin
James D. Zirin, a leading New York trial and appellate lawyer, is host of the weekly prime time cable television program Conversations in the Digital Age where he has interviewed such guests as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Police Commissioners Bratton and Kelly, Senator Olympia Snowe, New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean, Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass, as well as many other notables.

He is the author of The Mother Court-Tales of Cases That Mattered in America's Greatest Trial Court, published in 2014.

For three years, he was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and served in the criminal division under Robert M. Morgenthau.

Mr. Zirin has appeared in state and federal courts around the nation. His practice has featured the defense of major accounting firms charged with violations of professional responsibility and in substantial class actions. These matters have included the American Express salad oil and Equity Funding cases where he represented Deloitte Haskins & Sells, and the IOS and DeLorean litigations where he represented Arthur Andersen & Co. His clients have also included The Rockefeller Foundation, Merrill Lynch, Citibank, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and the City of New York. He represented a Brazilian trader who was a significant figure in the silver debacle of 1979 and 1980. He has handled white collar criminal cases, shareholders’ litigation, patent infringement and directors and officers liability cases. His experience includes litigation involving reinsurance on the London market, arbitration and alternate dispute resolution.

He recovered over $100 million in cash and property for Armco in its requirements contract litigation with Allied Chemical. He has appeared in major estates litigation, most notably the Rothko case, the estate of William S. Todman as well as the litigation involving the estate of the widow of the expressionist artist, Max Beckmann. He served as an arbitrator in the complex disputes involving the limited partnership owning the Helmsley Palace Hotel. He successfully represented a take-over target against a $90 million claim for a break-up fee, and the City of New York in resisting a class action seeking over $2 billion, in connection with investments made by the Teachers’ Retirement System. He recovered a large judgment for a placement agent against a substantial private equity fund after the fund appealed unsuccessfully to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and the United States Supreme Court.

James D. Zirin has written over 100 op-ed articles for Forbes, Barron’s, the LA Times, the London Times, the Washington Times, the New York Sun and the New York Law Journal.
He spoke on the litigation aspects of "Accessing the American Capital Markets" at the São Paulo Stock Exchange, São Paulo, Brazil; on officers and directors liability at an insurance colloquium in Santiago, Chile; and on the resolution of China disputes through international arbitration at Fudan University, Shanghai. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and The Economic Club of New York. In August 2003, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg appointed him to the New York City Commission to Combat Police Corruption. He is a member of the Grievance Committee Attorney Panel for the Southern District of New York.

He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers,and has been the chair of its International Law Committee and a past chair of its Alternatives for Dispute Resolution Committee; a Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers a member of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, on the advisory board of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs of Princeton University; and a trustee of New York Law School. He is a member of the Board of Editors of the New York Law Journal. He is listed in Who’s Who in America.

A graduate of Princeton University with honors, Mr. Zirin received his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School where he was an editor of the Michigan Law Review and a member of the Order of the Coif. He is married to Marlene Hess and has two children.

Entries by James D. Zirin

Does Religious Freedom Trump Other Constitutional Rights?

(1) Comments | Posted April 27, 2015 | 3:08 PM

President Obama quipped the other night that he is so close to Vice President Biden that they can't buy a pizza in Indiana--an obvious reference to Indiana's religious freedom law permitting businesses in the state to refuse goods and services to gays on grounds of religious scruple. The...

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Hunting Down the Boston Bombers: It Isn't Over

(1) Comments | Posted April 25, 2013 | 10:36 PM

The authorities have preliminarily concluded that the brothers Tsarnaev acted alone, and were self-taught terrorists who were angered by U.S. conduct in Afghanistan and Iraq. If you believe that, you believe in the tooth fairy.

As more and more facts come out concerning the investigation of the Boston massacre, however,...

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Sleeping With the Fishes: A World Without Trust

(0) Comments | Posted July 22, 2010 | 12:37 PM

Trust has always been central to the American enterprise. 

The fourth and final stanza of the National Anthem ends with:

"Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
 And this be our motto: 'In God is our trust.'
 And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave / 

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What's Behind the "Honest Services" Decision?

(0) Comments | Posted June 26, 2010 | 1:02 PM

Rarely do U.S. Supreme Court Justices Ginsburg on the left and Scalia and Thomas on the right agree on anything, but on Thursday they did. Both agreed with all the other Justices that §1346, a federal criminal statute making it a fraud to "deprive another of the intangible right of...

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What Are Honest Services?

(8) Comments | Posted June 15, 2010 | 2:51 PM

Francois de Callieres was a diplomat in the court of Louis XIV with a gift of prescience. His seminal work, "The Practice of Diplomacy," written in 1716 was a textbook in the art of negotiation. Admired by Thomas Jefferson, Callieres won high marks from Saint-Simon, himself no slouch of a...

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Cyber War or Cyber Jaw

(0) Comments | Posted May 3, 2010 | 11:19 AM

Are we really in a "Cyber War?" Are unidentified enemies around the world scheming to bring down Western civilization with a single keystroke? Or is the whole thing overblown paranoia?

In his compelling book Cyber War, written with Robert K. Knake, Richard A. Clarke, former head of counterterrorism security in...

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What a Difference a Justice Makes

(9) Comments | Posted April 20, 2010 | 3:28 PM

Handicapping President Obama's likely next Supreme Court pick would challenge the talents of Jimmy the Greek. There was a time in the run-up to nomination of a Supreme Court Justice that we mulled over a candidate's writings and speeches to discern liberal or conservative pre-dispositions towards issues that frequently come...

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Terrorism and Technology: Strange Bedfellows in the Digital Age

(23) Comments | Posted March 30, 2010 | 6:48 PM

Commenting on the Moscow subway bombings, Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass sees the tragedy as a "reminder of just how vulnerable...[we] these kinds of low-tech immediate threats." He asserts, "there's no way you can protect every train, every shopping mall, every part of a modern open...

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Are We on the Brink of a Cyber-War?

(45) Comments | Posted February 24, 2010 | 1:42 PM

Howard Schmidt, President Obama's newly minted "cyber-czar" certainly has his work cut out for him.

Last November, Google claimed that Chinese hackers had penetrated its digital infrastructure. As a result of the attack, Google threatened to leave China altogether. Later, Google's co-founder, Sergei Brin, softened the company's stance and said...

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Where Is Obama's Cyberczar?

(8) Comments | Posted November 2, 2009 | 4:15 PM

In May, President Barack Obama completed his long-awaited "cyberspace policy review," concluding that cyberspace is a strategic asset that must be safeguarded from attack as a national security priority. He recalled how hackers had gotten into his own campaign servers and  worried that crucial infrastructure, public and private,...

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The Healthcare Conundrum: Getting Out of the Box

(2) Comments | Posted August 21, 2009 | 3:08 PM

When President Obama says he wants to overhaul the health care system and provide coverage for 46 million uninsured Americans, he surely hasn't forgotten the grim reality that Medicare, Lyndon Johnson's program that provides medical coverage at government expense to 45.2 million Americans 65 years and older, is now--or soon...

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Mexico -- Immigration Si; Corruption No

(4) Comments | Posted August 12, 2009 | 3:21 PM

Oh, down in Mexico

I never really been so I don't really know Oh, Mexico I guess Ill have to go

--James Taylor

With President Obama meeting with Mexico's President this week for the second time in four months to discuss guns, drugs and money laundering, the world ponders...

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News Content on the Internet: Will There Always Be a Free Lunch?

(3) Comments | Posted July 28, 2009 | 5:00 PM

The contours of the global media market have undeniably changed. There is too much evidence to deny it. Print journalism is on its way out to take its place with the one-horse shay "as if it had been to the mill and ground." Online news and comment is in.

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