James E. Torgerson


Jim Torgerson is a partner in the Litigation group. He works primarily as a trial lawyer, litigating a wide variety of disputes, including defending clients against claims of alleged business torts, contractual breaches, improper employment actions, and professional negligence. He also has tried real property and products liability disputes. His federal practice includes litigating environmental, False Claims Act, Native American, and white collar criminal disputes. In addition, Jim has participated in approximately 35 appeals before various Alaska and federal appellate courts, and he devotes a substantial portion of his practice to counseling the management of private, public and nonprofit companies regarding various pre-litigation issues. Jim serves on the firm's Executive Committee and is the former managing partner of the Anchorage office.

Before joining Stoel Rives, Jim was managing shareholder of Heller Ehrman LLP's Anchorage office for 10 years. Previously, he was chief of the civil division (four years) and chief of the criminal division (two years) in the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Alaska, and a Special Assistant Attorney General for the State of Alaska in Washington, D.C.

Representative Work

  • Defended a Big Four accounting firm through jury trial against allegations of professional negligence and breach of fiduciary duties. The jury rejected all of plaintiff's claims.
  • Defended four major oil companies through trial and in regulatory appeals in a real property dispute involving an oil drilling and production site. Case settled post-trial on terms favorable to clients.
  • Defended Alaska's largest electric utility against multiple breach of contract claims. All claims were dismissed by the superior court, with all dismissals affirmed by the Alaska Supreme Court.
  • Defended a major pipeline company in a multimillion-dollar breach of contract and promissory estoppel dispute. All claims were dismissed by the superior court, with all dismissals affirmed by the Alaska Supreme Court.
  • Defended an insurer in state and federal court against a class action challenging the insurer's claims handling practices. The suit was resolved without payment to the class.
  • Defended a major airline through jury trial against an employee's claims of employment discrimination and retaliation. The jury rejected all of plaintiff's claims.
  • Defended an electric utility before the Regulatory Commission of Alaska against a claim that the utility had mismanaged its long-term debt. The claim was dismissed.
  • Prosecuted a products liability action for a corporate client, recovering a substantial judgment after arbitration.
  • Represented a major pipeline company in litigation and negotiations with a telecommunications service provider regarding the service provider's breach of a multiyear, $100 million telecommunications service contract.
  • Defended an oilfield services supply company in a $50 million products liability action concerning the destruction of an oil rig. All claims against client were dismissed.
  • Defended an insurance broker in a federal trial against employees' claims of employment discrimination and wage and hour violations. The judge rejected all of plaintiffs' claims.
  • Defended a statewide telephone utility against claims in excess of $30 million based on the cost of cleaning allegedly contaminated sites. Case settled on favorable terms.
  • Defended a public gas exploration and development company against federal environmental criminal charges. The government abandoned the matter pre-indictment.
  • Defended a pulp mill against federal environmental criminal charges. The government abandoned the matter preindictment.
  • Defended an oil industry manager in a federal environmental criminal investigation. The government abandoned its investigation pre-indictment.
  • Defended a major Alaska municipality against qui tam (False Claims Act) claims, all of which were dismissed.
  • Defended a national pharmacological publisher against qui tam claims, all of which were dismissed.
  • Defended a regional Alaska Native corporation before the Alaska Public Offices Commission against claims of violating election reporting requirements. All claims were dismissed by the Commission.
  • Defended an Alaska state senator against charges brought against him by the Alaska Public Offices Commission that he violated financial reporting requirements. All charges were dismissed by the trial court, with the dismissal affirmed on appeal by the Alaska Supreme Court.

Professional Honors & Activities

  • Selected by Best Lawyers as Litigation-Environmental Lawyer of the Year, Anchorage, 2012
  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America®® (currently: Commercial Litigation, Litigation-Environmental, Litigation-Mergers & Acquisitions, Litigation-Real Estate, Natural Resources Law, Professional Malpractice Law-Defendants), 2012-2014
  • Selected as one of "America's Leading Lawyers for Business" (Alaska) by Chambers USA (currently: Litigation: General Commercial), 2005-2014
  • Selected as a "Litigation Star" by Benchmark Litigation, 2007, 2011
  • Listed in Alaska "Super Lawyer" (Business Litigation, Criminal Defense: White Collar, Energy & Natural Resources), 2007-present
  • Selected as a "Top 10 Alaska Super Lawyer",2011-2012
  • Member, selected as one of the "Top 100 Litigation Lawyers for Alaska," American Society of Legal Advocates
  • AV Peer-Review Rated by Lexis-Nexis Martindale-Hubbell, 1999-present
  • Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America
  • Fellow, American Bar Association Foundation
  • Member, Alaska Bar Association
  • Member, Washington State Bar Association (inactive)
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, Federal Bar Association
  • Member, Anchorage Bar Association
  • Lawyer Representative to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference, 2002-2005
  • Co-Chair, Alaska Lawyer Representatives to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference, 2003-2005
  • Co-Chair, Alaska Legal Services Fundraising Campaign, 2000-2001, 2005-present
  • Commissioner representing the Federal Court for the District of Alaska, Alaska Rural Justice and Law Enforcement Commission, 2004-present

Civic Activities

  • Member, Board of Directors, Alaska Center for the Performing Arts, 2003-2010
  • Member (Secretary, 2008-2009; Vice Chair, 2010-2012), Board of Directors, Alaska Public Telecommunications, Inc., 2004-2013
  • Member, Anchorage Downtown Rotary Club, 2000-2012
  • Member, Anchorage-Seattle Mayor's Art Exchange Committee, 2007-2008
  • Member, Board of Directors, Anchorage Museum Foundation, 2012-present
  • Member (President Elect, President and Past President, 2004-2010; Chair, Endowment Campaign, 2008-2010), Board of Directors, Anchorage Symphony Orchestra, 2003-2011
  • Co-Founder and Co-Chair, Anchorage Youth Court, 1987-1988
  • Member (President, 2003-2004), Board of Directors, Anchorage Youth Court, 2001-2005
  • Member (Vice President, 2005-2007), Board of Directors, Disability Law Center, 2004-2007
  • Member (Secretary, 2010-2011; Chair, 2011-2012; Vice Chair, 2012 - Present), Board of Trustees, The Nature Conservancy (Alaska), 2009-present
  • Member, Board of Directors, University of Washington School of Law Alumni Association, 2010-present


  • University of Washington School of Law, J.D., 1984
  • Bethel College, B.A., 1980, with honors


  • Alaska
  • Washington (inactive)
  • U.S. District Courts for the District of Alaska and the Western District of Washington
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court

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