Overview

About Jim

The only Alaskan to lead an AmLaw 200 law firm, Jim Torgerson served as Stoel’s Firm Managing Partner for four years before returning to his full-time, Alaska-based litigation practice in 2020. Over the last 35 years, Jim has tried to conclusion more than 40 cases, most to federal or state juries. He has handled more than 35 appeals, arguing cases in the Alaska Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

“Jim Torgerson is the best at what he does,” reports a source in Chambers and Partners’ most recent annual survey of America’s best attorneys for business. Best Lawyers® selected Jim as Anchorage’s 2023 “Lawyer of the Year” in three areas: Litigation – Environmental, Litigation – Real Estate, and Professional Malpractice Law – Defendants. In the past, Best Lawyers® has selected Jim as Anchorage’s “Lawyer of the Year” in Bet-the-Company Litigation—2022; Litigation – Environmental—2012, 2016, 2018 and 2020; Litigation – Mergers and Acquisitions—2017 and 2019; and Litigation – Real Estate—2015. Super Lawyers has selected Jim as one of the “Top 10” lawyers in Alaska every year since 2011.

Jim’s practice reflects Alaska. For decades, he’s represented Alaska Native corporations in a wide variety of commercial disputes and governance issues. Given Alaska’s economy, he regularly appears for clients in natural resources industries, ranging from property disputes, to tax and environmental litigation. Drawing on his experience in the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Alaska, where he was chief of the civil division (four years) and chief of the criminal division (two years), much of his practice is in federal court.

Jim also has been active in the Alaska Bar and Alaska’s nonprofit community, He recently served for six years on the constitutionally created Alaska Judicial Council, which reviews sitting judges and screens judicial applicants, and before that represented the Federal Court for the District of Alaska for almost a decade on the Congressionally created Alaska Rural Justice and Law Enforcement Committee. In 2016, Jim was awarded the Jay Rabinowitz Public Service Award, and in 2004 he was honored, along with his wife, as Outstanding Philanthropists of the Year by the Alaska Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

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Experience

Experience

  • Served as Lead Trial Counsel for the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) owners in property tax litigation involving its value.
  • 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.
  • 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 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 a statewide telephone utility against claims for over $30 million based on the cost of cleaning allegedly contaminated sites.
  • Defended an oil industry manager against federal environmental criminal charges, all of which were abandoned 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 an Alaska state senator against charges brought by the Alaska Public Offices Commission that he violated financial reporting rules. The trial court dismissed all charges, with the dismissal affirmed on appeal by the Alaska Supreme Court.
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Honors

Honors & Activities

Professional Honors and Activities

  • Lawyer Representative to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference, 2002–2005
  • Commissioner, selected by the Federal Court for the District of Alaska, Alaska Rural Justice and Law Enforcement Commission, 2004–2013
  • Member, Constitutionally created Alaska Judicial Council, 2014–2020. Reviewed sitting state judges for retention and screened judicial applicants for open positions.
  • Named by Best Lawyers® as Anchorage’s 2023 “Lawyer of the Year” in three areas: Litigation – Environmental, Litigation – Real Estate, and Professional Malpractice Law – Defendants. In the past, Best Lawyers® has selected Jim as Bet-the-Company Litigation “Lawyer of the Year,” Anchorage, 2022; Litigation – Environmental “Lawyer of the Year,” Anchorage, 2012, 2016, 2018 and 2020; Litigation – Mergers and Acquisitions “Lawyer of the Year,” Anchorage, 2017 and 2019; and Litigation – Real Estate “Lawyer of the Year,” Anchorage, 2015
  • Included in The Best Lawyers in America® (currently: Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Litigation – Environmental, Litigation – Mergers and Acquisitions, Litigation – Real Estate, Natural Resources Law, Professional Malpractice Law – Defendants), 2012–2023
  • Selected as one of “America’s Leading Lawyers for Business” (Alaska) by Chambers USA (currently: Litigation: General Commercial), 2005–2022
  • Selected as a “Litigation Star” by Benchmark Litigation, 2007, 2011, 2015–2023
  • Selected as a “Top 10: Alaska Super Lawyer,” 2011–2022, by Alaska Super Lawyers® and listed for Business Litigation, Criminal Defense: White Collar, Energy & Natural Resources, 2007–2022
  • AV Peer-Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®, 1999–present
  • Fellow, American Bar Association Foundation
  • Co-Chair, Alaska Legal Services Fundraising Campaign, 2000–2001, 2005–present
  • Received Jay Rabinowitz Public Service Award from the Alaska Bar Foundation, 2016
  • Selected as Outstanding Philanthropists of the Year, together with wife, by the Alaska Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, 2004

Civic Activities

Current

  • Member Board of Directors, Alaskans for Fair Courts, 2022–present
  • Member Board of Directors, Anchorage Parks Foundation, 2021–present

Former

  • Co-Chair, Endowment Campaign, Alaska Community Foundation, 2015–2020
  • Member (Secretary, 2008–2009; Vice Chair, 2010–2012), Board of Directors, Alaska Public Telecommunications, Inc., 2004–2013
  • Member, Board of Directors, Anchorage Museum Foundation, 2012–2015
  • 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, 2012–2017), Board of Trustees, The Nature Conservancy (Alaska), 2009–2017
  • Member, Board of Directors, University of Washington School of Law Alumni Association, 2010–2019
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Insights & Presentations

Insights & Presentations

  • January 19, 2021 – Panelist, Litigation Effects of Business Lawyering
  • December 16, 2020 – Presenter, Corporate Governance: Recent Developments in Alaska Law
  • March 13, 2019 – Presenter – Board Member and Shareholder Access to Corporate Records
  • October 12, 2018 – Panelist, How are Law Firms Responding to Demands?
  • February 9, 2018 – Panelist, What In-House Counsel Want You to Know
  • September 6, 2016 – Panelist, From The Bar to the Bench; Increasing Diversity in Alaska’s Judiciary
  • September 27, 2014 – Facilitator, Off the Record with the Alaska Supreme Court
  • August 3, 2012 – Tribal Law Alert: All Indian Tribes Can Lease Tribal Land Without BIA Approval
  • April 27, 2011 – Litigation Law Alert: Alaska Supreme Court Clarifies the Business Judgment Rule for Board Members



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