Photo of James M. Polish
Partner / Los Angeles

James M. Polish


James Polish is a Partner in the firm's Los Angeles office. He concentrates his practice on civil litigation. He also serves as general counsel to the firm. He advises and represents clients in a large range of civil litigation matters and legal issues not giving rise to litigation, including breach of contract, commercial torts, public utilities law, insurance coverage disputes, and legal ethics. He has been lead counsel in cases in the California Superior Courts, U.S. District Courts, the California Court of Appeals, and the United States Court of Appeals. As General Counsel of Carlsmith Ball LLP since 1994, he has been responsible for advising and training lawyers on loss prevention and legal ethics, including conflict of interest issues.

Defense of Breach of Contract and Negligence Lawsuit


Represented electric public utility in defense of oil refinery’s $32 million damage claims arising out of service interruptions. Defense verdict following approximately one-month jury trial in U.S. District Court.

Prosecution of Lawsuit for Recovery of Personal Property, Conversion, and Interference with Prospective Economic Advantage, and Defense of Breach of Contract and Specific Performance of Business Acquisition Contract Cross-Complaint


Obtained a judgment for client in a Superior Court bench trial for wrongful conversion of its business inventory and defeated cross-complaint seeking to enforce contract to acquire clients’ business.

Defense of Action for Breach of Power Purchase Contract and Unjust Enrichment


Defeated plaintiff’s $10 million claims by demurrer and summary judgment in the Superior Court and obtained a decision from the California Court of Appeal affirming the judgment. The Supreme Court denied review.

Defense of Action for Breach of Interconnection Agreements Between Electric Utility and Power Production Facilities, Breach of Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing, and Declaratory Relief


 Obtained a favorable settlement of a $30 million lawsuit following successful motions and agency decision.

Defense of Action for Breach of Power Purchase Contracts and Prosecution of Cross-Complaint for Fraud


Prevailed following a bench trial in defense of $65 million breach of contract action. Also prevailed on $4 million fraud cross-complaint; obtained a favorable Court of Appeal decision in a landmark contract interpretation case.

Prosecution of a Lawsuit in U.S. District Court for Infringement of Copyrights to Musical Compositions


Plaintiffs alleged the unauthorized use of copyrighted songs in a Las Vegas show that recreated a performance by the "Rat Pack." The case turned on whether the show was a musical review or a play. After defeating a motion to dismiss the action, plaintiffs obtained a favorable settlement.

Defense of a Breach of Fiduciary Duties Lawsuit


Successfully defended former corporate director against claims of mismanagement and failure to exercise proper oversight of corporate activities.

Defense of Unfair Competition Litigation


Represented large retailer in defense of action for restitution and injunctive relief for violations of the unfair competition law and obtained very favorable settlement.

Defense of an Inverse Condemnation and Civil Rights Lawsuit Arising Out of a Real Estate Development


Successfully defended a California County in a U.S. District Court action brought by developers who failed to obtain the development rights they sought. Judgment was upheld on appeal to Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Defense of Land Use Lawsuits


Representation of major hotel owner and other landowners in successful defense of multiple lawsuits pending in the Northern Mariana Islands arising out of application of a Constitutional provision limiting acquisitions of real property to persons of Northern Marianas descent.

Defense of Civil Forfeiture Lawsuit


Successful representation of Mexican banks in challenges to actions for forfeiture of bank funds based on the U.S. Government's Casablanca sting operation.

Prosecution of Breach of Contract Lawsuit


Successfully tried a lawsuit and obtained a judgment in the U.S. District Court to recover a prototype aircraft and related technology and for damages based on breach of purchase and financing contracts.


  • Highest "AV" Professional Rating, Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory
  • UCLA Law Review, Associate Editor


  • Los Angeles County Bar Association
  • The State Bar of California
  • American Bar Association
  • Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers
  • Valley Industry and Commerce Association (Director)


  • Author, "When Doesn't a Contract Mean What it Says?" Corporate Counselor, June 2012
  • Author, "The California System of Adjudicating Property Tax Protests is Ripe for a Constitutional Challenge," California Tax Monthly & Real Estate Tax Digest, December, 1990
  • Author, "Compensating Victims of Crime," UCLA Law Review, 1973