James D. Zirin is an American lawyer, writer and cable TV talk show host.
Zirin graduated from Princeton University with honors and 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, daughter of American businessman Leon Hess, and has two children.
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.
Zirin has appeared in state and federal courts. His practice has featured the defense of major accounting firms charged with violations of professional responsibility and in 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. 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 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 estates litigation, like the litigation involving the Estate of Mark Rothko, 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 defeating a class action seeking over $2 billion, in connection with investments made by the Teachers’ Retirement System. He recovered a multimillion-dollar 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 Times" of London', The Washington Times, "The Nation", the "Daily Beast", the "Huffington Post", the New York Sun and the New York Law Journal on legal, political and foreign policy subjects/ He is host of the weekly prime time cable television program Conversations in the Digital Age where he has interviewed such guests as United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Governor Thomas Kean, Police Commissioners Raymond Kelly and William Bratton, Senator Olympia Snowe, Ambassador Frank Wisner, Metropolitan Opera General Manager Peter Gelb, Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass and New York Times Technology Columnist David Pogue. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and the executive committee of the Pilgrims of the United States. In August 2003, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg appointed him to the New York City Commission to Combat Police Corruption.
He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, the former chair of its International Law Committee and a past chair of its Alternatives for Dispute Resolution Committee; a member of the advisory board of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at 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.”
He is the author of the book, The Mother Court-Tales of Cases That Mattered in America's Greatest Trial Court, published in June 2014 by ABA Books. His second book, Supremely Partisan-How Raw Politics Tips the Scales in the Supreme Court of the United States will be published in the fall of 2016 by Rowman & Littlefield.