Jim Durham is a nationally recognized go-to trial lawyer in both civil and criminal cases. He maintains a robust trial practice representing victims of negligence and intentional acts, whistleblowers in False Claims Act cases, businesses and individuals in bet-the-company business litigation and white-collar criminal matters. Jim leads the firm’s catastrophic injury practice.
Jim finished his storied career with the Department of Justice (DOJ) after serving as the United States Attorney (Acting) for the Southern District of Georgia. As a federal prosecutor, Jim was three times awarded Director’s Awards, one of DOJ highest honors, each relating to successful jury verdicts he secured involving public corruption and massive fraud and money laundering schemes. After leaving the DOJ, in his first trial back in private practice, Jim secured a $10,000,000.00 jury verdict on behalf of a rape victim against the apartment complex where she lived. At the time, the verdict was the second largest ever returned by a Chatham County, Georgia jury.
In recognition of his superior trial skills, Jim was inducted in 2014 in the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers, an invitation only fellowship, limited to not more than 1% of the total lawyer population of a particular state.
Before founding Griffin Durham, Jim was a partner with one of the preeminent plaintiff’s firms in Georgia, Savage, Turner, Durham, Pinckney & Savage. At the Savage firm, Jim successfully tried, settled, and handled cases involving catastrophic injury, high-stakes business disputes, False Claims Act litigation and white-collar criminal defense. Since the start of the pandemic, in his last 10 months with the Savage firm, Jim secured over $10 million in settlements on behalf of his clients.
During his government service, Jim handled some of the most complex cases in his office. Jim served as lead trial counsel in public corruption, fraud, and significant violent crime investigations, obtaining guilty verdicts in multiple high-profile trials. Among his many accomplishments, Jim has been recognized for his work by the Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Health and Human Services, Federal Reserve Office of the Inspector General, and others. In his last five years with the DOJ alone, Jim’s prosecutions led to the return of over $75 million to victims of crimes and the American taxpayers.
Jim began his legal career in 1995 at Chilivis, Cochran, Larkins & Bever, an Atlanta firm specializing in complex civil litigation and white collar criminal defense. After becoming a partner of the Chilivis firm in 2001, Jim left private practice in 2002 to serve as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Savannah. While continuing to prosecute a full caseload of complex fraud and public corruption cases, Jim also served as the Southern District of Georgia’s Criminal Chief (2007-2010); First Assistant U.S. Attorney (2010-2017); then Acting U.S. Attorney (2017).
- Obtained $10 million jury verdict against apartment complex that failed to provide adequate security to rape victim.
- Represented business owners in successful resolution of business litigation involving corporate entity valued at over $100 million.
- Secured confidential settlement against local college and nationally renowned horse trainer on behalf of college student left paralyzed following horse- riding accident at college.
- Represented CPA-business owner in successful resolution of business-divorce litigation involving tens-of-millions of dollars in assets.
- Secured confidential settlement on behalf of rape victim against restaurant-bar and related business entities in a case alleging the failure of a restaurant-bar to protect a patron raped by the bar’s bouncer.
- Secured seniority status for deck and dockmen members of the ILA 1475 arising of NLRB and federal litigation filed on behalf of the union members against their union.
- Secured policy-limit settlement of $1 million for family members involved in collision with tractor-trailer on I-95.
- Secured settlement of over $1 million for truck driver involved in low-speed impact case.
- Helped secure a settlement of over $1 million involving the failure to provide medical care to jail inmate.
- Secured $500,000 settlement for college student struck by tractor-trailer.
- Led prosecution of former Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Chief Willie Lovett and obtained guilty verdict at trial.
- Led $60 million RICO, health care fraud, and money laundering trial against owners of one of the largest privately-owned pharmaceutical wholesale companies in the nation.
- Led public corruption trial against former Georgia State Senator, lobbyist, and others involving bribery, healthcare fraud and money laundering.
- Prosecuted $50 million fraud case involving bribery of officer of multinational pharmaceutical company involving mail and wire fraud and conspiracy charges.
- Led complex fraud investigation and trial involving one of the largest food stamp and WIC fraud schemes in the nation’s history.
- Prosecuted bank fraud cases against former bank officers involving over $100 million in losses to the FDIC.
- Led public corruption case against former Executive Director of Chatham Area Transit Authority
- Prosecuted fraud case involving plaintiff’s attorney who defrauded clients out of more than $1 million.
- U.S. Attorney (Acting) (2017)
- First Assistant U.S. Attorney (2010-2017)
- Criminal Chief (2007-2010)
- Asset Forfeiture Coordinator (2007-2008)
- Criminal Health Care Fraud Coordinator (2004-2007)
- Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property Coordinator (2003-2004)
- Assistant United States Attorney (2002-2007)
- High School Teacher (History) at Brunswick, Georgia public high school (1990-1992)
Awards, Recognition, and Memberships
- Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers
- DOJ, Director’s Award for Superior Performance by an Assistant U.S. Attorney (2006)
- DOJ, Director’s Award for Superior Performance by a Litigative Team (2011)
- DOJ, Director’s Award for Superior Performance by a Litigative Team (2017)
- HHS-OIG, Integrity Award for Fight against Health Care Fraud (2007)
- HHS-OIG, Integrity Award for Fight against Health Care Fraud (2011)
- FBI Director Robert Mueller, Commendation for Demonstrated Excellence, Prosecutive Skills and Outstanding Service (2011)
- FBI Director James Comey, Commendation for Demonstrated Excellence, Prosecutive Skills and Outstanding Service (2014)
- Atlanta Inspector General Council, Special Achievement for Federal Program Fraud Prosecution (2015)
- Federal Reserve OIG, Recognition for Exemplary Efforts and Leadership in Prosecution of Massive Bank Failure Case (2014)
- FDA-OCI, Recognition for Outstanding Service in Pharmaceutical Fraud Prosecutions (2007)
- USDA-OIG, Recognition for Outstanding Service in Federal Program Fraud Prosecutions (2014)
- Board of Directors, Chatham County Family Justice Center (2020 to Present)
- Board of Directors, Savannah’s End Gun Violence Initiative (2017)
- Advisory Board, Fraud and Forensic Accounting, School of Accountancy, Georgia Southern University (2015-2016),
- Frequent speaker and lecturer before attorneys, health care providers, bank officials and law enforcement officials on a wide range of topics, including trial skills, health care fraud, bank fraud, asset forfeiture and money laundering.