James C. Pennington

Office Managing Shareholder || Birmingham

Mr. Pennington is the Managing Shareholder and a founding member of the Birmingham Office of Ogletree Deakins. For more than two decades, he has represented employers in a wide range of labor and employment law matters, including administrative agency charges, federal and state court litigation, union campaigns and collective bargaining.

Mr. Pennington strives to help employers achieve peaceful, productive workplaces. He helps employers avoid workplace disputes by providing management training and developing defensive documentation such as effective employee handbooks, dispute avoidance and resolution policies, and drug and alcohol testing policies and procedures. He is well-known for helping employers navigate through the difficult intersections of disabilities and leave laws.

Mr. Pennington’s litigation experience includes matters such as employment discrimination, disabilities, wage and hour disputes, FMLA, restrictive covenants and trade secrets, labor strikes, executive compensation, employee benefits, first amendment and due process and other constitutional issues. He has also arbitrated many discipline and labor contract arbitration matters before labor arbitrators. A founder of the firm’s Higher Education Practice Group, Mr. Pennington has extensive experience representing colleges and universities in matters related to labor, employment, academic policies and student discipline.

Learn more about James C. Pennington


  • J.D., Vanderbilt University School of Law, 1990
  • B.A., cum laude, Birmingham Southern College, 1987

Admittance to Practice

  • Alabama
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Middle, Northern and Southern Districts of Alabama

Professional Activities

  • American Bar Association (Labor and Employment Section)
  • Alabama State Bar (Labor and Employment Section)
  • Birmingham Bar Association
  • Society for Human Resource Management
  • National Association of College and University Attorneys


  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "The Future of Performance Appraisals: Trends, Successes, and Best Practices" - Phoenix - May 10, 2018
  • Ogletree Deakins Webinar - "The Interplay Between Title IX, VAWA, and the Clery Act: Your Questions Answered" - June 2, 2015
  • May 18, 2018 - SHRM Online - "More Employers Ditch Performance Appraisals"
  • April 13, 2018 - Birmingham Business Journal - "Insights into Labor and Employment 2018"
  • August 7, 2015 - Birmingham Business Journal - "How accommodating are Alabama laws to mothers in the workplace"
  • June 29, 2015 - Birmingham Business Journal - "What the same-sex marriage ruling means for employers"
  • November 5, 2014 - HR Morning - "Finally: A Sensible Ruling by the NLRB"
  • November 3, 2014 - Law360 - "5 Worker Facebook Posts Even the NLRB Won't Like"
  • October 31, 2014 - Corporate Counsel - "For Once, NLRB Rejects Online Protected Activity"
  • December 13, 2013 - Birmingham Business Journal - "What's Your Tip or Best Practice For Employers Regarding Workplace Holiday Parties?"
  • March 23, 2012 - Birmingham Business Journal - "Is Justice Becoming A Luxury?"
  • March 23, 2012 - Birmingham Business Journal - "What Are Your Concerns With Electronically-Stored Information (ESI) or E-Discovery?"
  • February 1, 2012 - Law360 - "In-House Attys Reveal Topflight Employment Lawyers"
  • October 21, 2010 - Birmingham Business Journal - "Your Full-Time Worker May Actually Be Contract Labor"
  • Ranked in Chambers USA
  • Lawyer of the Year James Pennington 2017
  • Best Lawyers Award Badge
  • Acritas Star (2018-present)
  • Best Lawyers in America (2009-present; 2015 Birmingham Employment Law – Management “Lawyer of the Year”; 2017 Birmingham Education Law “Lawyer of the Year”)
  • Chambers USA (2007-present)
  • Alabama Super Lawyer (2008 – present)
  • AV Preeminent Rating by Martindale-Hubbell

Insights by James C. Pennington