James H. Fowles

Of Counsel || Columbia

James Fowles is experienced in a wide range of matters, including employment litigation, union organizing campaigns, collective bargaining and related issues for employers in multiple jurisdictions and industries.  James routinely advises employers regarding day-to-day labor and employment issues.  He also counsels employers in managing crisis situations arising in the employment and labor relations context.  James has significant experience representing clients in union grievance proceedings, collective bargaining and arbitration, as well as advising clients in union avoidance and during organizational drives. 

James has also represented many clients in complex litigation matters, including discrimination claims (single plaintiff and class actions), wrongful termination suits, ERISA claims, breach of employment contract, and other significant litigation matters.  A highly-accomplished speaker, James provides in-depth and entertaining training in his areas of expertise.

Prior to joining Ogletree Deakins, James served as Assistant General Counsel, Labor and Employment, for SCANA Corporation, a Fortune 500 utility holding company.  James is also a retired Commander, United States Navy Reserve, having served on active duty for ten years as a nuclear-trained submarine officer on both fast attack and fleet ballistic missile submarines, followed by fifteen years of reserve duty in various fleet and joint commands before retiring.

Learn more about James H. Fowles

James is an attorney who both enjoys and practices in a wide-range of labor and employment areas.  Over the years, some of his more significant experience includes:

  • Expertise with advising clients of all sizes in planning and coordinating reductions-in-force in both union and non-union contexts
  • Significant amounts of client training on such topics as:  Positive Employee Relations Training; Labor Law 101; Employment Law 101; ADA/FMLA; etc.
  • Collective bargaining representation (negotiations and contract maintenance) for several clients
  • Representing numerous employers in the automotive, general manufacturing, medical manufacturing, and food distribution industries in union organizing campaigns
  • Proactive and ongoing pro-employee initiatives for a large medical manufacturing client
  • Advising a utility company in a successful union decertification campaign at a nuclear power plant
  • Class actions for a major defense industry conglomerate (glass ceiling case); a poly-fiber manufacturer (sexual harassment and equal pay case); a utility company (racial discrimination and harassment) and a major hotel group (wage payment claims with NLRA preemption issues)


  • J.D., magna cum laude, University of South Carolina School of Law, 1995
  • B.S., (Mechanical Engineering) United States Naval Academy, 1982

Admittance to Practice

  • South Carolina
  • North Carolina
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, District of South Carolina
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern, Middle and Western Districts of North Carolina

Professional Activities

  • South Carolina Bar (Labor & Employment Section)
  • North Carolina Bar Association
  • Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM)
  • Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce
  • Children’s Trust of South Carolina (Board of Directors)
  • Junior Achievement, Central South Carolina (Board of Directors)
  • Former Adjunct Professor of Disability Law, University of South Carolina School of Law
  • May 23, 2014 - Corporate Counsel - "For Memorial Day, Think About Employees Who Serve"
  • May 22, 2014 - Law360 - "Ahead of Memorial Day, A Look At Employers' Duties To Vets"
  • March 1, 2011 - Inside Counsel - "Labor Board Proposes Mandatory Posting of Employee Rights"
  • January 21, 2011 - Law360 - ""Union Membership Continues to Decline, Report Says""
  • Best Lawyers Award Badge
  • Best Lawyers Lawyer of the Year
  • Certified Employment & Labor Law Specialist, South Carolina Supreme Court
  • Super Lawyer (Labor & Employment Law)
  • Best Lawyers – Columbia, SC Labor Law – Management Lawyer of the Year (2013)
  • Best Lawyers in America (2012-present)
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV-Preeminent Rated

Insights by James H. Fowles