James M. Barrett

Shareholder || Portland (OR)

James Barrett represents private and public employers in all aspects of employment-related disputes.  He has defended clients against single plaintiff and class action lawsuits involving claims relating to wage and hour disputes, drug testing, whistleblowing, discrimination, and retaliation.   He has also successfully obtained injunctive relief to enforce non-competition agreements against a client’s former employees.

Prior to joining Ogletree, James was a partner at Ater Wynne LLP in Portland, Oregon, where he represented private and public businesses on a broad range of issues, including matters of corporate governance and the defense of shareholder claims.  He also represented the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in an investigation of potential claims against directors and officers of a failed bank in Southern California.

Learn more about James M. Barrett

Mr. Barrett has represented clients in litigating employment disputes in Oregon, Washington, Utah, and Idaho.  Representative matters include:

  • Lead attorney in representing a national manufacturer with a facility in Utah against one of the largest class action lawsuits ever brought in that state. Obtained denial of class certification at the trial court level and successfully argued to uphold the denial before the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Defended large Oregon technology manufacturer against former employee’s claims of age, gender, and disability discrimination.  Obtained favorable settlement after taking plaintiff’s deposition and moving for summary judgment.
  • Obtained summary judgment in favor of an Idaho utility cooperative against a former Safety Director’s claims of whistleblower retaliation and breach of contract.
  • Obtained summary judgment in favor of national car rental company against breach of contract and wage claims by a former rental agent.
  • Obtained summary judgment in favor of a Utah retailer against claims of wrongful discharge based on an alleged false positive drug test.
  • Successfully enforced non-competition agreement against former vice president of a Utah staffing company and obtained injunctive relief and sanctions, including criminal sanctions for contempt of court.
  • Defended national phone directory company against discrimination and worker misclassification claims asserted by two former Washington salespersons.  Obtained favorable settlement after successfully forcing a transfer of the cases to Utah over plaintiffs’ objections.


  • J.D., University of Virginia School of Law, 2001
  • B.A., Political Science, University of Washington, 1994

Admittance to Practice

  • Oregon
  • Washington
  • Utah
  • U.S. District Court, District of Oregon
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern and Western District of Washington
  • U.S. District Court, District of Utah
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth and Tenth Circuits

Professional Activities

  • American Bar Association
  • Multnomah Bar Association
  • Oregon Association of Defense Counsel (OADC)


  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "Documentation Deep Dive: Improve Your Performance Management Practices and Documents" - Las Vegas - May 1, 2019
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "Firing Without Fear" - Phoenix - May 10, 2018
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "No Rest (Breaks) for the Weary: Getting a Handle on State and Local Wage and Hour Laws" - Phoenix - May 10, 2018
  • Oregon Association of Corporate Counsel - "In-House Roadmap for Managing Ethical Obligations and Dilemmas" - Portland - September 26, 2013
  • BTI Client Service All Star 2018
  • Executive Editor, Virginia Journal of Social Policy and the Law
  • Law Clerk, Honorable Thomas A. Balmer, Oregon Supreme Court, Salem (2001-2002)
  • Named as Rising Star (attorney under age 40) by Super Lawyers (2010 and 2011)
  • Oregon Super Lawyers
  • BTI Client Service All Star (2018)

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