James Gillespie is a litigation partner in the Washington, D.C., office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. He joined Kirkland in 1991 and has been a partner since 1994.

James has acted as lead trial and appellate counsel in a wide variety of complex commercial and class action litigation matters. The subject matter of these cases has included corporate governance & shareholder litigation, consumer class actions, insurance coverage disputes, ERISA, RICO, antitrust, and securities. Representative clients on his matters include: Siemens AG, Bell Atlantic/NYNEX, GTE Corporation, General Motors, Verizon Communications, S. C. Johnson, AOL, Time Warner, Bayer, Thrivent Financial, Hershey Foods, Knights of Columbus, Pyramid Companies, BP/Amoco, Raytheon Company, Motorola, Morgan Stanley, BellSouth Corporation, Shell Oil, and Constellation Energy Group.

James earned his B.A. degree from Grinnell College in 1985. He received his J.D. degree, cum laude, in 1988 from the University of Notre Dame, where he also served as an Editor of the Notre Dame Law Review. Upon graduation from law school, James was a law clerk for the Honorable George E. MacKinnon of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. From 1989-1991, James was an associate with Cravath, Swain & Moore in New York City.

James is admitted to the District of Columbia Bar and the New York State Bar, as well as to numerous federal district and appellate courts.



Recognized in The Legal 500 U.S. for Commercial Litigation, 2015


Admissions & Qualifications

  • 1991District of Columbia
  • 1990New York


  • Notre Dame Law SchoolJ.D.1988
    Editor, Notre Dame Law Review, 1987–1988
  • Grinnell CollegeB.A.1985