James Molinelli


James Molinelli is a partner in the Walnut Creek office of Lewis Brisbois with the General Liability and Transportation Practices He is admitted to practice in California, multiple Federal Courts and is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA).

Mr. Molinelli began his legal career with an insider’s view of the courtroom as a Research Attorney for the Hon. Ira A. Brown, Jr., then the San Francisco Law & Motion Presiding Judge and co-author of: “Civil Procedure Before Trial”. Mr. Molinelli next joined a defense firm and began handling product, lemon law and injury cases. Motivated to try cases, Mr. Molinelli joined a more active trial practice, York & Associates, soon trying cases both as ‘first‘ and ‘second chair’ in injury and death litigation, sometimes entering cases right before trial. Through his career, Mr. Molinelli’s trial practice has centered on defense-side litigation for individual and commercial clients. 

In 2004, Mr. Molinelli was hired as the Northern California Managing Attorney for a Fortune 500 Company.  He grew the office while continuing to personally defend excess and aggravated risk cases throughout California. After a 2009 corporate acquisition, Mr. Molinelli accepted a Senior Trial Attorney role with a Fortune 250 Company and continued defending clients in both injury and commercial litigation. In 2015, Mr. Molinelli returned to a dual Managing Attorney role for a Fortune 100 company’s Northern California House Counsel. He continued to actively defend litigation while steering the office to grow and evolve to a lean ‘paperless’ and ‘remote’ work model. He began collaborating with Lewis Brisbois in several cases. Mr. Molinelli joined Lewis Brisbois to exclusively focus on catastrophic injury and wrongful death litigation.

Mr. Molinelli has defended approximately 20 jury trials to verdict as “First Chair”.  In 2015, his case was a Jury Verdicts Weekly “Verdict of the Month” - a $26.5M auto-pedestrian traumatic brain injury verdict with dangerous condition and driver negligence claims. Mr. Molinelli’s client was found 100% fault-free amidst conflicting witness testimony. Mr. Molinelli parachuted in two weeks before trial after defensing a truck v. bicycle injury case. The overwhelming majority of his jury trials have resulted in ‘no liability' verdicts or verdicts well below the last pre-trial demand. In 2023, Mr. Molinelli tried an admitted fault spine surgery case to a mid-six figure verdict - well below the 7-figure pre-trial demand and multi-million dollar ‘ask’ at closing by plaintiff.

As not every case goes to trial, Mr. Molinelli has mediated hundreds of cases, often in the six to eight figure value range.  Mr. Molinelli values integrity, professionalism and empathy for all involved in the court process. 


  • State Bar Admissions
    • California
  • United States District Courts
    • United States District Court for the Northern District of California
    • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania


American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA)


University of San Francisco School of Law

Juris Doctor

Santa Clara University

Bachelors Degree

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