James J. Finsten is an experienced and creative litigator, unwavering in his commitment to achieve the best possible outcomes.  He seeks to understand clients’ businesses and objectively assess how evidence will be perceived by judges and factfinders in establishing case strategies; drafting and arguing motions; taking and defending depositions; hiring and supervising expert witnesses; and conducting factual investigations.  Clients appreciate Mr. Finsten’s candid and useful advice, and that he respects the value of their time and the cost of litigation.

Mr. Finsten is particularly experienced advising clients on environmental and water resource matters.  He has represented clients before federal state and local regulators, and has litigated claims under most federal and state environmental statutes, including CERCLA, RCRA, Clean Water Act, Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act.  He also has represented clients in common law public and private nuisance claims.

Among his more notable cases, Mr. Finsten was part of the team that represented homeless veterans in the greater Los Angeles area in a lawsuit against Veterans Administration officials.  The case settled favorably for the homeless veterans after more than three years of litigation, wherein the VA committed to providing permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless veterans on the West Los Angeles VA campus.

Prior to joining Lurie Zepeda, Mr. Finsten spent ten years at an Am Law 100 firm where he focused on complex civil cases and federal multidistrict litigation (MDL).  He served as a law clerk to the Honorable George H. King, United States District Court for the Central District of California from 2005 – 2006.

  • University of Southern California Law School, J.D., 2004
    • Southern California Law Review: Articles Editor (Vol. 77), Staff (Vol. 76)
  • Stanford University, 1998
    • M.A., International Policy Studies
    • B.A., Public Policy with secondary major in Economics
Bar & Court Admissions
  • California
  • U.S. District Court (Central, Eastern, Northern and Southern Districts, CA)
  • U.S. Court of Appeals (9th Cir.) 
Honors & Awards
  • Humanitarian Award for representation of homeless veterans, ACLU of Southern California, 2015, 2012

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