James has practiced labor and employment law for almost 20 years, starting in Washington, D.C. and now in Buffalo, New York.

He represents both public and private sector employers in a wide variety of employment-related matters, including labor arbitrations, union negotiations and proceedings before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the National Labor Relations Board and the New York State Public Employment Relations Board. James also litigates employment disputes in trial and appellate courts in New York State and other areas of the country. In this capacity, he represents management in litigation involving, among other matters, discrimination, harassment, wage and hour and contract disputes.

James also has substantial experience counseling clients in all types of employment-related matters, including workplace policies, executive compensation, school law, public sector employment law, covenants not to compete and wage and hour laws. He is a frequent lecturer on labor and employment law issues and is listed in Super Lawyers® in three categories: employment and labor; employment litigation: defense; and defense of governments, cities, and municipalities.


  • Rios v. Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority, 326 Fed. Appx. 612 (2d Cir. 2009)
  • Petrillo v. Town of Tonawanda, 326 Fed. Appx. 69 (2d Cir. 2009)
  • Haynes v. Quality Markets, 307 Fed. Appx. 473 (2d Cir. 2008)
  • Evans v. Federal Express Corp., 133 F.3d 137 (1st Cir. 1998)
  • McIntosh v. Bank of America, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 80880 (W.D.N.Y. 2009)
  • Smooth v. Waste Management, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13075 (W.D.N.Y. 2007)
  • Piacente v. S.U.N.Y., 362 F. Supp. 2d 383 (W.D.N.Y. 2004)
  • Julicher v. Town of Tonawanda, 876 N.Y.S.2d 807 (4th Dep't 2009)

  • Listed in:
    • The Best Lawyers in America®, Employment Law - Management; Labor Law - Management, 2019-2023
    • New York Super Lawyers®, Employment and Labor, 2022 (listed for more than 10 years) 
    • Buffalo Business First, Legal Elite of Western New York, 2017-2020
      • Legal Elite Leader
    • Martindale-Hubbell®, AV Preeminent Rated
      • Top-Rated Lawyer in Labor & Employment Law                   
  • American Bar Association, Litigation and Labor and Employment Sections
  • New York State Bar Association, Labor and Employment Law Section
  • Erie County Bar Association
  • Senior Editor, Boston College International and Comparative Law Review

  • An Interview with James Rooney, Labor and Employment, Legally Bond Podcast, April 18, 2022
  • Overlapping Leave Laws, Bond, Schoeneck & King Seminar Series, October 2020
  • New York State Paid Family Leave Law, Lumsden McCornick 22nd Annual Exempt Conference, November 17, 2016

  • Quoted in "Threat to public-sector unions in SCOTUS decision on Janus,"Buffalo Law Journal, July 10, 2018
  • "Courts grapple with scope of civil rights laws," Buffalo Law Journal, June 19, 2017
  • Quoted in “Transgender student policies not new in WNY,” Buffalo Business First, August 26, 2016

  • Buffalo Niagara Partnership, Director
  • Kaleida Health Foundation, Director
  • Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo, Inc., Director, Former President
  • The Arc Erie County New York, Former Board Member, Former Vice President
  • Friends of Night People, Volunteer