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James Wolford


Area of Practice

Employment Defense

Insurance and Municipal Law

Business and Commercial Litigation

Personal Injury (Plaintiff and Defense)

Criminal Law

Bar Admissions

  • New York State Bar, 1997

Professional Experience

James, a trial lawyer in the Rochester area for over twenty years, has unparalleled experience in both civil and criminal litigation. James has tried dozens of cases in both state and federal court. His legal practice concentrates primarily on commercial and business litigation, employment defense, personal injury cases for both plaintiff and defense, and criminal defense matters. James has extensive experience in breach of contract actions, negligence matters, motor vehicle accidents, criminal defense, in both federal and state courts, and in municipal and tax assessment matters.

James has been selected as one of the Best Lawyers in America in the area of commercial litigation and has been listed as a Super Lawyer in New York Super Lawyers magazine in the area of General Litigation for many years.

Recently, James was recognized as the 2022 “Lawyer of the Year” for Criminal Defense: White-Collar in Rochester, NY because he received the highest “peer feedback.” Only one attorney per practice and metro area is chosen for this honor.

James’s confidence and ease in the courtroom has earned him the respect of not only his peers in the legal community, but also the judiciary. James specializes in complex litigation having been lead counsel on many complex litigation matters, at trial and the appellate level, and in both the civil and criminal arena.

James was chosen as a member of the Rochester Business Journal’s 40 Under 40, served as president of the Rochester AM Rotary group, member of the Board of Trustees for Hope Hall School, a school for children with learning disabilities, member of the Board for the Wilson Commencement Park, and as club president for the Bristol Mountain Race Team.

Before joining the firm, James was a partner in The Wolford Law Firm, where he had practiced following four years as an Assistant District Attorney for Monroe County. During his years with the District Attorney’s Office, he gained extensive trial experience prosecuting offenses of all levels, including felony sex crimes and child abuse cases.


  • Lehigh University, B.A. 1993
  • Albany Law School, J.D. 1996

Court Admissions

  • New York State Court, 1997
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of New York, 1997
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, 2009
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York, 2013

Professional and Civic Activities

  • Monroe County Bar Association, Litigation Section, Personal Injury Subcommittee Member
  • Criminal Justice Panel, U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York
  • Coach, Webster Junior Warriors, Webster Junior Titans
  • Bristol Mountain Race Club President (2015-2017)
  • Rochester AM Rotary Past President and Treasurer (2002-2009)
  • Hope Hall School Board of Trustees (2009-2010)
  • Wilson Commencement Park Board of Directors (2013)


  • Warrant now required for cellphone location data, The Daily Record, July 5, 2018
  • Untreated alcoholism is not a disability in New York City, The Daily Record, December 7, 2017
  • Robocalls strike back, The Daily Record, July 6, 2017
  • No more second chances, The Daily Record, August 4, 2016
  • Facebook attorneys strike back, The Daily Record, December 3, 2015
  • Words of assurance can and will be used against you,The Daily Record, December 4, 2014
  • MGM KO’d by the U.S. Supreme Court, The Daily Record, June 5, 2014
  • COA limits the scope of the Scaffold Law,The Daily Record, November 7, 2013
  • Gang activity does not fall within terrorism statute,The Daily Record, January 3, 2013
  • Preclusion of Expert Upheld by Court of Appeals, The Daily Record, June 7, 2012
  • Preclusion of Eyewitness Expert Gaffe Warrants New Trial,The Daily Record, November 3, 2011
  • Preclusion of Expert Upheld by Court of Appeals, The Daily Record, June 7, 2012
  • Fore! Maybe Caddyshack Had It Right, The Daily Record, January 6, 2011
  • Can a Breathalyzer be Defeated?, The Daily Record, June 3, 2010
  • Eyewitness Misidentification, The Daily Record, November 5, 2009
  • Attempted Deceit Supports Treble Damages, The Daily Record, April 2, 2009
  • Big Brother has Long Been Watching, The Daily Record, June 5, 2008
  • How to Handle the Recalcitrant Witness, The Daily Record, November 1, 2007
  • End of Mandatory Sentencing Guidelines, The Daily Record,February 3, 2005
  • Certain Communications Between Attorney & Expert Witness are Discoverable, The Daily Record, May 6, 2004
  • Admissibility of Business Records, The Daily Record, October 2, 2003

Speaking Engagements

  • Speaker, Parties, Penalties, and Planning: Avoiding a Legal Hangover, Presentation by The Wolford Law Firm, November 2013
  • Speaker, Ethical Principles for the Practicing Attorney, CLE presented by The Wolford Law Firm, February 2012
  • Speaker, Ethical Principles for the Practicing Attorney, CLE presented by The Wolford Law Firm, December 2011

Personal Info/Hobbies/Interests
James is a life-long resident of the Rochester Area. He is a graduate of Fairport High School. He is an avid skier and sports fan. He greatly enjoys watching his three children (Christine, Thomas and Shaun) excel in ski racing, lacrosse and football.