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Charles E. "Chuck" James, Jr.

Richmond, VA
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  • 804.420.6529
  • F.
  • 804.420.6507

Chuck James focuses his practice on representing clients with regulatory and litigation matters before state and federal agencies, and serves as a strategic advisor and problem solver based on his varied background in political campaigns, government service and private practice. Increasingly, Chuck assists clients with government affairs, including policy and legislative counsel as part of the Government Relations practice at Williams Mullen. Chuck combines legal acumen with practical business advice to assist clients with general business matters. Chuck collaboratively leverages his partners from a myriad of practices, to include corporate matters, economic development, tax, real estate and other focused practices to help his clients achieve their business objectives, all while providing exceptional client service.

Chuck previously served as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia's Richmond and Alexandria Divisions and the Department of Justice's Criminal Division, Washington, D.C. and chief deputy attorney general in the Office of the Attorney General of Virginia. Chuck was appointed to serve on Attorney General Jason Miyares’ Transition and on Gov. Youngkin’s Transition as part of the Public Safety & Homeland Security and Commerce & Trade Teams. He also serves on the firm's board of directors and several boards of not for profit organizations.

White Collar and Investigations

Chuck serves as co-chair of the White Collar and Investigations Practice, representing individuals and corporations in state and federal investigations, including regulatory, grand jury and trial matters. Chuck distills complex legal issues into workable concepts and advice clients can understand and implement.  Chuck develops customized investigative and defensive strategies that best position the client and help to limit business interruptions and expenses, letting the clients focus on their operations.

Chuck represents individual and corporate clients before enforcement and regulatory bodies as varied as the Virginia State Corporation Commission, the Virginia State Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco & Firearms, the Special Counsel’s Office, the Department of Treasury, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Homeland Security, the Environmental Protection Agency and several Medicaid Fraud Control and Consumer Protection Units and United States Attorneys Offices.

He has represented charities, private and publicly traded companies, executives and employees investigated for alleged customs violations, trademark infringement, public corruption, embezzlement, health care fraud, mail/wire fraud, government contracting fraud, Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act claims, environmental crimes, consumer protection violations and OFAC/FARA matters. Chuck has also defended fair housing matters, including allegations involving both felony convictions and source of income.

As the chief deputy attorney general in Virginia, Chuck supervised the entire office, including the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU). Chuck uses this experience to counsel companies throughout the United States, from small, in-home health care providers to national health care companies, facing health care fraud allegations. He counsels clients on matters related to Medicare fraud and Medicaid fraud, as well as alleged violations of the Anti-Kickback Statute, the False Claims Act, the Physician Self-Referral law (Stark Law) and other federal and state regulations.

Firearms Industry

Chuck serves as co-chair of the Firearms Industry Group, representing members of the firearms industry, including manufacturers, retailers and government contractors, on state and federal firearms laws and regulations. He assists clients in navigating the industry’s complex laws and regulations, ranging from matters involving restoration of rights, expungements and ATF compliance and revocations. Chuck also serves as outside general counsel to industry members seeking legal advice on matters and varied as intellectual property, employment, antitrust as well as working with both prosecutors and clients on subpoenas compliance, including narrowing the scope of subpoenas.

Regulatory Litigation

Chuck also assists clients in investigations, litigation and policy guidance, providing a comprehensive range of services and the ability to engage with decision-makers in the executive branch, state agencies and boards and commissions. Chuck has handled several cases involving state or federal government agency investigations concerning a host of compliance matters. He has represented clients in consumer protection matters with Offices of State Attorneys General and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), including client representation in the hospitality industry, retail, finance, real estate, oil and gas, direct marketing companies and a professional services company. He has counseled clients on matters involving the Virginia Comparison Price Advertising Act (VCPAA), the Virginia Post-Disaster Anti-Price Gouging Act and the Virginia Consumer Protection Act (VCPA). And he represents clients involving the State Corporate Commission (VA) on regulatory matters such as utility, insurance and dealer/broker issues.

Chuck has extensive litigation experience, having tried or argued numerous cases dealing with constitutional issues stemming from various white collar crimes, immigration, violent crime and narcotics cases before the state and federal trial courts and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. His background also makes him an important part of defense teams, including providing invaluable knowledge while serving as local counsel for matters in the Eastern District of Virginia, and as “pool counsel” in complex multi-jurisdictional investigations.

He also assists our Government Relations and Appellate groups with special projects of concern to our clients. Having handled hundreds of federal cases as lead trial counsel, Chuck has extensive courtroom experience, as well as experience investigating and prosecuting cases involving conspiracy, embezzlement, public corruption, violent crime, money laundering and fraud. As a former Assistant United States Attorney and former Chief Deputy Attorney General, Chuck is situated to address issues related to the interplay of law, policy, politics and trial strategy. He represents clients on issues involving honest services fraud, public corruption and public integrity. Chuck has represented an elected officials, lobbyists and others in the political realm, giving him a keen sense of the challenges faced by both government agencies as well as defendants.

Chuck has been recognized by Chambers USA for White-Collar & Government Investigations (2021-present), named among the “Legal Elite” by Virginia Business magazine (2009, 2013, 2015-present), and he is listed in The Best Lawyers in America® for Commercial Litigation, Criminal Defense: White Collar and Criminal Defense: General Practice Law (2015-present). He was named the Best Lawyers® Richmond "Lawyer of the Year" for Criminal Defense: General Practice in the 2019 edition. Chuck has also been named a "Local Litigation Star" by Benchmark Litigation (2013-present) and he was listed in Virginia Super Lawyers Rising Stars magazine (2009, 2013, 2014). He is a sought-after speaker and commentator on a variety of policy, legal and political topics.

Chuck is a graduate of the University of Virginia and received his law degree from Washington and Lee University.

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  • Washington and Lee University School of Law (J.D.)
  • University of Virginia (B.A.)
Professional & Community Affiliations

Professional Affiliations

  • Virginia Bar Association - Committee on Special Issues of National & State Importance
  • Virginia Bar Association - Board of Governors (2020-2023)
  • National Bar Association - Member

Community Involvements

  • The Salvation Army Richmond Area Command Advisory - Board Member
  • Virginia Public Safety Foundation - Board Member
  • Virginia 30 Day Fund - Board Member
  • Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP) - Advisory Panel Member, Vice Chair/Secretary (2016-2018), Board of Directors (2016-2021)
Bar & Court Admissions

Bar Admissions

  • Virginia State Bar

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Virginia
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Best Lawyers® – Richmond "Lawyer of the Year," Criminal Defense: General Practice (2019)

The Best Lawyers in America® – Commercial Litigation, Criminal Defense: White Collar and Criminal Defense: General Practice Law (2015-present)

Virginia Business - "Legal Elite," (2009, 2013, 2015-present)

Benchmark Litigation – "Local Litigation Star" (2013-present)

Virginia Super Lawyers Rising Stars – Civil Litigation: Defense (2009, 2013, 2014)

Chambers USA - Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (2021-present)

Virginia Super Lawyers - Criminal Defense: White Collar (2023-present)

He is someone whose judgment and experience I really value. His strategic approach, client service and ability to collaborate stand out.

Williams Mullen Client Feedback - Chambers USA, 2023