james morris

Attorney James E. Morris is an experienced litigator and former judge who is known throughout New York State for his ability to resolve complex disputes through mediation. He is a "Distinguished" Fellow of the American College of Civil Trial Mediators, an elite nationwide group of mediators and dispute resolution professionals known for their skill, ethical standards, and professional commitment.

Morris is a practicing attorney with the longtime Rochester, New York law firm Morris and Morris, and has been a mediator for more than 20 years. In addition, he has 30 years experience as a judge, both as Brighton Town Justice and as Acting City Court Judge for the City of Rochester, New York.

He has served as a lead mediator and arbitrator for U.S. Arbitration and Mediation Inc. and Empire Arbitration and Mediation Inc. He is a panel member for Resolute Systems Inc. and the American Arbitration Association. He has also been a special mediator for the U.S. District Court, New York State Supreme Court, and the Monroe County Bar Association.

Plaintiffs-attorneys, defense attorneys, in-house counsel, insurers, and business professionals throughout New York State regularly turn to Morris to mediate high-end liability, contract, and commercial disputes. He has an excellent record getting participants to reach settlement in cases involving significant financial issues, which often involve multiple parties.

Drawing on his extensive experience as a trial attorney, Morris has mediated a wide range of disputes, with many resolved claims in excess of one million dollars. Even in those cases where resolution appears impossible, he keeps the parties talking in an attempt to reach agreement. His dedication to the mediation process has resulted in a high mediation success rate.

Morris was named a Fellow of the American College of Civil Trial Mediators in 2002 and served as its President for a term of 2011 through 2013. The College’s approximately 100 active Fellows are located throughout the United States. Being named a Fellow recognizes the high regard others have for his work and confirms he is among the most experienced mediators in the United States. In 2013 his peers nominated Morris as a "Distinguished" Fellow. As of December 2020, he has participated in more than 3000 complex mediations.

Professional Education
B.A., Political Science, Syracuse University
LL.B., Syracuse University  

Legal Practice
Morris and Morris, Attorneys
Rochester, New York 
Presently Emeritus


  • Brighton, New York Town Justice for more than 30 years
  • Former Acting City Court Judge, Rochester, New York for more than 30 years when appointed by District Administrative Supreme Court Justice

Other Professional Experience/Memberships

  • New York State Office of Court Administration - Senior Faculty
  • New York State Bar Association
    Tort Insurance and Compensation Law Section - past District Rep, past Chair ADR Committee
  • Monroe County Bar Association
  • New York State Trial Lawyers Association
  • Martindale-Hubbell Highest Peer Rating - AV in both Skill and Ethics
  • Listed “The Best Lawyers in America ” 2012-2020
  • The American Society of Writers on Legal Subjects
  • Super Lawyers of New York 2012-2020
  • Distinguished Fellow American College of Civil Trial Mediators- Past President
  • U.S. News Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms" 2020 - First Tier
  • Who's Who Legal: Mediation 2020

Professional Experience/Memberships - Prior Years

  • New York State Magistrates Association - Past President; Past Director of Education and Training
  • New York State Magistrate’s Association Magistrate of the Year
  • Panel of Peers Youth Jury Program - Founder
  • Criminal Procedure Law Advisory Committee, Unified Court System
  • Monroe County Magistrates Association - Past President
  • Assistant District Attorney, Town Courts in Monroe County
  • Monroe Community College, Rochester, New York - Adjunct Professor


  • Village, Town, and District Courts in New York Practice Guide (lead author), Thomson Reuters, West Publishing Company, 1995. Annual updates 1996 - present
  • You Can Win Big in Small Claims Court, 1981
  • Victim Aftershock, 1983

Lectureships/Seminars (Abridged)

  • "How to Evaluate and Settle a Personal Injury Claim," Monroe County Bar Association Litigation Section - Program Chair
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution Seminar “The Winning Solution,” Phillips, Lytle, Hitchcock, Blaine & Huber LLP, Buffalo, New York
  • “Settlement Techniques in Personal Liability Cases,” Monroe County Bar Association - Program Chair
  • Mediation Advocacy Seminar” - April 25, 2006
  • Mechanics of Mediation MCBA - 2012
  • NY Bar School for Insurance Professionals faculty 2010 and 2011 
  • Effective Settlement Techniques- 7th Judical District Law Clears and Judges 2020
  • Mediation in Estate Matters MCBA - 2016
  • "Effective ADR: Getting the Most for Your Clients Without Resorting to Litigation" MCBA - 2017
  • Medation - "What Goes on in the Other Room" MCBA-2020