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James H. Burns

James H. Burns

Partner

Meridian
1320 Main Street
17th Floor
Columbia, SC 29201
james.burns@nelsonmullins.com

James is an experienced litigator in the areas of consumer financial services litigation, FINRA broker dealer litigation, and business litigation. A chief of staff to former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and a past chairman of the State Ethics Commission, James has counseled and represented clients in administrative law matters before state governmental bodies and in...

James is an experienced litigator in the areas of consumer financial services litigation, FINRA broker dealer litigation, and business litigation. A chief of staff to former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and a past chairman of the State Ethics Commission, James has counseled and represented clients in administrative law matters before state governmental bodies and in state attorney general investigations. James is a 24 year veteran of the United States Navy Reserve Judge Advocate General’s Corps having served overseas in and at the Pentagon.

James H. Burns

state attorney general investigations. James is a 24 year veteran of the United States Navy Reserve Judge Advocate General’s Corps having served overseas in and at the Pentagon.

James is an experienced litigator in the areas of consumer financial services litigation, FINRA broker dealer litigation, and business litigation. A chief of staff to former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and a past chairman of the State Ethics Commission, James has counseled and represented clients in administrative law matters before state governmental bodies and in... state attorney general investigations. James is a 24 year veteran of the United States Navy Reserve Judge Advocate General’s Corps having served overseas in and at the Pentagon.

Experience

The following is a selected sampling of matters and is provided for informational purposes only. Past success does not indicate the likelihood of success in any future matter.

Consumer Financial Services Litigation

  • Represented consumer financial services institutions, mortgage lenders, and loan servicers in state and federal courts and arbitration forums involving alleged violations of the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA), inflated appraisal claims, the South Carolina Consumer Protection Code, the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act, as well as state unfair and deceptive trade practices acts

FINRA Broker-Dealer Representation

  • Defended brokers-dealers, registered investment advisors, and banks against consumer claims involving suitability, over-concentration, supervision, unauthorized trading, misrepresentation, and violation of state and federal securities laws
  • Experience with a variety of investment products, including bonds, closed end funds, and individual stocks
  • Successfully argued motion to dismiss pursuant to FINRA Rule 12206 on the basis of eligibility of various claims

Government Relations/State Attorneys General Actions

  • Represented and counseled a variety of clients who are subject of state attorney general investigations
  • Represented clients who have administrative law matters before state governmental bodies and regulators.
  • Represented public officials and former public officials involving the South Carolina Ethics, Government Accountability, and Campaign Reform Act before the State Ethics Commission.
  • Counseled clients on matters involving proposed legislation, the legislative process and gubernatorial actions in South Carolina.   

Previous Professional Experience

  • Chief of Staff, S.C. Governor Nikki Haley (2014–2015)
  • Deputy Legal Counsel, Office of the Vice Chief of Naval Operations, The Pentagon (2006–2008)
    • Provided time-sensitive legal opinions on ethics, complex investigations, and military justice matters to senior Navy executives
  • Assistant Force Judge Advocate, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (2005–2006)
    • Served as operational law attorney and provided advice regarding rules of engagement, international law, and rule of law
  • Prosecutor, Trial Service Office Southeast (2002–2005)
    • Served as trial counsel prosecuting violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice

Education

  • University of South Carolina School of Law, JD, cum laude (2002)
    • Editor in Chief, South Carolina Law Review
    • John Belton O'Neall Inn of Court
  • The Citadel, BA, Political Science (1996)

Admissions

  • South Carolina
  • West Virginia
  • U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals of the Armed Forces

Practice Areas

The bar rules of some states require that the standards for an attorney's inclusion in certain public accolades or recognitions be provided. When such accolades or recognitions are listed, a hyperlink is provided that leads to a description of the respective selection methodology.

  • S.C. Supreme Court Pro Bono Honor Roll (2019, 2020, 2021)
  • Recipient, Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina's highest civilian honor (2017)
  • Chairman, AccelerateSC (COVID Response & Economic Revitalization Task Force) 
    • Appointed by Governor Henry McMaster
  • Former Chairman, South Carolina State Ethics Commission
    • Appointed by Governor Nikki Haley
  • Former Counsel, South Carolina Ethics Reform Commission
  • American Bar Association Member
  • South Carolina Bar Association Member
  • West Virginia Bar Association Member
  • Richland County Bar Association Member
  • Graduate, SC Ports Authority’s Port Ambassadors Program
  • Captain, United States Navy Reserve Judge Advocate General’s Corps (2008–present)
  • Executive Board, Chapin Eagle Club, Chapin High School (2014–present)
  • Chapin Middle School, School Improvement Council, Board Member (2011–2014)
  • Chapin Community Endowment Board of Advisors, Board Member (2010–2014)
  • Carolina Wind Symphony, Board Member (2010–2012)
  • Deputy Legal Counsel, Office of the Vice Chief of Naval Operations, The Pentagon (2006–2008)
    • Provided time-sensitive legal opinions on ethics, complex investigations, and military justice matters to senior Navy executives
  • Assistant Force Judge Advocate, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (2005–2006)
    • Served as operational law attorney and provided advice regarding rules of engagement, international law, and rule of law
  • Prosecutor, Trial Service Office Southeast (2002–2005)
    • Served as trial counsel prosecuting violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice