James C. “Jim” Roberts, a well-known trial attorney in Virginia law for more than five decades, will retire from Troutman Sanders LLP at the end of 2011.
Roberts, 79, is regarded as one of the state’s most skilled trial attorneys. A winner of numerous industry awards, he served as lead counsel in many high-profile, white-collar criminal defense and business litigation cases. One of his biggest cases was for the A. H. Robins Co. in the mid-1980s during the pharmaceutical company’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which followed protracted litigation from consumers over the Dalkon Shield, a contraceptive device.
Roberts also led the defense of former Virginia state Sen. Richard Holland, who in 1998 was found not guilty of 31 counts of bank fraud.
His civic involvement included many pro bono efforts on behalf of low-income Virginians. Roberts, a Richmond resident, is credited with helping to start the predecessor to the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society, where he served as a volunteer until early this year.
“Jim Roberts is a giant of a lawyer and a man,” Robert W. Webb Jr., Troutman Sanders’ chairman, said in a statement. “His accomplishments are the stuff of legend, and he has long stood at the pinnacle of our profession. His retirement represents a new era for our firm, and we are well positioned for the future because of Jim’s tremendous service.”
Roberts spent his career with Troutman Saunders and its predecessor firms. During the 1980s and ‘90s, he served as chairman for several terms of the executive committee at Mays & Valentine, prior to its 2001 merger with Atlanta-based Troutman Sanders.
“Jim Roberts is truly a lawyer’s lawyer, called upon by other lawyers and judges throughout the years to assist with their most challenging business and personal legal problems,” said John S. West, managing partner of Troutman Sanders’ Richmond office.
Roberts is a former president of the Richmond Bar Association (1977) and the Virginia State Bar (1980). In 2007, the Virginia Bar recognized him with its Tradition of Excellence Award. He’s also a well-known figure at the State Corporation Commission where he engaged in a regulatory practice in the areas of insurance, telecommunications and electric utility regulation.
Over the remainder of 2011, Roberts will complete a transition of legal work representation that has been taking place within the firm for more than three years. Following his retirement, the firm expects Roberts to maintain an active presence, informally advising on case strategy and participating in attorney training.
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