James F. Wyatt, III is recognized as one of North Carolina’s leading trial lawyers. He is a member of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, the American College of Trial Lawyers, the Best Lawyers in America, has a Band 1 Ranking with Chambers and Partners, and has been named on numerous occasions as the best white collar defense and civil trial lawyer in both Charlotte and the State of North Carolina.
James attended Vanderbilt University, graduating in 1978 with summa cum laude honors. He graduated from Duke Law School in 1982, after being the Executive Editor of the Duke Law Journal and a member of the Moot Court Board. After graduating from Duke Law School, he clerked for United States District Court Judge Harold L. Murphy in the Northern District of Georgia. He then worked for three years with Bobby Lee Cook, Sr. of Summerville, Georgia. Mr. Cook is the real life lawyer who the television show “Matlock” is loosely patterned after. When working with Mr. Cook, James tried over 30 cases to verdict, ranging from a RICO trial to diverse federal and state cases, both civil and criminal. James opened his law practice in Charlotte in 1986, and has engaged in the trial of hundreds of criminal and civil cases since then, now specializing in white collar defense, whistleblower cases and class action cases.
In 1991, at the age of 33, James was asked to present the topic of closing arguments at the North Carolina Criminal Defense “All Star” Seminar. In 1991, he also received an “AV” Martindale Hubbell rating and was listed in Martindale Hubbell’s Register of Pre-Eminent Civil and Criminal Trial Lawyers. In 1992, he was named one of six top young attorneys in Charlotte. In 1994, he was listed in Best Lawyers in America. In 2005, James was selected by Business North Carolina as the best criminal defense lawyer in North Carolina.
Currently, James is listed in Best Lawyers in America in four separate categories: Bet-The-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Non-White Collar Criminal Defense and White Collar Criminal Defense. He is also a Member of the American College of Trial Lawyers, an organization devoted to recognizing outstanding civil and criminal trial lawyers (with fewer than 1% of the lawyers in the United States and Canada becoming members of this organization after a thorough vetting process). Additionally, James was inducted into the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, whose membership is limited to 500 fellows from the United States “who have achieved a career of excellence through demonstrated skill and ability in jury trials.”
In addition to his representation of individuals and businesses in white collar and criminal defense matters, James has represented numerous parties in both class action litigation and qui tam lawsuits over the past 20 years. In qui tam litigation, James has represented physicians, medical billing and coding personnel and other employees of medical practices in qui tam whistleblower lawsuits filed under the federal False Claims Act, the Anti-Kickback Statute, the Federal Physician Self-Referral Statute (or Stark Law), and the NC False Claims Act. These cases have included issues of false and fraudulent billing of Medicaid and Medicare services, upcoding, improper referrals and illegal kickbacks. He has been co-counsel for plaintiffs in two recent qui tam settlements of over $100,000,000 each, and a recent class action settlement exceeding $1,000,000,000.
James recently presented a seminar to counsel throughout the State of North Carolina concerning the North Carolina False Claims Act. In addition, James recently co-authored two publications concerning the North Carolina False Claims Act, including a comparison of this statute with the federal False Claims Act.