Jim Kinsel serves as a Managing Partner at Protorae Law and Co-Chair of the firm’s litigation teams. He is a trial attorney who focuses on business litigation, business breakups, disputes over ownership of businesses, and unfair business practice claims. Jim co-founded Protorae Law in 2010, and built the firm’s litigation team.
During his career, Jim has prosecuted and defended countless litigation matters. Jim is accustomed to handling bet-the-company disputes. He is also experienced with advocating for and defending against preliminary injunction motions and temporary restraining order motions.
In 2015, he guided Protorae Law’s litigation team in achieving the second highest jury verdict awarded during that year in Virginia. That same year, he successfully defended another client against a $55 million complaint to reduce the plaintiff’s maximum recovery to no more than nominal damages while also launching a defense of a $10 million claim in a third case. The denial of the claimed actual damages of $55 million was named by the Virginia Lawyers Weekly as one of 2015’s most important opinions.
Jim focuses on litigation involving business disputes such as business conspiracy, trade secret misappropriation, breach of fiduciary duty, and other unfair business practices. In addition, he handles contract claims, including disputes involving noncompete agreements, shareholder agreements or LLC operating agreements. Jim also represents minority and majority owners in disputes over whether someone is a business owner and those involving shareholder oppression and minority squeeze-out claims.
Jim has steered many disputes to favorable outcomes for his clients at trial, through pre-trial motions practice, or settlement with or without mediation. Jim’s well-considered litigation strategies help his clients safeguard critical business and individual assets, including trade secrets, client lists, business relationships, and other proprietary information. When representing individual owners, Jim works to protect their ownership interests.
Jim provides his clients with strategic advice early-on to help them determine how best to resolve a dispute. He is often able to negotiate favorable resolutions before litigation costs escalate. If a settlement cannot be reached, his extensive experience handling complex litigation matters within federal and state courts allows him to aggressively advance his clients’ interests at trial.
Electronic discovery is integral to Jim’s case management. He is able to quickly assess the appropriate scope of electronic discovery for each litigation matter, and provide his clients with an up-front evaluation of the cases’ strengths and weaknesses.
After graduating from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1998, Jim clerked for the Honorable Norman K. Moon in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia. He then joined the Jefferson Law Firm, which became the Tysons office of Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PLLC. He later became a partner at Williams Mullen before co-founding Protorae Law.
Unfair Business Practices
- Integrated Direct Marketing, LLC v. Drew May and Merkle, Inc., attained summary judgment order for four of five counts on behalf of a former employee against a $55 million dollar trade secrets damages claim brought by his former employer in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia with the fifth count limited to nominal damages. The case is currently pending on appeal.
- The Signature Group, Inc. v. Technologies Solutions Provider, Inc., defended a government contractor in a lawsuit filed by another government contractor, disputing the defendant’s government contract award and its hiring of the plaintiff’s former employees.
- Corinthian Mortgage Corporation v. Summit Financial Group, et al., attained a $10.5 million dollar settlement on behalf of a direct-mail mortgage company, in a business conspiracy action against the company’s former employees and a start-up competitor.
- Centennial Broadcasting, LLC. v. Burns, attained a temporary and permanent injunction order in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia, enjoining the prior owner of a radio station from operating another station using a substantially similar format because the court found the prior owner “blatantly violated the [purchase] agreement.”
- Salon Bleu of Virginia, LLC v. Colour Bar Studio, LLC, et al., defended a salon owner who started a new business from claims of trade secret misappropriation, business conspiracy, tortious interference, and breach of fiduciary duty.
- Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, LLC v. The Kavits/Frey Group, LLC, defended a financial services firm and its two founding brokers in a case brought by the brokers’ former firm, claiming that in starting their new firm the brokers violated their fiduciary duties and misappropriated the plaintiff firm’s trade secrets.
- Frank Beaty v. Oak Grove Technologies, LLC, defended a government contractor in a $10 million claim asserted by its former employee for a 10% ownership stake in the company.
- Wine and Spirits Logistics v. Gary Lasar, et al., defended a member of an LLC who departed the LLC to start a new company. Successfully defended against a temporary injunction motion filed by the plaintiff’s motion that, if granted, would have severely limited the owner and his new business from doing business.
- University of Northern Virginia, Inc. v. Avery, et al., represented the plaintiff corporation, a privately owned university, in a corporate control and ownership dispute against the University’s former managers, officers and shareholders. Claims brought against the defendants included business conspiracy, breach of fiduciary duty, tortious interference with business relations and violation of the Virginia Computer Crimes Act.
- Represented an individual in a pre-litigation dispute over whether she obtained an ownership interest in a business based on her financial transactions with the company, verbal conversations and course of conduct.
Honors and Awards
- 2022 Best Lawyers – The Best Lawyers in America©, Commercial Litigation
- 2021 – 2019 Super Lawyers Business Litigation, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
- 2020 – 2015 Virginia Legal Elite – Civil Litigation, Virginia Business
- 2016 AV Preeminent Peer Rated, Martindale-Hubbell®
- 2014 Washington SmartCEO Power Players Finalist
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: THE RESULTS OF ALL CLIENT MATTERS DEPEND ON A VARIETY OF FACTORS UNIQUE TO EACH MATTER. PAST SUCCESSES DO NOT PREDICT OR GUARANTEE FUTURE SUCCESSES.