- College of William and Mary (B.A. 1982)
- Syracuse University College of Law (J.D., magna cum laude, 1989)
Jim Southwick is a partner in Susman Godfrey’s Houston office and a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. Though based in Texas, Southwick represents plaintiffs and defendants in commercial trials throughout the country. His clients include public and private entities from the United States, Canada, Mexico, and South America.
Southwick regularly takes on–and wins against–industry titans such as News Corp., Microsoft, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, and Willis Towers Watson. Over the past three decades, Southwick has secured over one billion dollars for the plaintiff clients he represents and has protected his defendant clients against hundreds of millions of dollars in potential exposure.
Southwick is responsible for some of the country’s most significant rulings in the past 20 years.
For example, in Vitamin C Antitrust Litigation, Southwick served as co-lead counsel to plaintiffs in the first-ever case where mainland Chinese companies were successfully sued under US antitrust laws. After a jury trial, Southwick secured a landmark verdict in this price-fixing class action brought on behalf of direct purchasers of vitamin C against two Chinese vitamin C manufacturers, Hebei Welcome Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. and North China Pharmaceutical Group Corp. The jury returned a verdict for Southwick’s clients that was tripled, as required under U.S. antitrust law, to $148 million by Judge Brian Cogan of the Eastern District of New York. The Supreme Court affirmed the decision in 2018. The case is currently on remand from Supreme Court to the Second Circuit thus fees and costs have not been determined.
Most recently, in Brand et al v. Promega, Southwick, was lead counsel to a small group of minority shareholders. Following a month-long trial on the merits, Southwick secured more than $300 million for his clients in a shareholder oppression lawsuit against Promega Corporation and its CEO and founder, William Linton—“a dispute that involves elements of money, power and drugs,” according to the Wisconsin State Journal. The settlement is one of the largest recoveries in a shareholder oppression case in the United States, and the largest such recovery after a trial. Texas Lawyer wrote about this win and featured an interview with Southwick in their feature series “How We Won It” (subscription required).
In The Dial Corporation et al v. News Corp. et al., Southwick took on industry giant, News Corp., when he served as co-lead counsel in this class action alleging federal monopolization claims. A settlement agreement was signed on the first day of trial requiring the defendants to pay $250 million ($193.7 million after fees and expenses) to a class of packaged goods manufacturers.
In Schulein, et al. v. Petroleum Development Corp, Southwick served as counsel to plaintiffs in a class action brought in Santa Ana federal court on behalf of more than 7000 limited partners who invested in 12 oil and gas limited partnerships. Plaintiffs alleged the defendants made false and misleading statements and omitted material information regarding the value of the partnerships in proxy statements used to solicit votes in favor of mergers that cashed the plaintiffs out of their investments. After three years of hard-fought litigation, the case was settled on the eve of trial for $37.5 million, with the class receiving approximately $24 million.
In addition to his active docket, Southwick spends a good amount of time each year litigating matters pro bono. Most recently, for Houston’s historic Alley Theater, the oldest professional theatre company in Texas and the third-oldest resident theatre in the country, Southwick represented Alley pro bono in insurance litigation related to Hurricane Harvey-caused business interruption. The suit claimed the theatre was not properly reimbursed by Hanover Insurance Company for claims related to business interruption losses sustained during Hurricane Harvey. Southwick and a team from Susman Godfrey secured a partial summary judgment ruling on behalf of Alley and a few months later the team again scored a victory for the theater when they settled the final piece of the litigation–terms of this settlement are confidential. Read more about the case in Houston Chronicle’s coverage.
Southwick is regularly recognized by the legal industry for his winning work. In 2020 he was recognized by Best Lawyers in America for Commercial Litigation in Texas (Woodward White). The Legal 500, in its Tier 1 rankings, has recognized him for work in Antitrust: Civil Litigation/Class Actions (Plaintiff) in 2017, 2018, and 2020. In addition the American Antitrust Institute awarded Southwick with the honor for Outstanding Antitrust Litigation Achievement in Private Law Practice in 2018 for his work in In re Vitamin C Antitrust Litigation and in 2017 for his work in Dial Corporation, et al. v. News Corporation, et al.
Southwick is also a member of the Board of Advisors of the Syracuse University College of law.