Vedder Price

James V. Garvey


James V. Garvey is a Shareholder at Vedder Price and a member of the firm’s Litigation practice area.

He has been serving clients at Vedder Price for over 30 years with a national, sophisticated commercial litigation and employment law practice which includes counseling and litigation, covering a range of substantive areas in U.S. federal and state courts, as well as in various arbitration forums. 

Commercial Litigation and Employment Law

Mr. Garvey regularly advises a variety of clients from Fortune 50 to closely-held companies. He also represents executives and other leaders in high-stakes matters and litigation.  He is experienced in handling all phases of litigation, from the temporary restraining order/injunction phase through trial and appeal. He has appeared and argued before the Illinois Appellate Court and the federal Seventh and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeals.

Mr. Garvey has developed a national reputation for successfully handling matters for his clients across various industries, including financial, securities and professional services; software, information technology and licensing; commercial real estate; manufacturing and distribution; aviation; health care; insurance; and a broad array of other fields. He has brought and/or defended claims of virtually every type in the commercial and employment law contexts, including having handled claims for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, unfair competition (including in relation to trade secrets and restrictive covenants), violation of intellectual property rights, breach of software licensing and compliance obligations, commercial torts, violation of wage payment obligations, discrimination and retaliation, defamation, and many others.

Trial Experience

While Mr. Garvey is very experienced with proven litigation avoidance strategies, he is equally adept at trial work. He has tried numerous cases to verdict across the country, including in both bench and jury trials. He has consistently obtained favorable outcomes for his clients on work involving complex commercial and other contracts, trust and financial institutions issues, directors and officers liability, minority shareholder rights, antitrust and trade regulation, toxic tort exposure, products liability, psychiatric malpractice, employer-union and employer-employee relations, bankruptcy, securities, mechanics' liens, and other commercial and employment-related matters.

Mr. Garvey is also commonly sought out for his extensive experience with arbitration, including through FINRA, JAMS and the AAA, where he has tried over 25 cases to final award, among numerous additional cases that were successfully resolved prior to a final hearing on the merits.

Counseling Experience

Mr. Garvey has developed a special concentration in counseling clients and litigating issues pertaining to trade secrets and the enforcement and enforceability of restrictive covenants throughout the United States. Mr. Garvey’s practice includes counseling clients with respect to drafting restrictive covenants, enforcing and defending covenant and trade secrets claims, and litigating all aspects of such cases, from the TRO stage through trial.

Industry Experience: Financial Services

Mr. Garvey also has significant experience in handling disputes involving financial services, including in relation to investment advisers, securities broker-dealers, and registered persons, in federal and state securities investigative, administrative and contested matters, as well as handling arbitration cases from initiation through completion.

Industry Experience: Software, Information Technology and Licensing

Mr. Garvey also has developed a national practice focused on software license and information technology audit and compliance issues, with a concentration on enforcing software owners’ and users’ rights in relation to licensure, deployment, and use (or mis-use) of software products for both commercial and consumer purposes.

Firm Leadership

Mr. Garvey serves as Chair of the Litigation practice area’s subgroup on Restrictive Covenants and Trade Secrets.

Mr. Garvey also serves on the firm’s Associate Evaluation Committee and Compensation Committee. He is a past member of the firm’s Board of Directors, Diversity Committee, Chair of the firm’s Hiring Committee and Co-Chair of the firm’s Summer Program.

Mr. Garvey was selected for inclusion from 2011 to 2021 and for 2024 in Illinois Super Lawyers. He was also selected by his peers from 2013 to 2023 as a Leading Lawyer in Commercial Litigation and Trade Secrets/Unfair Competition. In addition, Mr. Garvey has been included in The Best Lawyers of America in the field of Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law since 2023.

James V. Garvey



  • University of Notre Dame Law School, J.D., 1994, cum laude
  • Santa Clara University, B.S., 1991, cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa

James V. Garvey


Bar Admissions

  • Illinois, 1994
  • New York, 2019

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, 1994
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, 2006
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Illinois, 2009
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois, 2010
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, 1999
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit, 2000
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit, 2007


  • Chairman, Board of Directors, UCP Seguin of Greater Chicago Foundation

James V. Garvey


James V. Garvey



  • Prevailed in four-week jury trial in Chicago on behalf of financial services company wrongfully accused of breach of contract, where more than $100 million in damages was sought and jury deliberated for less than 45 minutes.
  • Prevailed in California lower and appellate courts on behalf of client wrongfully accused of violating discrimination law.
  • Prevailed in week-long AAA arbitration hearing in New York on behalf of software licensee wrongfully accused of breaching license agreement and infringing copyrights.
  • Prevailed in week-long FINRA arbitration hearing in New York where broker-dealer was wrongfully accused of breaching employment and shareholder agreements.
  • Prevailed in week-long FINRA arbitration hearing in Chicago where former registered persons were wrongfully accused by their former employer of violating restrictive covenants.
  • Prevailed in week-long JAMS arbitration hearing in California where former shareholder of commercial real estate firm wrongfully accused the company of breaching contracts.
  • Prevailed in multi-week, related arbitration proceedings in New York and Chicago involving parties to complex membership interest purchase agreements wrongfully accused of violating agreements.
  • Obtained temporary injunctive relief on behalf of client whose competitor was passing itself off as being associated with the client and its customers.
  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of commercial real estate services firm and principals wrongfully accused of tortious interference and intentional infliction of emotional distress,
  • Represented financial institution and trust company in defense of multi-state breach of fiduciary duty, securities, and related claims, and in prosecution of contribution and indemnity claims
  • Represented international confectionary company in defense of discrimination claims by former employee
  • Represented international communications company in defense of securities claims
  • Represented international publishing company in defense of breach of contract, defamation and related claims
  • Represented local and national environmental and construction testing firms in defense of tortious interference and related claims
  • Represented international pharmaceuticals company in defense in thimersol litigation
  • Represented international oil refining company in defense of asbestos-related claims
  • Represented national manufacturing company in defense of patent infringement claims
  • Represented major local utility in defense of wrongful termination, malicious prosecution, and defamation claims
  • Represented major local utility in defense of discrimination claims by former employee
  • Represented international banking conglomerate in defense of various FINRA securities-related claims
  • Represented national health insurer in prosecution of antitrust and related claims
  • Represented out-of-state consulting firm in collection of foreign judgment
  • Represented international industrial services firm in prosecution of breach of fiduciary duty and theft of trade secrets claims
  • Represented multiple companies in prosecution and defense of mechanic's lien and related claims
  • Represented national value-added reseller of wireless technology in prosecution of breach of contract, tortious interference, and defamation claims
  • Represented collection firm in defense of Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
  • Represented international communications and advertising firm in restrictive covenant and breach of contract matters