James M. Simpson



  • (501) 370-1520
  • simpson@fridayfirm.com
  • (501) 244-5360


Noted by Chambers USA for both his “business sense and rapport with a jury” and again, praised in Chambers as “a fine trial lawyer,” James M. Simpson heads Friday, Eldredge & Clark’s General Litigation Practice Group. Jim has tried more than 135 jury trials to verdict in business litigation and personal injury matters including business torts, product liability, toxic torts and class actions for Fortune 1000 and Fortune 500 companies. His experience across a broad array of industries has garnered him a national reputation in courts across the country, with his track record including the successful defense of a major pharmaceutical company in the largest case in Arkansas history to date.

Honored to have served as President of the Arkansas Bar Association, Jim has been noted by his peers as being “clever, tough, but never arrogant.” His skills and calm approach were apparent during his winning argument on the constitutionality of Arkansas’s electronic gaming law before the Arkansas Supreme Court. He was admitted to the International Academy of Trial Lawyers which is a group of elite trial Lawyers, representing both sides of the Bar. Fellowships are limited to 500 and include 30 different countries. Trial lawyers are invited to become Fellows only after an extremely careful vetting process.

Jim regularly represents major product manufacturers and suppliers as regional lead counsel. His civil litigation defense experience extends to complex litigation involving termination, unfair competition and other trade practices, antitrust, cooperatives and product distribution. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, Past President of the Arkansas Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates and has been consistently listed in The Best Lawyers in America and in Mid-South Super Lawyers as a Top 50 lawyer in Arkansas.


Best Lawyers Award Badge  Best Lawyers Award Badge


Key Matters

  • Defended a major pharmaceutical company in the largest case in Arkansas history to date.
  • Defended a major gas and electric company in a toxic tort case resulting in a jury verdict for the defense.
  • Defended a major retailer in a complex antitrust case, resulting in the voluntary dismissal of the case by the plaintiff during the trial.
  • Tried to verdict many complex business and personal injury cases statewide and regionally.
  • Represented a major public company in the defense of a multi-million dollar antitrust case in the United States District Court, resulting in a verdict in favor of the defendant on a counterclaim.
  • Defended an agricultural cooperative in an antitrust case in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas; the trial ended with the plaintiff's voluntary dismissal of its claim.
  • Represented a major retailer in several premises liability matters, all resulting in jury verdicts for the defense.
  • Represented a major hospital system in a health care antitrust case brought by a national hospital chain, resulting in judgment as a matter of law for our client.
  • Defended a national railroad in a highly publicized case challenging (within the context of a wrongful death case) the funding mechanisms and methods whereby railroad crossing protection is provided; the result was a jury verdict in favor of our client.
  • Defended in federal court a Fortune 500 company in a very significant antitrust case tried to a jury. The verdict was reversed and dismissed for our client on appeal.


  • University of Arkansas School of Law, J.D., 1977
  • Staff and Associate Editor, Arkansas Law Review, 1976—1977
  • University of Arkansas at Little Rock, B.A., cum laude, 1974


  • Past President of the Arkansas Bar Association
  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers
  • American Board of Trial Advocates, Past President, Arkansas Chapter
  • International Academy of Trial Lawyers
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America, Bet-the-Company Litigation; Commercial Litigation; First Amendment Law; Litigation - Antitrust; Media Law; Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants; since 1995
  • Named Local Litigation Star by Benchmark Litigation 2017
  • Publication: Insurance: The Products Hazard Exclusion Arkansas Law Review, Vol. 30, Fall, 1976
  • Publication: Contributing Author—Business Torts, A Fifty- State Guide
  • Ranked by Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, Litigation: General Commercial
  • Selected by attorney peers for inclusion in Mid-South Super Lawyers, since 2006; Top 50: Arkansas Super Lawyer List, 2014-present

Representative Clients

  • CenterPoint Energy/Arkla
  • CIGNA Property and Casualty Companies
  • Coca-Cola
  • Dillard's, Inc.
  • Federal Express Corporation
  • Fed Ex Ground
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Liberty Mutual Insurance Company
  • Megabus / Coach USA
  • Merck & Company, Inc.
  • Oaklawn Jockey Club, Inc.
  • Several Asbestos Defendants

Associations & Memberships

  • Arkansas Bar Association, President, 2013-2014
  • Arkansas Bar Association, House of Delegates and Tenured Delegate for Extended Service, Member, Board of Governors, 2001—2006
  • Arkansas Association of Defense Counsel, Charter Member and Former Secretary
  • American Bar Association, Litigation Section, Antitrust Section
  • American College of Trial Lawyers
  • American Board of Trial Advocates, Past President of State Chapter
  • DRI (formerly Defense Research Institute)
  • International Association of Defense Counsel, Chair of CLE Board
  • Phi Kappa Phi
  • Pulaski County Bar Association
  • Sigma Nu


  • Arkansas, 1977
  • United States Federal Court

Additional Links: 

2017 Chambers USA

Benchmark Litigation

Mid-South Super Lawyers

Best Lawyers in America