James S. Harkness


Jim's practice areas include commercial and business litigation, class actions, federal banking regulation disputes, manufacturing and distributor/subcontractor disputes, trade secret litigation, non-competition litigation, Uniform Commercial Code litigation, military contractor disputes, telecommunications, construction litigation, and employment law, at both the state and federal levels. Jim has participated in jury trials and conducted numerous bench trials, arbitrations and mediations in state and federal court to obtain favorable judgments and directed verdicts. His achievements include dismissal of claims against large corporate entities in the Illinois Supreme Court, dismissals and summary judgment rulings of all claims against large commercial clients in state and federal courts, enforcing copyright entitlements in federal court, obtaining a $900,000 judgment at trial, on counterclaim, with dismissal of all claims against venture capital client in federal court and dismissal of all claims in class action against a billion dollar business, and the successful defense of a manufacturer at trial. He is also a certified arbitrator in DuPage County, Illinois, as well as serving in numerous positions as Chairman of DuPage County Bar Association Committees and as a Director on the Board, and as Section Council on the Illinois State Bar Association. He previously was an active, invited member of the American Inns of Courts, DuPage Chapter.


Real Estate Litigation and Transactional Services
Intellectual Property Litigation and Transactional Services
Employment Litigation and Counseling
Class Action Defense
Commercial Litigation and Business Disputes
Creditors’ Rights and Bankruptcy

Memberships & Affiliations

  • DuPage County Bar Association
    • Business Law Committee Chairman, 2013-present
    • Director, 2014-present
    • Planning Committee Board Member, 2013-present
    • Professional Responsibility Committee Chairman, 2009-2011
    • Civil Law Practice Committee Chairman, 2008-2009
    • Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee Chairman, 2007-2008
  • Downers Grove Township Republican Organization
    • Elected Committeeman, Precinct 50, 2014-2017
  • Illinois State Bar Association
    • Section Council for Commercial Banking, Collections & Bankruptcy Law, 2011-present
    • ISBA Civil Practice Law Section Council, 2011-present
  • Lisle Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Little Friends of Naperville


  • Leading Lawyers Peer Selected, 2019-2023
  • Super Lawyers


June 12, 2023
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP Sponsors Habitat for Humanity's Annual Swing Fore Housing Golf Invitational
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP is proud to co-sponsor DuPage Habitat for Humanity's 15th Annual The Swing Fore Housing Applied Underwriters Invitational at Arrowhead Golf Club on June 27 in Wheaton, Illinois.

Chicago, Lisle, Libertyville, Madison County, January 11, 2021
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP Attorneys Named Leading Lawyers, Emerging Lawyers for 2021
Those designated Leading Lawyers were recommended by their peers to be among the top lawyers in Illinois.

Chicago, Lisle, Libertyville, Madison County, February 3, 2020
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP Attorneys Named Leading Lawyers, Emerging Lawyers for 2020
Those designated Leading Lawyers were recommended by their peers to be among the top lawyers in Illinois.

Chicago, December 16, 2019
Lateral Partner Joins Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP's Commercial Litigation Practice
Harkness focuses his practice on commercial litigation, manufacturing disputes, partnership and membership disputes, class action defense, intellectual property litigation, and real estate litigation.

  • Bar Admissions
  • Court Admissions
  • Education
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