Page is loading...
Print Logo Logo
James  Leonard

James J. Leonard



3340 Peachtree Rd NE
Suite 2900
Atlanta, GA 30326-1092

P 404-264-4060

F 404-264-4033

Jim Leonard focuses his practice in the areas of insurance coverage advice and litigation on behalf of policyholders. With a dedication to maximizing client coverage and recovery while minimizing expense, Jim is committed to ensuring each client he serves receives the full benefit of their insurance investment.


Jim Leonard focuses his practice in the areas of insurance coverage advice and litigation on behalf of policyholders. With a dedication to maximizing client coverage and recovery while minimizing expense, Jim is committed to ensuring each client he serves receives the full benefit of their insurance investment.

A trusted business adviser, formidable litigator and veteran insurance professional, Jim focuses on developing dispute resolution strategies that put his clients in a position to prevail when critical coverage is denied. Jim has assisted policyholders in recovering insurance proceeds in a wide variety of industries and professions. His experience includes airlines, auto parts, banking, technology, religious and nonprofit organizations, communications, construction, consumer products, credit management, hospitals, infrastructure, nursing home and long-term care facilities, paper and other forest products, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, physicians, property management, universities, and many others.

Jim also works with clients on their environmental insurance recovery efforts, with a particular emphasis on the recovery of insurance proceeds for environmental hazards such as pollution and asbestos. He has also assisted clients in addressing sophisticated insurance and indemnity issues in the course of mergers and acquisitions, and has helped with the formation and management of captive insurance companies. Moreover, Jim provides legal counsel to healthcare and life and health insurer clients on significant matters of law, including stranger-owned life insurance, ERISA, state regulatory and licensure issues, and general litigation.

Prior to private practice, Jim served as vice president, claims and general counsel for MAG Mutual Insurance Company in Atlanta, which is Georgia’s largest professional liability insurer. Having worked for many years as counsel for an insurance company, Jim knows the dynamics of the insurance business from the inside out, giving his clients today an advantage in discovery, depositions, settlement negotiation and at trial. Jim understands how insurance companies operate and what inherently drives their agenda. As a result, he is able to anticipate their next steps and apply the right strategy to counter that position.

After decades representing policyholders and working in-house for insurance companies, Jim is well-versed in the financial and even emotional impact of a coverage dispute. Level-headed, amiable and a dedicated professional, Jim is appreciated for defending policyholders faced with dire consequences in the event their insurance company fails them. He has resolved complex litigation involving practically every type of coverage and ranging in value from millions to hundreds of millions of dollars. Regardless of the size or difficulty of the matter, Jim seeks to understand his clients’ position and provide practical, considerate, effectual and aggressive advocacy that results in the financial recovery his clients deserve.

Prior to joining Barnes & Thornburg, Jim was a partner in the insurance recovery group at a large Atlanta-based law firm. He is a frequent speaker on insurance-related subjects around the country. 

Professional and Community Involvement

Co-chair, American Bar Association Construction Litigation Insurance Subcommittee

Certified arbitrator and general civil mediator, Georgia Supreme Court Commission on Dispute Resolution 


Georgia Top-Rated Lawyer, ALM Global

The Best Lawyers in America, 2015-2024

Martindale-Hubbell, AV Preeminent Attorney

Chambers USA, 2021-2023

Georgia Super Lawyers, 2022-2023

Fulton County Daily Report Lifetime Achievement Award


  • Represented a charitable foundation in an insurance coverage case involving consumer class action claims arising from client’s consumer credit counseling business.
  • Represented a church in a coverage case involving a massive ceiling collapse at their main sanctuary. On behalf of client, Mr. Leonard obtained full coverage for the loss after their property carrier had denied all coverage.
  • Represented a financial institution in a title insurance claim against title insurer for failing to pay losses and for failure to deliver clear title of large Georgia real estate development.
  • Represented a higher education institute in a coverage claim against their E&O and CGL carriers for claims of failure to educate and libel/slander. On behalf of client, Mr. Leonard obtained full defense and indemnity coverage.
  • Represented a national bottled water distributor in an insurance coverage case involving claims arising from water cooler fires.
  • Represented a national skilled nursing care facility corporation with facilities across the U.S. in matters involving the pursuit and recovery of insurance proceeds from insurer liquidations. On behalf of client, we have successfully recovered proceeds from a rehabilitation estate for their workers comp coverage and from their insurance broker for negligence associated with the issuance of Reliance policy. Additional representation has included the recovery of professional liability insurance proceeds for client from both primary and excess policies, either through litigation or negotiation, for over a decade from more than six different insurers. And we have advised client on the potential of securing their SIR (self-insured retention) through a captive insurance model.
  • Represented a private university in an insurance coverage case involving nationally-publicized defamation, invasion of privacy and libel claims against the university by members of one of its sports teams. On behalf of client, Mr. Leonard obtained full defense and indemnity coverage under client’s D&O, E&O and CGL policies.
  • Represented a religious charitable foundation in a coverage case arising from the alleged "takeover" of a higher education institute and resulting lawsuits against the Foundation and a host of others. On behalf of client, Mr. Leonard obtained full defense and indemnity for the case from the E&O and CGL carriers for the Foundation.
  • Represented MedAssets, a publicly-traded national provider of health care quality assurance and information technology services in a publicized summary judgment decision related to recovery of consequential damages for breach of insurance contract under Georgia law. This has become the leading case in Georgia on this issue (MedAssets vs. Federal Ins. Co.).
  • Represented a former high-profile outside director of a failed Georgia bank. When the bank failed, the FDIC brought suit against firm client and the other bank directors and officers seeking more than $20 million in damages. Travelers Insurance Company had issued a directors and officers liability (D&O) policy to the bank insuring up to $5 million in losses, including all defense expenses. Travelers initially refused to settle with the FDIC once it demanded the policy limits to settle, which then caused the FDIC to withdraw its demand. Following contentious negotiations with the FDIC and Travelers (including multiple bad faith demands to settle), Travelers agreed to pay, and the FDIC agreed to accept, the policy limits to settle--thereby protecting our client’s personal assets.
  • Represented, alongside attorneys from multiple firm offices, a major forest products/paper company in its historical legacy insurance recovery project, obtaining millions of dollars in insurance proceeds from solvent and insolvent insurance companies, both in the U.S. and abroad. The recovery efforts included payments from London-based and U.S. carriers who issued policies more than 50 years ago in some instances, and who have been insolvent for decades.
  • Represented a major plastics manufacturer in a federal court action involving insurance coverage claims against its insurance carrier. When the insurance carrier refused to pay all of our client’s business income losses covered under its policy to cover costs from a devastating roof collapse at a manufacturing facility, our client sued the carrier for breach of insurance contract and insurance bad faith. Before deposition discovery began, the insurance carrier sought mediation and on behalf of client, we obtained a favorable seven-figure settlement.
  • Represented, as part of the firm's Construction Law Practice Group, a Florida contractor that designs and installs window-wall products on high-rise buildings. The complex case involved breach of contract, acceleration and disruption claims arising out of the construction of a 28-story apartment building in downtown Chicago. The matter also involved insurance coverage disputes related to these claims, including litigation filed by on of the insurance carriers in Florida.  With respect to the construction claims, two separate lawsuits were filed and after resolving complex procedural hurdles before the courts, the matter proceeded to arbitration involving the project owner, general contractor and our client before the American Arbitration Association. During those proceedings, we were able to negotiate a favorable settlement for our client, including a significant payment. We then also resolved the insurance litigation pending in Florida on favorable terms for our client.
  • Author, "Georgia Supreme Court Significantly Broadens Duty to Preserve Evidence," The National Law Review, December 2015
  • Author, "Texas Supreme Court to Decide Key Coverage Question on Policyholders’ Rights," The National Law Review, July 2015
  • Author, "How Do Historically Low Reinsurance Rates Affect Historically Low Policyholder Satisfaction?," The National Law Review, April 2015
  • Author, "Eleventh Circuit Decision Epitomizes the Differing Standards of Justice Received by Insureds in State versus Federal Courts," The National Law Review, February 2015
  • Co-author, "A Negative Trend for Insureds: Federal Courts Apply Different Standards than State Courts when Determining Coverage," The National Law Review, February 2015
  • Author, "Vermont Supreme Court Strikes Down Ambassador in Liquidation 12/31 Bar Date," The National Law Review, January 2015
  • Author, "Soft Insurance Market," The National Law Review, November 2014
  • Author, "Reliance Insurance Co. Liquidation Claims: Recent Offers to Convert Claims to Cash," The National Law Review, January 2014
  • Co-author, "Is Your Company Sitting on Buried Treasure?," The Corporate Counselor Newsletter, p. 5; Vol. 25; No. 6, September 2011
  • "Q&A With Barnes & Thornburg's Jim Leonard," Law360, May 2011
Trending Connect
We use cookies on this site to enhance your user experience. By clicking any link on this page you are giving your consent for us to use cookies.