James I. Glasser, Esquire

2020 American Inns of Court Professionalism Award for the Second Circuit

For James Glasser, Esquire, being a lawyer is a family affair. His grandfather went to Brooklyn Law School. His father—still working as a federal judge at age 97—went to Brooklyn Law. His mother did too. His brother is also a lawyer, although he did not go to Brooklyn. “The family still has not forgiven him,” laughs Glasser, who earned his own law degree at the school in 1985.

Glasser has been a partner at the Connecticut law firm Wiggin and Dana LLP since 2007 and head of its litigation department since 2012. From 2010 to 2013, he chaired the firm’s white collar and investigations practice group.

“I hold our profession in the highest regard,” says Glasser, the husband of a former lawyer and father of two daughters, one of whom is a lawyer. “Being a lawyer is a noble mission.”

As a trial lawyer and appellate advocate, Glasser represents individuals and corporations in complex civil litigation and in investigations and prosecutions conducted by state and federal regulators, including the U.S. Department of Justice, Securities and Exchange Commission, Department of State, Department of Commerce, and state attorneys general. He also conducts internal investigations and helps companies ensure compliance with the law.

“I have been involved in helping predominantly defense contractors and private companies make sure they have robust systems in place so they do not find themselves subject to investigation by some regulatory authority,” Glasser says. “A call to me is a sign that a company wants to do the right thing and ensure compliance. That is music to my ears.”

Another of his specialties is defending white collar cases, such as mail and wire fraud and alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Glasser teaches trial practice at Yale Law School. In these “days of the vanishing trial,” he says, it is gratifying to see students go from not understanding the basics to becoming proficient at skills such as getting pieces of evidence into evidence and conducting cross-examinations.

Before joining Wiggin and Dana, Glasser spent almost two decades as a federal prosecutor for the U.S. attorney’s office for the District of Connecticut, handling cases involving corruption, fraud, civil rights violations, money laundering, violent crime, drug trafficking, and other federal offenses. The case he remembers most proudly was the investigation and prosecution of the murder of an eight-year-old boy and his mother to prevent the child from testifying as a witness.   

His roles at the U.S. attorney’s office included counsel to the U.S. attorney, chief of the criminal division, and chief of appeals. That background serves Glasser well in his current role.

“Knowing where the prosecution is coming from and what their point of view might be is helpful background as I vigorously and aggressively represent those who may be subject to government scrutiny,” he says. Glasser also lectured frequently at the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Advocacy Center and helped create its advanced trial advocacy course.

Glasser is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and serves as the organization’s state chair for Connecticut. He is a member of the Federal Bar Council and a member of the board of editors of the Federal Bar Council Quarterly. He was the first recipient of the Connecticut Law Tribune’s Professional Excellence Award in 2015.

In addition to his service to the legal community, Glasser is president of the board of CT Star, a nonprofit organization that supports Connecticut’s Support Court initiative, which helps current and former criminal defendants with substance use problems reintegrate into their communities. In addition to raising money for various programs, Glasser and his fellow volunteers gather clothing that participants can wear to job interviews and conduct mock interviews designed to help participants answer difficult questions, such as whether they have a felony conviction.

“It is just a way to support this wonderful effort undertaken by dedicated federal judges in Connecticut to try not just to imprison people but help folks on the wrong end of the law,” he says. He also serves on the regional board of the Anti-Defamation League.

“Jim has always been a student of the law, and the person to whom other lawyers—young and old—turn to for advice,” says Joseph W. Martini, Esquire, of Spears Manning & Martini LLC, who wrote in support of Glasser’s nomination for the award. “He simply makes other lawyers better.”