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James S. Harkness

About James Harkness

About me

Summary Statement

Jim is a resident of Lisle and a commercial litigation attorney with Momkus McCluskey.  He handles business matters of all sorts and is headquartered in Lisle, with an additional Chicago office.  Jim is a partner and one of 23 attorneys affiliated with the firm.  Part of a group founded by former Chicago and in-house attorneys twenty years ago, Jim is equipped to handle state and federal court matters from pre-litigation through trial and appeal in a cost-effective and efficient manner.  Jim is a member of the Federal Trial Bar for the Northern District of Illinois, has tried cases in State and Federal Court and handled appeals before both the State and Federal Appellate Courts.  In addition to litigation, Jim participates in virtually all aspects of Business, Corporate and Employment Law from contracts, real estate litigation, business succession and dissolution, Intellectual Property (copyrights, trademarks and patents), and landfill litigation.  Jim has also been appointed a Special Assistant State's Attorney by the County of Kendall of Illinois.  A number of aspects about Momkus McCluskey make the firm unique.  For example, the 23 attorney staff is large enough to comfortably handle all of the firm's clients' needs under one roof, obviating the need to "attorney-shop" when presented with diverse kinds of legal issues.  At the same time, the firm is not so big that a client would fall through the cracks or lack individual attention.  The firm is also unique in that the attorneys believe in forging close relationships with their clients, working together with clients in a "team approach" and serving not only as lawyers, but as counselors and valuable resources as well.  Also, the size of the firm and the wealth of knowledge and experience of its attorneys, coupled with its Lisle location, allow Momkus McCluskey to offer the "big city" quality of large Chicago firms, but at suburban rates.  The attorneys strive to keep legal fees down by working closely with clients, creating and sticking to budgets, and self-auditing every bill before it goes out.


Selected to Super Lawyers

Consecutive peer review and selected Illinois Rising Stars 2010 & 2011

Bio/Professional URL:


About James S. Harkness

Special Licenses/Certifications:

Advanced Arbitrator Training, 18th Judicial Circuit, 2006.


Bar/Professional Activity:

Admitted United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois; Northern District of Illinois Federal Trial Bar; United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit; United States District Court, District of Colorado; United States District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin; Supreme Court of Illinois


DuPage County Bar Association Past and Current Chairman Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee, 2007-08; Chairman of Civil Law & Practice Committee, 2008-09; Chairman of Professional Responsibility Committee, Current.


2011 Nominated Commercial Banking, Collections & Bankruptcy Law Section Counsel, Illinois State Bar Association.


Lisle Area Chamber of Commerce General Counsel and Executive Board Member.


Other Outstanding Achievements:

Appointed Special Assistant State's Attorney for the County of Kendall, Illinois; Appointed General Counsel for the Lisle Area Chamber of Commerce.  Published opinions include: Nielson v. Dickerson, 307 F.3d 623 (7th Cir., Oct. 9, 2002); Nielson v. Dickerson Nos. 00-2780, 00-2781, 2002 WL 31255777 (7th Cir. Oct. 9, 2002); In re Jackson, 1999 WL 703093 (Bankr. N.D.Ill., 1999); Pikes v. Riddle, 38 F.Supp.2d 639 (N.D.Ill. 1998); Miller v. Wexler & Wexler, 1998 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1382 (N.D.Ill. Feb. 5, 98); Cemail v. Viking Dodge, Inc.; 982 F.Supp. 1296 (N.D.Ill. Oct 28. 97); Cemail v. Viking Dodge, Inc., 1997 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17071 (N.D.Ill. Oct. 28, 97); Hobson v. Lincoln Insurance Agency, Inc., 2000 WL 1279334 (N.D.Ill. 2000).  Jim also argued before the Illinois Appellate Court for Second District regarding a novel issue involving a case of first impression under the Illinois Home Repair and Remodeling Act, decision pending, and ultimately went to the Illinois Supreme Court.


Educational Background:

Jim received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Philosophy from Valparaiso University in 1993 and also studied in Cambridge, England. He received his Juris Doctor degree from Valparaiso University School of Law in 1996. While attending Valparaiso University School of Law, Jim was a legal intern for both the Chief General Counsel for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and also the Plymouth, Indiana, City Attorney, where he assisted in the representation of federal, state and local government agencies. Mr. Harkness was also appointed to the Valparaiso University School of Law Legal Services Clinic where he provided pro bono representation to victims of domestic violence.