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James Brandon Lieber

Employment and labor Attorney at Pittsburgh, PA

5.0   2 reviews
  • Licensed for 48 years
    State PA
    Acquired 1975
    Active No misconduct found

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

About James

Learn James’s areas of practice.

Jim Lieber and his wife, Margie Hammer, founded this firm then known as Lieber & Hammer in 1981.  Since that time, he has represented over a thousand individual and business clients in a practice focused on employment discrimination, commercial litigation, civil rights, and constitutional law.

Mr. Lieber is a 1971 graduate of Princeton University, where he headed the Student Volunteer Tutoring Program at Trenton State Prison, was nominated to Phi Beta Kappa, received prizes for writing and research, was named a Woodrow Wilson Scholar, and was a Rhodes Scholarship Finalist.  At Princeton, his principle influences were the historians Martin Duberman and Arno Mayer and the writer Anthony Burgess.  In 1972-1973, he served as an organizer with the United Farmworkers Union (UFW AFL-CIO) in California.  Mr. Lieber graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1975.  At Penn, his legal and writing careers were impacted by studying under pioneering Professors David Rudovsky and Martha Field in civil rights and discrimination law, and Professor Marvin Wolfgang, then the nation’s leading criminologist.  Mr. Lieber also had the rare privilege of giving a course for credit to fellow students and received the Law Students Civil Rights and Research Council award.

Following law school, Mr. Lieber served as a Staff Attorney at Community Legal Services (CLS) of Philadelphia and a Trial Attorney at the Bucks County (PA) Public Defender’s Office.  While at Lieber & Hammer, Mr. Lieber also served as the Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Pittsburgh and as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Pittsburgh Law School, where he taught constitutional subjects.

Mr. Lieber’s clients have prevailed at every level of the state and federal court systems, from magistrate and trial courts, to courts of appeal, and supreme courts.  He has represented individuals and businesses in a host of complex claims, including anti-trust, fraud, construction defects, discrimination, retaliation, False Claims Act/Qui Tam, bid-rigging, false advertising, racketeering, scientific misconduct, academic freedom, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, due process, bad faith, professional negligence, habeas corpus, and homicide.  Following successful verdicts or settlements, many of Mr. Lieber’s clients also have received their attorney’s fees and costs from their opponents.  Mr. Lieber twice has appeared before the United States Supreme Court, successfully arguing Fiore v. White in 1999.  Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg utilized this case as a basis for her dissent in Bush v. Gore.  Mr. Lieber also has conducted class action litigation on age, race, due process, sexual orientation, and securities issues.  In 2003, Mr. Lieber was elected to the Academy of Trial Lawyers of Allegheny County, the region’s pre-eminent organization of civil litigation attorneys.

Mr. Lieber’s service to the profession has included membership on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Criminal Procedural Rules Committee, the Allegheny County Bar Association Judicial Nominating Committee, and the Special Panel of the Bench and Bar of the Federal District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania on the allocation of statutory attorney’s fees.  A frequent lecturer on legal topics and legal educator to attorneys, his subjects have included employment law, civil rights, environmental law, motions practice, evidence, and cross-examination.  Mr. Lieber has been named a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer in the area of employment law and a Legal Network Top Lawyer in Pennsylvania.

Since law school, Mr. Lieber also has pursued an active writing career, contributing articles on an array of topics on law and society, including crime, prisons, street gangs, trials, drug trafficking, sentencing, financial fraud, industry, labor, and bioethics to a host of publications, including The Atlantic MonthlyThe New York Times MagazineThe Saturday Evening PostThe NationMother JonesThe Village Voice, The Washington PostThe Philadelphia InquirerNewsdayPittsburgh Post-GazettePittsburgh Magazine, and Social Policy.  His books include Friendly Takeover: How an Employee Buyout Saved a Steel Town (Viking Penguin), which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in the General Nonfiction category; and Rats in the Grain: The Dirty Tricks and Trials of Archer Daniels Midland (Basic Books), which was serialized in Regardies Magazine and became the basis for the feature documentary The Rats Below.  Mr. Lieber’s recent writing projects include covering the financial crisis for The Village Voice and the Kids for Cash judicial scandal in Pennsylvania for Social Policy.  In 2015 he published a new book Killer Care: How Medical Error Became America’s Third Largest Cause of Death, and What Can Be Done About It (OR Books).  Podcasts of radio interviews with Mr. Lieber on this important topic can be found at  and 


Silver Client Champion
AV Preeminent Peer Review Rating


James Brandon Lieber
Lieber & Hammer
1722 Murray Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA, 15217


5.0 / 5.0
  2 customer reviews
5 Star
4 Star
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1 Star
Posted by Alan | February 26, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Superb in every way.
I hired Jim Lieber a number of years ago in regard to an education work-place discrimination matter that touched on any number of intricate points tied to the school’s standards/politics/contracts/personalities. Jim proved masterful at bringing justice to the situation. He was able to air the details that proved greatly (and appropriately) embarrassing to the opposing side while couching all such information within the proper legal/contractual framework to maximize the effectiveness of the complaints I was raising before all the right authorities. For anyone facing a work-place situation they think may be worth addressing legally, I cannot imagine a better attorney to have than Jim Lieber.
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Posted by Jane | February 22, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
James Lieber
hired Mr. Lieber and his firm to help with both a professional and financially devastating situation involving my employment. Mr. Lieber’s dedication and leadership in solving my dilemma with my best interest at heart meant so much as we journeyed through a difficult process. Mr. Lieber and his entire staff were quick to communicate with me and handled each and every situation with great care and professionalism. I would not hesitate to recommend James Lieber and his firm to anyone.
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AVVO RATING 9.9 (Superb)

Work Experience

  • Founding Partner
  • Lieber & Hammer
  • 1981 - Present
  • Adjunct Professor
  • University Of Pittsburgh Law School
  • 1986 - 1988
  • Executive Director
  • American Civil Liberties Union
  • 1982 - 1988
  • Trial Attorney
  • Buck's County Public Defender's Office
  • 1977 - 1980
  • Staff Attorney
  • Community Legal Services Philadelphia, Pa
  • 1975 - 1977
View all work experience


  • University of Pennyslvania
  • JD - Juris Doctor
  • 1975
  • Princeton University
  • AB - Bachelor of Arts
  • 1971

Sample of Legal Cases

  • Fiore v. White
  • Successfully argued


  • Caplan-Lieber Human Rights Scholarship Award Committee
  • Honoary Chair
  • 2011 - Present
  • Academy of Trial Lawyers of Allegheny County
  • Member
  • 2003 - Present
  • National Employment Lawyers Association
  • Member
  • N/A
  • Pennsylvania Bar Institute
  • Member
  • N/A
  • Allegheny County Bar Association
  • Member
  • N/A
  • Allegheny County Bar Association, Judicial Selection Committee
  • Member
  • 2002 - 2010
View all associations

Languages Spoken

  • English
  • Spanish

Honors and Awards

  • Top 100 Labor & Employment Lawyer in Pennsylvania
  • The American Society Of Legal Advocates
  • 2017
  • AV Rated
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • 2016
  • Top Lawyers in Pennsylvania
  • The Legal Network
  • 2015
  • Super Lawyer
  • Pennsylvania Super Lawyers
  • 2008
  • Super Lawyer
  • Pennsylvania Super Lawyers
  • 2007
  • Super Lawyer
  • Pennsylvania Super Lawyers
  • 2006
  • Super Lawyer
  • Pennsylvania Super Lawyers
  • 2005
  • Friendly Takeover - Nominated in General Non-Fiction Category
  • Pulitzer Prize
  • 1996
View all awards


  • Social Policy
  • Medical Error
  • 2016
  • OR Books
  • Killer Care: How Medical Error Became America's Third Largest Cause of Death and What Can Be Done About it
  • 2015
  • Social Policy
  • Kids For Cash
  • 2012
  • Basic Books
  • Rats in the Grain: The Dirty Tricks and Trials of Archer Daniels Midland
  • 2002
  • Viking Penguin
  • Friendly Takeover: How an Employee Buyout Saved a Steel Town
  • 1996
View all publications

Speaking Engagements

  • PBI Seminar
  • Section 1983 Litigation
  • 2015

Attorney endorsements

Received (3)
Given (1)
Endorse James
Business Attorney | Mar 08
Relationship: Worked for lawyer
"I worked on several matters with Jim and always marveled at his ability to successfully breathe new life into cases that others had left for dead."
Employment and labor Attorney | Feb 24
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Jim is and always has been my go to lawyer on discrimination case referals. He brings both itellectual heft and and a dogged determination to get the best result for his client. And the clients I have referred to him speak highly about how much he cares about them and their case."
Personal injury Attorney | Apr 22
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"I endorse this lawyer's work. Very cerebral. Truly respected among legal comunity including federal judges. Tenacious as a litigator, but with charm. Very effective trial lawyer and very respected by defense lawyers."
Medical malpractice

Avvo Contributions

This attorney hasn't created any legal answers in Q&A or legal guides recently on Avvo.

Pittsburgh Employment and labor Lawyer James Brandon Lieber
James Brandon Lieber
Employment and labor Attorney
Pittsburgh, PA
Licensed for 48 years