James F. Jorden
Personal Information
  • Address:
    1025 Thomas Jefferson Street
    Suite 400 W
    Washington, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 20007 United States
  • Phone:
    202 230 5208
  • Cell:
    305 733 2500
  • Email:
  • Attorney:
  • Education:
    Dickinson College, B.A.
    George Washington University Law School, LLM
Work Experience
  • Insurance Company: 14 years.
    Legal Department: 14 years. Supervising General Counsel
Breakdown of Experience
  • Life
  • Long Term Disability
  • Financial Guarantee
  • Healthcare
By Market
  • U.S. Market:
  • U.K. Market:

Insurance vs. Reinsurance: 85/15%
Treaty vs. Facultative Reinsurance: 90/10%
Former Insurance or Reinsurance Company Officer

Arbitration Experience

Number of Arbitrations

As Outside Counsel: 7

Lead Counsel Experience
Number of Arbitrations
Acted as Lead Counsel through the organizational meeting or the arbitration has only reached this stage and the resolution of significant pre-hearing motions.
Acted as Lead Counsel through to an evidentiary hearing of at least three full days regarding the substantive merits of the parties' dispute.


Jim Jorden has more than forty years of experience addressing the business and legal issues impacting the U.S. life insurance market and regulatory structure. Jim began his career in the Washington office of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan and was a partner there for the first 12 years of his career. His early focus was on the regulatory and legal issues for the life insurance industry, including federal tax, securities, and state regulatory issues.

In that early period, he was involved in the creation and development of numerous fixed and variable insurance products – representing several different companies before the SEC, the IRS and other federal and state regulators. Early in his career, he was responsible as counsel for the development and registration of some of the first variable annuity and life insurance policies.

In the mid 1980’s, Jim became the general counsel for a multi-national life insurance company, American Bankers Life Assurance Company, its parent, ABIG and its sister P&C company, American Bankers Insurance Company. While serving in those roles for the next 17 years, Jim came to understand and appreciate both the importance and the complexity of reinsurance for both life and P&C insurers.

During this same period, Jim also became a founding partner in a law firm, Jorden Burt, that was established and dedicated primarily to serving the insurance industry. He continued in that role for the next 30 years until his retirement as a partner and Co-Chair of the Insurance Industry Group with the international firm of Faegre Drinker in February of 2022.


The following is a summary and a few examples of Jim’s representations in transactions, litigation and regulatory issues.

1. Counsel on numerous financings, private placements and debt offerings of securities for life insurers and their affiliates, including structuring of public offerings, NYSE listings and related tax, securities and state regulatory issues.

2. Assisting life companies in evaluating, developing and registering new forms of annuity and life products, and their associated SEC, state insurance law and federal tax implications, such as (a) the first variable annuity and life insurance policies to use non-proprietary mutual funds in separate accounts; (b) various forms of “MVA” annuities, various forms of index annuities and separate account variable life and variable annuity products; (c) development of insurance products for the employee benefit plan market.

3. M&A counsel on numerous acquisitions, dispositions and reorganizations of life insurers and subsidiaries. Served as counsel to Maine Insurance Department for the analysis, hearings and rulings on the proceedings for the first life insurance de-mutualization (UNUM Life) and counsel to subsequent de-mutualization clients.

4. Counsel on numerous state regulatory examinations and related issues, including: multi-state sales practice, financial and other regulatory examinations, re-domestications and regulatory disputes for client life insurers.

5. Serving as counsel for planning and implementation of reinsurance programs for existing and new life insurance, annuities and other benefit policies.

6. Assisting in the transfer and conversion of association group life and health insurance with complicated reinsurance group policies in a merger transaction.

7. Serving as umpire in ARIAS arbitration.

8. Evaluating issues associated with merger/acquisition transaction involving multiple and complicated treaties.

9. Serving as counsel to insurers and reinsurers in multiple different arbitrations involving both life and casualty reinsurance treaty disputes.

10. Lead defense counsel on more than 20 class actions for 12 different life insurers involving alleged fraud in the sale of “vanishing premium” life insurance policies.

11. Counsel on internal investigation (and as required, subsequent representation in state proceedings) relating to regulatory and personnel issues for client life insurers.

12. Lead counsel in six different class actions for three different life insurers alleging improper annuity sale practices.

13. Obtained verdict in favor of life insurer client in the first national class action tried to a jury verdict in the United States in action seeking over five billion in damages.

14. Lead counsel for a coalition of life insurance industry IMO’s and brokers in litigation to overturn the DOL’s effort to develop a new definition of “fiduciary”.


Jim is the past Chair of the Employee Benefits Committee of the ABA’s Tort, Trial and insurance Practice Section and Chair of the Subcommittee on ERISA Litigation of the ABA’s Business Law Section. He is the initial and primary author of the Handbook on ERISA Litigation, the first treatise to address the field of ERISA and litigation – a text frequently cited for authority by federal courts in ERISA cases.

Jim has written numerous articles and is a frequent speaker on panels for the life insurance industry. He has represented the American Council of Life Insurers in amicus briefs before the Supreme Court and various federal appeals courts addressing important life insurance issues.

Jim is an ARIAS qualified arbitrator available to serve as party-appointed or umpire in reinsurance arbitrations and particularly well qualified for arbitrations involving the reinsurance of life insurance company policies.