Senior Counsel

James A. Bruton, III

James Bruton Photo

Jim Bruton concentrates in civil and criminal tax controversies and the defense of white-collar criminal cases.  Mr. Bruton has extensive experience handling administrative cases within the Internal Revenue Service, including individual, partnership, and corporate examinations, collection activity, penalties, appeals, injunctions, tax shelters, and the defense of tax practitioner sanctions.  He has tried and handled cases in the United States Tax Court, the United States Court of Federal Claims, and several U.S. district courts.  He has briefed and argued numerous cases in virtually all of the U.S. Courts of Appeals, including several en banc appeals.

Mr. Bruton's experience defending criminal cases initiated by the Internal Revenue Service includes prosecutions under Chapter 75 of the Internal Revenue Code; currency reporting cases under Title 31 of the United States Code; money laundering prosecutions and related asset forfeitures; and related federal criminal prosecutions.  In addition to Internal Revenue cases, he has successfully defended federal investigations and prosecutions involving Defense Department contracts, health care providers, securities, Customs reporting, and allegations of fraud, including civil and criminal RICO cases.

Born in Ottawa, Illinois, and raised in Ottawa and North Plainfield, NJ, Mr. Bruton graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1971.  He received his J.D. from the Temple University School of Law, where he was associate editor, Temple Law Quarterly, and his LL.M. in taxation from Georgetown University Law Center.  After Temple, Mr. Bruton joined the criminal tax division of the Internal Revenue Service’s Office of Chief Counsel before moving to the Department of Justice, where he spent four years as a trial attorney in the appellate section of the tax division.  He joined Williams & Connolly in 1981.

Mr. Bruton left the firm in September, 1989, after being appointed principal deputy assistant attorney general in the tax division at the Department of Justice.  He was named acting assistant attorney general of tax in 1992, returning to Williams & Connolly in May, 1993.

A fellow in the American College of Tax Counsel since 1994, Mr. Bruton has been active in the Tax Section of the American Bar Association, Civil and Criminal Tax Penalties and Special Projects Committees.  He is past Chair of the Tax Litigation Committee of the American Bar Association Litigation Section and is past Co-Chair of the Committee on Tax Audits and Litigation of the District of Columbia Bar.  Mr. Bruton has been identified as one of "Washington's Top Lawyers" by Washingtonian magazine every year since 2004 and by Best Lawyers, in the taxation category, every year since 2006.  Mr. Bruton received top rankings in tax fraud litigation in the 2013-2023 editions of Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business.



“Tax (Nationwide),” Chambers USA, 2011-2024

"Top Lawyer Hall of Fame," Washingtonian magazine, 2022

“Washington’s Top Lawyers,” in the category of Tax, Washingtonian magazine, 2017-2018

“Washington, D.C. Litigation and Controversy – Tax Lawyer of the Year,” The Best Lawyers in America ®, 2016 and 2018

Recognized as one of The Best Lawyers in America ®, 2006-2021

"Washington’s Best Lawyers," Washingtonian magazine, 2004-2015

“Ten Best Tax Lawyers,” Legal Times, July 2005


Other Government Service

Acting Assistant Attorney General, Tax Division, United States Department of Justice, 1992-1993

Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Tax Division, United States Department of Justice, 1989-1992

Trial Attorney, Appellate Section, Tax Division, United States Department of Justice, 1977-1981

Attorney, Criminal Tax Division, Office of Chief Counsel, Internal Revenue Service, 1975-1977

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