Larry James has been at the heart of the Columbus business, legal, civic, and political scene for the last thirty years. He is a respected litigator, as well as an advisor to local and national leaders. In recognition of his many achievements, the law firm changed its name from Crabbe, Brown, Jones, Potts & Schmidt to Crabbe, Brown & James in January 2001.
He has experience in many practice areas but is an expert in business and corporate law, general defense litigation, and employment law. Larry works with clients to navigate Ohio’s administrative agencies and their complex rules and regulations. Larry is a life member of the Sixth Circuit Judicial Conference, and he has served as General Counsel of the National Fraternal Order of Police since 2001, which represents 365,000 members nationwide.
In addition to his role as Crabbe, Brown & James’ Managing Partner, Larry is Co-Founder of the African American Leadership Academy, which is dedicated to increasing the number of African American leaders in central Ohio. Previously, Larry served as President of the Lincoln Theatre Association Board and President of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Performing & Cultural Arts, as well as a Board Trustee for the Greater Columbus Arts Council, Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, and Columbus Urban League. He also helped establish the Columbus Bar Association’s minority clerkship program
Mr. James’ leadership in arts advocacy and civil rights has led him to be recognized with numerous awards over the years. Recently, Larry was honored with the Columbus Bar Association’s Professionalism Award in recognition of his long history of exemplifying the highest standards in the legal field. In addition, Larry and his wife, Donna James, were presented with the 2022 Harrison M. Sayre Award presented by the Columbus Foundation in recognition of their incredible generosity and philanthropic contribution to central Ohio.
Crabbe, Brown & James – Managing Partner
Life Member of the Sixth Circuit Judicial Conference
General Counsel to the National Fraternal Order of Police
Crabbe, Brown & James – Partner
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General Counsel to the Ohio FAIR Plan
General Counsel to USA Track & Field Board of Directors
State of Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles – Hearing Examiner
The Columbus Post – Columnist
City of Columbus, Ohio Department of Public Safety – Safety Director
City of Columbus, Ohio – Assistant City Attorney
City of Cleveland, Ohio – Assistant Law Director & Commissioner of Air Pollution Control
Board Member of Franklin County Guardianship Services
Trustee of the Kenyon College Board
Chair United Way Tocqueville
Chair of Harlem Renaissance 100 Year Celebration for the City of Columbus
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President of the Lincoln Theatre Association Board
Board Member Cleveland Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Founder & Chair of the African American Leadership Academy
Board of Trustees Greater Columbus Arts Council
President Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Performing & Cultural Arts
Co-Chair Neighborhood School Development Partnership for the Columbus Public Schools
Board of Trustees Columbus Museum of Art
Board Member Rickenbacker Port Authority
Board of Trustees Greater Columbus Convention & Visitors Bureau
Board of Trustees Columbus Zoo
Board of Directors Contemporary American Theater Company (CATCO)
Member Ohio Supreme Court’s Board of Bar Examiners
Board of Trustees Columbus Urban League
Board of Trustees Veteran’s Memorial
Chairman Ohio Elections Commission
Awards & Honors
The Columbus Foundation’s Harrison M. Sayre Award
Columbus Bar Association’s Professionalism Award
Honoree of the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts (CAPA) Gala Celebration
Legacy Honoree of Sankofa: Celebration of Leadership
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Best Lawyers in Central Ohio
- For his extensive practice in Administrative/Regulatory Law and Business Organizations
- “Lawyer of the Year” in 2019 for Administrative/Regulatory Law
National Black Lawyers Top 100
Columbus CEO Top Lawyers List
Super Lawyers List
National Fraternal Order of Police President’s Award
Cleveland-Marshall Law Hall of Fame Inductee
Columbus Metropolitan Library Foundation Julian Sinclair Smith Celebration of Learning Award
Ohio Civil Rights Commissioners’ Community Spirit Award
Columbus Museum of Art 2018 Art Celebration Award
Greater Columbus Arts Council Partner Award
Lincoln Theatre Association Walk of Fame Inductee
Selected to serve on Magistrate Judge Selection Committee by the U.S. District Court
United States Court of Appeals First, Fourth, Sixth, Seventh, and Ninth Circuits
United States Supreme Court
United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio
United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
Notable Publications, Significant Cases & Seminars
Secured favorable outcome for an Ohio doctor in administrative hearing in front of the State Medical Board of Ohio. (White v. State Medical Board of Ohio, No. 20-CRF-0176).
Represented the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities in the Southern District of Ohio in a class-action suit involving the ADA and Medicaid Act (Ball, et al. v. Kasich, et al.; Case No. 2:16-cv-282).
Represented the Ohio Veterans and Fraternal Charitable Coalition in statutory interpretation matter appealed to Ohio Supreme Court (OVFCC, et al. v. DeWine, et al.; Case No. 2019-0016).
Represented the City of Columbus Police Department Vice Unit in the Southern District of Ohio in a § 1983 suit alleging constitutional violations by Stephanie Clifford a.k.a. Stormy Daniels (Clifford v. Keckley, et al.; Case No. 2:19-cv-00119).See More Notable Publications, Significant Cases & Seminars
Won summary judgment on behalf of the City of Columbus Police Department Vice Unit in the Southern District of Ohio in a § 1983 case asserting various constitutional violations (Icon Entertainment Group a.k.a. Kahoots v. Rosser, et al., Case No. 2:20-cv-101).
Represented multiple applicants to Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Control Program in Chapter 119 administrative appeals before the Ohio Department of Commerce including the successful appeal resulting in the award of a license in In re CannaMed Therapeutics Processing, LLC; MMCP-P-2017-0084.
Represented several members of the Ohio State football team during the 2010 and 2011 events known as “tattoogate.” This included representing Terrelle Pryor, DeVier Posey, Boom Herron, Mike Adams, and other Ohio State players in the NCAA’s investigation into allegations that the college athletes had received improper benefits, including allegations that a number of players had traded football memorabilia for tattoos.
Presentation and Speaking Engagements
America Out Loud – College Athletes Can Now Monetize “Name, Image and Likeness” (October 17, 2022).
The Federalist Society – Police Recording Laws. (August 30, 2022).
National Fraternal Order of Police 2022 Labor Summit – Panel Discussion on the Pitfalls, Defenses, and Politics of Representing Law Enforcement Officers (February 2021 – Las Vegas, Nevada).
Ohio Personnel Board of Review – “Social media: Navigating a Changing Legal World, Best Practices.” (May 18, 2022)
Testified before the Illinois Constitutional Rights and Remedies Task Force regarding qualified immunity. (October 2021)
Presents Biennial Reports as General Counsel for the National FOP highlighting and providing guidance on the current status of pending cases, legislations, and discussions that have the potential to impact police officers responsibilities and duties. (Last Biennial National Conference August 15-20, 2021).
Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Forum – “Police, To Serve and Protect.” (June 2, 2021 – Columbus, Ohio).
National Fraternal Order of Police 2021 Legal Counselor Seminar and Labor Summit – “Ethical Considerations for Attorneys Representing Law Enforcement” (March 2021 – Las Vegas, Nevada).
Virtual Plenary Session on Police Disciplinary Arbitrations: The Problem or the Solution? – American Bar Association Labor and Employment Law Section 14th Annual Program (November 13, 2020).
Civil Rights: Modern Quandaries of Law Enforcement – Federalist Society 2020 National Lawyers Convention (November 11, 2020).
Qualified Immunity under the United States Constitution and Official Immunity under New Hampshire Law – The New Hampshire Supreme Court Society (October 28, 2020).
Protecting Police: Is Qualified Immunity Unjust? – Federalist Society Cornell Student Chapter (October 1, 2020).
Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Forum: Racism – “Where Do We Go From Here? Policing In the Community: Does the Past Dictate the Future? (August 19, 2020 – Columbus, Ohio)
Police Unions, Practically Speaking – Federalist Society Labor and Employment Practice Group, Teleforum Presentation (July 21, 2020)
Zoom Meeting with the Atlanta Community (July 2020)
Tim May Podcast (June 9, 2020)
Participant in conversations with community leaders in Columbus, Ohio including the Franklin County Commissioner’s Meeting and the Columbus Urban League. (Also featured in the Columbus Dispatch and Bloomberg Law).
National Fraternal Order of Police 2020 Legal Counselor Seminar and Labor Summit – “Creating a List of Subject Matter Experts and Individual Strategies to Respond to Crisis Situations and Interact with the Press.” (March – Las Vegas, Nevada)
Co-sponsored United Way of Central Ohio – “A Conversation with Urban Meyer, Archie Griffin and Gene Smith,” (August 2019, Ohio).
The Ohio State University’s Real Life Wednesday Program – Navigating the various court, administrative, and political systems that work to entrap young adults. (March 2019 – Columbus, Ohio).
Spearheaded the fundraising efforts for the Columbus Museum of Art to honor Aminah Robinson’s legacy through the preservation of her home to serve as a site for future artist residencies.
Instrumental in the City Council’s decision to adopt a ticket tax to raise funds to support the arts in Columbus and he led the citywide celebration of the centennial of the Harlem Renaissance to the delight of residents and visitors to the city at events all year
Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Juris Doctor, 1977
Wittenberg University, B.A. Political Science, 1974