James Dittmar

James S. Dittmar

Retired Partner
James S. Dittmar


Goodwin is mourning the loss of our former partner, James Dittmar, who passed away on January 3, 2024, at the age of 79.

Jim was born in Mount Lebanon, PA. He went to Amherst College where he served as student body President and graduated magna cum laude as “First Citizen” as a member of the Amherst class of 1966.

After finishing his law degree in 1973, Jim began a remarkable career as a trial lawyer. He started at Goodwin, Procter, and Hoar, leaving the week they made him partner to start a new firm, Berman, Dittmar, and Engel. He then moved to Widett, Slater, and Goldman, headed their litigation practice, and led 29 lawyers to migrate to Hutchins, Wheeler, and Dittmar. In his final years of practice, Jim returned to Goodwin before retiring at 70.

Jim brought creativity and intellectual dexterity to his work as a civil litigator. He was an ambitious perfectionist. He wrote brilliant briefs, leading staff through sometimes excruciating rounds of detailed outlines. Above all, he relished the performance and improvisation of oral arguments; one judge called him a peacock. He became a nationally recognized securities law expert, defending mutual fund companies in class action lawsuits. He tried a broad array of civil cases ranging from railroad disasters to synthetic diamond theft, to a dispute involving the world's greatest private collection of rare books. However, Jim was most proud of his appearance before the US Supreme Court representing minority firefighters in Boston Firefighters Union, Local 718 v. Boston Chapter, NAACP, where he advocated for diversity hiring protection in the Boston Fire Department.

Jim was not just a Goodwin legend, he was a legend within the national legal community. He was a mentor and inspiration to generations of lawyers. 




Harvard Law School

(cum laude)

Master of Science1967

The London School of Economics and Political Science


Amherst College

(magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa)


U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Honorable John F. Dooling, Jr.



  • Massachusetts


  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts