James Rehnquist

James C. Rehnquist

Retired Partner
James C. Rehnquist
+1 617 570 1820

Jim Rehnquist, a retired partner in Goodwin's White Collar Defense practice, is a trial lawyer and former federal prosecutor. He specializes in complex civil litigation and white collar criminal defense, including the representation of corporations and individuals in internal investigations and in investigations by the DOJ, SEC and other governmental agencies. Mr. Rehnquist is annually recognized as one of Massachusetts’ leading white collar crime attorneys by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, which described him as “great trial lawyer and super jury-friendly.”


His recent representations include:

  • Two nationwide pharmacy chains in health care fraud investigations by HHS/OIG and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in New Jersey, the Eastern District of Michigan and the Southern District of Florida
  • A commercial real estate loan servicer in civil RICO litigation in state and federal trial and appellate courts in Chicago
  • A nationwide transportation company in numerous class and mass actions and Attorney General investigations in St. Louis, New York, Boston, North Dakota, New Hampshire and Maine arising out of alleged misclassification of independent contractors
  • A New York cosmetic company in a class action alleging misclassification of employees as independent contractors in federal court in Los Angeles
  • A Boston technology company in a wage-hour class action in federal court in Los Angeles
  • A Boston defense contractor in a False Claims Act action in federal court in Boston
  • A plaintiff travel company in a trademark infringement trial in federal court in Boston (jury found defendant liable)
  • A construction executive in a federal criminal bribery and RICO trial in Springfield, MA (defendant found not guilty on all counts)
  • A Silicon Valley semiconductor equipment manufacturer in a trade secret action in federal court in San Jose against a Chinese competitor
  • The CFO of a publicly traded company in a securities fraud trial in the District of New Hampshire
  • A pharmaceutical company sales executive in a criminal investigation by the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York based on alleged off-label marketing and anti-kickback law violations
  • The CEO of a mutual fund company in an SEC enforcement action in the Southern District of New York based on alleged "market timing" in the company's funds

Professional Activities

Mr. Rehnquist has served as an adjunct professor at Boston University School of Law, where he designed and taught a full-credit seminar titled Federal Criminal Justice.

Professional Experience

Mr. Rehnquist has been at Goodwin since 1988, excluding four years (1994-1998) when he served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts. During his years as a federal prosecutor, working in both the Economic Crimes Unit and Organized Crime Strike Force Unit of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston, Mr. Rehnquist investigated and prosecuted a wide variety of complex business crimes, including fraud, tax, public corruption, trademark and racketeering cases. He had numerous jury trials and argued numerous appeals in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.




Boston University School of Law


Amherst College


U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, Honorable Levin H. Campbell



  • Massachusetts


  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts
  • U.S. District Court of New Hampshire

Recognition & Awards

Mr. Rehnquist has been recognized by The Best Lawyers in America Best Lawyers for his work in Criminal Defense: White-Collar 2022-2023.

Mr. Rehnquist has been selected for inclusion in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business. In law school, Mr. Rehnquist was Editor-in-Chief of the Boston University Law Review.

Pro Bono

Mr. Rehnquist had been active in pro bono work throughout his years of practice, primarily on behalf of indigent criminal defendants. In 2016, he led a team of Goodwin associates and Harvard Law School students who filed clemency petitions on behalf of federal prison inmates. Twelve of those petitions were granted by President Obama.


Mr. Rehnquist's law review publications include "Taking Comity Seriously: How to Neutralize the Abstention Doctrine" 46 Stan. L. Rev. 1049 (1994), and "The Power that Shall be Vested in a Precedent: Stare Decisis, the Constitution and the Supreme Court" 66 B.U.L. Rev. 345 (1986).