James Quander is a respected criminal defense attorney with extensive experience in state and federal criminal courts. His practice focuses on complex criminal litigation, including multi-count, multi-defendant criminal conspiracies, murder, sexual misconduct, and white-collar cases, in addition to complex personal injury, family law, and contract negotiation. A North Carolina State Board Certified Specialist in State and Federal Criminal Law, James has tried more than 50 cases to a jury in the last five years and regularly appears in courts throughout the southeast. 

Before law school, James was a standout Atlantic Coast Conference student-athlete on the Wake Forest University football team. He was a two-year starter and a four-year letter recipient on the team’s linebacking corps. In his senior year, he was presented with the Bill George Award, an honor given to the most outstanding lineman/linebacker.

James maintains a close connection with college and professional sports and has represented student and professional athletes in matters ranging from NCAA investigations to NFL workers’ compensation actions. He has been certified as a Contract Advisor by the NFL Players Association and successfully negotiated contracts with the Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, and Tennessee Titans. Outside of his legal practice, James regularly speaks with young athletes across the state about their academic and athletic futures. 

Within his community, James is an active member of local bar associations and takes on many criminal pro bono cases each year. In 2016, he received the Harvey Lupton Award for Most Distinguished Criminal Lawyer, an honor presented by the Forsyth County Criminal Defense Trial Lawyers Association to recognize outstanding achievement and dedication in the field of criminal law. 

He earned his B.A. and J.D. from Wake Forest University and now serves as a guest lecturer and student mentor.

Representative Experience

Any result the lawyer or law firm may have achieved on behalf of clients in other matters does not necessarily indicate similar results can be obtained for other clients.

  • Successfully defended a first-degree murder to acquittal, including drafting and arguing a motion to disqualify an SBI blood spatter analyst and expert witness, which led to the expert witness being precluded from testifying.
  • Negotiated more than $2 million in NFL contracts with the Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, and Tennessee Titans as an NFLPA-certified contract advisor.
  • Drafted and argued a motion to suppress tangible evidence, which convinced the court to issue an order suppressing one kilogram of cocaine and led to the dismissal of the possession with intent to distribute indictment.
  • Organized more than 10,000 pages of discovery for trial in a multi-defendant, multi-count drug conspiracy case; successfully argued that the jury should reject the government’s indicated quantity of more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana.
  • Successfully defended a multi-count mail fraud case, obtaining acquittals on half of the counts.
  • Drafted a brief to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which led to the appellant’s sentence being vacated and remanded to district court; successfully argued that the district court should apply the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 and grant the defendant’s motion for a below-guideline sentence.
  • Successfully argued a Rule 29 Motion for acquittal in a cocaine distribution case where the defendant faced a mandatory life sentence.

Professional & Civic Engagement

  • Forsyth County Bar Association, Executive Committee, Vice President, 2022-23, (Secretary, 2021-22)
  • 31st Judicial District Bar, Executive Committee, Vice President, 2022-23 (Secretary/Treasurer, 2021-22) 
  • Forsyth County Criminal Defense Trial Lawyers Association
  • North Carolina State Bar Association
  • Guest Lecturer at Wake Forest University, Wake Forest University School of Law, and Salem College

Honors & Awards

  • Recognized in North Carolina Super Lawyers (Thomson Reuters) (2021-2024)
  • Received the Harvey Lupton Award for Most Distinguished Criminal Lawyer from the Forsyth County Criminal Defense Trial Lawyers Association, 2016


  • Board Certified Specialist in State and Federal Criminal Law, North Carolina State Board of Legal Specialization, 2011-Present
  • National Football League Players Association Contract Advisor, 2003-Present