Jim Barna

Jim Barna


Costello, Cooney, Fearon
500 Plum Street
Suite 300
Syracuse, NY 13204-1401


About Me:

Throughout his career, Jim Barna has focused his practice on employment law.

“When I was young, I always knew that my future was in the law; and from the time I entered law school, I knew that employment law would be where I would focus my practice.”

Jim did his undergraduate studies at Syracuse University and Stony Brook University.

Jim attended law school at Washington University in St. Louis, a Top Twenty law school with an extensive employment law curriculum. In law school in St. Louis, Missouri, Jim had a number of experiences that paved the way to his career litigating employment law cases.

“It started with a law school faculty of committed litigators who were recognized employment law authorities. From them I learned to navigate the complicated regulatory framework of federal and state employment laws. I was very interested in employment law, and I earned high marks in all my employment law classes.”

During law school, Jim interned with a Federal judge. “This allowed me to see the litigation process from ‘behind the bench, ’ so to speak, which gave me insight into the motivations of judges and juries in the legal process.”

As a first year law student, Jim won a legal writing contest that resulted in his first scholarly article being published by the law school. The article dealt with an employment law topic: Keeping the Boss at Bay – Post-Termination Retaliation Under Title VII: Charlton v. Paramus Board of Education, 25 F.3d 194 (3d Cir. 1994), 47 Wash. U. J. Urb. & Contemp. L. 259 (1995). Jim had two scholarly articles published while he was in law school, which was a significant achievement. Jim went on to become the Articles Editor of the law review, and edited several law review articles related to employment law.

While Jim was in law school, he had the opportunity to work for a national leader in employment law and women’s rights litigation, Mary Anne Sedey. “From Mary Anne Sedey, I saw that big cases can bring big changes, and that a life devoted to seeking justice can coincide with success for clients and attorneys.”

After he graduated from law school in 1996, Jim spent ten years working for nationally recognized employment law firms in Memphis, Tennessee, a center of labor and employment law work. During that time, he handled litigation matters in 22 states, and the District of Columbia.

In 2002, Jim was associate counsel, and coauthor of the victorious merits brief, in the first Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) case to be heard by the United States Supreme Court, Ragsdale v. Wolverine World Wide, Inc., 535 U.S. 81 (2002). He is a member of the Bar of the United States Supreme Court.

Jim is holds law licenses in New York, Maine, Tennessee, and Mississippi.

Throughout his career, Jim has continued to litigate significant employment law cases, and he continues to speak and write about developing employment law topics.

“One of my first cases in New York involved a former employee of a specialty chemicals company who had been terminated after developing bipolar disorder and becoming unable to work. The company had complied with the legal requirements before terminating him, so there was no claim for disability discrimination. After interviewing the client, I discovered that for years the company had failed to pay him overtime, and that he was owed a large amount of money in unpaid compensation. Until I informed him of this, the client did not know that he was entitled to overtime. I brought a lawsuit in Federal court on his behalf, and I was quickly able to negotiate a settlement that put him in a much more positive financial footing. Sometimes to find justice you need to uncover claims and theories that aren’t apparent at first.”