James R. Schadel

James R. Schadel

James R. Schadel

For more than 36 years, James R. Schadel has defended clients in a wide range of civil litigation, including professional liability, general liability, auto, contracts, construction, and products liability before state and federal courts in Pennsylvania. Mr. Schadel is currently Of Counsel at the firm and serves as General Counsel for Burns White.

The majority of Mr. Schadel’s practice involves defending lawyers and other professionals, such as accountants, real estate agents, insurance agents, and design professionals in professional liability matters. He often counsels lawyers, pre or post claims or suits, on professional ethics and professional responsibility matters, including those facing disciplinary charges before the Office of Disciplinary Counsel. In addition, Mr. Schadel counsels lawyers facing ethics issues. He is also a frequently requested speaker on legal malpractice avoidance, lawyer ethics, and risk management by various bar associations and legal organizations.

Prior to joining Burns White, Mr. Schadel was a Founding Member of a Pittsburgh law firm, where he focused on professional liability and ethics defense.

Mr. Schadel graduated from the University of Pittsburgh, School of Law, cum laude in 1978, receiving the Order of the Coif award. He received a B.S. from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1975.

Mr. Schadel is an active member of the Pennsylvania and Allegheny County Bar Associations, serving on the PBA Lawyers’ Professional Liability Committee, the PBA and ACBA Ethics Committees, and ACBA Lawyer Insurance Committee. Mr. Schadel currently serves on the Pennsylvania Bar Association House of Delegates, and on Allegheny County Bar Association’s Board of Governors. Since 1997, Mr. Schadel has been a member of the Academy of Trial Lawyers of Allegheny County, and is a life fellow of the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation and the Allegheny County Bar Foundation. He is also a member of the Litigation Counsel of America, a trial lawyer honorary society, and recently served on a Pennsylvania Supreme Court committee regarding judicial conduct and ethics. Mr. Schadel has consistently been selected by his peers for inclusion in Best Lawyers in America® in the area of legal malpractice defense since 1995.

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Areas of Law

  • Legal Malpractice Defense
  • Professional Liability Defense
  • General Liability Litigation


  • University of Pittsburgh School of Law (J.D., cum laude, 1978)
  • Indiana University of Pennsylvania (B.S., 1975)

Bar and Court Admissions

  • Pennsylvania
  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
  • United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania


  • Pennsylvania Bar Association
    • House of Delegates (until 2015)
    • Board of Governors
    • Lawyers Professional Liability Committee (Past Chair)
    • Professional Ethics Committee
  • Pennsylvania Bar Foundation (Fellow)
  • Allegheny County Bar Association
    • Lawyer Insurance Committee (Past Chair)
    • Professional Ethics Committee (Past Chair)
    • Judiciary Committee (until 2015)
    • Board of Governors (2014- present )
  • Allegheny County Bar Foundation (Fellow)
  • Academy of Trial Lawyers of Allegheny County
  • Professional Liability Defense Federation
  • Professional Liability Underwriting Society
  • Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers
  • Litigation Counsel of America


  • Selected for inclusion on the 2004, 2006-2017 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers® lists
  • Selected by his peers for inclusion in Best Lawyers in America® from 1995-2021 in the area of legal malpractice defense
  • Selected by his peers for inclusion in Pennsylvania’s Best Lawyers
  • Selected for inclusion in the Litigation Counsel of America

Community/Civic Involvement

  • Hampton Township School Board (1990-1993)
  • Hampton Alliance Educational Excellence, (93-97) (Past Chair)
  • Hampton Parks Recreation Board (1988-1990)
  • “Avoiding Legal Malpractice and the Dark Magic Lurking Within the Mysterious Black Box,” Conference of County Bar Leaders, February 2016
  • “Professional Liability Section, Pennsylvania Bar Institute General Practitioner Year in Review 2018,” December 2018
  • “Cyber Liability and Duties of a Lawyer in the Event of a Data Breach,” Allegheny County Bar Association, December 2018

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Burns White Center
48 26th Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222