James P. Steele

James P. Steele

TEL: (202) 310-5521
FAX: (202) 310-5555

2020 K Street, N.W.
Suite 850
Washington, DC 20006

Jim Steele counsels insurers on complex coverage matters and litigates insurance coverage disputes. He defends accountants, attorneys and other professionals in malpractice claims, and he helps professionals respond to subpoenas and other legal processes. He has also defended attorneys in bar complaint matters. Finally, he defends clients in construction cases and personal injury matters.

Jim has wide-ranging experience in the state and federal trial and appellate courts of the District of Columbia and Maryland. He is a longtime member of the DC Defense Lawyers’ Association (DCDLA), serving as president from 2010 to 2011, and as a member of the Board of Directors from 2012 to 2015. His 20 years of courtroom experience and his involvement in the DCDLA give Jim a broad knowledge of the courts in these jurisdictions.

For insurance companies, Jim litigates and arbitrates coverage cases involving construction mishaps, professional liability claims, uninsured/underinsured motorist policy provisions, subrogation claims, third-party additional-insured disputes, lead paint exclusions, and “other insurance” provisions.

Jim regularly represents accountants, attorneys, title companies, appraisers, property developers, apartment-complex owners, property managers, security companies, religious institutions, nonprofit and charitable organizations, pharmacies, restaurants, and national retail companies.

  • Defended a security company and property owner at trial in a battery claim in federal court.
  • Defended a security company at trial in Baltimore City Circuit Court.
  • Arbitrated coverage dispute for an insurer on the availability of uninsured-motorist benefits in a death case under Maryland’s “reduction” system of uninsured-motorist coverage.
  • Obtained a voluntary dismissal for an insurance company in a coverage dispute over property damage at a construction site.
  • Successfully defended a professional client from baseless accusations of professional negligence alleged by a persistent claimant.
  • Defended the directors and officers of a volunteer organization from accusations that they were running the organization for their own benefit, obtaining the accusers’ admission under oath that they had no knowledge that some of the worst alleged wrongdoing actually took place.



Jim helps his clients wade through the obstacles and complexities of issues they face in the course of running their businesses and organizations. He uses all his experience to represent his clients’ interests in the most efficient way possible. Whether advising clients in a coverage dispute or logically and realistically analyzing their prospects in litigation, Jim formulates the best path and explains what is happening and why, keeping his clients informed at all times.


  • “Leveraging Rule 68 Offers of Judgement in Settlement Negotiations,” Strafford Webinar, May 29, 2019





Martindale-Hubbell® has recognized Jim with the AV Preeminent® rating, ranking him at the highest level of professional excellence.


Jim enjoys reading, mostly about the American Civil War era. He plays guitar and has performed in a duo and in larger groups at venues in and around DC. He is an avid runner, golfer, tennis player, and skier. Jim is also a birder with more than 200 birds on his life list.

Practice Areas:
Insurance Coverage
Complex Litigation
Professional Liability
General Liability
Non-Profit and
Charitable Organizations

Religious Institutions Practice
Appellate Practice

District of Columbia
US District Courts
District of Columbia
District of Maryland
US Court of Appeals
District of Columbia Circuit

Catholic University of America,
Columbus School of Law, JD
University of Delaware,
BA (History)

D.C. Defense Lawyers’
Association; President,
2010–2011; Board of
Directors, 2012–2015
District of Columbia Bar;
Torts Section
District of Columbia Bar;
Litigation Section
Defense Research Institute;
First Party Property Subcommittee of
the Insurance Law Committee,
Carmody Open Golf
Tournament; Executive
Committee, 1997–present
Greg Gannon Canned Food
Drive; Executive Committee,
The Barristers (Washington, DC)