James A. Funt
Contactjfunt@wgpllp.com (215) 665-8181 LinkedIn vCard
James A. Funt specializing in blue collar and white-collar criminal defense, civil rights, and employment discrimination matters on behalf of plaintiffs.
Mr. Funt was a founding partner at Greenblatt, Pierce, Funt and Flores, LLC. He has twice chaired the Criminal Justice Section (CJS) of the Philadelphia Bar Association and has been on the executive committee for over a decade. He has also served on the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Board of Governors and the Commission of Judicial Selection and Retention. He has successfully tried thousands of criminal cases before judges and juries in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey’s state and federal courts. He has tried cases ranging from complex homicides to aggravated assaults, simple assaults, sexual assaults, kidnappings, robberies, drug related matters, and white-collar crimes, including sexual cybercrimes. His practice includes the defense of adult and juvenile matters. He often handles high profile matters and understands how to delicately and deftly handle the press in the best interest of his clients. His clientele includes firefighters, police officers, attorneys, doctors, sports figures, as well other professionals. Mr. Funt has also litigated numerous civil rights cases alleging claims of excessive force and wrongful arrest. He has successfully represented clients in first amendment issues and employment discrimination cases such as age, race, gender, whistleblowing, and sexual orientation claims. Additionally, Mr. Funt has represented individuals (either as the plaintiff or the defendant) in protection from abuse (PFA) cases. He understands the intricacies of how abuse orders can impact an individual’s employment, their custody rights, their 2nd amendment rights, as well as the crossover implications when also accused of criminal charges that arise out of the accusations alleged in the protection from abuse order petition.
Contacts in the Hispanic Community
Although an accomplished and fearless litigator in the courtroom for all his clients, Mr. Funt takes particular pride in always fighting for the “little guy.” He began advocating for workers’ rights while living in Mexico in the early 1990s, which is where he became fluent in Spanish. He was instrumental in spearheading a variety of humanitarian, environmental, and developmental projects. That experience left an indelible mark on him. Mr. Funt is sensitive to the challenges that the Latino population often face in the United States. Therefore, he has developed a large Hispanic clientele in the tri-state region representing people from Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Ecuador, and Panama.
Criminal, Civil Rights, Employment Expertise & Union Representation
Mr. Funt has a distinguished and diversified background as a complex civil and criminal trial attorney. After returning from Mexico, he began his legal career in 1994 as a trial lawyer with the Defender Association of Philadelphia, where he represented indigent defendants in hundreds of serious criminal cases. While there, he was selected to investigate and track cases involving allegations of police abuse and corruption. He was involved in exposing the civil liberty abuses by the 39th police district.
In 1997, Mr. Funt was recruited to join the Philadelphia-area office of one of the country’s largest labor law firms, Willig, Williams, and Davidson, where he represented unions and individual plaintiffs on complex labor and employment cases. There he represented individuals in grievances and arbitrations on job related issues, assisted the Erie and Philadelphia Fire Fighters with their interest arbitration and contract negotiations, and secured large monetary awards on behalf of individuals in state and federal court whose civil liberties had been violated. There Mr. Funt served as in-house counsel for the firm’s numerous union clients advocating on behalf of individual union members accused of criminal conduct.
In 2002, Mr. Funt partnered with Ronald Greenblatt, Esquire launching Greenblatt & Funt, (a precursor to WGP); a dynamic criminal defense firm dedicated to the zealous representation of working-class families. He continues to maintain strong ties with the union movement representing the Philadelphia Fire Department, bakery workers, probation officers, steel & rubber workers, teamsters, postal workers, teachers, SEPTA workers, food and commercial workers, painters, glaziers and roofers to name a few throughout the tri-state region. His civil verdicts include a four-million-dollar jury verdict with fellow partner Patricia V. Pierce, Esquire against the University of Pennsylvania representing a special needs dentist in a wrongful discharge contract claim, as well as a million dollar verdict against the Philadelphia Homicide Unit for malicious prosecution, just to name a few.
High Publicity Cases and the Media
From 2002-the present, Mr. Funt has been involved in some of the area’s most highly publicized cases and is keenly aware of the value and hazards of press related cases. He understands that often it is just as important to defend a client’s reputation in the court of public opinion, as well as the courtroom, and will use every tool at his disposal to ensure that his clients receive fair treatment throughout their ordeal. As such, he is often sought out by the media to address current events and constitutional matters, such as the recent 50th anniversary of Gideon vs. Wainwright, the verdict in the Travon Martin case, the superior court reversal of the Monsignor Lynn child abuse matter, as well as recent Supreme Court of Pennsylvania rulings and their applicability to citizens in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Mr. Funt does not shy away from the difficult or unpopular cases. He understands acutely that there are always two sides to every story and that it is his duty and obligation to fully represent his client so the complete truth can be revealed. This is particularly true in sexual assault and homicide cases where the media often convicts an individual the moment he or she is arrested. Because the consequences for sexual assault convictions are so severe and draconian with the advent of SORNA (the federal equivalent of Megan’s Law). More often than not, these matters must be fully litigated and brought before a jury. And juries are where Mr. Funt shines. No one investigates cases as thoroughly as he does and no has been more successful in arguing his clients’ innocence.
Areas of Practice
- Colgate University, B.A., (1989)
- Temple University School of Law, J.D., (1994)
- Super Lawyers of Pennsylvania in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
- 2010 “Friend of Philadelphia Firefighter’s Achievement Award”
- Perfect 10.0 Rating from AVVO
- 2014 National Trial Lawyers top 100 Trial Lawyers
- 2013 Pro Bono Publico Award, First Judicial District of Philadelphia
- Philadelphia Bar Association, Criminal Justice Section: Chair, 2013; Co-chair, 2015; Executive Committee, 2012-Present
- Philadelphia Bar Association, Board of Governors: 2014-2017
- Philadelphia Bar Association, Executive Director Search Committee, 2019
- Philadelphia Bar Association, City of Philadelphia Task Force on Revamping the Court-Appointed System for Indigent Counsel, 2013
- Philadelphia Commission of Judicial Selection & Retention: 2013-2017
- Philadelphia Chapter of the Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (PACDL)
- Philadelphia Inn of Criminal Court, Master Level
- Defender Association of Philadelphia Alumni Association
- Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
- Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers of New Jersey
- Camden County Bar Association
- National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA): Judge
- New Jersey
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
- U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania
- U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey
- United States Supreme Court
- “Gideon’s Elusive Dream” The Philadelphia Lawyer Magazine, Winter 2014 Vol. 76, No.4 (Guest Columnist writing about the state of the right to counsel in the wake of the 50th anniversary of Gideon v. Wainright, the landmark Supreme Court decision that guaranteed all criminal defendants the right to competent counsel.
- “The North American Free Trade Agreement and the Integrated Environmental Border Plan: feasible Solutions to U.S. – Mexican Border Pollution.” 12 Temple Envir.L. & Tech. J. 77 (Spring 1993).
- Presented at the 34th Criminal Law symposium in Harrisburg on June 9, 2017 on “How to Try a Self Defense Case.”
- One of course planners for a PBI CLE on PA statewide Sentencing updates conducted in Philadelphia on March 9, 2017
- Presented at PBI CLE in January 2016, “a morning with my cousin vinny”: A discussion on case presentation
- 2014 Panelist and Course Planner for Pennsylvania Criminal Law Updates
- 2014 CLE Panelist on Presenting your Case and Developing Case Theory
- Pennsylvania Bar Institute 2013 Criminal Law Updates (Course Planner)
- Pennsylvania Bar Institute 2013 – Sentencing in Pennsylvania State Courts (Course Planner)
- Temple University Guest Lecturer 2012 – 2016 for Professor Daniel Silverman – Sexual Assault Cases in Philadelphia
- Philadelphia Bench Bar Conference (2011) Criminal Practice in Philadelphia Municipal Court (Moderator)
- Pennsylvania Bar Institute 2011 – Nuts & Bolts of Criminal Practice in Philadelphia Municipal Court (Moderator)
- Pennsylvania Bar Institute 2010 – Fundamentals of a Criminal Law Practice (Faculty & Presenter)
- Pennsylvania Bar Institute 2009 – Case & Trial Theory – “A few Good Men” a case study (Panel Presenter)
- Pennsylvania Bart Institute 2008 – Cross Examination in the Movies (Panel Presenter)
- 2015 Course planner for the PBI CLE on State Wide Sentencing Practice