James B. Summers


Allen, Summers & Gresham, PLLC
80 Monroe Avenue, Suite 650
Memphis, TN 38103
United States

Tel: (901) 763-4200 | Cell: (901) 483- 0844

Email: jsummers@allensummers.com
Web: www.allensummers.com

James B. Summers is a co-founding Partner of Allen, Summers & Gresham, PLLC and has an extensive background in construction law, as well as catastrophic injury defense, transportation and employment.

He has an active practice in products liability, general liability issues, and professional negligence of engineers and appraisers. He represents Fortune 500 and other major corporations, including construction, transportation and manufacturing companies in a variety of litigation matters. He represents a major shopping center ownership group in matters of liability, contracts, leasing and landlord tenant disputes. He serves as major case counsel for one of the largest CGL carriers in the United States.

Summers has lectured at the University of Tennessee for the Health Sciences on a variety of medical-legal issues, and also lectures on E-discovery and technology from time to time to various groups.

Education: University of Virginia. University of Tennessee, Knoxville, B. S., Finance, 1973. University of Memphis, J. D., 1976. Delta Theta Phi. Associate Editor, University of Memphis Law Review, 1974-1976.

Bar Admissions: Tennessee 1976; Arkansas 2017; admitted to United States Supreme Court in 1999; admitted 6th Circuit; Eastern District, Arkansas; Western, Middle, Eastern District of Tennessee; Northern, Southern District, Mississippi; Eastern District, Michigan

Honors & Awards: Named Best Lawyer’s Memphis Construction-Litigation “Lawyer of the Year” in 2014, 2019. Selected as Memphis Area Superlawyer in Construction Litigation by Thomson Reuters, 2007-2023. Martindale-Hubbell Top Attorney in Tennessee in Transportation, 2013.  Featured Lawyer, Mid South Superlawyer Magazine Dec., 2012. Top 100 in Tennessee, 2012-2015. Top 50 in Mid-South. Selected for inclusion in Best Lawyers in America in construction litigation, 2007-2023. Featured Lawyer, Memphis Daily News, Sept. 3, 2009. American College of Board Certified Attorneys. Martindale-Hubbell Rating of AV.

Certifications: Board certified as Civil Trial Specialist, and in Civil Pretrial Practice Advocacy by National Institute of Trial Advocacy; Tier One Erosion Control by Tennessee Dept of Environment & Conservation.

Associations & Memberships: Memphis Bar Association. Former member, Board of Governor and Board of Directors; former Chair, Press Liaison Committee; Speakers Committee; Lawyers Helping Lawyers; former Chair, Law Practice and Technology Section; Tennessee & American Bar Associations. Fellow, Tennessee Bar Foundation. Fellow, Memphis Bar Foundation. Defense Research Institute. Tennessee Defense Lawyers Association. American Society of Legal Advocates. American Law Firm Association: Past Member, Transportation, Products Liability, Labor & Employment Practice Groups. Tennessee Trucking Association. Tennessee Association of General Contractors (Member TN AGC Legislative Committee). Tennessee Association of Construction Counsel (President, 2014; Vice-President, 2013; Secretary, 2007-2012).

Allen Summers is involved in all areas of construction, from residential to commercial.  Representing all participants in the construction project, the firm assists its clients in contract formation and interpretation, disputes and resolution, and if necessary, bond and lien claims and those legal proceedings necessary to protect its client’s interest.


The firm represents developers, owners, general contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and vendors in a wide variety of practice areas relating to commercial construction. Multi-party litigation, contract formation, disputes and interpretation, general liability claims and damages claims are handled by the firm on a regular basis. The firm represents several commercial construction insurance groups, providing counsel and defense for contractors and owners in building defect cases, mold, environmental and toxic tort cases.


Allen Summers assists its clients in filing Prompt Pay Act notices, lien notices, as well as bond claims on municipal and government projects. It helps guide companies through the legal minefields that exist when projects stumble or fail, which frequently involve tort, statutory, insurance and contract issues, as well as competing remedies and claims. As active participants in the Tennessee Association of Construction Counsel and the Association of General Contractors, the firm is well-positioned to understand the issues that face its clients, and to provide advice as needed to resolve whatever conflicts arise.


Allen Summers represents developers, builders, subcontractors, vendors and rental companies that provide services to one another in the residential construction field. The firm represents and assists various civil contracting entities that engage in private site work for residential subdivisions, and provides representation for contract disputes with municipalities, disputes arising from erosion control violations, and those disputes involving boundaries, encroachment and damages to adjacent sites and the work of others.


The construction lawyers at Allen Summers are well versed in drafting, negotiating and interpreting contracts that form the basis of the construction project. Construction insurance coverage issues are also areas in which the firm excels. When a client receives a reservation of rights notice from its carrier, we recommend that the client check first with counsel before assuming no coverage exists for the claim being made. The firm assists its clients in working with other parties to the construction contract to reach fair and amicable settlements that preserve the business relationship and allow for continued opportunities on new projects.

Formed by the merger of a firm focused on labor and employment challenges for management, with a firm focused on litigation services to meet the needs of business entities and municipalities, the firm handles all matters that affect employee relations, and the litigation that arises when corporations do business. Labor, employment, construction and civil litigation are all practice areas in which the firm excels.  The firm has lawyers licensed in Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas and Georgia, who practice before state and federal agencies and courts throughout the United States.

The firm represents national and international manufacturing, construction, transportation, food services, health care and service industries. It has an active practice on behalf of municipalities, providing labor and employment advice, as well as defending the municipalities in governmental tort (GTLA) and civil rights claims. The firm also has a substantial self-insured and insurance trial practice, representing major corporations and carriers in commercial, CGL, workers’ compensation, EPLI, professional liability, and excess and personal lines.