"Being a lawyer is what I am. It's who I am."
— James Quelling to Mike Ross

James Quelling is a lawyer who attempted to extort Harvey Specter during season 3, whose actions were a founding factor in Mike Ross resigning as a lawyer from Pearson Specter and accepting Jonathan Sidwell's offer to work as an investment banker and partner at Sidwell Investment Group.


In a tobacco case where Quelling represented plaintiffs with cancer, he turned down a settlement for $15,000 for each of his clients. Because of this, the lawsuit went to court and he lost, not only the case but also most of his money. Being a gambler, Quelling eventually went bankrupt and lost his wife, kids, and his home in the divorce.

Desperate, Quelling took bribes from several rival companies of Marathon Footwear to file a suit against the company. As the company was represented by Pearson Specter, he went toe-to-toe with Harvey and Mike. The plan was to file a lawsuit the day they went public with their playgrounds, allegedly made with toxic materials. He tried to get them to settle, particularly attempted to extort a huge amount of money to get him to drop the suit. Harvey tried to dissuade him over a game of poker, but Quelling shot back with a threat to go to the bar regarding a possible conspiracy between Mike, Harvey, and Harold Gunderson. To finally get him to stop, Mike contacted Lola Jensen and had her hack into his accounts; there, he found out about James' deals with their client's competitors and threatened to expose him to the bar if he did. James, afraid of losing the only thing he loves that he has left, appealed to Mike, promising that he won't go to the bar as long as they didn't. Additionally, he also was forced to drop the lawsuit that he was bribed to create.

When Mike was brought into the U.S. Attorney's office for questioning regarding the issue with Mike and Harold, something Quelling brought to Harvey and Allison Holt's attentions, Harvey assumed that it was Quelling who sold them out, and that he went back on his and Mike's deal. He charged Harvey at his office and defended himself, telling him that he did not go back on his word and asking him to take it back while he still could. He got into an altercation with Harvey and left, but not before both threatened each other.

Fortunately, Donna Paulsen, Harvey's assistant, realized that he probably had nothing to do with it and withdrew Harvey's claim.


  • An alternate ending to "No Way Out" actually involved Quelling returning to Harvey's office with a gun. While the scene was eventually cut, it was still filmed and was even considered to be included in Season 4's One-Two-Three Go..., though it was ultimately not used.[1]


Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.