James L. Bruner

In Memoriam

Bruner Powell is deeply saddened to report the passing of our founding partner Jim Bruner. Jim was a mentor to all of us in the firm and served as managing partner for almost 25 years. He was a fierce advocate for his clients and a loyal friend whose presence will be missed. 

A native of Columbia, Jim attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he received a B.A. in 1971. Jim then attended the University of South Carolina School of Law and earned his Juris Doctor in 1975.

Upon graduation, Jim joined the Belser Law Firm as an associate from 1975-1978. He served as a 1LT-JAG for the SC Army National Guard from 1976-78, and as the chief financial, administrative and legal office for a heavy construction and mining company from 1978-81. Jim then became a partner in the Belser Law Firm, working in that capacity from 1982-89. With Warren Powell, Jim formed the law firm of Bruner Powell in 1991, which later became Bruner, Powell, Wall & Mullins in 1999. Jim represented general contractors, owners, subcontractors, architects, engineers, homeowners’ associations and sureties in contract negotiation, interpretation, claims negotiations, mediation, arbitration and litigation.

Jim’s prosecution and defense experience in the areas of private and public construction contracts has been valued in excess of $300 million. He represented mining companies in administrative licensing proceedings and appeals, and he has defended mining companies in civil claims. Additionally, Jim had years of experience in the mediation of complex commercial and industrial construction projects, EIFS claims, real property and business disputes, environmental contamination claims, and personal injury claims. Jim became ‘of counsel’ to the firm in 2015 and retired in 2018. As a certified Circuit Court Mediator and Arbitrator with experience in construction disputes, Jim maintained a part-time alternative dispute resolution practice in retirement.


  • South Carolina Bar
  • Supreme Court of South Carolina
  • Supreme Court of the United States of America
  • U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • United States Court of Federal Claims


  • American Bar Association; Forum on the Construction Industry (Litigation Section Member)
  • South Carolina Bar Association; Fee Disputes Committee
  • Richland County Bar Association
  • American  Arbitration Association; Panel of Arbitrators for the Construction Industry (Former Member)
  • Certified Circuit Court Mediator and Arbitrator
  • Landmarks Commission, City of Columbia
  • Resolute Systems of SC; Arbitration and Mediation Panel for Construction Disputes (Former Member)
  • Attorneys Dispute Resolution Network, Inc.