Awards and recognition. Named again this year as one of the Best Lawyers in America in the areas of commercial litigation and products liability litigation, he has been also been honored with membership in the Association of Defense Trial Attorneys [ADTA], the International Association of Defense Attorneys [IADC] and the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel [FDCC]. He is a Fellow of the Mississippi Bar Foundation and a Life Fellow of the American Bar Association, carries the highest rating in Martindale Hubbell and continues to be listed as a Mid South Super Lawyer and was selected this year as one of the Top 50 lawyers in Mississippi. He was recognized as a Mississippi Leader in the Law by the Mississippi Business Journal.
Leadership positions. He presently serves as the Immediate Past-President of the Association of Defense Trial Attorneys [ADTA] after three years on its Executive Council and as the Chair of its Publications Committee. He is completing his second term on the DRI Board of Directors and serves as the Board Liaison to its Products Liability Committee. During his firm term, he was the Regional Director for the states of Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi. While there, he served as the first Chair of the DRI for Life Task Force and as Chair of the State Defense Organization Relationship Committee. He received the Distinguished Service Award from DRI in 2008 and again in 2012. He previously served as the Board Liaison to the DRI Appellate Advocacy and Construction Law Committees and served on the DRI Long Range Planning Committee.
On the State level he served as vice chair of the Mississippi Supreme Court Civil Jury Instruction Task Force rewriting the form jury instructions for all civil cases and as vice chair of the Business Courts Study Committee appointed by the Mississippi Secretary of State. He served as President of the Mississippi Defense Lawyers Association in 2007 and as Chairperson of the Mississippi Bar’s Summer School for Lawyers in 2009. He has been a frequent speaker and coach for MDLA's Trial Practice Academy.
Outside of the legal profession. James has served a confirmation teacher and as a Senior Warden of St. James’ Episcopal Church. He is a graduate of the Education for Ministry program of the University of the South. He has served on the Board of the Mississippi Opera Association and served as president of the Boards of Mississippi Easter Seals Society and Young Jacksonians for the Symphony.
Work and school. Gaining a degree in Political Science from Millsaps College in 1978, he worked for Electronic Data Systems until heading to law school at the University of Mississippi. He is married to the former Ouida Bass, a wonderful teacher and musician, and has two fine sons.