About Jim

JJTHOMASHEADSHOT

MY UNIQUE EXPERIENCE SHOWS THAT I AM A TRULY DIFFERENT NEGOTIATOR/LITIGATOR: LITERALLY AND FIGURATIVELY A FIGHTER

Most top lawyers profess to be “different” from other lawyers so as not to be lost in the crowd. Ironically, these lawyers claim to be different in the same way. They all claim to have great academic credentials and work experience and to be totally dedicated to their clients. My unique experiences described below show that I have those qualities, but I am also truly different in terms of:

  • Toughness
  • Experience
  • Confidence
  • Work ethic
  • Perseverance, and
  • Knowing when to use finesse and when to use power.

Formal and Informal Education and Early Work Experiences

      • I grew up in a family of very limited financial resources and began working when I was ten years old as a dishwasher in my grandfather’s diner.
      • I was tested and sent to a special school for mentally gifted children but knew my family could not afford to pay for college, so, in addition to working and studying hard, I worked to win an athletic scholarship.
      • In addition to academic scholarships, I was offered many athletic scholarships in both wrestling and football and chose to play football and wrestle at the nation’s second oldest college, William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.
      • When a severe injury ended my football and wrestling careers, I began studying karate, unusually quickly earned a Black Belt, won numerous tournaments against much more experienced fighters, and began teaching martial arts and self-defense in the College’s Phys. Ed. Department to help pay for college.
      • I did well enough at the College to gain admission to the William & Mary Law School, the nation’s oldest law school where the first Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, John Marshall, taught law to Thomas Jefferson. The W&M Law School is ranked in the top 25 in the nation.
      • To pay for law school, I continued to teach martial arts classes in the undergraduate school and at local army and naval bases, ran a large dormitory for undergraduate students, and worked in a nightclub as a dangerously small bouncer.
      • I also fought professional kickboxing bouts in the US and, for an entire summer, in Japan, where I was undefeated and was eventually inducted into the Japanese Karate Hall of Fame.
      • In addition to my three jobs during law school, I served as the Editor-in-Chief of the William & Mary Law School and, upon graduation, was awarded the Weber Diploma by the faculty as the most outstanding graduate of my law class as well as other academic awards and fellowships.

Experience as a Lawyer

  • In my last year of law school, I turned down offers from many of the largest and most prestigious law firms in the country and chose instead to help found a new upstart firm in Atlanta named Long & Aldridge with eight other lawyers with similar academic credentials.
  • I remained at Long & Aldridge, where I served as the Head of Litigation Department and Chairman of the Ethics and Practice Standards Committee, for 30 years and helped the firm, renamed McKenna, Long & Aldridge due to a merger, grow to over 500 lawyers in twelve cities in the US and Europe.
  • After shocking my partners by leaving the firm to try to restructure the sport of boxing, I returned to McKenna, where I am continuing to handle complex litigation and sports-related projects.
  • As of July 1, 2015, McKenna merged again and is now part of the largest law firm in the world, named Dentons. Our firm has over 6600 lawyers in 125 offices in 52 countries and continues to grow.
  • I have handled virtually every kind of business dispute imaginable, including employer-employee, noncompetition, nondisclosure, and trade secret, lender-borrower, corporate governance, business “divorce” (among partners, shareholders, etc.), intellectual property, construction, professional malpractice, contracts, business torts, and sports-related.
  • In additional to my litigation practice, I also developed a very strong practice in the sports world.
  • I represented Undisputed Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the World, Evander Holyfield for twelve years, helped him earn more than $200,000,000.00, and negotiated the largest contract for a single night performance in any field as of that time.
  • I have extensive experience negotiating with major corporations in the sports and entertainment industry and with such formidable forces as the legendary and notorious boxing promoters, Don King and Bob Arum, HBO, Showtime, NBC, Madison Square Garden, MGM Grand, and others.
  • I represented six other world champion boxers.
  • I served as President of the Georgia Force, a team in the professional Arena Football League and personally handled all football operations.
  • I served as the first Commissioner of the Women’s Senior Golf Tour.
  • I have served as, and continue to serve as attorney and chief advisor to the Professional Karate Association for more than 35 years.
  • I co-owned, co-invented, and co-operated Big Stakes Match Play, a golf tournament for the best players in the world not on the PGA Tour, in which the winners won the largest first place purses in the history of golf, including PGA tournaments.

Experience as a De Facto Client

I have served as outside general counsel for approximately a dozen companies, in which, in addition to providing legal and management advice, one of my most important functions was to manage and minimize legal services from many different lawyers and law firms while assuring successful outcomes.