Thomas James, Esq.
Thomas James, Esq: B.A. in Philosophy, and studied law at U.C. Berkeley and Southwestern University, where he received several American Jurisprudence and Top Student awards. He ultimately received his Juris Doctor degree while clerking for a family court judge in Los Angeles County. After graduating, Mr. James moved to Minnesota, and worked for the Minnesota state courts for five years before setting up his own practice in 1995. He is admitted to practice in all state and federal courts in Minnesota; the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals; and the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C.
Mr. James’s first legal case was a defamation suit against the State of Minnesota and a major Minnesota newspaper on behalf of fathers whose names and addresses had been published, at the State’s request, in the newspaper as “deadbeat dads.” The State and the newspaper falsely stated that they had willfully refused to pay child support. The case settled for an undisclosed amount satisfactory to the claimants. Since then, Mr. James has represented numerous clients, mostly fathers but sometimes mothers, aunts and grandparents, in family court cases and in other kinds of civil litigation and appeals. Notable appellate court victories include Ellshoff v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (establishing depression as a medical illness coming within the coverage of the Family Medical Leave Act); and Kinley v. Peck (vindicating the First Amendment right of a noncustodial parent to practice his own religion in the presence of his children.) In addition, Mr. James has written amicus curiae briefs on behalf of several non-profit organizations, including RKIDS (Remember Kids In Divorce Settlements), CPR (Center for Parental Responsibility) and the Arab Anti-Defamation League. In 2005, Mr. James helped establish Fathers4Justice in the United States as a charitable organization, and has served as counsel to it at various times since then. Currently, his practice is focused on family law, appellate advocacy, and intellectual property (trademarks and copyrights.)
In 2003, Mr. James published the book, Domestic Violence: The 12 Things You Aren’t Supposed To Know. He has given presentations to college students and to the Minnesota State Guardians ad Litem Panel on the subject, with a view toward increasing sensitivity to all victims of domestic violence regardless of sex. He currently maintains a blog at www.tomjameslaw.com/blog/ on the history of custody law.
Mr. James has been involved in law reform efforts for many years, beginning with a challenge to Minnesota’s percentage-of-income child support guidelines that impelled the state legislature to substitute a more equitable income-shares model in their place. He has met with legislators to urge the abolition of laws that discriminate against men (such as “battered women” statutes), and has testified before and submitted written arguments to legislative committees in support of a rebuttable presumption of joint physical custody.
In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his children, doing legal research, and training for marathons