I’m pleased to introduce our newest associate attorney at Hance Wickham, P.C.
Jonathan James is a lifelong Texan, a graduate of Baylor University (where he received a B.A. in Political Science) and Texas Wesleyan University School of Law (where he received his law degree). He’s spent most of his career in family law, and I believe he’ll be a great advocate for our clients. I thought letting him answer a few questions via the blog was a good way to help introduce him.
What drew you to family law?
The main reason I enjoy family law is that I when I chose to become an attorney, I wanted to become the type of attorney who helps people, and I think family law is well-suited to that. You’re helping people in what is often the most difficult time of their lives. And in dealing with family and money, you’re helping clients with two of the most important aspects of their lives. I like that I can help people determine what’s most important to them in a divorce settlement and work with them, and for them, to achieve their goals.
I also like to be in the courtroom – I think well on my feet, and I’m particularly good at advocating for clients in the fast-paced environment of a courtroom. One of my favorite activities in law school was Moot Court Honor Society, which included making oral arguments before a panel of judges, who would bombard you with questions. It was definitely great training for being an effective lawyer in court!
What philosophies and principles guide you?
I think the goal in family law should be to keep from being destructive, especially when there are children involved. I know of a number of family lawyers who like to pull the pin on the grenade and walk out of the room, in the name of “winning” a case. I’m not that kind of lawyer – I think it’s very important to keep good communication between the parties, and to be cognizant of the fact that when children are involved, the parents will have to communicate well after the divorce is finalized.
I don’t believe that you have to be a pushover to “play nice,” but I do think it’s important to think about the long-term effects of a divorce when you’re in the midst of it. It’s more cost-effective to have good communication between the parties in a divorce, and if you can settle outside of court, you can achieve more creative solutions than you can in the courtroom.
What are your views on collaborative law?
I really like it as an option for clients – even a number of couples I’d classify as “high-conflict” are good candidates for collaborative law. I think couples benefit from being around professionals invested in settling the divorce without resorting to litigation. It’s got good safeguards, procedures, and communications systems in place, and I recommend it for a number of clients. While it’s not necessarily cheap, it’s often cheaper and more cost effective than litigation, and it involves financial professionals and counselors who have more experience and training in important aspects of the process – often working at a lower hourly rate than a family lawyer.
What excites you most about working here?
Larry is very well respected in the Dallas/ Fort Worth legal community, and even though I’ve only been here a week, it’s evident that his professionalism and great reputation extends to every member of the staff. I’m impressed by how efficiently the office runs, and I know that his clients are aware of the great work he does. He really does give clients top-level representation, and I’m excited to work with him and learn from him.