James S. (“Jimmy”) Rogers, of the Class of 1972, has maintained a strong connection to the University of Arizona and College of Law while running a successful practice in his hometown of Seattle.
In 2016, we had the opportunity to hear from Jimmy as part of the college’s Civil Justice Initiative lecture series. He spoke with students about the ins-and-outs of developing his personal injury and product liability practice.
This week, in anticipation of this year’s graduating class of young lawyers, we wanted to find out more about Jimmy’s experience as a student and young lawyer.
Jimmy first knew he wanted to be a trial lawyer in seventh grade when he read “My Life in Court” by the legendary trial lawyer Louis Nizer.
He relocated from the Pacific Northwest to the University of Arizona where, along with attaining his law degree, he developed many wonderful friendships and a love of the Sonoran Desert. He’s kept up a lifelong friendship with Robert Hershey (also ’72), who later became a College of Law professor (now emeritus).
Jimmy recalls the thrill when, during his first year, Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas visited the law school and his former law clerk, Dean Charles Ares (’52), introduced the Justice as a speaker.
“I don’t know who was more proud; Dean Ares of Justice Douglas, or Justice Douglas of Dean Ares.”
As for the desert:
“My second year of law school I lived out in the desert on Ironwood Hill Drive, on the way to Gates Pass. Sometimes on a quiet night in my Seattle houseboat, I still long to hear the howl of the coyotes.”
In law school, Jimmy interned for the Pima County Public Defender, and thought he would be a criminal defense lawyer. But his first job after law school was as an associate of one of Seattle’s leading personal injury plaintiff trial lawyers, Lem Howell.
“I began handling plaintiffs’ personal injury cases and never stopped.”
He established his own law offices in 1986, which are now the Law Offices of James S. Rogers.
Jimmy’s advice to current UA law students wanting to become top trial lawyers is to cultivate three important qualities: passion, dedication, and a commitment to helping people achieve justice.
Jimmy is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, the International Society of Barristers, and a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates. He was named the 1998 “Trial Lawyer of the Year” by the Washington State Trial Lawyers Association and the 2010 “Outstanding Plaintiff’s Trial Lawyer of the Year” by the Washington Defense Trial Lawyers.
Just last year, Jimmy was named Best Lawyers’ “Seattle Plaintiffs Product Liability Litigation Lawyer of the Year.” And, he recently became a member of the Damage Attorneys Roundtable (DART), a small, highly select group of Washington State plaintiff trial lawyers.