Jim was born in Illinois and received his B.A. from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1976. He received his Juris Doctoris from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 1984 where he was a member of the Law Review. He began his career as a public defender in Concord where he worked from 1984 to 1989 as a staff attorney. From 1989 to 1994, Jim worked as a homicide attorney. Jim entered private practice in 1994 where he has devoted his career to the representation of those being investigated for or charged with criminal conduct.
Jim had also been an adjunct professor of law at the University of New Hampshire School of Law (formerly Franklin Pierce Law Center) from 1989 to 2015 where he was a professor of trial advocacy. He is a member of the Order of Barristers, the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, and the New Hampshire Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys. Jim has also been presenter at numerous continuing legal education programs for the New Hampshire Bar Association.
In December of 2013, Jim was awarded the 2013 Champion of Justice Award by the New Hampshire Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. This award is given annually to a lawyer whose practice and mentoring of other lawyers is recognized as outstanding by his peers.