James has focused his career on criminal defense, with extensive experience in DUI and felony criminal defense. He has negotiated thousands of DUI and criminal defense cases to positive outcomes for his clients, and defended dozens in courtroom trials.
James' local career began in 1995 working for the Department of Assigned Counsel (DAC) in Tacoma, WA. In 1997 he moved to the Associated Counsel for the Accused (ACA) in King County. At ACA he was quickly promoted to the felony unit, where he negotiated and tried cases before the King County Superior Court. James was undefeated in felony trial during his two year rotation although it required that he seek redress in the Court of Appeals. Serving as a public defender through 2004, he worked mainly on DUI and Domestic Violence cases.
James was selected to serve as the lead counsel in King County District Court for the Mental Health Court, which serves as a model for mental health courts in this and other states, where he was awarded for his compassionate work with mentally-ill criminal defendants. In 2004, James returned to handling Tacoma criminal defense and Pierce County criminal defense cases. James worked a year and a half at a private criminal defense firm working almost exclusively in DUI defense, including DOL hearings. James has also worked in immigration law and is familiar with immigration consequences for criminal convictions and how to work around those consequences.
James has volunteered his legal expertise in immigration matters and at the Tacoma nonprofit organization Centro Latino. He coaches youth basketball and soccer on Vashon where he resides with his two sons.