Hon. James Mehaffy (Jim)

Beaumont, Texas

Date and Place of Birth: November 23, 1940, Houston, Texas
Domestic Status: Married to Maris Minton Mehaffy
Children: Four Children

Education  + -

  • Texas College for Judicial Studies (multi-year voluntary program)
    Certificate: Special Competence in Civil Jurisprudence.   2006
  • A.A. White Institute, Houston, Texas,
    40 hour mediator's course   1999
  • University of Washington School of Law, Seattle, Washington
    Doctor of Jurisprudence   1965
  • University of Texas at Austin
    B.A. History   1962
  • St. Stephen's Episcopal School, Austin, Texas

Experience  + -

  • Various part-time jobs during school years
    Towboats, in filling stations, as a tile-setter's helper, as a store clerk, construction gangs
  • Jefferson County
    Private practice   1965-1994
  • Keith, Mehaffy & Weber (now Mehaffy & Weber)
  • 58th District Court, Jefferson County (Beaumont), Texas
    Judge   June 24, 1994 to present
  • Business Law at Lamar University-Beaumont
    Adjunct Professor   1993

Memberships & Affiliations  + -

  • Jefferson County Bar Association
    Director   1968- 1970, 1989-1991, 2003-2005
  • Jefferson County Bar Journal
    Editor   1988-1991
  • Jefferson County Bar Association
    President   1992-1993
  • Admitted to practice: State Courts of Texas
  • Admitted to practice: in the Federal Courts for the Eastern
  • Admitted to practice: Southern
  • Admitted to practice: Western Districts of Texas
  • Admitted to practice: in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Admitted to practice: The U.S. Claims Court
  • Admitted to practice: the U.S. Supreme Court
  • Phi Delta Phi Legal Fraternity
    Was Member
  • The State Bar of Texas, Judicial Section
    Current Member
  • Texas Bar Foundation
    Sustaining Life Member
  • Personal Injury Trial Law, Texas Board of Legal Specialization
    Board Certified   1978
  • Michelle F. Mehaffy American Inn of Court
    First President, Founder, Counselor and Master
  • Mass Tort Litigation Committee of the Conference of Chief Justices.
    Executive Member
  • Information Technology Task Force of the Texas Commission on Judicial Efficiency
    Past Member
  • College of the State Bar of Texas.
  • Texas Center for Legal Ethics and Professionalism.
  • Board of Directors. Texas Lawyers· Assistance Program
    Past Member
  • Professionalism Committee of the State Bar of Texas
    Member   2006
  • Professionalism Committee of the State Bar: Increasing Restrictions On Lawyer Advertising
    Chairperson   2006
  • Mickey Mehaffy Children's Advocacy Program, a local children's advocacy agency.
    Honorary Member, past Regular Member and Board of Directors
  • CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates). a children's advocacy agency
    Honorary Member, past Regular Member and Board of Directors.
  • Friendship Beaumont
    Past member
  • Vestry (governing board) of St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Beaumont
    Past Member
  • All Saints' Episcopal School, Beaumont
    Past Member, Board of Trustees

Honors & Awards  + -

  • Rated AV (the top rating) by Martindale-Hubbell, the nationwide lawyers' directory
  • Outstanding Bar Journal Award. Texas Bar Foundation: "A Few Tips on Jury Selection", published in The Texas Bar Journal
  • Designed, arranged for, and implemented an electronic filing system - the first in the State of Texas - in the 58th District Court - later adopted by other courts in other counties in Texas. and now in use in a number of courts. A publication of the Texas Office of Court Administration calls Mehaffy "The Pioneer of Electronic Filing in Texas." (per Vogel, P.)
  • Article published in the Texas Bar Journal: "Powdered Wigs, Persiflage, and Pro Bono".
  • Wrote the first set of county-wide local rules for Jefferson County, Texas. the same being approved by the Texas Supreme Court. These included the local rule authorizing electronic filing. among others
  • Organized. founded. and became first president of a local American Inn of Court. which came to be named after my late wife Michelle F. Mehaffy.
  • Tried the first electronic filing case in Texas, a very large insurance coverage case involving the insurance coverage for Bristol-Meyers Squibb relating to the breast implant claims
  • Was executive member of the Mass Tort Litigation Committee of the Conference of Chief Justices. (appointed by Chief Justice Thomas Phillips). under the sponsorship of the National Center of State Courts -dealt with mass tort issues, including asbestos. benzene. silicosis, breast implant, and other similar types of cases.
  • Instituted the Asbestos Master File, a means of greatly reducing the paper filings in routine asbestos cases. Did away with filing of discovery in all cases in Jefferson County. prior to the promulgation of the amendments to the Rules of Civil Procedure effective 1999.

Speaking / Authoring / Seminars  + -

I. August 1996 - Rotary Club of Beaumont. Texas
Speech: "Ethics and Professionalism in the Legal System in America -the Inns of Court".
2. February 1997 - Jefferson County Young Lawyers Seminar Speech:
"Ethics in the Practice of Law".
3. October I 997 - Legal Tech Conference in Chicago, lllinois, sponsored by Price, Waterhouse
Speech: "Developing and Implementing an Electronic Filing System".
4. January 1998 - Legal Tech Conference in New York. New York
Speech: "How to Develop an Electronic Filing System".
5. July 1998 - Texas Association of Court Administrators Conference, San Antonio, Texas
Speech: "The Role of the Judge in Developing an Electronic Filing System".
6. August 1998- California Supreme Court Committee on Rules Changes meeting in Sacramento California
Speech: ''How to Develop an Electronic Filing System- the Experience in Jefferson County. Texas''.
7. September 1998 - State Bar of Texas Professional Development Program Seminar in Houston. Texas on Litigating the Automobile Collision Case
Lecture: "Issues on the Charge in Auto Cases".
8. December 1998 - Jefferson County Bar Association Seminar - Beaumont, Texas
Lecture: "Ethics in the Practice of Law".
9. June 1999 - San Salvador, El Salvador - Conference sponsored by United States Agency for International Development - addressed Salvadoran Judges and Lawyers in Spanish
Speech: "El Uso De Datos Estadisticos en el Determinar de la Necesidad de Tribunales y de Personal de Apoyo".
10. September 1999 - Court Technology Conference 6 (CTC6) - Sponsored by National Center for State Courts - Los Angeles, California - one of five panelists addressing plenary session(@ 3000 attendees) and breakout session
Speech: "Electronic Filing - the Judges' View".
11. November 1999 -National Association of Court Administrators - Texas Chapter Annual Meeting - Austin, Texas
a) panelist in seminar on "Handling Pro Se Litigants";
b) speech entitled 'The Development of an Electronic Filing System - the Judges Role".
12. December 1999 - Jefferson County Bar Association Seminar - Beaumont
Lecture: "Ethics and the Third Millenium - a Paradigm Shift?".
13. February 2000-Mealey's Asbestos Conference, Washington, D.C.
Panelist: "Recent Developments in Asbestos Litigation".
14. April 2001 - Jefferson County Bar Seminar
Speech: "The Archane Art of Jury Selection".
15. April 2001 - Moderator for Special Evidence Seminar
16. October 200 I - Port Arthur, Texas
Rotary Speech: "The Current Outlook in the American Legal System".
17. December 2001 - Jefferson County Bar Association - Seminar for Young Lawyers - (1 Hour Seminar)
Speech: 'Texas Lawyers Creed - Mandate for Professionalism".
18. December 2001 - Mealey's Asbestos Conference, Pasadena, California
Panelist: "Recent Developments in Asbestos Litigation".
19. April 2002 - Seminar -"From Bench to Bar"
Speech: "The Arcane Art of Jury Selection".
20. August 2002 - Orange County Bar Association
Speech: "Legal Ethics and the Texas Lawyers' Creed".
21. March 2004 - Environmental Products Liability & Mass Torts, Orlando, FL
Speaker: "Mass Torts Issues".
22. September 2004 - Mealey's Advanced Skills for Mass Tort Paralegals Conference, Dallas, TX,
Speaker: Expert Admissibility and Preparing the Expert to be Trial Ready".
23. October 2004 - Product Liability Advisory Counsel, Williamsburg, VA,
Speaker: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly - Problem Jurisdictions in Consumer/Products Cases".
24. December 2004- Mealey's Retail Liability Conference, Las Vegas, NV
Speaker: "A View from the Bench".
25. March 2005 - Benzene Litigation Conference, New Orleans, LA
Speaker: A View from the Bench".
26. April 2005 - Mealey's Environmental Seminar, Houston, TX
Speaker: "Litigating Mass Torts".
27. April 2005 - Andrews Asbestos Litigation Seminar, New Orleans, LA
Speaker: "Asbestos Litigation Issues".
28. September 2005 - Ninth National Court Technology Conference, Seattle, WA
Speaker: "Creating an Electronic Filing System - Ideal Features and Characteristics".