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Culture 2020 40 Under 40 Laura W. James

2020 40 Under 40 Laura W. James

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pharral@bizpress.net
Paul is a lifelong journalist with experience in wire service, newspaper, magazine, local and network television and digital media. He was vice president and editor of the editorial page of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and editor of Fort Worth, Texas magazine before joining the Business Press. What he likes best is writing about people in detail and introducing them to others in the community. Specific areas of passion are homelessness, human trafficking, health care and aerospace.

LAURA W. JAMES, 39

SHAREHOLDER, BRACKETT & ELLIS P.C.

Laura James is a litigation partner who handles both first- and third-party insurance defense cases, along with medical malpractice cases, throughout Texas. She is part of a small group in her firm to work directly for London insurers and spends several weeks each year in London developing business, said nominator Amber James of Amber James, PLLC Attorney & Counselor.

James is also Recruiting Chair for Brackett & Ellis and this year, she re-energized and restarted the clerkship program to recruit great legal talent to Fort Worth, her nominator said.

James graduated from Southwest High School and TCU Magna Cum Laude and earned her law degree from Southern Methodist University, Order of the Coif. She is a graduate of Leadership Fort Worth.

And … she tried out for Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader and appeared in nine episodes of the Food Network show Worst Cooks in America, where she was the Season 10 Semi-Finalist.

“She really is a go-getter and never met challenge she didn’t want to face head on,” her nominator said.

Civic involvement includes incoming chair, Clayton Youth Enrichment (formerly ClaytonYes); YMCA youth basketball coach; Adopt a School volunteer; former president Tarrant County Young Lawyers Association; former director, Texas Young Lawyers Association; former chair of FUMC Downtown Women’s Circle; and Lily B. Clayton PTA member.

– Paul K. Harral

Where did your first paycheck come from?

I worked for the DeMoss Company as a file clerk the summer before my senior year of high school.

What movie, TV series, play or video game influenced you growing up?

I loved all of the lawyer TV shows when I was growing up – L.A. Law, Night Court, Perry Mason. Claire Huxtable from The Cosby Show was my working-mom career icon.

What other profession would you like to try?

I would love to explore counseling or professional coaching, especially focused on professional women and the unique stresses they face. It’s my dream to someday own a ranch in West Texas where I would host yoga, spirituality and meditation retreats for modern women looking for a place to slow down and reconnect with themselves in nature.

Tell us about an influential person in your life, how they influenced you and why he or she was important.

My parents have truly been the strongest influences in my life. My mother for her work ethic, and my father for his enthusiasm, qualities I hope that I reflect in my own life. My mother, Susan White, is tireless in both her professional pursuits and her commitment to volunteerism.

She was a full-time working mother who … also found time to a Girl Scout troop leader, Sunday School teacher and school volunteer, to name only a few.

My father, Ron White, is the most positive and enthusiastic person I have ever known. His zest for life and love for those around him created a childhood filled with wonder and excitement. He has always been my biggest cheerleader, and is no doubt more excited for me to be receiving this recognition than even I am.

When did you know what you wanted to be when you grew up?

When I was 8 years old, I did a project about what I wanted to be when I grew up. I filled my board with pictures taken at different Tarrant County Courts and legal sites – one of which is a picture of me in the old Tarrant County Courthouse. The view out of my office window now overlooks that very same courthouse and I keep the picture framed in my office.

What is your favorite song?

Best Song Ever, One Direction

Tell us about your photo shoot prop.

My prop is my TCU Showgirl PomPoms. Even though it’s been many years since I danced on the sidelines of a football or basketball game, I try to carry that same energy and sparkle around with me wherever I go.

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