February 19, 1947 – December 30, 2022
Jim was admitted to the Washington State Bar Association on May 8, 1975. He joined the law firm of Walgren Sexton, in 1975, where he worked his entire legal career. He retired from Ryan Sells Uptegraft in 2010.
He was admitted to practice before all Washington courts, Federal District Court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the United States Supreme Court, and the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission. He was AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell for his entire career.
He has served as Judge Pro Tem in Kitsap County Superior Court, Pierce County Superior Court, Kitsap County District Court, Bremerton Municipal Court, Gig Harbor Municipal Court, and Poulsbo Municipal Court. He has served as a trustee of the Kitsap County Bar Association and was Special District Counsel for the Washington State Bar Association for many years. In 1996 he was awarded the Kitsap County Bar Association Professionalism Award for Sustained Excellence in the Practice of Law and was named the Kitsap County Legal Secretaries’ Association Boss of the Year. Jim was a mentor to many young lawyers and legal assistants. He successfully argued numerous appellate cases in all three divisions, the State Supreme Court, and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Jim was a very well-respected divorce lawyer, handling high value and complicated divorces in Kitsap County for many years. Later his practice was focused upon representation of solid waste transportation companies in administrative and legal matters; representation of title insurance companies in litigation matters; and complex civil litigation. He was General Counsel to the Washington Refuse and Recycling Association, and the Washington Highway Users Federation for over 30 years. He received the lifetime achievement award from WRRA, and, in 2016 was inducted into the WRRA hall of fame.
Jim passed away in his sleep on December 30, 2022, following a courageous fight with several medical conditions. Jim is now where he wanted to be, with his beloved wife Barb who passed away in April 2021. He is survived by his two children, Elizabeth Simmons (Michael, Gig Harbor) and Jeffrey Sells (Layla, Redmond) and his grandson Parker.
Jim will be missed for all sorts of reasons, including his many legal contributions, sage advice – legal or not, and his wit, cynicism, and humor.
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