About Jim Lionberger
A native of rural Missouri, James A. Lionberger has practiced in Boulder County, Colorado, since 1982. After graduating from the University of Missouri with an undergraduate degree in Economics in 1978, he graduated from the University of Missouri Law School in 1981. He was privileged to have been selected thereafter to clerk for a judge on the Missouri Supreme Court. During this judicial clerkship, he performed legal research and wrote the opinions for his Judge, the Hon. J. P. Morgan (dec.), in addition to assisting His Honor with the state-wide administrative matters of a legal nature that are the exclusive province of state's Supreme Court.
After the expiration of the clerkship (approximately thirteen months), he moved to Longmont and began working for Hopp & Associates, a local litigation firm. He became a partner the next year, and remained there until starting his own solo firm in 1990. He has operated as a sole practitioner since that time. Since opening his own practice, he not only litigated all types of matters, but also had limited experience in the preparation of wills and trusts, contracts, and real estate documents.
His practice is now limited to (1) family law (2) evictions and (3) serving as a mediator/arbitrator/decision maker, primarily (but not exclusively) in family law matters. The latter exercise is collectively known as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). Although he is experienced in all phases of litigation, including personal injury law and general civil litigation, he chose to limit his practice to family law matters commencing 1990. At the suggestion of a local lawyer, he began serving as a mediator in 1992, and now mediates scores of matters each year for attorneys all along the Front Range. His ADR work is now twenty-five percent of his entire practice, and not only provides him insight into mediation matters in which his clients are parties, but assists in helping him prepare for and argue cases before our Courts.
He believes that it is important to have a working knowledge of the Court processes, and Judges themselves, in representing his clients. After regularly practicing in front of the Boulder, Larimer and Weld County District Courts, he decided to limit his practice to actions heard exclusively before Boulder County Judges. In this way, he hopes to be able to better serve his clients by being prepared for the manner in which cases are scheduled and tried in the 20th Judicial District (Boulder County), and in being able to more accurately gauge the outcome of litigation. This experience is crucial in negotiating favorable settlements to keep his clients out of Court.
It is his belief that the last choice in any family law case is to turn the decision over to the Court. Although Judges, particularly in Boulder County, are hard-working and well-meaning, trying their best to enter just verdicts, they are mere mortal. Despite their best efforts, they often enter awards that do not seem fair to either of the litigants. Thus, the parties should take all reasonable efforts to negotiate a mutually agreeable resolution of their case that does not involve the anxiety, hostility, and substantial legal costs associated with taking a matter all the way to a trial. Nevertheless, as he has tried over a thousand matters before the courts, he is willing and able to present his client's cases with persuasion and conviction.