Sunday, January 20th, 2019

S Shopper Stories


JAMES E. SHORT, PLC

A good friend in the law

by Candance Moore


James Short, PLC, has earned the honor of being admitted to the bar of the US Supreme Court.

James Short, PLC, has earned the honor of being admitted to the bar of the US Supreme Court.

It can happen in a moment. The company holiday party involves a bit too much alcohol, and someone with a clean driving record suddenly gets a DUI. A family football game on Thanksgiving gets a little too competitive, and suddenly brothers start fighting and it results in assault charges. A normally well-behaved boy attends a party and is found in possession of alcohol.

And just that quick, upstanding citizens are thrown into a foreign world of legal terminology, court procedure and hearings. They know they need help, but the fear of hiring the wrong attorney soon paralyzes them. When one is not sure where to turn for legal advice, Jim is a good friend in the law.

James Short, “Jim” to most, spends his days talking to people who want rigorous, effective defense.

“Most people who contact me have a fair understanding of their situation,” Jim explains. “I work with them to prepare a plan that has the best chance of succeeding. That’s the only way law can work for the betterment of society.”


When one is not sure
where to turn for legal advice,
Jim is a good friend in the law.



Jim’s modest, highly personal office is just a stone’s throw from North Battlefield Boulevard in Chesapeake. Family photos line the cabinet behind his desk. When he speaks of his work in domestic or juvenile court, the genuine tone of a concerned father breaks through.

As a high schooler, born and raised in Portsmouth, young Jim took a business ethics class, and it involved a field trip to the local courthouse. He was hooked immediately.

“I saw an opportunity to improve society there. That’s where it started,” he says.

First came the University of Richmond where he majored in political science. The school used a peer-based honor council to handle student misconduct, and Jim quickly got involved. When not in class or keeping up with the homework load, he volunteered his spare time to assess accusations against fellow schoolmates.

He still remembers the sting of a particular case. A pre-med student had made it all the way to senior year, and then, desperate to get into medical school, had cheated on a test. The offense meant unavoidable expulsion from the university. In that case, Jim saw a serious social issue collide with a desperate person who had simply wanted to survive. It left a deep impression early on in his law career.

He graduated with honors from the University of Richmond. From there, he went to William and Mary’s Marshall-Wythe School of Law. Upon earning his law degree and passing the bar, he returned home to Portsmouth, where he became an assistant prosecutor with the Portsmouth Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.

“I started in prosecution because I saw it as a way to bring justice,” he says.

For four years he worked in the trenches of prosecuting crime. He quickly realized the importance of having an attorney who zealously represents clients. This unique experience gave Jim insight into the best way to defend a client; knowing how the prosecution thinks and their approach to cases gave him an edge in preparing a defense.

In 1991, he went into private practice as he searched for his true purpose. Legal assistant Karen Reel joined the team, and has worked with Jim for over 15 years.Meanwhile, he and wife Lisa welcomed two children, their daughter Jamie and their son Parker.

In 2007, Jim found a modest office space in Greenbrier – perfect for his no frills, family focused lifestyle. He developed his case load based on what he truly felt passion for. A hard-working father like himself had one bad night that turned into a DUI -  Jim was on it. A bright young adult was charged with reckless driving, and a conviction would affect his security clearance - Jim took the case.

As part of his commitment to preserving people’s lives, Jim created a simple and transparent fee system. “My fee structure is very simple, and I put the agreement in writing. I always try to keep my fees very competitive. No surprises and no additional charges when the case is finished,” Jim says simply.

Due to his reputation for caring about families, Jim was soon called on for divorce, custody agreements, juvenile crime, and legal guardianship pursuits. Borrowing inspiration from his children at home, Jim became adept at getting unhappy kids to cooperate.



James works with clients to prepare a plan that has the best chance of succeeding.

James works with clients to prepare a plan that has the best chance of succeeding.


Jim also serves on the peer discipline committee in his industry. When a burned-out attorney, sinking under a heavy caseload or perhaps facing personal crisis, fails to effectively contend for justice, a committee of peers, including Jim, will intervene.

“When attorneys leave the courthouse, they are normal people who go through hard times like everyone else. It’s very important that these problems get addressed in a firm but compassionate way,” Jim notes.

Jim makes time in his busy schedule to get involved with the community. He is active in the Portsmouth Sports Club, and has been a past President of the club.

Jim and Lisa have lived in Western Branch for over 20 years.  Lisa is now a teacher at Western Branch Intermediate. Jamie is in her third year at the University of Virginia. Parker is a sophomore at Western Branch High School. At the mention of his family, Jim lights up, happy to share photos of fly fishing with Parker. Strictly catch and release, to encourage respect for the environment.


“My fee structure is very simple,
and I put the agreement in writing.
I always try to keep my fees
very competitive.
No surprises and
no additional charges
when the case is finished.”

—Jim Short

 
It has been 25 years since Jim began his own law practice. He has built a strong reputation in courthouses across Hampton Roads. Jim has the knowledge and experience to take almost any type of criminal case, and he truly wants to help his clients. His areas of expertise – and the bulk of his practice – are adult and juvenile criminal offenses, traffic cases such as DUI and reckless driving, and domestic matters. He also handles minor offenses such as trespassing or shoplifting. However, he can also represent his clients on major offenses such as robbery or drug charges.

“I can help someone who is in a bad situation,” Jim says. “I want them to know they can trust me as an attorney for life.”





James E. Short, PLC

652 Independence Parkway
Chesapeake, VA 23320

757-410-5042
http://www.shortplc.com