James “Jim” Kelly, Esq.
Top Attorney in Las Vegas
There are very few attorneys in Las Vegas with a background as unique and interesting as attorney James (“Jim”) P. Kelly. A biology major during his undergraduate years at the University of California, Los Angeles (“UCLA”), a former airline pilot, a professional flight instructor, a journeyman electrician for a Strip casino, a law clerk to a Justice of the Supreme Court of Nevada and an associate attorney to a former reality television star, Jim has certainly done a lot of interesting things in his career. All that experience and perspective has given him a background to become an amazing lawyer. Why? Because he doesn’t just know the law, he also understands the struggles people face having worked in a variety of different fields. Whether he’s negotiating with a prosecutor or litigating a case in court, there are few attorneys that know the ins and outs of criminal law like Jim. His life experiences have given him a perspective that informs how he approaches each case: always putting the client first, bringing an attitude of compassion to the representation and always seeking maximum justice.
One day while serving as the head flight instructor at Santa Monica Airport, Jim was asked to meet with a prospective student. When he arrived to meet the student, he was surprised to see it was none other than a guy with a megawatt smile named Tom Cruise. Yes, the same Tom Cruise from Top Gun fame. The irony of being in a position teaching a famous actor who starred in a movie about being a naval aviator was not lost on Jim. But not one to be star struck or impressed with celebrity, he carried on with his assignment and taught “Maverick” how to fly and helped him earn his pilot’s license.
Looking back upon that experience, Jim notes that he didn’t view it as any big deal: “in my mind, he’s just another person like anyone else” and that “I think what he [Tom Cruise] respected about me was that I didn’t really care who he was because I was more focused on whether he could handle the plane when I turned it over to him as part of his training.” Smiling, Jim further notes: “I was more worried about making sure Tom Cruise didn’t crash the plane and take me down with him!” Keeping it all in perspective, he adds “when you’re thousands of feet above ground looking down on the earth, you quickly realize how tiny and insignificant we all are compared to this mighty planet we call home. The biggest skyscraper looks tiny from up there. Celebrity means even less. It really puts it all into perspective.”
It’s this attitude and down-to-earth perspective that makes Jim a great lawyer. Having the right perspective is not just a big part of life, it’s also a key ingredient to being a good lawyer. Many lawyers get nervous when they go to court. They’re worried about how others will perceive them. Not Jim. His perspective informs his advocacy. He’s seen the view from 25,000 feet above the earth and understands what’s important: integrity, being prepared, showing respect for the judge, the jury and the court and demonstrating compassion for his clients.
COMPASSION AND JUSTICE
Jim Kelly began his legal career as a practicing attorney by working under the direction of one of Las Vegas’s most prominent and iconic criminal defense attorneys. In a town with no shortage of colorful characters, attorney James “Bucky” Buchanan prominently stood out from the rest. “I’ll always remember how much Bucky’s clients loved him” notes Jim while adding “it’s because he made them feel he was 100% on their side and would always tell it to them straight.”
This aspect of practicing law, having compassion for one’s clients, often feels lost these days. Not with Jim Kelly though. He understands that one of the most important things you can do for a client is make him or her feel like you understand what they’re dealing with while giving them the unvarnished truth.
A TOP LAWYER
Jim Kelly brings perspective, compassion and skilled advocacy to each of his clients’ cases. Not a flamboyant person or a “big talker,” Jim is the type of lawyer that focuses on his client’s case rather than trying to showcase himself. His training as a pilot and his background as an engineer cause him to bring a very methodical and meticulous approach to each case. A graduate of the charter class at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, School of Law, Jim has an impressive work history having started his legal career as a law clerk for the Supreme Court of Nevada. What distinguishes Jim the most is his compassion for his clients and his commitment to providing them outstanding legal representation. A great lawyer is more than a collection of degrees. A great lawyer is a person that truly cares about making a difference in someone’s life and getting them back on a path of recovery. Today Jim is part of the trial team that helps get clients justice.
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