James Humphreys


James F. Humphreys is an accomplished personal injury and mesothelioma lawyer who has represented more than 15,000 clients since he began his legal practice in 1979. Jim has more than four decades of experience representing clients in cases involving occupational injuries and diseases, asbestos exposure, railroad injuries, defective medical devices and sexual abuse. Jim knows the toll a major injury can take on the survivor and their family, which is why his firm is dedicated to providing compassionate and aggressive legal representation to its clients. Jim has been recognized as a leader in his field by top organizations, including National Trial Lawyers, AVVO and Martindale-Hubbell. Jim is recognized as one of West Virginia’s Top 100 Trial Lawyers.

He served as Chairman of the Brain Injury Association of America and is a Member Emeritus of The George Washington University School of Law Dean’s Advisory Committee. A 1978 graduate of George Washington Law School, Humphreys has given back to his alma mater several times over the years, establishing the James F. Humphreys Litigation Complex Center in 2005 and endowing the James F. Humphreys Fund in 2012 for low income West Virginia students. Beyond his law practice, Humphreys supports his community through local activities, such as the Secret Santa Foundation of Charleston, West Virginia; a gift to West Virginia University for a scholarship in his mother’s name; contributions to a local high school for college scholarships; and many other contributions; and served as Board Member of the Public Justice Foundation and Board of Trustees, George Washington University and Brandeis University. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Thomas Memorial Hospital Foundation.

Where did the idea for your career come from?

When selecting the name of James F. Humphreys & Associates L.C., I wanted to make it clear to the public that the firm consisted of more lawyers than me, but were employees or associates of the firm, not partners. At one point, the law firm had about twenty associate lawyers working for us.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

My day begins reviewing the newspaper, the internet and my emails to learn of events or messages that might be of importance or interest to me and my clients. Next, I spend time discussing pending cases and working on the development of new cases with my staff, attending hearings, and speaking with clients, other lawyers, and firm staff.

How do you bring ideas to life?

To ensure I’m up to date with the latest changes in my field, I make a point of attending seminars, educational conventions and webinars. I also firmly believe hard work is the best way to bring ideas to life and I couldn’t do that without assistance from my staff.

What’s one trend that excites you?

With the growing number of accusations coming out of sexual abuse against Catholic priests, Boy Scoutmasters, public school teachers, and other authority figures, I’m happy to see states expanding the legal rights for the victims of sexual abuse as children. These recent changes have increased the ability of survivors to get justice for their pain.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I’ve found that dedication, long hours and hard work have made me successful. I’ve also found that it’s important to be receptive to new ideas and be willing to pivot to near areas of the law.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Over the years, I learned it’s important to monitor your staff and ensure they’re competent in performing their duties. By doing so, we create an environment that allows us to best serve our clients and provide them with the best legal representation possible.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Unfortunately, there are times when things are going to get much worse and they may not get better. This is a hard reality in my line of work, particularly when I work with mesothelioma patients, for whom there’s no cure.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I find that it’s important to stay in contact with your clients and advise them of what is happening in their case. I recommend other attorneys do the same to ensure their clients are confident in their case and aware of any challenges or changes that have come up as well as documents or information we may need to better represent them.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Work, work, work. Think beyond the usual and don’t hesitate to grab onto new opportunities. I’m constantly taking on new clients and expanding my practice areas to grow the firm and help more people get justice for their injuries.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

There were times I failed to adequately supervise my staff which led to inefficiencies and problems. I now monitor my employees more carefully to keep my business running smoothly.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

With the growing number of accusations of sexual abuse coming out against different organizations, such as the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts of America, I feel it’s important for firms to develop the capacity to help the victims of childhood and adult sexual abuse and reach out to those victims to help them pursue justice.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I bought books for my wife on her birthday, which along with other presents, made her happy.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

In our firm, we use a software that permits my staff and me to quickly call up the complete history of a client’s case. This helps us keep our files organized and ensures we’re able to represent them to the best of our ability.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

The Bible for its guidance in ethics and morality, especially the Books of Amos, Micah and Matthew.

What is your favorite quote?

Whoever has done this to the least of men has done it to me. – Matthew 25:40

Key Learnings:

  • It’s important to shift your focus when new opportunities present themselves.
  • Support and supervise your team to ensure your business’s success.
  • There’s nothing that can take the place of hard work.