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A member of McGuire, Wood & Bissette's Litigation Team, James M. Kimzey is a tenacious litigator with a long and distinguished record of service to the profession. An attorney since 1964 who joined McGuire, Wood & Bissette's Brevard office in 2010, he is at the same time the firm's newest litigator, and the team member with the longest law career.
In his more than 45 years as a litigation attorney, James Kimzey has represented defendants in criminal cases, buyers in real estate and other business transactions, utilities in rate-making cases and plaintiffs and defendants in lawsuits involving divorce, lender liability, defamation, will caveats, riparian rights, airport nuisance, railroad rights-of-way, administrative law, condemnation, corporate dissolution, personal injury, and bankruptcy. He has appeared before the North Carolina Court of Appeals and the North Carolina Supreme Court dozens of times and has appeared in all of the federal district courts in North Carolina and before the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.
In 2008, Kimzey was named to the North Carolina Bar Association's Hall of Fame which recognizes lawyers who "have exhibited throughout their practice the highest standards of ethics and professional competency and have rendered a high level of service to the Bar and to their communities." In 2009, Kimzey received the North Carolina State Bar Association's Distinguished Service Award which honors attorneys who have demonstrated outstanding service to the legal profession and the public.
A Morehead Scholar, Kimzey received his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. In 1964 he graduated with honors from the University of North Carolina School of Law where he served as an editor of the North Carolina Law Review. After receiving his law degree, Kimzey first began his career in transactional law in the Asheville law office of Parker, McGuire, and Bailey which was the oldest firm continually in practice in Asheville (since 1894) and the precursor to today's McGuire, Wood & Bissette, PA.
Kimzey's decision to pursue a career in trial law took him to Raleigh, where he practiced for the next thirty years, first with the legendary Colonel William T. Joyner of Joyner & Howison. In 1986, Kimzey and partners formed McMillan, Kimzey, Smith, and Plyler where he began focusing his practice on commercial litigation, representing many clients engaged in litigation against banks' commercial loan offices and one of the few lawyers, at the time, to do so.
Kimzey has been, and remains, an active member of the North Carolina State Bar Association. From 1970-1971, he served as chair of the Young Lawyers Division, and has been a member of the Administrative Law, Litigation and General Practice sections. He was a member of the Wake County Bar Association from 1965-1995, was elected by his peers in 1992 to serve as a State Bar councilor, co-chaired the Sate Bar's committee to implement statewide fee arbitration, and has been a member of the Transylvania County Bar Association since 1995. He is a former member of the American Bar Association, the American Judicature Society, and the North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers. He has served as an adjunct professor at North Carolina State University and Peace College.
In 1995, Kimzey moved his law practice from Raleigh, returning to his hometown of Brevard where he continued in solo practice before joining the newly opened Brevard office of McGuire, Wood & Bissette in 2010.
Having been certified by the Dispute Resolution Commission as a Superior Court Mediator in 1996, Kimzey has maintained an active practice as a Civil Superior Court Mediator, as well as his civil litigation practice. He is available as a mediator for Superior Court cases throughout western North Carolina.
Kimzey has worked tirelessly to improve the communities in which he has lived. He has promoted career opportunities for students, served as Sunday School teacher and youth group leader and has served on the Morehead Scholarship Selections Committee. He has been a member of the Zeb Vance Debating Society, the Raleigh Board of Adjustment, the Raleigh Kiwanis Club, the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, and the Transylvania County Endowment.
Kimzey enjoys many of the activities of his youth, including grouse hunting, fly fishing, dove hunting, and teaching the next generation about the importance of conserving the natural beauty of the western North Carolina mountains.