Jim McElroy has been in private practice in San Diego for over 30 years specializing in civil litigation.
Jim served on California’s Hate Crimes Commission and testified before legislative committees on hate crimes. He worked with the Southern Poverty Law Center and Morris Dees in trials that resulted in a 12.5 million dollar judgment against Tom Metzger and the White Aryan Resistance, the 6.2 million dollar judgment against Aryan Nations in Idaho, a 9 million dollar judgment for Billy Ray Johnson in East Texas and a 2.5 million dollar judgment against the Imperial Klans of America in Kentucky.
Jim has represented victims of hate crimes in San Diego as well, including Carlos Colbert, an African-American Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton who was beaten by a gang of white supremacists in Santee, California and who was awarded 9 million dollars. He also obtained an $880,000 verdict against Jeff White and Operation Rescue for threatening and harassing doctors and patients at family planning clinics. He has represented one of the Plaintiffs in the Mt. Soledad Cross case, a First Amendment religious preference case for over 20 years.
Jim is the past Chair of the Board of Directors of the Southern Poverty Law Center and currently serves on their board as well as the board for the ACLU of San Diego and the non-profit Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana. He is a Master in the American Inns of Court and the past President of the San Diego Inn of Court.
Jim was awarded the American Association for Justice (formerly ATLA) Defense of Civil Liberties Award in 2013, ACLU of San Diego’s Helen Marston Award for his Civil Rights work in 2014, San Diego County Bar Association’s Service to the Legal Profession Award (1998), the Outstanding Attorney of the Year Award (2004), the San Diego Daily Transcript Top Attorneys (2005), the National Civil Rights Award from the Anti-Defamation League, the Margaret Sanger Award for Distinguished Service in Protecting Women’s Rights and the Womancare Health Center Award for Protecting the Legal Rights of Women. He has received Certificates of Appreciation for his work from the Attorney General of the State of California, the State Bar of California, the San Diego County Bar Association and the San Diego Superior Court and has been previously listed as one of San Diego’s Super Lawyers.
Jim’s pro bono clients have included Planned Parenthood National, Planned Parenthood San Diego, United Negro College Fund, Anti Defamation League, Southern Poverty Law Center, the Plaintiffs in the Mt. Soledad cross case and many others.