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Since founding the firm in 1977, Jim Bartimus has been recognized as a premier medical malpractice attorney, representing plaintiffs nationwide in complex negligence and pharmaceutical cases.

Jim’s creativity and advocacy has helped hundreds of families over the past four decades. Beyond individual matters, his work has changed law and medical procedures across the United States.

In Jackson County, Missouri, he represented a woman whose fetus died while she was laying on a gurney in a hospital waiting to be seen. Because the existing law said a child must have “the breath of life” for there to be a wrongful death case, the woman had no cause of action against the hospital. Working on her behalf, Jim filed a lawsuit that ultimately reached the Missouri Supreme Court; after his argument, the court reversed its standing 7-0 and found wrongful death for a viable fetus. This case changed the state’s law and gave rights to grieving families.

In California, Jim tried one of the country’s first organ transplant malpractice cases. He represented the family of a woman who received a kidney transplant and died from malignant melanoma 90 days later; an investigation revealed the donor site did not perform any disease screening. After this litigation, the organ network changed its intake process worldwide and now screens all donors for skin cancer.

Other high-profile matters include representing the state of Missouri in litigation against tobacco companies and serving as lead counsel for Kansas in Medicare fraud cases. Regardless of the size of a project, however, Jim said he has a personal mission to handle all client cases with precision and care: “Every day, people walk in who have suffered a catastrophe or a tragedy. My motivation is to try and help them.”

He has served on the board of directors for the Center for Practical Bioethics, the University of Kansas City Trustees and the Kids and Cars Organization, and he is a past president of five organizations, including the International Society of Barristers, Civil Justice Foundation, Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Foundation and the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys.

Jim is a veteran of the U.S. Navy and played catcher on a competitive baseball team until he was 42 years old, when he broke his knee on a play at home plate while in a tournament in Florida. He made the out.

Jim Bartimus believes in learning by doing.

He started law school on the G.I. Bill four days after his second tour with the Navy in Vietnam. After his first class on the first day, he asked his law professor for a job: “I said 'Hey, I’m a veteran, I really need to work,' and he hired me almost on the spot as a research assistant.”

The next semester, Jim was hired to assist legendary plaintiff’s lawyer Lantz Welch, whose philosophy he describes as “throw you in the pool but not let you drown.” This practical experience complemented the academic side of law school, he said – and had him ready to work immediately. He tried his first case during his first week as a lawyer.

Jim’s hands-on education continued at the University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Medicine. After working on a few medical malpractice cases, Jim wanted a better understanding of anatomy and physiology, so he decided to go to medical school. He audited classes for three years, dissecting along with the med students. Jim said he uses this training every day: “When I review cases, the key is sorting the good from the bad from the unknown. That’s a matter of having medical knowledge.”

His roll-up-your-sleeves approach extends to charitable work, too. Not content to just passively write checks, Jim started the firm’s tradition of Sandwich Tuesday in 1993. Every Tuesday at 10:30, the firm’s attorneys and staff members gather in the kitchen to make ham and cheese sandwiches for City Union Mission.

The tradition started with 50 sandwiches a week; the firm now provides 350 a week – more than 18,000 sandwiches a year.

“Giving back is important to me. It’s important to all of us,” he said. “We’re lucky to be doing what we’re doing and to have the stature that we have. It’s important to put that back in the community – and to find things that might help a little.”

EDUCATION AND PAST EXPERIENCE

University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Medicine, 1980

J.D., University of Missouri – Kansas City, 1977

B.A., University of Missouri, 1971

MEMBERSHIPS AND AFFILIATIONS

Jurisdictions

Missouri Supreme Court

Kansas Supreme Court

Colorado Supreme Court

State of Missouri – All Jurisdictions

State of Colorado – All Jurisdictions

State of Kansas – All Jurisdictions

United States Federal District Court for the Western District of Missouri

United States Federal District Court – District of Kansas

United States Supreme Court

 

Professional

International Society of Barristers, Fellow, Past President

International Academy of Trial Lawyers, Fellow

Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys, Past President

Civil Justice Foundation, Past President

American Board of Trial Advocates – Western Missouri Chapter, Advocate, Past President

Missouri Institute for Justice, Past President

Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, Past President

Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Foundation, Past President

American Society of Legal Medicine, Fellow

Association of Personal Injury Lawyers

Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum

American College of Legal Medicine

American Judicature Society

Lawyers-Pilot Bar Association

National Judicial College, Past Co-Chair Board of Visitors

The Summit Council

UMKC Law Foundation, Past President

 

Civic

American Lung Association

Center for Practical Bioethics, Past Board Member

DanaJames Kids Foundation

Kids and Cars Organization, Board Member

LEAP (Lawyers Encouraging Academic Performance), Lifetime Board Member

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

University of Kansas City Trustees, Past Board Member

City Union Mission

HONORS AND RECOGNITIONS

UMKC Alumni Achievement Award 2014

Man of the Year, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Super Lawyers of Missouri and Kansas, 2005 to present

Best Lawyers in America, 2000 to present

Martindale-Hubbell, 30+ years AV Preeminent Rating, 1985 to present

Lawyer of the Year 2016, Personal Injury, Best Lawyers of America

Lawyer of the Year 2014, Medical Malpractice, Best Lawyers of America

Lawyer of the Year 2012, Medical Malpractice, Best Lawyers of America

Lawyer of the Year, 2010, Personal Injury, Best Lawyers of America

Litigator of the Year, Kansas City, 2010 Best Lawyers

Best of the Bar, 2000 to present

KCMBA Presidential Recognition Award

Missouri Lawyer’s Weekly, Best Medical Negligence Lawyer in Missouri; Wiedemann Wysocki National Finance Council Award (ATLA) 2006

William P. Borland Award, Law Foundation, University of Missouri KC

Belton High School Hall of Fame

Acorn Award from Missouri Humanities Council

"Best Up and Coming Lawyer," Kansas City, Missouri Town Squire Magazine, 1982

Dean of the Trial Bar, Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association

Dean's List, University of Missouri - Kansas City School of Law

Decade Award, Law Foundation, University of Missouri KC

Finalist, National Appellate Advocacy, 1977

Law Review, University of Missouri - Kansas City School of Law

Moot Court Board, University of Missouri - Kansas City School of Law

President’s Award, University of Missouri Law Foundation, 1996

Senior Life Fellow, American Board of Trial Attorneys

The Association of Trial Lawyers of America Work Horse Award, The Belli Society

Who's Who in American Law

Who's Who in Kansas City

Who's Who Worldwide

Ingram’s 250,  2016, 2017, 2018

 

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