Matters in my practice can often present as chaotic, ambiguous situations. My goal for each is to impose order and a measure of control, and at least as important, discretion. I often represent clients who are professionally senior and very successful in what is frequently a low point in their careers. Given my background as a federal prosecutor, I am familiar with the tactics that will position my client for success, no matter the circumstance. If I am successful, nobody hears about it.
James “Jim” Sturdivant is a Member in McGlinchey’s Birmingham office. His practice focuses on white collar investigations and proceedings. Jim represents and defends corporate and individual clients in criminal and white collar matters, whether brought by the United States Justice Department, the Alabama Attorney General, the United States Attorney, or local district attorneys. A former federal prosecutor with an LL.M. in Tax Law, he advises clients facing federal grand jury and law enforcement investigations, as well as securities fraud and tax allegations. He assists businesses, professional, governmental, and nonprofit organizations on strategies to avoid becoming the target of an investigation, and at trial, he is an aggressive, relentless, and exceptionally effective advocate.
A client accused of a white collar crime finds him- or herself in an unfamiliar, risky situation with enormous, very personal implications. In addition to the potential reputational impact, defendants may also face financial damage, loss of their liberty, or worse, incarceration. Civil litigation can be perceived as par for the course for any business. Being accused of a white-collar crime (which is often a client’s first encounter with criminal prosecution) is an altogether different experience with much higher stakes. These matters require a skilled, experienced, strategic attorney, and one with immense emotional intelligence and the ability to help clients manage both a legal and an emotional tsunami. Jim possesses both traits.
Jim’s role, first and foremost, is to assist clients by ensuring that their instinctive reaction doesn’t exacerbate the situation. When a professionally successful client accustomed to either being in control or negotiating a business challenge is confronted for the first time with a criminal investigation, serious errors of judgment can occur. Jim begins by making sure that doesn’t happen. Stabilizing an initially chaotic and ambiguous situation is Jim’s first priority.
Discretion is an essential part of Jim’s toolkit, with an end goal of minimizing the impact of the entire situation on his clients. In accomplishing this, Jim has to keep a number of balls in the air simultaneously. He communicates with his clients and helps them manage the emotional, business, and personal impact of the situation. He negotiates with the entity making the allegations and represents his clients as the case proceeds. He prevents the proceedings, as much as possible, from disrupting the day-to-day lives and businesses of those involved. And at the end, he works to make sure that when the matter is resolved, his clients can return to their lives, their families, their work – and their futures.