When you have a legal issue, everything can change. Jim knows that. With more than 41 years experience litigating on his clients' behalf, you can focus on your life, instead of finding yourself overwhelmed and worried about your court case or will, estate, probate or trust matter. Jim's experience includes:
July, 2013 to December 31, 2013.
Part time General Magistrate in the Residential Mortgage Foreclosure division of the Ninth Judicial Circuit of Florida.
Conducted hearings hearing legal argument as to the issues and entered a Report and Recommendation to the Circuit Judge as to suggested rulings on the issues.
Completed the Court-Ordered Arbitration seminar March 14, 1996 and have worked as an arbitrator since then.
Certified Circuit Civil Mediator since 1995: 20 years experience.
Certified Mediator, Fifth District Court of Appeal, May 2004.
Testified as an expert witness on attorneys’ fees in over a dozen contested cases.
Rated A/V Preeminent for over 20 years. “The A/V Preeminent Rating is the pinnacle of professional excellence earned through a strenuous Peer Review Rating process that is managed and monitored by the world’s most trusted legal source, Martindale-Hubbell.” It is the highest possible rating in both legal ability and ethical standards reflecting the confidential opinions of members of the Bar and Judiciary.
Listed in Top Lawyers in the 2011, 2012 and 2013 issues of Orlando Home and Leisure Magazine.
Peer reviewed by the Judicial Nominating Commission of the Ninth Judicial Circuit of Florida and nominated for a judicial position four times.
Hubbell v. Aetna, 758 So.2d 94 (Fla. 2000) affirming Aetna v. Hubbell, 704 So.2d 1141, (Fla. 5th DCA 1998), resolving a conflict between the District Courts of Appeal regarding the issue of attorney's fees.
ADMITTED TO PRACTICE LAW OCTOBER 25, 1974: 41 YEARS EXPERIENCE
PRIVATE PRACTICE, JAMES W. SEARS, P.A., Orlando, Fla
October, 1978 – present,
Represented clients in litigation, depositions, hearings and trials in a various areas of law, primarily general civil, business, commercial and real property litigation.
Worked part-time as a Certified Circuit Civil Mediator since 1995: 20 years experience.
Served as chair of Ninth Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee “C” reviewing alleged ethical violations by attorneys and Ninth Judicial Circuit Unlicensed Practice of Law Committee “A” reviewing alleged violations of persons practicing law without a license.
Defended all types of criminal and juvenile cases for approximately nine years.
During entire career tried approximately 50 jury trials to verdict and tried as many or more non-jury trials.
Handled cases involving disputes with motor vehicle dealers over 25 years.
Identified and developed issues in disputed matters; reviewed and evaluated case records
Processed subpoena requests for witnesses and documents
Determined the credibility of witnesses; evaluated the admissibility of evidence
Analyzed complex legal issues, applying the Florida Rules of Procedure, the Florida Administrative Code, the Florida Statutes, and Florida and United States Constitutions
Researched legal and administrative decisions and opinions to determine their potential bearing in the case or appeal process
Interpreted laws, regulations, policies, and procedures as they applied to specific issues
Prepared pleadings, motions, briefs and pre-trial statements, memoranda, appellate briefs and written opinions and orders based upon the judges’ rulings.
Participated in conferences to narrow and clarify the issues in dispute and prepare parties for hearings and trials
Evaluated testimony, arguments and evidence of all parties
Presented evidence in hearings and trial and engaged in direct and cross examination of witnesses, making objections to evidence and motions
Presented oral argument in both trial and appellate courts
Prepared and presented proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law, and determinations of the standard of review in appellate cases
Advised clients regarding their legal circumstances and recommended courses of action.
STATE ATTORNEY OF THE NINTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT OF FLORIDA, ROBERT EGAN, STATE ATTORNEY, Orlando and Kissimmee, Florida
Assistant State Attorney, January, 1976 – September, 1978
Prosecuted all types of felony, misdemeanor and juvenile cases. Tried approximately 40 – 50 jury trials and over 100 nonjury trials.
Handled extraditions, non-support, search warrants and charged cases.
Associate attorney working for attorney Carroll S. Barco October, 1974 to December, 1975 in general civil practice.
University of Florida Levin College of Law, Gainesville, FL
Juris Doctor, March 1974
Class Standing - Top 25%
Stetson University, Deland, FL
Bachelor of Business Administration, May 1971
Class Standing - Top 25%
The Florida Bar, 1974
U.S. Supreme Court, 1978
U.S. Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit, 1978
U.S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit, June 1983
Mediation: Certified Circuit Civil Mediator, State of Florida, April 1995
Certified Mediator, U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida, September 1995 (no longer active)
Certified Mediator, Fifth District Court of Appeal, May 2004
Magistrate: July 10, 2013 sworn in as a part time General Magistrate in the Residential Mortgage Foreclosure division of the Ninth Judicial Circuit of Florida.
PROFESSIONAL AND OTHER ACTIVITIES
The Florida Bar; 1974 to Present
Ninth Judicial Circuit Unlicensed Practice of Law Committee “A” August, 2005 to August, 2008
Ninth Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee “C”, 2001-2004;
Meritorious Public Service Award, November, 2004
Orange County Bar Association:
Solo & Small Firm Committee; 1995 to 1998 and 2010 to date;
Chairperson of The Membership Directory Subcommittee in 1996.
State and Federal Trial Practice Committee, 1995 to 1998 approximately
Courtroom Technology Subcommittee; 1996
Judicial Relations Committee; 1990-2005 approximately
American Bar Association; 1974-1994, 2000 to 2005
Legal Aid Society of the Orange County Bar Association, Inc.
August, 2005 Certificate of Appreciation for exceptional degree of service
National District Attorneys Association, 1976 – 1978
Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association, 1976 – 1978
Osecola County Bar Association, 1976 - 1977