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2018 Trusted Advisers Attorney: James Meadows

Kutak Rock LLP

Posted online

James Meadows’ phone rings when a legal dispute threatens to take down an entire business or an intimidating risk is looming in the marketplace.

That’s the nature of working as a litigator.

“Bad things happen to good people and good businesses,” says Meadows, a partner for law firm Kutak Rock LLP. “A key part of my job is helping people deal with the aftermath of a lawsuit and finding a way to move forward.”

In his practice, Meadows handles contract disputes, real estate claims, construction payment and defect claims, and insurance coverage actions.

For instance, his case portfolio includes a $90 million settlement obtained – one of the largest settlements of 2015 in Missouri, he says – for an unnamed municipality in a suit against multiple title insurers for undisclosed title defects.

Other noteworthy cases are when he represented a public official in litigation alleging violation of Missouri’s open records laws, and he brought the parties to resolve without going to trial. And following the destruction of a commercial building caught in a tornado, he obtained a $1 million-plus settlement for the owner, who had sued the property/casualty insurer for failure to pay full insurance policy limits.

For those efforts, some might say Meadows knows how to fix things.

“We don’t always get to meet people at their best – [it’s] often at one of their darkest times – but as a litigator, I help resolve problems so that individuals and businesses can move forward,” he says.

This summer, Meadows was among 11 attorneys who left Lathrop Gage LLP to open Kutak Rock LLP’s first law office in Springfield.

Working with over 50 clients last year at Lathrop Gage, Meadows’ annual billings exceeded $1.26 million.

He also works with clients to plan for the future, typically involving their estates or businesses in order to minimize liabilities and identify expansion opportunities.

“An attorney cannot make decisions for a client,” Meadows says, noting his role is to bring his judgment and professional knowledge to the table. “Life and business are about risks, but those risks can be calculated and often selected. I help clients decide what risk they can most live with in their future.”

After completing undergraduate studies at Drury University and earning his law degree from University of Missouri, Meadows worked as a law clerk for the Missouri Supreme Court.

Outside of the courtroom and law office, Meadows is a board member for Care to Learn’s Ozark chapter and the Christian County Library Foundation. As treasurer of the library since 2014, he was glad to see voters approve a 20-cent tax levy in August 2017 to help fund a new branch in Nixa and renovations to the Ozark library across from the Finley River Park.

Meadows also has served as chairman of the Voice of Business Committee for the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce and has chaired the finance and missions committees at South Haven Baptist Church, where he’s a deacon.

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