|Born||October 24, 1953|
|Education||University of Florida
Cumberland School of Law
Talk radio Host
James Michael Papantonio (born October 24, 1953), popularly known as Mike Papantonio, is an American attorney and radio talk show host. A prominent trial lawyer, he co-hosts Ring of Fire, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and Sam Seder. He is currently the President of the National Trial Lawyers Association.
Papantonio graduated from the University of Florida and received his J.D. from Cumberland School of Law. He was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1982 and the bar of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida in 1983. He graduated from DeSoto County High School, Arcadia, Florida.
Papantonio is a senior partner in the Pensacola, Florida-based Levin, Papantonio, Thomas, Mitchell, Rafferty & Proctor law firm, a major torts firm. Since 1983, he has headed the firm's mass tort division. Papantonio is noted for his success in mass torts, product liability, personal injury, and wrongful death cases, and has returned verdicts of multi-million dollar damages for the plaintiffs.
Papantonio has written several books, including Resurrecting Aesop: Fables Lawyers Should Remember, Clarence Darrow, the Journeyman, and In Search of Atticus Finch, A Motivational Book for Lawyers, as well as Defenses You Can Count on in an Asbestosis Case and How to Prove a Sick Building Case. He also co-authored Closing Arguments–The Last Battle with Fred Levin. Papantonio says he wrote In Search of Atticus Finch as a "wake-up call to the legal profession" and has said that "seventy percent of kids coming out of law school want to represent corporations and get paid exorbitant amounts of money," he says. "They're willing to sell their souls to the highest bidder. We need to bring more quality to what we do as lawyers, we need to be better servants to the community and we need to have more political involvement for positive change in the country."
Papantonio co-hosts the Ring of Fire talk radio program on Dial Global with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and Sam Seder; it airs weekly on Saturdays from 3-6 p.m. EST. On the radio show Papantonio (a Methodist) often criticizes the Christian right. He has said that "I come from a pretty strong spiritual center, but it doesn't change the way I judge people. Simply put, the Sermon on the Mount makes much more sense to me than the frenzied rantings of America's new 'religious right.' They have become an element of American politics that threatens our sense of decency as well as our democracy."
His role in the show is featured in the 2006 documentary Jesus Camp, in which he offers commentary on many of the scenes depicted. According to DVD commentary by the film's directors, Papantonio was added to the film later on because they felt there wasn't any "tension" in it, and they wanted another viewpoint.
Ring of Fire began in 2004 and was syndicated until January 2010 by the now defunct Air America Radio. Papantonio was also involved at Air America as a member of the Board of Directors, and as one of the main contributors to the New York Times bestseller, Air America, the Playbook, a collection of essays, transcripts, and interviews by network personalities released in the run-up to the 2006 congressional elections.
Papantonio is a regular contributor on RT Network, MSNBC, and Free Speech TV.
- "Best Sellers", New York Times, October 8, 2006
- Official biography from the Levin Papantonio website
- Official biography from the Ring of Fire website