November 6, 1950|
|Alma mater||University of South Florida, Stetson University College of Law|
|Known for||Advocacy of nursing home residents|
Wilkes received his undergraduate degree from the University of South Florida and his Juris Doctor degree from Stetson University College of Law in 1983 and founded the law firm of Wilkes & McHugh, P.A. in 1985.
Jim Wilkes, and his firm Wilkes & McHugh, P.A., gained national recognition for handling nursing home abuse and neglect lawsuits and his law firm. He has been featured in People Magazine, as well as on television shows such as Dateline, 48 Hours and CBS Evening News.
He has been both praised and criticized for his aggressive representation of his clients. One profile cast him as either “Angel or Anti-Christ” saying he was an angel to plaintiffs but a “demon” to nursing home operators (Arkansas Times, December 7, 2001) and was once called a “migratory predator” by the director of the Alabama nursing home association.Long-Term Living Magazine wrote that Wilkes could be “described as a ‘holy terror’ for nursing home administrators everywhere…” in an article that named him one of the top 10 most influential people in the industry.
He is licensed to practice law in eight states including Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. He is a member of the American Bar Association and the American Association for Justice.
In December 2006, Jim Wilkes, along with his partner Timothy McHugh, and their law firm Wilkes & McHugh, P.A. were sued by former clients in a class action suit filed in a U.S. district court in Memphis, Tennessee. The suit alleged that Jim, his partner and their law firm had knowingly collected millions of dollars in unlawful and excessive contingency fees in violation of Tennessee's medical malpractice act, which limits an attorney's contingency fee to one-third of all damages paid and which requires court approval. These clients alleged that Wilkes & McHugh never obtained court approval of its fees and intentionally charged clients in excess of one-third. The district court certified the case as a class action against Jim and his law firm. The case was ultimately settled for $4 million, without any finding of liability. However, in approving the class settlement, the district court noted that "attorneys considering charging fees in excess of statutorily-prescribed limits will take note of the resolution of this matter."
In October 2015, Jim Wilkes represented Harry Reid in a product liability lawsuit against Thera-Band maker Hygenic Intangible Property Holding Co. and related companies. The lawsuit sought $50,000 as compensation for alleged face, eye, and rib injuries that Reid claimed to suffer while using the Thera-Band product. While still in office, Wilkes provided the use of his corporate jet to the Harry Reid.
Wilkes is also involved in the music industry as a performer and business manager. He launched Streamsound Records, along with long-time producer Byron Gallimore. The roster includes Jaida Dreyer, who released her debut album I Am Jaida Dreyer in early 2013, Austin Webb and Dakota Bradley. Streamsound Records is based in Nashville, TN.
Red Vinyl Music was established in late 2010 when long-time producer Byron Gallimore partnered with Jim Wilkes and Tim McHugh. In January 2017, Red Vinyl Music sold the rights to 3000 songs to Ole in a deal valued at $500 million.
During a 2012 Florida election, Wilkes used his music industry corporations to max out political donations.
Jim Wilkes also serves as a personal mentor and legal advisor to two nationally-recognized sports champions. Wilkes has been an advisor and friend to former boxing super middleweight champion Jeff Lacy and junior middleweight champion Ronald Winky Wright. Wilkes was nominated for the Al Buck Manager of the Year for 2004-2005 by the Boxing Writers Association of America.
He created an advocacy group, The Coalition to Protect America’s elders, now known as Families for Better Care. The group serves as a voice for nursing home residents and advocates for change to our nation’s long-term care delivery system. In recognition of the effectiveness of this advocacy group, the former Executive Director of Families for Better Care was elected to serve as the president of the nation’s largest and oldest nursing home resident advocacy group, The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care.
- "Bedside Advocate -- Business Observer - Tampa Bay, Bradenton, Sarasota, Fort Myers, Naples". www.businessobserverfl.com.
- "Making Them Pay – Vol. 52 No. 18". 8 November 1999.
- Datline: "Video Cameras in Nursing Homes". NBC, August 1, 2000
- 48 Hours: "Saving Mom & Dad". CBS, July 30, 1998
- CBS Evening News: "Nursing Homes in Trouble". CBS, May 18, 2000
- "LTC's 10 most influential people - I Advance Senior Care". www.ltlmagazine.com.
- "Biography James L. Wilkes, II".
- "PressReader.com - Connecting People Through News". www.pressreader.com.
- "Suit settled over legal charges -- Class-action filing alleged excessive fees charged by law firm in nursing home cases". 19 November 2009.
- "McGraw producer Gallimore forms label", Country Standard Time, February 21, 2012
- "New Nashville Label, Streamsound Records, Launched", Radio-Info.com, February 21, 2012
- Cotey, John C.: "Fortune Finds Way to Fame", Section C, Page 1. St. Petersburg Times, August 3, 2005
- "Boxing Writers Association of America - Boxing Journalism". Boxing Writers Association of America - Boxing Journalism.
- Smith, Brad: "Local Lawyer Sees Tsunami Devastation", Metro Section, Page 1. Tampa Tribune, January 12, 2005
- Berkow, Ira: "BOXING; Fighter and Lawyer Are Hard to Beat as an Unlikely Team", Section D, Page 7. New York Times, August 2, 2005
- "Families for Better Care".
- "National Consumer Voice". www.nccnhr.org.