On the Bench: Circuit Judge Jim Kallaher

He was appointed to the 4th Circuit bench April 1 by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

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  • | 5:00 a.m. June 2, 2022
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Circuit Judge Jim Kallaher
Circuit Judge Jim Kallaher
  • The Bar Bulletin
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Who or what led you to become a lawyer?

After 10 years on active duty in the U.S. Navy, I was searching for the next thing. 

John Kopelousos, a friend and mentor, was a lawyer.

 He convinced me that a law degree would open opportunities in just about any field that might interest me.

He was right.

Who or what inspires you?

I have several sources of inspiration, but first and foremost is my wife, Ellen.

She has overcome so many obstacles in her life, yet her focus is always on what she can do to help others.

She has definitely inspired me by her example.

How do you relate your undergraduate degree to your practice on the bench?

My undergraduate degree is in economics.

I wish that there was some thread that I could identify that leads from an economics degree to now.

The truth is, I needed a college degree to become a naval officer and economics was an interesting area of study.

That being said, my time as an undergraduate was where I learned how to learn and think.

Having grown up in a small town in the Midwest, college was the first time I was exposed to many new ideas, and it was the first time that my ideas and conceptions about the world were challenged.   

What community service have you pursued and why?

I have served on the boards of several charitable organizations in the community.

Currently, I am a member of the board of trustees at Grace Episcopal Day School. The school has been around for nearly 75 years.  

What is your favorite book?

The one I am reading. I currently am reading “Think Again” by Adam Grant, an examination of the critical art of rethinking your opinions. I will admit to getting great joy from Douglas Adams’ “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” anthology which I recently revisited and shared with my teenage son. 

Do you have any special talents?

I am a licensed pilot and have love and fascination for all things aviation.

If you weren’t a judge what do you think you’d be?

I would absolutely still be practicing law. If I were not a lawyer, I would probably be trying to make a living flying an airplane.

Have you traveled anywhere exotic?

My time in the Navy took me to many places I never dreamed that I would visit.

Venice was my favorite. There is no other place like it in the world.

Kuwait City had some of the most hospitable people I have ever encountered.

Manas, Kyrgyzstan, boasts mountain scenery that rivals the American West.

If you could meet someone from history, who would it be and why?

Abraham Lincoln. Not only was he the best president this country has ever had, he was a talented and highly respected trial lawyer before he was president.

I would love to be able to sit with him and listen to his stories and experience his humor and wisdom.

What’s your favorite food?

Fresh caught red snapper or cobia, prepared any way.

What’s your favorite holiday?

Easter season is my favorite. The season of hope and renewal is inspiring. And spring in Northeast Florida is incredible.

A Clay County resident, Kallaher was a partner at Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin in Jacksonville. He was admitted to The Florida Bar in 2001. He earned his J.D. from Florida Coastal School of Law.




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