About Scott James
J. Scott James, the founder of Southern Hills Law, PLLC, is a criminal defense attorney in Hot Springs, South Dakota. Scott is an experienced defense lawyer, who has brought more than 30 criminal trials to jury verdicts, and also brings years of experience as a prosecutor, to the benefit of his clients.
Why did Scott become an attorney?
Before he pursued the practice of law, Scott believed he would find his calling in academia. When he thought of the impact of his everyday work, however, he weighed publishing works in a Ph.D. journal to the ability to help people solve real-world problems.
“The more I thought about it, I knew I needed to go to law school.”
What drew Scott to practice criminal law?
For Scott, criminal law is where the biggest questions are asked and answered. “When someone’s liberty is at stake, or an injustice has occurred,” he said. “There are real differences you can make in the practice of criminal law to help make things right.”
To help you navigate the many complexities of the criminal justice system, you will need a criminal defense lawyer that you can rely on who will speak out for you and stick by you. When you're accused of a severe crime, such as DUI or DWI, drug possession, assault, domestic violence, theft, or a sexual offense, it's essential that you get a qualified and experienced lawyer. You will need someone you can rely on to guide you through the often difficult and challenging legal proceedings you will face.
Scott James is listed as our "Attorney at Law" best Hot Springs Criminal Defense attorney, and he's an experienced lawyer you can rely on to help you with whatever legal services you may need.
Preparation and perspective. Scott believes he – or any other attorney – should never appear before a judge without being prepared to answer any question he or she lobs at him. Beyond preparation, he believes that you need to find a balance in your pursuit of justice.
“There are attorneys out there who are unwilling to fight the tough battles. They look for the first opportunity to take a plea deal. On the other end of the spectrum are the attorneys who fight every battle, even when it’s over something petty or there isn’t enough gained by fighting. To be a truly good attorney on behalf of your clients, you need to be able to recognize the battles that should be fought.”
The highlight of Scott’s day.
“I enjoy digging into a new file and identifying the legal issues in each case. There's always a new angle or wrinkle on a problem that you get to explore.”
The origins of Southern Hills Law.
“After practicing law in Kansas for years, my wife Ashley and I decided to move to South Dakota to be closer to her family, and so I started a new law practice here because I saw a persistent and real need for quality legal services in the Southern Black Hills area. In particular, many attorneys in both Hot Springs and in Custer had either retired or left town, creating underserved areas there and a real need for younger, experienced attorneys.”
Scott in the community.
Scott is a member of the South Dakota Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the State Bar Association, and the local Chamber of Commerce. He and Ashley are also active members of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Hermosa. Ashley works for the Salvation Army in Rapid City, and she and Scott both enjoy participating in charity events in the Southern Hills area.
Scott outside the office.
Scott and his family enjoy hiking and fishing in the beautiful area of the Black Hills. He also fancies himself a “shade tree” mechanic and services his own vehicles along with those he buys to fix up.
“I enjoy the uncomplicated but logical nature of auto repair.”