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Jim W. Scales

1700 East Beltline, N.E.
Suite 200
Grand Rapids, MI 49525-7044
T 616.726.2224


Jim, a native of Rockford, began his journey with Foster Swift remotely in the firm's summer associate program in 2020 before returning to the firm as an associate in 2021.

Jim guides individuals, estates, companies, and municipalities through a wide array of litigation matters from the beginning, and deciding whether to bring suit, to the end, with trial and appeals. Jim practices across a broad array of practice areas including:

  • Business and Commercial: contract disputes; uniform commercial code matters; non-compete and non-solicitation litigation and business torts.
  • Estate Litigation: Construction of wills and trusts; the contested validity of wills and trusts; and breach of trust actions brought against fiduciaries.
  • Property Disputes: Ownership and boundary line disputes; adverse possession claims; real estate sale disputes; land contracts and premises liability claims.
  • Constitutional Claims: Violations of Constitutional guarantees of due process, equal protection and protections of the First Amendment.

Prior to joining Foster Swift, Jim drafted orders for various motions in complex civil litigation, legal malpractice and false claims cases in Cook County (IL). Jim also worked at a boutique litigation firm in Chicago where he performed legal research, coordinated discovery and organized medical records.

Jim received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Notre Dame Law School. At Notre Dame, Jim was a member of the Dean’s List for three semesters and received Faculty Awards for the highest grades in Legal Writing and Research II as well as Advanced Lawyering Techniques. Jim also served as the President of the Notre Dame Moot Court Board and received the International Academy of Trial Lawyers Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Art of Advocacy. During his time at Notre Dame, Jim co-authored multiple briefs which were filed in the Seventh Circuit Federal Court of Appeals.

Prior to Notre Dame, Jim received his B.A. in Political Science with a minor in Religious Studies from Elmhurst University where he was a four-year varsity letter winning tight end and captain of the varsity football team. He also captained and was a lead attorney of Elmhurst University's Mock Trial team where he led the team to a school record second place at the regional finals and a berth in the national championship rounds, the furthest advancement in school history. Jim was the first non-senior in program history to win mock trial student of the year in 2017. Jim was also named Political Science Student of the year and was a finalist for the Founders Award for Senior of the Year in 2018.


Memberships & Affiliations

Community Affiliations 

  • Elmhurst University
    • Football Program (2014-2018)
    • Mock Trial Team Captain and Lead Attorney (2015-2018)
    • Mock Trial Team Volunteer Coach (2020-2021)
  • Notre Dame Law School
    • Moot Court Appellate Advocacy Board (2020-2021); President 2021
  • West Michigan Sports Commission; Advisory Council (2021-Present)


Representative Matters

  • September 2022: Defended client in a two-day evidentiary hearing involving a motion for preliminary injunction brought by a former employee attempting to avoid the enforcement of a non-compete agreement he previously entered into with Scales’s client. The Court denied the employee’s motion for preliminary injunction resulting in the employer’s non-compete being upheld.
  • October 2022: Represented a business that operates a convenience store. During early-COVID, Executive Orders from the Governor and directives from the CDC and OSHA required “essential businesses” that wanted to stay open, to take certain preventative measures such as putting up plexiglass shields on countertops. The client complied and in April 2020, while handing merchandise to the plaintiff, the plastic shield was knocked over, hitting the plaintiff and causing injury. In recalling that the State legislature had passed measures making businesses immune from tort claims arising out of conduct designed to comply with COVID mandates, Scales was able to draft a succinct brief that examined the statute’s language and how the shield was only present to comply with current protocols. The premises liability case was dismissed based on this motion.
  • November 2022: Secured the dismissal of a suit at the initial pleadings stage which sought to revoke appointments to a district library board. This dismissal at the earliest stage possible ensured that the already seated district library board members would not have their appointments revoked by a township board seeking to replace them with its own members.
  • December 2022: As first chair at trial, successfully defended client against a plaintiff who sought the enforcement of a land contract. The Court dismissed the plaintiff’s claims in their entirety at the conclusion of trial finding the plaintiff had no cause of action against Scales’s client as there was not a meeting of the minds.



News & Events



University of Notre Dame Law School, J.D. 2021

Elmhurst University, summa cum laude, B.A. 2018

Bar and Court Admissions


U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan