James Wootton is a former partner of Mayer Brown LLP in Washington DC and the former president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform which advocates significant changes in the civil justice system at both the federal and state levels to reduce frivolous and wasteful litigation. Since leaving Mayer Brown LLP in 2008, Wootton has been developing NationsCourt, a worldwide private court system, and a related ecommerce site. Wootton continues to provide policy related consulting services to a range of public policy initiatives.
Mr. Wootton joined the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform in 1998 and was the Chamberís lead negotiator of the Y2K Act of 1999 that set liability rules for Y2K failures. During his tenure as president the Institute for Legal Reform grew to a $45 Million a year operation.
Before this appointment, Mr. Wootton was president of two related non-profit corporations that he formed in 1992.The Safe Streets Alliance, dedicated to education about crime and creating youth leadership opportunities, and the Safe Streets Coalition, a public advocacy group with over 130,000 members. As president of Safe Streets, Mr. Wootton was principal drafter and advocate for the truth-in-sentencing provisions of the 1994 Crime Bill, which authorized over $5.7 billion for prison construction in the states.
While at the Legal Services Corporation from 1986-1991 Wootton led the effort to focus resources on day-to-day legal services for the poorandhelped draft the McCollum-Stenholm legal services reform legislation which was finally enacted by Congress in 1996.
As the Deputy Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention from 1982-1986helped create numerous national programs including the: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children; National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime; National Court Appointed Special Advocates; National Child Safety Center; Child Safety Partnership; National Partnership to Prevent Drug and Alcohol Abuse; and Serious Habitual Offender Comprehensive Action Program.
Articles by Mr. Wootton have appeared in Newsweek magazine and newspapers across the country.In addition, he has appeared on the Today Show, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, C-Span, CNN, ESPN, CNBC, Newstalk, The Phil Donohue Show, The Jessie Jackson Show, Court-TV, Fox Morning News, Dateline NBC, and numerous radio talk shows.Mr. Wootton authored two backgrounders for the Heritage Foundation on truth-in-sentencing and juvenile crime and edited the book Freed to Kill.
In 1973 Mr. Wootton graduated from the University of Virginia with a Bachelor of Arts degree with High Honors in Economics.In 1976 he graduated from the University of Virginia Law School and is a member of the Virginia State Bar Association.