Lavine, Zimmermann & Sampson P.C. and President, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Jim E. Lavine is a former prosecutor in Chicago, Illinois (six years) and in Houston, Texas (five years). A 1974 graduate of the Illinois Institute of Technology – Chicago Kent College of Law in Chicago, Illinois, he is licensed to practice law in Texas and Illinois. He graduated from Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. He is admitted to practice in Texas and Illinois, as well as the United States Supreme Court, the United States Courts of Appeals for the Fifth, Seventh, Tenth, and Eleventh Circuits, and all of the United States District Courts in Texas, the Northern District of Illinois, and the Western District of Oklahoma.
Mr. Lavine represents clients at trial and on appeal in state and federal courts, as well as before professional licensing boards. He also represents individual and corporate clients in regulatory compliance matters and as witnesses, suspects, or targets in grand jury investigations. Mr. Lavine is a former member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, a former director of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, and a former President of the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association. He is currently serving as the President-Elect of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He joined the firm in 1985, and has been a shareholder since 1986. Mr. Lavine has been board certified in criminal law since 1985 by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and since 1986 by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. He was lead counsel in a bankruptcy fraud case where the trial ended when the federal judge acquitted the client and dismissed all charges when the government completed its case. He then was co-counsel in the civil suit that followed against the complaining corporation, Motorola, for malicious prosecution. That case first went to trial but was then settled for a confidential sum. Mr. Lavine has also served as co-counsel with Mr. Zimmermann in a triple death penalty case, where the firm obtained a reversal of the convictions on a federal writ of habeas corpus, and then a dismissal of all charges on re-trial in the Oklahoma state court. He also served as co-counsel with Mr. Zimmermann in the murder prosecution of a prominent Texas businessman, where the charges were dismissed after the District Attorney was arrested for soliciting a bribe from our client, and later spent time in a federal prison. Mr. Lavine successfully coordinated the FBI/Texas Ranger investigation of the District Attorney. Mr. Lavine represented a client in a complex white-collar case in which the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit found that the district judge’s finding of fact on remand was clearly erroneous. The appellate court reversed the conviction and 20-year sentence and ordered the charges dismissed.He was lead counsel for an executive of Enron Broadband Services charged with 17 counts of conspiracy, securities fraud, and wire fraud. At a 14 week trial, the judge acquitted on two counts, and the jury deadlocked on the other 15 counts, resulting in a mistrial. After a retrial, Mr. Lavine and Mr. Zimmermann filed a motion to vacate all convictions, which the trial court granted. He was also lead counsel for a Duke Energy executive charged with nineteen counts of consipiracy, wire fraud, mail fraud, and false books and records. After a nine-week trial, he was acquitted on seven counts and the jury deadlocked on the other twelve counts, resulting in a mistrial. The Government dismissed the remaining twelve counts, thus eliminating a retrial.
Mr. Lavine was recognized every year from 2003 to 2009 by Law & Politics as a Super Lawyer (an outstanding lawyer who has attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement), published in Super Lawyers Magazine. Mr. Lavine and Mr. Zimmermann were named attorneys of the year for 2005-2006 by the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association and were also named as the outstanding lawyers in the state for 2005-2006 by the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. In 2007, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers presented the Robert C. Heeney Award to Mr. Lavine. This is NACDL’s most prestigious award, given annually to the one criminal defense attorney who personally and professionally best exemplifies the goals and values of the Association and the legal profession. Click here for a full description of the award. Mr. Lavine is married and has three children.