James W. Balmer

James W. Balmer

Founding Partner
Duluth, Minnesota

Since 1973, Jim Balmer has represented thousands of people in all kinds of litigation, including jury trials, workers' compensation trials and hearings, Social Security Disability hearings, and appeals in those areas. He has handled car crashes, slip and falls, work site injuries, defective product claims, dog attacks, liquor liability claims and other kinds of bodily injury matters. Jim has lectured at various seminars, primarily in the areas of trial tactics and workers' compensation issues.

Jim is admitted to practice before all Minnesota and Wisconsin courts, both state and federal, and has tried cases throughout both states. He has argued cases before the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago and the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, headquartered in St. Louis.

Jim is listed in the prestigious "Best Lawyers in America" as a personal injury specialist representing both plaintiffs and defendants (the only lawyer to be so recognized in this part of Minnesota). He is AV Preeminent peer-review rated, the highest rating, through Martindale-Hubbell for his legal ability and ethical standards. Jim has been selected for inclusion in Minnesota Super Lawyers in both personal injury and workers' compensation and has been listed as a Leading American Attorney during the same time period. He has had the additional distinction of being designated a "Top 40" Super Lawyers in both areas at various times, as well. Jim has been a diplomate of the American Board of Trial Advocates, an organization whose membership is by invitation only, since 2002.

Jim has been certified as a Civil Trial Specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy since 1986 and by the Minnesota State Bar Association since 1989, the first year it began certifying trial specialists. Wisconsin does not have a system of trial specialist certification. He has been honored as an advocate by the American Board of Trial Advocacy since 2002.

Jim was named the 2010 Volunteer Attorney of the Year for the Sixth Judicial District by the Volunteer Attorney Program. The award recognizes the lawyer who has given most generously of his or her time and talents to provide free legal help to lower income residents of northeastern Minnesota.

Sailing, jogging and downhill skiing are Jim's favorite recreational pursuits. He is active in his local Roman Catholic parish. Jim currently serves as the vice president on the Animal Allies Humane Society board and also serves on the Duluth Bethel Society board.

Areas of Practice

  • Personal Injury
  • Workers' Compensation

Certified Legal Specialties

  • Civil Trial Specialist, National Board of Trial Advocacy, 1986
  • Civil Trial Specialist, Minnesota State Bar Association, 1989

Bar Admissions

  • Minnesota, 1973
  • U.S. District Court District of Minnesota, 1974
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 8th Circuit, 1985
  • Wisconsin, 1984
  • U.S. District Court Western District of Wisconsin, 1985
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Wisconsin, 2008
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 7th Circuit, 1986


  • University of Minnesota Law School, Minneapolis, Minnesota
    • J.D. - 1973
  • University of Minnesota-Duluth, Duluth, Minnesota
    • B.A. - 1970

Representative Cases

Honors and Awards

  • The Best Lawyers in America, 2005 - 2016
  • AV-Rated, Martindale-Hubbell
  • Minnesota Super Lawyer
  • Leading American Attorney
  • Top 40 Super Lawyer
  • Volunteer Attorney of the Year, Sixth Judicial District, Volunteer Attorney Program, 2010 - Present
  • Duluth Plaintiff’s Lawyer of the Year, Best Lawyers, 2016 - Present
  • Diplomate, American Board of Trial Advocates, since 2002

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Minnesota Association for Justice (MAJ), Board of Governors, 1985 - 1994
  • Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA)
  • 11th District Bar Association
  • State Bar of Wisconsin
  • American Board of Trial Advocates, Advocate, 2002 - Present
  • Minnesota Trial Lawyers Association (MTLA), Board of Governors, 1985 - 1994
  • Duluth Trial Lawyers Association (DTLA), President, 1988 - 1989
  • Wisconsin Academy of Trial Lawyers
  • Douglas County Bar Association

Pro Bono Activities

  • Vice President, Animal Allies Humane Society Board
  • Secretary of The Duluth Bethel Society Board of Directors
  • Board of the Duluth Union Gospel Mission