Founding Partner

Phone: (218) 461-1309
Fax: (218) 461-1309
Legal Assistant – Sara Wittmers:
Legal Assistant – Christine Curtis:


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

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 plaintiffs. This same listing service has recognized Jim as Duluth area Plaintiff’s Personal Injury Lawyer of the Year in 2017 and 2019. 

Jim has been a diplomate of the American Board of Trial Advocates, an organization whose membership is by invitation only, 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 president of the Duluth Bethel Society Board of Directors.

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

  • Engele v. ISD91, 846 F. Supp. 760 (D.Minn.), 1994
  • Stone v. Lakehead Constructors, 533 N.W.2d 36, 1995, Minn., 1995129966
  • Rankin v. Farmers Insurance Group
  • Soderberg v. Anderson, 2019, Minn.

Honors and Awards

  • The Best Lawyers in America, 2005 – Present
  • Duluth Plaintiff’s Lawyer of the Year, Best Lawyers, 2017, 2019
  • AV-Rated, Martindale-Hubbell
  • Minnesota Super Lawyer
  • Volunteer Attorney of the Year, Sixth Judicial District, Volunteer Attorney Program
  • Diplomate, American Board of Trial Advocates, since 2002 – Present

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Minnesota Association for Justice (MAJ), 1985 to 1994
  • Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA)
  • 11th District Bar Association
  • State Bar of Wisconsin
  • American Board of Trial Advocates, Advocate, 2002 to Present
  • Minnesota Association of Justice, 1985 to 1994
  • American Association of Justice, 1988 to 1989

Pro Bono Activities

  • President of The Duluth Bethel Society Board of Directors