FacultyFaculty/Author Profile
James A. Kowalski, Jr.

James A. Kowalski, Jr.

Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, Inc.
Executive Director
Jacksonville, FL, USA


James A. Kowalski, Jr.
Executive Director, Jacksonville Area Legal Aid

James A. Kowalski, Jr, was named the Executive Director of Jacksonville Area Legal Aid in December 2012. Prior to taking the post at JALA, Jim was a civil trial attorney based in Jacksonville, Florida, specializing in consumer protection litigation, including wrongful foreclosure and consumer fraud, complex personal injury, wrongful death, and premises liability litigation. He has earned a rating of AV Preeminent). Mr. Kowalski is licensed to practice law in Florida and California and has lived and worked in the Jacksonville area since moving to Florida from Northern California in 1989, after graduating from the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of San Francisco School of Law. Mr. Kowalski served as an Assistant State Attorney from 1989-1996, acting as Division Chief (County Court; Public Corruption Unit) and Senior Trial Attorney in the Special Assault/Sex Crimes and ROC (Repeat Offender Court) Divisions; he was also a member of the on-call homicide team.

After leaving the State Attorney’s Office in 1996, Mr. Kowalski specialized in litigation and handled matters involving consumer protection, including wrongful foreclosure and consumer fraud, complex personal injury, wrongful death, and premises liability litigation. He has tried more than 60 jury trials to verdict.

Mr. Kowalski has presented numerous lectures in the area of consumer fraud, including presentations on mortgage foreclosure and debt collection litigation and on issues relating to crime victimization, including the use of victim impact testimony in death penalty cases. He is a member of the National Association of Consumer Advocates, the Child Protection Team (CPT) Advisory Council, has served on the board of Compassionate Families, Inc., a Jacksonville non-profit dedicated to assisting the families of homicide victims, and is the past vice-chair of the Mayor’s Victim’s Assistance Advisory Council VAAC). He is a recipient of the Jacksonville Legal Aid Pro Bono award for 2006 and 2008, the St. Johns County Legal Aid Pro Bono award for 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012, and the Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Award in 2009 and 2011, for service rendered in the Fourth and Seventh Judicial Circuits.

In December 2010, Mr. Kowalski testified before the United States House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary on the topic of “Foreclosed Justice: Causes and Effects of the Foreclosure Crisis.” He also testified before the Florida Senate Committee on Banking and Insurance in 2010, and testified at length before the Florida Supreme Court Task Force on Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Cases in 2009.

In 2011, Mr. Kowalski was named “Consumer Protection Lawyer of the Year” by the Consumer Protection Law Committee of the Florida Bar. Mr. Kowalski was recognized at the Florida Bar’s Annual Conference “For outstanding work protecting the legal rights of Floridians facing foreclosure and helping fellow practitioners of consumer law.”

Recent lectures in the area of consumer litigation include:

January 2014: Litigating Attorney’s Fees Issues for Legal Services Attorneys (statewide FLS training)

November 2013: Foreclosure Defense and Consumer Rights Training (Daytona Beach)

August 2013 Foreclosure Defense and Consumer Rights Training (Gainesville)

June 2013: Florida Legal Services (statewide training)

- Corporate Representative Depositions
- Defending Summary Judgment Motions
- Issues Relating to Attorney’s Fees

Foreclosure Defense Basic Training
(Offered through Jacksonville Area Legal Aid)

August 2010: Gainesville, Florida
September 2010: Orlando, Florida
December 2010: Tallahassee, Florida
December 2010: Pensacola, Florida
January 2011: Naples, Florida
February 2011: Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
March 2011: Palm Bay, Florida

Foreclosure Defense Intermediate Training
(Offered through Jacksonville Area Legal Aid)

April 2011: Miami, Florida
June 2011: Jacksonville, Florida
August 2011: Key West, Florida
September 2011: Orlando, Florida
November 2011: Tampa, Florida

November 2010: National Consumer Law Center Annual Conference 2010 (Boston)

- Successful Mortgage Litigation in Private Practice

August 2010: NACA 2010 Mortgage Lending Litigation Conference (Denver)

- Ethically Setting Client Expectations: Client Interviews / Retainer Agreements

- Depositions: Who Should We be Deposing and What Should We be Asking

April 2010: Jacksonville Area Legal Aid

- Successful Defense of Credit Card Collection Lawsuits

March 2010: People’s Law School

- How to Avoid Being a Victim of Predatory Lending (Presented on behalf of St. Johns County Legal Aid)

February 2010: Jacksonville Bar Association

- 4th Circuit Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Training

October 2009: National Consumer Law Center Annual Conference 2009 (Philadelphia)

- Successful Mortgage Litigation in Private Practice

June 2009: Legal Services of North Florida (Pensacola)

“Weathering the Financial Storm” seminar

- Representation of Financially Distressed Homeowners

October 2008: Jacksonville Bankruptcy Bar Association Annual Seminar

- The Real Estate Crisis: Issues Relating to Creditor Standing, Securitization and Affidavit Inadequacies and Other Bankruptcy Topics
September 2008: NACA 2008 Mortgage Lending Litigation Conference (Cleveland)

- Damages: Evaluating a Case’s Value, Proving Damages Through Testimony and Expert Witnesses

- Understanding Defendants: Tactics, Mediation and Solvency Issues

April 2008: Jacksonville Human Rights Commission Fair / Housing Awareness Symposium

- Predatory Lending

September 2007: NACA 2007 Mortgage Lending Litigation Conference (St. Louis)

Understanding Loan Documents, Origination and Closing Process

- Ethical Representation of Mortgage Lending Fraud Victims

April 2007: Jacksonville Human Rights Commission Fair / Housing Symposium

- Predatory Lending

Lectures in the area of crime victimization include:

January 2008: Compassionate Families, Inc. (Advocate Training)

- Florida Laws Relating to Crime Victims and Advocates

April 2007: Mayor’s Victim’s Assistance Advisory Council

“Reflected Pain: The Psychological Impact of Violence on Families and the Community” – moderated panel discussion / annual Victims‘ Rights Week Seminar

Articles: Kowalski, James A., Jr., From beyond the grave: a positive look at the development of victim impact testimony in Florida and the Fourth Judicial Circuit.
1 Fla. Coastal L.J. 401-420 (2000).

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