It’s tough when your old man has cut a wide swath through the legal profession. So it’s understandable that Jim Purdue Jr. ’93 was a bit concerned about that “junior” after his name. His father – Jim Perdue Sr. ’63 – not only cast a large shadow in the world of trial lawyers but was a BMOC at the University of Houston as a contributor, sports booster and longtime presence in the halls of the Law Center. “My father was not unknown around the school,” he says with understatement, “which created challenges public and private.” “Junior” needn’t have worried about meeting those challenges or stepping out from that shadow.
He considered medical school, but settled on law, and the Law Center, where his extracurricular efforts were focused on trial advocacy. After graduating in 1993 and a stint with a commercial litigation firm, he joined his father’s practice where he later served as managing partner. He then co-founded his own plaintiffs firm in January 2008 – where one of the attorneys includes a certain Jim Perdue Sr.
“The chance to learn directly from him and practice with him has been a gift to both our careers,” Perdue Jr. says. Like his father, Perdue focuses on trial work, specifically serious personal injury cases. In 1996, at the age of 27, he was cited by the National Law Journal for winning one of the largest malpractice verdicts in the country: $11 million for a surgical error that resulted in quadriplegia. Bigger awards were yet to come. In June 2007, a jury awarded $20.75 million in a case involving assault of a child.
“As much as I enjoy trying a case to a jury, and as rewarding as it is to receive a jury verdict in your favor,“ he says, “I still get the most professional satisfaction in a recovery that I know will change a person’s life for the better.”
Perdue is named in The Best Lawyers in America and is consistently named a “Texas Super Lawyer” by Texas Monthly magazine. In 2006 he was named the Law Center’s Outstanding Alumnus of the Year and is currently president of the Law Alumni Association. He has served in numerous capacities on legal committees and association boards, including the Texas Supreme Court Advisory Committee.
In his time away from the courthouse, Perdue and his wife, Nicole, are busily raising the next generation of potential Perdue lawyers – three sons who might follow in two large sets of legal footprints.
“They sure talk like future lawyers certain days,” their father marvels. “Too often I find myself negotiating when I didn’t even realize there was a choice.”