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James E. McDougall  

James E. McDougall

Elder Law

Mental Health Law

Guardianship and Conservatorship

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Jim McDougall bio

A valuable combination of experience as a judge and an attorney to meet the needs of clients in resolving complex legal matters and disputes

Jim McDougall is a former judge in Maricopa County Superior Court, retiring from the bench in 2000 after 26 years of distinguished service as a judge and commissioner, including six years as the Presiding Judge of Juvenile Court.

He is a 2011 inductee of the Maricopa County Bar Association Hall of Fame and, in the same year, was named the State Bar of Arizona "Member of the Year."

Service to Clients

Jimís Elder Law and Mental Health Law practice focuses on serving the elderly, the developmentally disabled and the mentally ill. In conjunction with that area of the law, he:

  • helps families seeking to obtain a guardianship or conservatorship over a relative who is incapacitated or disabled due to old age, a physical condition, a mental or developmental disorder, or a chronic drug or alcohol addiction;

  • represents individuals for whom a guardianship or conservatorship is sought;

  • counsels clients on how to navigate the complex processes and proceedings involved in the voluntary or involuntary treatment of the mentally ill, or the eligibility of and services for the developmentally disabled.

Service to Parties in Dispute

Since retiring from the bench, Jim has devoted much of his time to helping people resolve their disputes outside the courtroom through mediation, arbitration and other alternatives to litigation. In addition to practicing law, he continues to serve as a mediator, arbitrator and special master.

Civic Leadership

Throughout his judicial career, Judge McDougall focused his energy in divisions of the court serving children and families. He was assigned to the Domestic Relations Division of the court for three consecutive years as a Commissioner and for two years as a Judge. As a Commissioner he was assigned to hear mental health cases involving petitions for court-ordered treatment. Mental illness was an issue that touched practically all of Jim's court assignments, including Criminal, Juvenile, Probate and Family Court.

Jim has served in a variety of appointed and volunteer positions related to families and mental health, including the Maricopa County Association of Family Mediators, Association for Conflict Resolution, Governor's Task Force on Children's Mental Health, Family Preservation Advisory Committee, Madison School District Chemical Abuse Prevention Committee, Governor's Task Force on Seriously Mentally Ill, Arizona State Hospital Advisory Board, Arizona Council of Centers for Children and Adolescent's Task Force on Juvenile Mental Health Commitment, and Arizona Task Force on Marriage and the Family.


Arizona's Finest Lawyers

Professional Service

Judge, Maricopa County Superior Court, 1981-2000 (Presiding Judge, Juvenile Court, 1989-1995)

Commissioner, Maricopa County Superior Court, 1974-1980

Honors and Awards

Arizona's Finest Lawyers, 2014

Member of the Year, State Bar of Arizona, 2011

Maricopa County Bar Association Hall of Fame, 2011

Professional Memberships

American Bar Association

State Bar of Arizona: Past Chair, Elder Law, Mental Health & Special Needs Planning Section; Past Chair, Alternative Dispute Resolution Section; Past Chair, Family Law Committee (1977-1978); Past Chair, Probate and Mental Health Committee (1985)

Maricopa County Bar Association: Past President; Past Chair, Family Law Committee

Maricopa County Alternative Dispute Resolution Association: Past Board Member

Maricopa County Association of Family Mediators: Past Treasurer

Court Admissions

Arizona, 1969

U.S. District Court, District of Arizona, 1969


J.D., University of Arizona, 1969

B.A., University of Arizona 1966

Community Leadership

Friends of Public Radio Arizona: Incorporator

Brophy Dad's Club, Brophy College Preparatory: Treasurer and Board Member


Phoenix, Arizona