Commitment to Community
The Curtis Firm is dedicated to serving students in our community. The Curtis Firm's mission is to ensure that underrepresented and first generation students understand the power of a legal education and continue a legacy of meaningful advocacy and positive change.
Youth who have positive interactions with the law are more likely to trust and express a desire to serve in the legal community. In contrast, youth who have negative interactions tend to develop a lingering distrust of the law. This cloud of distrust is not limited to our criminal justice system, but can extend to school, family, and other law related matters. Once distrust is created, youth are far less likely to pursue careers in law. Attaining an ideal relationship with youth is pivotal to changing attitudes towards the law and increasing the percentage of students from underrepresented communities who pursue careers as legal professionals.
To achieve our goal, we work with youth to provide a fundamental understanding of the importance of a legal education to meaningful civic engagement and personal empowerment. In addition, many community partners and clients pursue our services to provide motivational presentations on topics surrounding youth empowerment and education.
James' Biographical Information
James Curtis was raised in the Tacoma Hilltop Community and graduated from Stadium High School in 1994. James struggled as a high school student and, upon graduation, he worked in a series of low-wage labor intensive jobs. Four years later, James realized that his future would consist of largely unappreciated physical labor without a college education. This realization led James to embark on a journey to transform himself from laborer to lawyer.
James' educational journey began at Tacoma Community College. Within a year, thanks to the focus and discipline he developed working as a laborer, James excelled as a student. James graduated with honors and received multiple scholarships which allowed him to transfer to the University of Washington.
Upon graduating from the University of Washington, James returned to Tacoma Community College where he worked as a high school outreach counselor. His primary goal was to help underachieving students realize their potential and understand the value of education. James later enrolled at the University of Washington School of Law. James completed his journey by earning his law degree and accepting a position as a litigation associate with the law firm KL GATES.
Today, James serves as an attorney in his community and is the founder of The Curtis Firm. He also makes contributions in the areas of education, criminal justice and youth recreation. His work has earned special recognition from the City of Tacoma, Washington State Bar Association and Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association.
Graduate Tacoma Luncheon—City of Tacoma—Special Speaker (2017)
Prison Panel: The Transformative Nature of Post-Secondary Education—Panel Member (2017)
Tacoma Community College—Fresh Start Program—Keynote Speaker (2017)
Palmer's Scholars Stand Up and Cheer Luncheon—Keynote Speaker (2016)
Reach Higher Annual Fundraiser Luncheon—Keynote Speaker (2016)
Future of the Law Institute—PCMBA (2016)
Tacoma Public School—Alleviating the Impact of Poverty on Student Achievement—Speaker (2014)
Tacoma Community College, 2011 Commencement Ceremony—Commencement Speaker (2011)
Act Six Leadership and Scholarship Foundation, Inaugural Institute weekend —Keynote Speaker
Pierce County Minority Bar Association, Future of the Law Institute—Keynote Speaker
Treehouse for Kids, Fostering Resilience Panel—Panelist
Seattle University Law School, Criminal Law Externship Seminar—Panelist
University of Washington, Essence of Success Program—Keynote Speaker
Washington Community and Technical Colleges, Creating Opportunities Ad Campaign
Everett Community College, Student of Color Conference—Keynote Speaker