We recently had a chance to sit down with South Carolina personal injury and workers’ compensation attorney James Christopher Sproat (“Jim”) to talk about everything from the advice he gives to his clients to why you might find him in the middle of a river in the woods.
Jim Sproat knew he wanted to be an attorney from an early age. He saw a lot of injustice around him and wanted to help in any way he could.
“Fighting for those who cannot fight for themselves is why I do what I do.”
He received his Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of South Carolina in 2008. He then attended law school at the University of Cincinnati College of Law.
Jim thrived in law school, serving as Student Bar Association President and Managing Editor of the Immigration and Nationality Law Review. He also somehow found time to work for the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Ohio and the South Carolina Court of Appeals.
Following law school, Jim honed his litigation skills while practicing in the areas of construction law and business litigation before turning his focus to personal injury and workers’ compensation law.
Every case is important
Jim is quick to point out that he takes pride in every single one of his cases.
“Getting to know the fine folks I get to do work for is the reason I do what I do.”
Nevertheless, a couple of cases have stood out to him over his more than a decade of practice. One of those cases involved helping a family get closure following the tragic death of their son. “There will never be enough money to truly compensate them for their loss,” Jim explained. “But they were a little more at peace after their case.”
The other case involved an incredibly kind woman who suffered a brain injury that the insurance companies didn’t take seriously. By diligently gathering evidence and persuasively presenting her story, Jim was able to get the woman the money she deserved.
Advice for current and prospective clients
Jim finds it fitting that lawyers are often called “counselors.” Although most of the time, his role is to solve legal problems, there are times when just listening to a client is the most helpful thing he can do.
Jim encourages all of his clients to be honest with him. It helps build a strong relationship, but it also helps ensure that he remains a step ahead of his opponent. “If I don’t know about it, I can’t prepare for it.”
As for prospective clients, Jim encourages them to find an attorney they can trust.
“You put your case in [an attorney’s] hands. If you can’t trust their advice or tell them everything, they can’t do their best for you.”
Jim also recommends that prospective clients arrive at an initial consultation with notes about their case. He encourages them to write down everything they remember about the incident giving rise to their claim, and the details of their day-to-day life after getting injured. “Even the smallest thing could make a big difference in your case,” Jim explained.
The prospect of meeting with a lawyer may give you some anxiety, but knowing how the meeting will go and being prepared to answer their questions can put your mind at ease.
What free time?
Jim doesn’t have a lot of free time, but in those rare moments away from the office, he likes to spend his time with his wife and friends, or as he poetically put it, “in the middle of a river in the woods attempting to match a hatch to outsmart a fish.”
Getting to know more about Jim Sproat
Q. What is your most memorable piece of advice from law school?
A. Keep one thing held in your mind. The singular person or goal that keeps you motivated. Some days are going to be hard and if you can keep that one thing in mind, you can get through anything.
Q. What’s the biggest misconception about personal injury attorneys?
A. That all of us are only in it for the money. The truth is, most personal injury attorneys practice in this area because we truly care about our clients and getting them everything they deserve.
Q. If you weren’t practicing law, what job would you hold?
A. I would likely be a teacher. There are a number of similarities between teachers and lawyers, as we are both trying to get information across to a sometimes unwilling audience.
Q. Who is your favorite fictional attorney?
A. Vincent Gambini from My Cousin Vinny. While his methods were a bit unorthodox, the rules of evidence were followed throughout the movie.
Q. If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
A. I would like to be able to read minds. If I could, I would be able to anticipate my client’s needs and help them through the difficulties they’re facing when they come to me. It wouldn’t be horrible to know what my opponents were thinking either.