James Montgomery, Attorney and Rotarian, Honored on the San Antonio Movers and Shaker Show, June 28, 2008

James and Linda Montgomery are honored as the Featured Guests on the San Antonio Movers and Shakers Show June 28, 2008 by John Thurman of Heart of Texas Realtyhttp://www.heartoftexasrealty.com/ and Bjorn, Just Bjorn, of Bjorn’s Home Entertainment http://www.bjorns.com/
Jim was recently nominated for the Ethics in Business (EIB) Award of the CPA Ethics Squad. Mr. Montgomery was nominated for this award by Mr. John Thurman who is associated with Mr. Montgomery through the San Antonio Rotary Club at the Dominion. Mr. Thurman describes him as a “straight-up person” who is very honest and what you see is what you get.
His work with the Rotary Club has spanned many years and he is currently the Rotary International District Governor for the organization, which is a volunteer position that requires a full-time commitment. He travels regularly to local clubs in his district, which includes forty-four counties in south central Texas and nearly 3,000 Rotarians, in support of this organization and is committed to the pursuit of excellence.
His personal vision statement and goals are summarized in the Rotary 4 Way Test which is comprised of four questions which are 1) is it the truth, 2) is it fair to all concerned, 3) will it build goodwill and better friendships, and 4) will it be beneficial to all concerned? By being able to affirmatively answer these questions in every endeavor he pursues he is able to provide an example that others in business and the community admire and respect.
Mr. Montgomery is happy to work behind the scenes and is not interested in personal glorification. Sherri Muniz commented that “just prior to him assuming the duties of leading Rotary District 5840 there were some goals the prior leader had not yet realized, although they were nearly finished. Mr. Montgomery could have waited for the change of leadership, finished the jobs, and received the credit for the accomplishments. Instead, I received a private email asking for my assistance in moving the tasks along so that they would be finished under the leadership of the predecessor. I was impressed by this action; it was the correct and ethical action to take, yet no one else knew that Mr. Montgomery had acted in this way. His concern was not for himself, but for the dignity and achievement of those before him.” Another Rotarian, Rebecca Notzon, stated there is a quote by John C. Maxwell that describes Mr. Montgomery and it is, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” Rebecca went on to say “Jim shows leadership qualities by demonstrating integrity, creating vision, motivating people and leading by example.”
Mr. Montgomery became active in the Boy Scouts as a child, with his father being the Scout Master for his sons. His father provided an excellent example of high standards and values and those principles provided the foundation for Mr. Montgomery, Jr. to build his own personal value set. He has served as an Assistant Scout Master, Cub Master, and District Chairman for his own son carrying on the family tradition. Mr. Montgomery Sr., Mr. Montgomery Jr., and “Jimmy” (III) as he was called to keep the three Jim’s straight for the family members were all Eagle Scouts. “That is just unheard of,” exclaimed Sid Trawick who has been a friend of the family for years.
Mr. Montgomery (the Jr.) and his brother obtained the rank of Eagle Scout with the Boy Scouts of America under the superb leadership of his father, affectionately known as Mr. Monty by all the members of Troop 88. This is the highest rank attainable within this organization, it is held for life, and only about five percent of the Boy Scouts actually obtain this award. The requirements for this designation are rigorous and include earning at least twenty-one merit badges and demonstrating scout spirit, service and leadership. Although this achievement is difficult to obtain, it is easy to identify the individuals who have reached this goal because the recipients display the rank on their uniform by wearing a special metal, badge and rope.
Texas Supreme Court Justice Paul W. Green was very fond of Mr. Monty. He described him as a “bear of a man” that was well loved by all the boys. He could picture Mr. Monty presenting him with his Tenderfoot Badge all those years ago. He said, “Boys can sometimes get out of hand, but it was well understood that he was an authority figure and when he got irritated we snapped to and shaped up.” Both Justice Green and Roy Huff, III, another individual that made Eagle Scout under Mr. Monty, described him as a father figure. Mr. Huff stated, “He was a second father to me.” Justice Green said, “We all looked forward to the camp outs. No one ever wanted to disappoint him and failure was not an option. He made you feel proud of yourself because you accomplished your goals and achieved another badge. He was an inspiring man and we wanted to do it for him.” Justice Green commented that even today when people find out he is an Eagle Scout they are impressed because it is so hard to get. He attributes it to the love and support of Mr. Monty.
Mr. Monty ran the Eagle Scout Association here in San Antonio. He had an office and a computer and Sid Trawick described him as a “great man.” Mr. Trawick said when Mr. Monty was seventy years old he helped put the singles on the roof at Camp McGimsey, which is an indoor Boy Scout facility in San Antonio. He was also very skilled in working with wood and made excellent wood doll houses, which he donated to the Alamo Heights Rotary Club for fundraisers. Mr. Trawick said he wanted one of those for his daughter but was never able to win one. Someone always would end up bidding higher and win it, but he tied every time in hopes that he would succeed in winning that prize.
Mr. Montgomery’s mother, Vivian, worked at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church for quite a few years, according to Reverend Prehn, and at one point was the librarian there. Mr. Trawick knew her and said she loved her boys and the grandkids. She is remembered by Mr. Trawick as being a “behind the scenes” kind of mom who “stayed at home, took care of the kids and made sure dinner was ready when her husband came home.” That was the typical role for moms to have and they provided the support and foundation for the family so it could flourish.
He and his wife, Linda, are alumni scholarship contributors at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and have had a named scholar for the last seven years. He is also a member of the Chancellors Council for the University of Texas System.
Linda describes her husband as an uplifting and inspirational speaker and stated that he is truly the wind beneath her wings. It was through his encouragement to go out of her comfort zone that gave her the confidence to become the President of the Alumni Association at UTSA. They have a blended family of four children with three daughters and a son. They have four grandchildren, three boys and a girl.Mr. Montgomery is very involved in various community fund raising activities. This includes being named the Chairman for the following fund raising activities: Cattle Barons Gala Live Auction, KLRN Wine Auction, Golden Gloves Regional Tournament from 1995-1997, and the March of Dimes Celebrity Serve Luncheon. He has sat on the Board of Directors for the San Antonio Youth Literacy and Leadership council, and is a member of the National Excalibur Society and the American Cancer Society.
He and his wife, Linda, are alumni scholarship contributors at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and have had a named scholar for the last seven years. He is also a member of the Chancellors Council for the University of Texas System.
Linda describes her husband as an uplifting and inspirational speaker and stated that he is truly the wind beneath her wings. It was through his encouragement to go out of her comfort zone that gave her the confidence to become the President of the Alumni Association at UTSA. They have a blended family of four children with three daughters and a son. They have four grandchildren, three boys and a girl.
He and his wife own a house in Colorado and both love to ski. Sid Trawick has enjoyed many a ski vacation with them and describes them as a great couple.
Mr. Montgomery is a successful business owner. He owns and operates his own law practice James Montgomery Law. His honestly and integrity in and out of the courtroom has set him apart from the rest of his peers and he is known in the community for sticking to his high standards and value set.
It comes as no surprise that Mr. Montgomery is an AV-rated attorney, which is Martindale Hubbell’s highest peer rating for lawyers, and he has over 25 years of courtroom experience. He believes in self improvement and regularly attends continuing education classes to ensure he is providing exceptional guidance to his clients and opponents with his extensive knowledge and experience. His cliental began to request his expertise outside the courtroom to help them be proactive and prevent problems from occurring. This resulted in a shift of his business focus and he began providing consulting services for a wide range of services to include “the design of corporate structures and business transactions to increase profitability and minimize the amount of taxes paid by clients. His business advice programs are designed to maintain regular review and consultation in order to know the client’s business and plans in advance to maximize profit and minimize potential exposure.”
Mr. Montgomery lives by his ethical and moral values at home and in business and is not the type of person who deviates from those core values in different settings or environments. His personal mission statement is to do a good turn daily and service above self, the later being a core value of the Rotary Club, too.
Eagle Scouts are held to a higher standard and as Jim’s dad has stated, “When people find out you are an Eagle Scout they expect more from you.” Thomas Robins, a good friend and business associate stated, “Jim is the ultimate embodiment of what it means to be an Eagle Scout. His moral compass is as much a part of him as one of his internal organs.”
Religious faith with its morals, values and teachings are an integral part of Mr. Montgomery. He attended parochial school at St. Luke’s Episcopal School through the sixth grade and said “My Eagle project was in the 1960s and we helped reorganize the library at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.” The school was founded in 1947. The Alamo Heights church as it stands today was built in 1954, but unfortunately the library was destroyed by water some years ago. Although the damage to the library was extensive Jim’s project has never been forgotten.
The Mission Statement for St. Luke’s Episcopal School is St. Luke’s Episcopal School is a Christian community dedicated to academic and personal excellence, lifelong learning, and service to others. The short phrase in that mission statement that is synonymous with Mr. Montgomery is ‘service to others,’ and he learned that lesson well at an early age. The school develops and encourages critical thinking, while instilling in the students a sense of responsibility, self discipline and respect. The reasoning behind this is “To be a citizen who contributes, one must not only have knowledge of mathematics and literature, but also knowledge of cooperation, sound judgment and leadership.[1]
Linda Montgomery has many kind words to say about her husband. She thinks Jim got his inspiration from his father and she was sorry she only got to spend fifteen years getting to know Mr. Monty. She said, “Jim won’t undermine someone, instead he knows how to encourage people and make them feel appreciated.” He has an uplifting affect on her and through encouragement has enabled her to “step outside of my comfort zone” and accept and conquer challenges like becoming President of the UTSA Alumni Association.
Richard Berchin described Mr. Montgomery as a “great role model.” His wife, Linda, agrees with that statement as does Stephanie Macchia, a business associate and Rotarian who stated, “He leads by example and because of this, people want to be like him.” Rebecca Notzon commented Jim always took actions based on an essential fairness to all concerned. She went on to say he always weighs the potential impact of his decisions and has treated equally all persons that are affected. He conducts his private and social life by preserving and protecting the positive image he portrays.
John Thurman stated, “Jim’s life, in the office and outside it, is synonymous with ethics of the highest caliber. He is an extremely successful businessman, but it is when you understand what he does with this success and expertise that you understand his high standard of ethics. After serving businesses in the courtroom for 25 years as a successful lawyer, Jim now dedicates his time to helping clients stay OUT of the courtroom. He counsels businesses in all aspects of structuring business agreements, represents buyers and sellers of businesses ranging from multi-million dollar office buildings to small pest control businesses, and advises and participates with real estate investors on income producing property and raw land investments. With this holistic approach, Montgomery fills the shoes of an in-house COO and legal counsel for a firm, for a fraction of the cost of a full-time employee, and certainly a small percentage of the cost of going to court. Throughout every transaction, here is his MO:
1) Constantly educates himself regarding new business trends to help his clients
2) Thinks more about his clients’ welfare than his bottom line
3) Always encourages those who work for him or with him by emphasizing their strengths
4) Mentors other attorneys in the business ways of the practice of law
5) Is a conduit for referring business among his clients whenever possible
6) Gets to know his clients so that when an opportunity comes along to refer business among his clients he does it
7) Strives to see that his business clients are given every possibility to become successful
8) Really wants to see his clients succeed
9) Makes time for his children and his grandchildren
10) Plans family trips so his children, stepchildren and grandkids can enjoy their extended family”
Mr. Montgomery stated he does not have followers he has equals and co-workers. During the interview process all respondents had similar responses that Mr. Montgomery was “not a dictator,” or “not out for personal glorification.” The common theme from the questionnaire participants was he leads through example and if he thinks the reason for doing something is worthwhile and/or productive he will encourage two-way communication in explaining the importance of the given project. Mr. James E. Watson, Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio stated, “He uses a stimulating questioning technique to insure issues are well thought through and addressed in a creative manner.” He then convinces his co-workers that the project will benefit many people less fortunate than themselves, which creates a sense of pride, accomplishment, and self-worth in the completion of the task. The common response from the questionnaire participants on how he fosters two-way communication is that he is a good listener. Mrs. Sherri Muniz stated, “Mr. Montgomery is a leader in that he sets clear goals for those working on his leadership team. He is an inspiring leader; he is quick to give support and recognition to those who are working under him.” Janet Livingston commented that, “Jim is more of an ‘inspirer’ type of guy. He does not dictate to get the job done. He is regarded as smart, compassionate, hard-working, and positive and I think he has a great sense of humor!” Mr. Watson went on further to state that Mr. Montgomery’s reputation in the community was “Rock Solid,” and that he illustrates his character traits by making “sound decisions and by his actions.”
Thomas Robins, a good friend and former business associate stated, “While we were members of the same law firm, I watched Jim mentor younger lawyers in the ethical practice of the law. Jim turned down lucrative legal work when he felt he could not ethically represent certain clients. On at least one occasion, he did this over the objections of senior partners in the firm. Since we have been solo practioners, I have referred many litigation matters to Jim. He may not have won every case, but his clients always felt that they were well represented and treated with dignity and respect for a fair fee. Believe me I can’t say that about any other lawyer to whom I have referred cases. Jim has helped several of my referral clients, knowing that the work would be pro bono. He treats these clients in exactly the same professional manner that he treats the paying ones.”
Not only does he treat his clients in an upstanding professional manner, but he treats every one of his employees with the same respect. As Ms. Llewellyn says, “If it is important to me, Jim makes it important to him.” He continually encourages open communication and thereby makes the staff feel comfortable enough that they can address any issue or subject with him. He is open on all levels to new ideas, and trusts his employees’ judgment, because without effective communication there is no continual improvement.
Mr. Montgomery is also particularly keen in identifying the potential of individuals, his co-workers, and organizations. He helps support this by motivating them to recognize this quality within themselves. Ms. Llewellyn attests that, “He certainly has encouraged me to recognize that potential within myself and purposefully assigns me projects that foster that potential; specifically in areas I have expressed interest in, such as marketing.” Mr. Montgomery would never ask anyone to perform a duty that he was not willing to do himself. He sets his professional and personal goals high in an effort to inspire others do the same. He is a trustworthy and hard working individual who encourages the people around him to embrace these same qualities, not because it is their ethical obligation, but because he strongly deems these qualities to be important. He believes that most people are honest and hard working, or have the potential to achieve these principles, if only given the opportunity.
Submitted by John Thurman www.HeartofTexasRealty.com