Monday Profile James Kincaid

 James Kincaid graduated  from Hazel Park High School before going on to the University of Michigan to receive a bachelor’s degree in political science. He then went  to the Detroit College of Law (now the Michigan State University Law School), earning a Juris Doctor in 1982. 

Kincaid was in private practice for two years before he moved on to the Legal Aid & Defenders Association, Inc. in Detroit for 15 years. Since late 1999, he has been a Washtenaw County assistant public defender, representing those charged with felonies and misdemeanors, and family court cases. For the past seven years, he has primarily represented children as a lawyer-guardian ad litem in abuse and neglect cases.
Residence: Washtenaw County.
 
Currently reading…A biography of Charles Dickens.
 
My mother always told me…To be honest and persistent in pursuit of my goals. 
 
What is your most treasured material possession? My great-grandfather’s railroad watch.
 
What advice do you have for someone considering law school? To put the law first and be prepared to make financial and personal sacrifices to be a lawyer.
 
If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you be? A teacher.
 
Favorite local hangouts: Book stores, libraries, running tracks, gym. 
 
Your proudest moment(s) as a lawyer? When, as lawyer-guardian ad litem, I am able to help the children I represent, in abuse and neglect cases, find permanency and stability through reunification with their parents or in an adoptive home.
 
What is your happiest childhood memory? Christmas with all my family.
 
Which things do you not like to do?  Swim.
 
What would surprise people about your job? That the majority of my practice is representing children as their lawyer-guardian ad litem. The children I represent are in the legal system because their parents are charged with abusing and neglecting them.
 
What’s your greatest achievement? Practicing law for 31 years, and still practicing law.
 
At Thanksgiving dinner, would you rather talk politics, religion or the weather?  Politics.
 
What would you say to your 16-year-old self?  Work smarter.
 
What one thing do you wish people knew about your work?   That the Public Defender’s Office is a provider of excellent legal services to many individuals in this county on a variety of serious felony, misdemeanor and family law cases.
 
Favorite joke: The last joke that was clean and uplifting – not a put down or ridicule of others.
 
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?   More embracement of the virtues of compassion, harmony, peace and love. 
 
If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you be? A teacher.
 
Must-see TV:  More PBS of history, education and health.   
 
What’s your favorite animal? My dog.
 
What’s your biggest regret? Not having the resources to be more philanthropic.
What word do you overuse? Excellent.
 
First gig: Private practice.
 
What’s one thing you would like to learn to do? I’d like to learn a foreign language.
 
What is something most people don't know about you?  That I run three miles a day.
 
If you could have dinner with three people, living or dead, who would they be? Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi and Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. 
 
Who is your favorite character of fiction? Sherlock Holmes.
 
Favorite movie: The Sea Hawks.
 
What’s the best advice you ever received? Take a little bit at a time.
 
What place won’t you return if you can help it? Martinique.
 
What do you drive? What would you drive if money were no object? I drive a Nissan and if money were no object I would drive an Aston Martin.
 
Favorite law-related movie: “Anatomy of a Murder.”
 
Favorite place to spend money: The bookstore.
 
What is your motto? “This I shall defend.”
 
Where would you like to be when you're 90? Still healthy and happy with loved ones and voluntarily contributing.  
 
 

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