For more than 15 years, James W. Cushing has served as a caring, empathetic, and tenacious advocate, helping children, families, workers, businesses, and others triumph over legal problems and devastating circumstances. His practice focuses on Family Law, Unemployment Compensation, Real Estate, Landlord/Tenant, Contracts, and Debt Collection. When he is not fighting for justice, Jim prolifically writes, lectures, and provides thought-leadership to other attorneys on best practices and new developments in the law.
Throughout his career, Jim has:
- Aggressively, yet compassionately, advocated for families and children in cases of divorce, child support, child custody, protection from abuse, adoption, and other family law matters
- Effectively represented both employers and employees in unemployment compensation cases, including at referee hearings and on appeal
- Successfully handled a vast array of real estate matters including agreements of sale and real estate negotiations, code violations, ejectment, foreclosures, landlord-tenant disputes, property transfers, partition, title disputes, zoning, and land use issues
- Advised clients on complex contracts including business contracts, contracts for services, and loans
- Skillfully defended clients in substantial debt resolution, including negotiations with collection agencies
With numerous articles published in prestigious legal publications across Pennsylvania ―including The Legal Intelligencer, The Pennsylvania Family Lawyer, and the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Upon Legal Review ―Jim has earned the reputation among his peers as a legal scholar, opinion leader, and formidable advocate for his clients.
Jim additionally shares his legal knowledge as a speaker before many legal, business and civic groups.
Jim’s mother and grandmother inspired him at an early age to work hard, help people when they are vulnerable, and challenge the status quo when necessary. Jim’s mother is profoundly deaf due to a congenital defect, and he grew up in a home where he witnessed her triumph over life’s daily obstacles with perseverance, courage, and grace. His grandmother spearheaded the effort to introduce sign language into the curriculum at the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf—and forever improved the quality of life for generations of students, while helping them achieve their full potential.
When in college, Jim studied public policy and put his skills to work as an intern for State Senator Stewart Greenleaf and research intern for the Legislative Office for Research Liaison in the state legislature in Harrisburg, PA. He also served in student government and headed his campus’s Christian Fellowship. While in law school, Jim served on the Student Bar Association and headed the Christian Legal Society.
Jim’s client sought help, guidance, and advice to gain custody of his son. Although the client needed aggressive advocacy in court, he also needed a soft touch and sensitivity when approaching and communicating with the mother. Although the mother was adversarial and confrontational, after reasoned and tempered conversation, an agreement was reached which met the needs of everyone involved.
Jim’s client, a mother, was in need of child support. The father claimed he was too under-employed to be able to contribute, and had the child support action against him dismissed on this basis. Jim appealed, and through some investigation and persistence, the identity of the father’s probation officer was discovered. The probation officer was subpoenaed to appear at a new hearing and brought the father’s actual earnings. This led to a fair child support order being entered.
Jim helped a client whose marriage fell apart after he learned that his wife had an affair. The couple separated and needed their assets and liabilities divided. The wife claimed that the client owed her thousands of dollars for marital debts that were on her credit cards. The client was convinced that most of those debts where not his. After demanding she produce her credit card invoices over the life of the marriage, painstaking efforts were made to comb through these invoices to identify as many of wife’s personal purchases as possible. After a comprehensive review, a far more equitable and fair settlement was reached regarding these debts.
Jim guided a client through a spousal support case where his wife made well over six figures and received a substantial child support check each month. Although spouses who make less money customarily receive spousal support, the argument was made that she was in no way unable to meet her needs, pay her bills, or support herself during the litigation of her divorce. After briefs and oral arguments, the court agreed, denying the spousal support.
Jim’s client was embroiled in a multi-year litigation regarding repairs and code violations on a condominium complex she owned. Her case also involved the unlawful seizure and/or interference with the use of personally owned real estate by the government. The case was heard, at various times, in the Court of Common Pleas, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court, the Pennsylvania Superior Court, the Court of the Eastern District, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court. After many years of litigation, Jim helped broker a settlement to resolve all of the issues.
A client, who had some cognitive difficulties, was involuntarily discharged from his job for allegedly breaking a work rule, namely making an inappropriate remark, and found ineligible for unemployment compensation benefits. The only evidence of the violation was a report someone made to his supervisor based on multilayered hearsay. Jim represented the client at a referee’s hearing where the referee undermined the process of sequestering witnesses and permitted multilayered hearsay testimony as evidence. As a result, the client was, again, found ineligible for benefits. Although the referee found against the client, an appeal to the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review was filed and, after a brief was submitted, the decisions finding client ineligible for benefits were reversed, and client was permitted to receive his unemployment compensation.
Jim is a prolific writer and a regular columnist and contributor to The Legal Intelligencer, The Pennsylvania Family Lawyer and Upon Further Review. He has written over 100 articles. Here are some examples:
- “Pa. Superior Court: Family Court Notice Must Be Meaningful,” The Legal Intelligencer, June 26, 2020
- “Does a Loss of Consortium Mean a Loss of Confidentiality?” The Legal Intelligencer, March 17, 2020
- “Finding Attorneys in Contempt for Clients’ Actions in Divorce Case,” The Legal Intelligencer, December 18, 2019
- “Family Law’s Alphabet Soup: To Spell It Out or Stick With Initials,” The Legal Intelligencer, October 1, 2019, The Pennsylvania Family Lawyer in Volume 41, Issue No. 4
- “PA Superior Court Says QDRO’s Take Effect Upon Execution of Marital Agreement,” Pennsylvania Family Lawyer, Summer/Fall 2019
- “Custody of Nonbiological Children – Burden and Proof Issues,” The Legal Intelligencer, June 28, 2019
- “Superior Court Navigates ‘Twists and Turns’ in Case Involving Paternity Tests,” The Legal Intelligencer, March 19, 2019
- “Interference with Child Custody or Kidnapping? High Court Sorts it Out,” The Legal Intelligencer, December 21, 2018
- “Superior Court Ruling Gives Hope to Custody-Seeking Grandparents,” The Legal Intelligencer, October 2, 2018, and The Pennsylvania Family Lawyer, in December 2018
- “Following the ‘Wiseman’ Standard in Pa. Custody Battles is Unwise,” The Legal Intelligencer, July 5, 2018, and The Pennsylvania Family Lawyer, in September 2018
- “Don’t Like an Award from Compulsory Arbitration? You Must Appeal,” The Legal Intelligencer, March 19, 2018
- “Death, Divorce and the Division of Property and Estates,” The Legal Intelligencer, December 26, 2018, and The Pennsylvania Family Lawyer, in March 2018
- “Dependent on Child Support in Dependency,” The Legal Intelligencer, June 29, 2017, and The Pennsylvania Family Lawyer, in October 2017
- “Parties in Dependency: Proper Notice and Participation Is Essential,” The Legal Intelligencer, July 11, 2017, and The Pennsylvania Family Lawyer, in October 2017
- “Enforcing Marital Agreements According to the Law of the Case,” The Legal Intelligencer, October 3, 2017, and The Pennsylvania Family Lawyer, in October 2017
- “Vacant Property is Irredeemable After Sheriff Sale, Commonwealth Court Rules,” Upon Further Review, October 3, 2017
Jim has also contributed to the writing of “Custody Cases: Fighting for the Best Interest of the Child,” a chapter in the book entitled Inside the Minds, Child Custody Litigation and Settlements, Thompson Reuters/Aspatore Books. In addition, Jim was interviewed and has been cited twice in articles in The Fiscal Times and was cited in the University of Miami Law Review.
- Proper Practice and Procedure of Family Law, Christian Legal Clinics of Philadelphia, October 30, 2019
- Human Resource Law from A to Z, National Business Institute, April 9, 2019
- Family Law from A to Z, National Business Institute, August 16, 2018
- Law and Vocation, John Jay Institute Fellowship at Cairn University, November 30, 2018 and February 16, 2018
- Advanced Family Law, National Business Institute, August 24, 2016
- Red Light Cameras, Rydal-Meadowbrook Civic Association, October 1, 2014
- Pennsylvania Adoption Law, John the Evangelist Anglican Church, Churchville, PA, May 20, 2010
HONORS & AWARDS
- Thomson Reuters Pennsylvania Rising Star, 2010-2012, 2014-2017
- Named an “Expert Author” by Ezinearticles.com, 2010
- Avvo.com rated 10/10