James graduated from Southern Methodist University School of Law in May 1995 and was admitted to the Texas Bar in November 1995 and is admitted to practice in the federal courts of the Eastern, Northern, Western and Southern Districts of Texas, Northern District of Illinois, as well as the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. James has been Board Certified in Criminal Law since 2002 and has been Board Certified in Criminal Appellate Law since 2017. Mr. Whalen practices exclusively in federal and state criminal defense and can proudly say that he has never prosecuted anyone.
James is a current member of the Texas Board of Legal Specialization Criminal Law Exam Commission. James is an active member of the American Bar Association and National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, past president of the Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Association, a past board member of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. James has appeared on local news stations as an expert on criminal law and appeared on Court TV as an analyst. He has also served as a member of the Eastern District of Texas Local Rules Committee and the Magistrate Judge Merit Selection Panel. Finally, he has been named a Texas Super Lawyer for the following years: 2005; 2006; 2012; 2013; 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.