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James F. Boccardo

James F. Boccardo
Status: Deceased

(1912 - 2003)

Jim Boccardo, San Joses Tempestuous King of Torts, was 91 when he left us. He lived a life that was sometimes difficult and sometimes path-breaking. He pioneered usage of contingency fees, was the first to use X-ray evidence and mortality tables in court, was one of the first attorneys to win million-dollar jury verdicts, and was the first person Richard Grand called to join the Inner Circle. Jim served as President of the Inner Circle from 1975-1977.

Jim won a $3.655 million jury verdict in a 1973 Reno trial on behalf of a client injured in an industrial accident that was recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest award ever. The plaintiff was a 24-year-old married man and the father of four children who was blinded and paralyzed from the neck down. The award was affirmed by the Nevada Supreme Court. Jim had a remarkable knack for getting the jury to award large sums and was unafraid to talk to them about money. According to Inner Circle member Norm Saucedo who practiced with him from 1963 to 1976, "Jim had the talent in arguing to a jury to make a million dollars seem like 12 cents,"

Although he was short, the stories other lawyers tell about Jim make him appear larger than life. He was a true California bulldog. He lived in a beautiful home just under the clubhouse at Pebble Beach and traveled around in two Rolls Royces labeled BOCAR I and BOCAR II. During his lifetime he was profiled in Time and Forbes magazines, and, according to one story, he and Melvin Belli once drove down the Spanish Steps in Rome in a rented Rolls-Royce. Whereas Belli got the press, Jim Boccardo was a standout in the eras flamboyant brotherhood of personal-injury lawyers.
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