Jim Barton practices political and government relations law at Barton Mendez Soto. His clients include labor unions and separate segregated funds affiliated with such groups, civic engagement and education tax-exempt corporations, state and federal political action committee engaged exclusively in independent expenditure advocacy, and organizations that promote or challenge Arizona ballot measures.
Examples of Jim's statewide ballot measure clients are: Arizonans for Fair Elections (2020), Arizonans for Fair Lending (2020), Arizonans Fed Up with Failing Healthcare (2020), Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona (2018), Invest in Education (2018) and Arizonans for Fair Wages and Healthy Families (2016). Jim not only defended the Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Time ballot measure against challenges to its place on the ballot, but also successfully defended it against a challenge to its constitutionality, and ultimately on to successfully challenge the constitutionality of HB 2579-an effort by the Legislature to reverse portions of the Minimum Wage Act.
Jim has represented numerous employees of the Maricopa County Community College District, both faculty and classified staff members, in claims of discrimination, sexual harassment, ADA violations, and other employment matters. He also represents the Maricopa Community College Faculty Association. In that capacity he successfully negotiated a settlement of claims related to the District's infringing on Faculty free speech and academic freedom.
Jim has also litigated numerous Freedom of Information Act challenges, including serving as lead counsel in the case Torres Consulting & Law Group v. NASA, in which the Ninth Circuit held that NASA had violated the Freedom of Information Act in excessively redacting public records related to prevailing wage compliance.
Before forming Barton Mendez Soto, Jim represented the Citizens Clean Elections Commission and the Arizona Secretary of State as an Assistant Attorney General in the Arizona Solicitor General's Office. In that capacity, he also litigated election law cases, including Arizona Free Enterprise v. Bennett, for which he served as counsel of record before the United States Supreme Court. He also represented the Secretary of State in investigating campaign finance and election law violations and served as a member of the Open Meeting Law Enforcement Team.
After receiving his Juris Doctor, magna cum laude, from the Arizona State University College of Law in 2005, Jim clerked for Arizona Chief Justice Ruth McGregor. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in physics and philosophy at Northwestern University and served as a submarine warfare officer in the United States Navy from 1993 to 1998.
During his service on board USS Billfish (SSN 676), Jim was awarded a Navy Expeditionary Medal and twice awarded a Navy Achievement Medal. In 2017 he received LUCHA's Community Luchador award, and in 2019 the Arizona Capitol Times named him a Leader of the Year for Advancing Law in Arizona.
- Arizona State University, College of Law, Tempe, Arizona
- J.D. - 2005
- Honors: magna cum laude
- Northwestern University
- B.A. - 1993
- Honors: With High Honors
- Major: Physics
- Major: Philosophy
- Arizona, 2005
- Washington, 2020
- U.S. District Court District of Arizona, 2006
- Leader of the Year for Advancing Law in Arizona, Arizona Capital Times, 2019
- Community Luchador Award, Living United for Change, 2017
- Rising Star, Super Lawyers, 2014-2015
- Emerging Star Award, Solicitor General’s Office, 2011
- Navy Achievement Medal, United States Navy, 1997-1998
Classes & Seminars
- Arizona Election Law, State Bar of Arizona, 2016-2020
- New Year, New You - Joining Boards and Commissions and Open Meeting Laws, Arizona Women Lawyers Association, 2020
- Legal Service Committee of State Bar, 2008-2014
- Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Committee of State Bar, 2008-2014
- Maricopa County Colleges Faculty Association
- Arizona Democratic Party
- Living United for Change in Arizona
- Arizona Wins
- Ariz. Free Enterprise v. Bennett, 131 S. Ct. 2806, 2011
- Chavez v. Chavez, Case No. CV2014-008793 (Ariz. Sup. Ct.), 2014
- Tobin v. Rea, 231 Ariz. 189, 2013
- Ross v. Bennett, 228 Ariz. 174, 2011
- Ariz. Chamber of Comm. & Indus. V. Kiley, 242 Ariz. 533, 399 P.3d 80, 2017
- Nader v. Bennett, 407 Fed. Appx. 190 (9th Cir.), 2010
- Hitzeman v. Reagan, Case No. CV-16-0204-AP/EL (Ariz.), 2016