Our people set us apart

Jim Barton


Partner Jim Barton a leading election lawyer in the State of Arizona. He has been the counsel of record on numerous important election law cases, including Arizona Free Enterprise v. Bennett, 131 S.Ct. 2806 (2011), before the United States Supreme Court. Barton was the lead attorney defending Proposition 127 against an onslaught of attacks culminating in a five-day trial and over 1000 subpoenaed trial witnesses. Ultimately, TLG successfully defended Proposition 127 at trial and before review by the Arizona Supreme Court.

In 2016, he successfully defended Arizonans for Fair Wages and Healthy Families (Comm. No. 2016-00474) against legal challenges to the initiative to raise Arizona’s minimum wage. The first was an attack on the registration of signature gatherers, Hitzeman v. Reagan, Case No. CV-16-0204-AP/EL (Ariz. Aug. 30, 2016). The second was an effort to invalidate the measure under the Single Subject, Separate Amendment, and Revenue Source provisions of the Arizona Constitution, Ariz. Chamber of Comm. & Indus. V. Kiley, Case No. CV-16-0314-SA (Ariz. Mar. 14, 2017).

Prior to the 2016 election cycle, TLG provided legal advice to the Protect Your Right to Vote Committee on referring HB 2305 to the voters. This advice covered matters such as signature collection and anticipating challenges to the measure’s position on the ballot. Importantly, the referendum’s position on the ballot was never challenged in court. Barton also successfully challenged a biased description of the Quality Education & Jobs Act proposed by the Arizona Legislative Council and defended the superior court decision before the Arizona Supreme Court. Tobin v. Rea, 231 Ariz. 189 (2013).

Before joining TLG, Barton served as an Arizona assistant attorney general, representing the secretary of state, Citizens Clean Election Commission and the Independent Redistricting Commission. His work was instrumental in drafting attorney general opinions involving campaign finance regulation. In that capacity, he argued before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals defending a favorable attorneys’ fees award in Nader v. Bennett, 407 Fed. Appx. 190 (9th Cir. 2010).

Barton has investigated allegations of campaign finance law violations and advised state agencies on laws regarding public records, open meetings, and conflicts of interest regarding public employees. He has also enforced compliance with court orders and findings related to campaign finance violations.

Before serving the state, Barton worked as an associate at the Phoenix law firm Perkins Coie Brown and Bain, focusing on political and construction law. While there, Barton successfully defended both candidates and initiative committees against challenges to their positions on the ballot. Early in his career, he clerked for Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Ruth McGregor and worked in Phoenix’s federal public defender’s office.

Early in his career, Barton clerked for Arizona Chief Justice Ruth McGregor. He earned his Juris Doctor from Arizona State University and his Bachelor of Arts in physics and philosophy from Northwestern University. Barton also served as a Submarine Warfare Office on board U.S.S. Billfish (SSN 676) and was qualified as a Senior Reactor Operator by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

On a personal note, Jim and his wife, Pat, have two adult children – James and Kate. Jim is a member of Chalice Christian Church and enjoys talking politics and theology, watching Kevin Smith movies and travelling.

Bar Admissions:
Arizona State Bar
U.S. Supreme Court
9th Circuit Court of Appeals
U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona

J.D., Arizona State University
B.A., Physics and Philosophy, Northwestern University

Key Cases:

Ariz. Free Enterprise v. Bennett, 131 S. Ct. 2806 (2011) – representing Clean Elections, defending matching funds

Chavez v. Chavez, Case No. CV2014-008793 (Ariz. Sup. Ct. 2014) – representing plaintiff, removing “Cesar Chavez” from the ballot

Tobin v. Rea, 231 Ariz. 189 (2013) – representing ballot measure committee, striking down Legislature’s description of the ballot measure

Ross v. Bennett, 228 Ariz. 174 (2011) – representing Secretary of State, defending recall election of Russell Pearce

Ariz. Chamber of Comm. & Indus. V. Kiley, 242 Ariz. 533, 399 P.3d 80 (2017)
Click here to watch the oral argument video (minute 28:30)

Nader v. Bennett, 407 Fed. Appx. 190 (9th Cir. 2010)
Click here to download and listen to the oral argument (minute 7:45)