James H. Counts

Primary Practice Areas

Estate and Trust Planning and Administration
Business Organizations, Governance and Succession Planning
Real Estate Transactions, Development and Financing


Southwest Missouri State College, B.S., 1963
University of Missouri, J.D., 1968


The Missouri Bar, 1968
U.S. Court of Federal Claims, 1980
U.S. Tax Court, 1983
U.S. Supreme Court, 1983

Jim Counts was raised in Bunker, MO—a small town deep in the Mark Twain National Forest. Although he knew that he wanted to be a lawyer from a young age, he first qualified as a teacher, and taught at schools in Iron County and St. Louis County, before studying law at the University of Missouri in Columbia.

He came to St. Joseph in 1968 to interview with the Morton Law Firm, and became the first non-family member to make partner there. After a merger, the firm became Morton, Reed & Counts.

Over the years Jim has volunteered time and sometimes legal counsel to the United Way, St. Joseph Performing Arts Association, Noyes Home for Children, and Ladies Union Benevolent Association. He has a son who is an architect in New York City, and a daughter who was a teacher and is now a full-time homemaker in Kansas City.

Photo of James H. Counts “I was the second member of my family to go to college. It was a long way from rural Bunker, MO to arguing a case in the state’s Supreme Court, but education was the key.” – Jim Counts