James Mackler

Board of Trustees

James focuses his practice on advising businesses on the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), more commonly known as “drones”. He works with clients on various regulatory and compliance elements of drone usage across a spectrum of industries including agriculture, real estate, construction, video production, entertainment, surveying, and the military and government agencies.

In addition to his drone-related practice, James defends clients facing criminal prosecution or civil action by state and federal authorities. He has over 15 years of experience defending and prosecuting criminal cases at the state, federal and military level and assisting clients in the areas of regulatory compliance and civil litigation.

Previously, James served eight years of active duty in the U.S. Army. After spending seven years developing a successful private legal practice in Colorado, James was inspired by the events of September 11, 2001 to join the military. He spent three years as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot with the 101st Airborne Division, including a one-year deployment to Iraq. After returning from Iraq, James transferred to the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps, where he served as a legal adviser to high-level commanders and as a supervising criminal prosecutor. As a former Senior Trial Counsel for the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, James led a team of 12 prosecutors in the investigation and prosecution of cases involving financial fraud, kidnapping, rape and murder. James has tried approximately 40 highly contested courts martial and countless administrative hearings. James earned his Parachutist Badge, Combat Action Badge, Air Medal and an Army Achievement Medal during his time in the Army. He also completed the Army’s rigorous Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape (SERE) training. Today, he continues to serve as an attorney in the Tennessee Air National Guard, and he also holds a commercial helicopter pilot’s certificate.

His military service brought a new perspective to his legal career; his ability to perform under stress provides a sense of calm assurance to the chaotic, life-changing situation brought on by criminal prosecution. James says the best thing about being a lawyer is “the privilege of being part of a justice system truly governed by the rule of law—a system only dreamed of by much of the world.” James also strives to live up to the values passed along to him by his parents and reinforced by the military: loyalty, honor and integrity. He measures his success as an attorney by these markers.

James has been quoted in several media outlets, including The Washington Post, National Defense Magazine, The Tennessean, Nashville Public Radio, Politico.com, The Guardian and local television news affiliates.