James O’Kane

Seabrook Island deserves our collaboration to protect and preserve its coastal beauty in harmony with all inhabitants. The harmony achieved here drew me to Seabrook Island. With continued focus on doing what is right by all Seabrookers and nature, our island should remain a wonderful place to live. I would like to contribute to our community as a member of the Board of Directors.

My wife and I purchased our villa in 2020, dividing our time between Seabrook Island and Knoxville, Tennessee. We chose Seabrook Island because its Lowcountry natural beauty is preserved in a quiet residential community. I am an Ocean Winds board member, and I have served on the SIPOA legal committee for two years.

I am a retired attorney, having practiced in Louisiana until 1976, and in Tennessee from 1977 until January, 2022. I obtained an economics degree at Notre Dame, and my law degree at L.S.U.

I spent my entire career as a litigator. Initially, I served an impoverished clientele in Louisiana. I soon learned the importance of being empathetic, a good listener, and a gatherer of facts before making a judgment. As a Tennessee trial attorney for 44 years, I handled everything from auto accidents to professional liability cases, and much more. My clients included blue collar workers, medical and other professionals, small business owners and corporations. I continued to learn that facts matter, and what it means to be a nurse, medical doctor, patient, truck driver, police officer, and trauma survivor. Communication skills enabled me to interpret and share complex medical, engineering and scientific concepts with jurors, so they could carry out their important task of judging the facts and applying the law to those facts. Client representation required me to be a good communicator, and it required patience, understanding, analysis, empathy, advocacy, and hard work.

I was managing partner of my law firm—founded in 1922. I was engaged in all aspects of owning and running a small business, and I was a mentor, confidant, collaborator, and chief worrier.

For six years I was a Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility Hearing Officer. When an attorney’s license was in jeopardy, I needed to listen well, seek all relevant facts and make fair and wise judgments. My experience includes service on the Knoxville Bar Association Board of Governors; and as an instructor at legal education and medical risk management meetings. I was a Legal Aid Society supporter, Knoxville Bar Foundation Fellow, and American Inns of Court member.

I am happily married, Dad to my accomplished daughters, and Pops to the grandkids. I coached youth soccer coach for ten years. I have been a fund raiser and volunteer for charitable causes. I am in good health and maintain an active lifestyle.

I believe my varied experience; listening, communication, collaborative and analytic skills; and representation of clients who needed my understanding, empathy and leadership during trying times will serve me well as a member of the board. Thank you for your consideration of my candidacy.