Jim grew up in Springfield, Missouri, but came to Austin as soon as he could, inspired by his grandmother's passion for all things Texan, including the Longhorns, the Dallas Cowboys and the Texas Rangers (his paternal grandparents were native Texans and graduated from UT).
Jim received his law degree with high honors from The University of Texas School of Law in 1986. He was a member of the Texas Law Review, Chancellors, and Order of the Coif.
He graduated summa cum laude from Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, with a B.A. in accounting in 1983.