James A. Ford

Shareholder | E: jaf@elamburke.com | P: 208-343-5454 |

James A Ford (“Jim”) is an experienced and successful litigator at Elam & Burke, specializing in workers’ compensation, insurance defense, and civil litigation. Since joining the firm in 1987, his dedication and remarkable work have resulted in recognition in the Best Lawyers in America, including Lawyer of the Year in Workers’ Compensation in 2022, and membership in the International Association of Defense Counsel, acknowledgments of his expertise and influence.

Prior to joining Elam & Burke, Jim practiced with an insurance defense firm in Boise and Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. This early experience honed his courtroom skills and sparked his interest in advocacy, forming the cornerstone of his present specializations.

At Elam & Burke, under the guidance of an experienced senior partner, Jim grew to become an authority in workers’ compensation, and now brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to his clients’ cases. Jim focuses his workers’ compensation practice on representing employers and their workers’ compensation sureties.

Beyond his personal achievements, Jim has made notable contributions to the legal community. He was pivotal in the formation of the Young Lawyers Section of the Idaho State Bar and in the founding of the respected American Inns of Court in Boise. Jim has also served the Idaho Association of Defense Counsel in leadership roles, including serving as President from 2001 through 2002. These initiatives underscore his commitment to cultivating the broader legal community and guiding future legal professionals.

Jim assists with firm management as a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. He served as the firm’s Managing Director from 2021-2024.

Away from his professional obligations, Jim leads an active lifestyle and enjoys his role as a family man. He cherishes his time with his wife, Chandra, and their adult sons, reflecting his deep-rooted values of balance and family.



  • University of Idaho, J.D. 1985
  • University of Montana, B.A. Business Finance and Management 1982

Bar Admissions

  • State of Idaho and Federal Courts
  • 9th Circuit Court of Appeals


  • Idaho State Bar (Workers’ Compensation, Litigation, Professionalism Sections, past chair 1991, Young Lawyers Section)
  • Idaho Fourth District Bar Association
  • Idaho Association of Defense Counsel (past president 2002 and past representative for Idaho to the Defense Research Institute)
  • Defense Research Institute
  • American Inns of Court No. 130 (founding member, past secretary 1991-1997
  • International Association of Defense Counsel


  • Martindale Hubbell Rating: AV® Preeminent
  • Best Lawyers 2023
  • Best Lawyer’s “Lawyer of the Year” 2023
  • Super Lawyers (2007-2008)