Representative Professional Activities and Achievements
Jim Wheaton is Director of the Special Education Advocacy Clinic and a Clinical Associate Professor of Law. A graduate of Wake Forest University, he earned his J.D. at the University of Virginia School of Law where he was executive editor of the Virginia Law Review and a member of Order of the Coif. Following law school, he clerked for Judge J. Dickson Phillips Jr. of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
Jim brings to the Clinic his long-standing interest in special education and disability law issues. During his private-practice career, Jim devoted his legal pro bono efforts to representing students and families in special education matters, including attendance at Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings, dispute resolution, mediation, filing and resolution of state compliance complaints, and successful representation through due process proceedings and federal court appeals. Wheaton represented national, Virginia statewide, and local disability rights organizations as amici curiae in a case before the Fourth Circuit. He also served as a member of the American Bar Association Commission on Disability Rights from 2013-16.
Jim chaired the Board of Commissioners of the Virginia Public School Authority from 2002-08 and served on the Chesapeake, Virginia, School Board from 1991-2000. He was a member of the Special Education Task Force appointed by Representative Donald McEachin from 2017-18. As a parent member of the Down Syndrome Association of Hampton Roads, he also participated in that organization’s special education seminars.Jim taught previously at Boston University School of Law and as an adjunct at both William & Mary Law School and the University of Virginia School of Law. He had a private practice career that included serving as General Counsel of a public company, and as a partner and practice group leader in an AmLaw 100 firm. He is a former chair of the business sections of both the Virginia State Bar and Virginia Bar Association, and a former chair of the American Bar Association Section of Business Law’s LLC & Unincorporated Entities Committee. In 2015, Wheaton received the Martin I. Lubaroff Award from the American Bar Association for leadership, scholarship, and service in the field of LLCs, partnerships and unincorporated entities law. He is a fellow of the American Bar Foundation and of the American College of LLC & Partnership Attorneys.