The Dave Nee Foundation is proud to present the 2013 David S. Stoner Uncommon Counselor Award to James T. R. Jones, Professor of Law, University of Louisville’s Louis D. Brandeis School of Law for his courageous leadership demonstrated by openly sharing his inspirational story as a person living with bipolar disorder and receiving effective treatment.
Professor Jones received his B.A. with highest distinction from the University of Virginia, where he was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Society, and his J.D. with honors from Duke University School of Law, where he was selected for the Order of the Coif and graduated second in the class of 1978. Before entering an academic career, he clerked for a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and worked in private practice at Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York City and a firm in Florida. In 1985, he entered teaching as a Bigelow Teaching Fellow and Lecturer in Law at the University of Chicago Law School. He joined the faculty of the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville in 1986, where he is a tenured full professor of law and teaches courses in torts, decedents’ estates and trusts, and appellate practice.
For most of his life Professor Jones hid, mostly for fear of stigma, his decades-long battle with severe mental illness. He has attempted suicide and been hospitalized five times for periods ranging from a few days to over six months. In 2008 he went public with his condition in an article that went to all law professors in the nation; in the process he became one of two law professors in the country publicly to acknowledge suffering from a severe mental illness. Since then he has written and spoken extensively about successful professionals who suffer from serious psychiatric diseases. In particular he has addressed roughly seventy-five classes of law, medical, nursing, psychology, social work, and occupational therapy students, demonstrating to them that many of the stereotypes their professions hold about their clients with mental illnesses are unjustified and inaccurate and fighting the terrible problem of suicide. In 2011 he published his memoir A Hidden Madness. His constant message is that “stigma’s wrong, and treatment works!”