James B. Reis
Portsmouth, New Hampshire criminal defense attorney James Reis started out at the New Hampshire Public Defender in 2000. Throughout the years, Jim has steadfastly protected the rights of nearly four thousand clients. He has represented clients charged with offenses ranging from traffic infractions and DWIs to sexual assaults and murder. Jim recognizes that being charged with a crime can be terrifying and that the criminal justice “process” is daunting to clients who find themselves in the gunsights of the government. He takes the time to listen to your story, explain the process, and then discuss your options so that you are in the best possible position to make the choices that are right for you. Jim excels at uncovering defenses, researching novel issues, and pursuing effective avenues of litigation.
Jim is masterful in the courtroom, whether it be in front of a jury, judge, or appellate court. When negotiation is called for, he will advocate for the best possible result, always with a client-centered focus. Jim will be candid with you from the outset, he knows what is needed to win, and he is a tenacious advocate.
As the first-ever litigation specialist at the New Hampshire Public Defender, Jim was responsible for coordinating and developing litigation strategies amongst roughly 125 public defenders in the State. For more than a decade now, Jim has left his imprint on the next generation of criminal practitioners, teaching lawyers of all levels at the New Hampshire Public Defender as well as through the New Hampshire Bar Association.
In Jim’s prior career as a commercial deep-sea diver, he was responsible for a wide range of tasks, including salvage operations, underwater construction and welding, demolition, vessel operation and maintenance, and custom fabrication. Underwater operations are unforgiving, and there is no margin of error. Jim credits his years underwater to his no-nonsense approach to representing clients.
During his time away from the office, Jim practices karate-do and iai-do (sword). He has been training for over thirty years, and is presently a sixth-degree black belt in karate-do and a second-degree black belt in iai-do. Jim is a Shihan (master instructor), and he holds the title of Renshi. He often discusses the parallels between the martial arts and courtroom practice. In both, an indomitable will, principled character, and relentless effort lead to the very best results.
Jim holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Delaware; he received his Commercial Diving Certificate from the International Commercial Diving Institute in Wilmington, Delaware; and he received his law degree, cum laude, from the University of Richmond in Richmond, Virginia.