About Thomas James

Photograph of Minnesota attorneyThomas James


Thomas James (more formally known as Thomas B. James) is a Minnesota attorney at the Law Office of Tom James in Cokato. His practice is focused on copyright and trademark law, appeals and appellate practice. He also provides legal services to small businesses and nonprofit organizations, including securing tax-exempt status for nonprofit organizations.

In addition, Tom James has done a considerable amount of volunteer work. Organizations through which he has provided pro bono legal services include Central Minnesota Legal Services, SCORE, and LegalCORPS. He has also served as a mock trial judge for high school students and as an arbitrator on the Dispute Settlement Board.


Tom James received his Bachelor of Arts degree (B.A.) from the University of California – Berkeley. He received his Juris Doctorate (J.D.) from Southwestern University School of Law. Thomas James is also a certified Teacher of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TEFL/TESOL) and Teacher of Business English (TBE).


E-Commerce Law: The Legal Compliance Handbook for Online Businesses, published by Echion, 2020)

Website Law (Echion, 2017)

The History of Custody Law

Domestic Violence: The 12 Things You Aren’t Supposed to Know

Tuber Tips and sweet potato recipes


“Overruling Rostker v. Goldberg: Toward an Equal Obligation to Register for Selective Service,” Nebraska Law Review (May, 2021) Minnesota attorney Tom James explains why the male-only Selective Service registration requirement violates the Equal Protection clause of the constitution, and why Rostker v. Goldberg, the 1980 Supreme Court decision upholding it, should be overruled.

“Sales and Use Tax Nexus: The Way Forward for Legislation,” Mitchell-Hamline Law Journal of Public Policy & Practice, vol. 41, no. 1 (2020) Here, Cokato lawyer Thomas James critiques the United States Supreme Court’s establishment of volume thresholds for use in Due Process and Commerce Clause analysis of state sales and use taxes on interstate sales, and suggests ways Congress could act to relieve the burden of multiple state and local tax obligations on businesses that sell online.

“Assisted Reproduction: Reforming State Statutes After Obergefell v. Hodges and Pavan v. Smith,” University of Maryland Law Journal of Race, Religion, Gender & Class, vol. 19 (2020) The Cokato attorney, Tom James, discusses the impact of Obergefell v. Hodges and Pavan v. Smith on state family law statutes pertaining to paternity and parentage determinations. What changes will state legislatures need to make to their laws to accommodate the constitutional requirement that parents in same-sex couples to be treated the same as parents in opposite-sex couples? Tom James answers.

“Protecting Copyrights in Professional and Academic Writing,” LinkedIn.com (2020)Attorney Tom James explains the rights that academic and professional authors have in their works and how to protect them after they are published.

Copyright Enforcement: Time to Abolish the Pre-Litigation Registration Requirement,” Illinois Law Review (Fall, 2019). The Copyright Office can sometimes take a year or more to issue a registration certificate. Cokato attorney Thomas James argues that this has unfair consequences for authors and other copyright owners. He suggests that the time has come for Congress to abolish the pre-litigation registration requirement. Reprinted in Pulse.

“E-Commerce Sales Taxes: What Your Online Business Needs to Know,” AllBusiness.com  (June 17, 2019) Post-Wayfair tax advice for small business who sell online. I  

“Use Tax Nexus: The Illusory Utility of Volume Thresholds,” Tax Notes – State (April 29, 2019)Cokato attorney Thomas James critiques the United States Supreme Court’s adoption of volume thresholds to assess the constitutionality of state sales and use taxes under the Due Process and Commerce clauses of the United States constitution.

Is ChatGPT Really HAL from 2001? (Medium, 2023)

“Woke” Is Not a Race, Sex, or Sexual Orientation Category (Medium, 2022)

Words That Should Be Retired in 2023 (Medium, 2022)

Books by Tom James (Medium, 2022)

Job Search Scam Red Flags (Medium, 2022)

Dobbs: What Happened and What It Means (Medium, 2022)

The 10 Key Points to Cover in an Employment Contract (Avvo, 2021)

The 10 Essential Legal Steps in Starting a Business (Avvo, 2021)

The Trademark Modernization Act (iLawConnect, 2022)

Copyright Basics for Writers (guest blog post) (2017)

The Fixation Requirement (Pulse)


Tom James is the founding director of Echion CLE, a nonprofit educational organization offering legal education courses. Course offerings are listed at both the Echion website. Past offerings include:


When he is not practicing law, teaching, conducting legal research or writing, Cokato lawyer Tom James enjoys hiking, camping and, when he is not injured, running.

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