Jim Kentch, Lawyer

Justice is the greatest of virtues,
for in justice is all virtue combined.
Justice is not a part of virtue
but the whole of virtue.

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics

Work Experience

Jim Kentch, Consumer LawJim’s first job (at 25 cents an hour) was working at Kentch’s Rexall Drugstore for his father and grandfather in a small Pennsylvania town. At an early age he learned the importance of recognizing what the customer needs and how best to provide it.

Between college and law school, when the Shah still ruled, Jim taught English as a foreign language on an Army base in Iran.

The first year out of law school Jim worked for a nonprofit organization, The Center for Law and Health Care Policy, in Brooklyn, N.Y. He headed North to Alaska in 1980, where he practiced law for over 18 years—as a VISTA lawyer for Legal Services, an Assistant Attorney General in Alaska’s Consumer Protection Division, an Assistant Public Defender, the Assistant Director of the Alaska Public Offices Commission, and in private practice. He taught advanced Constitutional Law for two years at the University of Alaska at Anchorage. For almost four years he stayed home fulltime with his two children, and he regards this as his best and most worthwhile job.

While in Alaska Jim was on a team of lawyers that settled an antitrust case against the North Slope Borough for over seven million dollars. With another lawyer Jim represented a 12 year old boy who unfortunately lost both legs when a train ran over him. This case against the Alaska Railroad and the Municipality of Anchorage settled for $500,000.

Jim settled in Santa Fe (23 Alaskan winters were enough!) in 2003. In 2007-2008 he worked for the New Mexico Environment Department helping to keep the Land of Enchantment clean. He opened his current law office in March 2009.


Jim graduated from The Mercersburg Academy in 1970 as a member of the Cum Laude Society. He obtained a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Michigan in 1974, Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude. Jim graduated from Harvard Law School in 1979. Recently he received two Master’s degrees from St. John’s College here in Santa Fe.


An avid outdoorsman, Jim hikes, snowboards, cross-country skis and bicycles regularly. He also enjoys reading. Languages are a special interest of Jim’s, and he knows—to one degree or another—seven languages. He is especially proud and fond of his two sons, one of whom is currently in law school.


Jim received the Robert Hickerson Distinguished Individual Service Pro Bono Award in 2003 from the Alaska Bar Association for his “leadership, outstanding volunteer services and demonstrated commitment to making equal access to justice a reality for low-income Alaskans.” He also received an award from St. John’s College, Santa Fe, for the best Sanskrit translation in 2006.

Reported Cases

Alaska v. Planned Parenthood, 35 P.3d 30 (Alaska 2001); Cooperating Attorney, Alaska Civil Liberties Union Foundation

Alaska v. Beans, 965 P.2d 725 (Alaska 1998)

LaVigne v. State, 788 P.2d 52 (Alaska App. 1990)

A.B.M. v. M.H., 651 P.2d 1170 (Alaska 1982)