In the year 2000, James E. McDougall retired from the Arizona Superior Court in Maricopa County with over 26 years of service as a Judge and Commissioner. He served a total of 12 years on the Juvenile Court assignment and was the Presiding Judge of the Juvenile Court in Maricopa County from 1989 to 1995. He joined the firm of Frazer Ryan Goldberg & Arnold in 2002.
Jim began his interest in Mental Health Law when, as a Commissioner of the Maricopa County Superior Court, he was assigned to hear Mental Health cases involving Petitions for Court Ordered Treatment. As he continued in his judicial career as a Judge, however, he found that Mental illness was an issue that touched practically every assignment he had on the court including Criminal, Juvenile, and Family Court.
Jim was the Chairman of the Probate and Mental Health Committee of the State Bar in 1985 and the Chairman of the Elder Law & Mental Health Section of the State Bar in 2012. He was also Chairman of the Mental Health Legislation Subcommittee from 2009 to 2013 and has helped draft and lobby many important changes to the mental health laws in Arizona. In 2016 Jim was appointed to serve as a member of Arizona Senate Study Committee on Incompetent, Non-restorable and Dangerous Defendants. He was appointed by the Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court to be a member of the Committee on Mental Health and the Justice System. He was appointed by the President of the Senate to serve on the 2023 Study Committee on Alternative Behavioral Health Transportation.
Before retiring as an attorney Jim was a partner at Frazer Ryan Goldberg & Arnold LLP practicing Elder Law and Mental Health Law, serving the elderly, the developmentally disabled, and the mentally ill. Jim was often hired to help families needing to obtain a guardianship or conservatorship over a relative because of some incapacity or disability related to a mental disorder, a developmental disorder, a physical condition, chronic drug or alcohol addiction or old age. Many of Jim’s clients hired him to help navigate the frustrating and confusing processes and proceedings involved in the voluntary or involuntary treatment of the mentally ill.
• American Bar Association
• State Bar of Arizona
• Maricopa County Bar Association
• Arizona Judge’s Association
Honors and Awards
• State Bar of Arizona Member of the year 2011
• Maricopa County Bar Association Hall of Fame 2011
• Recognition of Outstanding Efforts and Dedication in Developing the Multi-Disciplinary Protocol for the Investigations of Child Abuse – 1996.
• Freedom of Information Award – 1991. Given by Society of Professional Journalists. In recognition for facilitation of media access to juvenile court records and proceedings.
• Maricopa County Bar Association – Special recognition for the study and report on domestic violence
• Special Award for Outstanding Service – Arizona State Bar/Maricopa County Bar Association — Family Law Committee 1977-1980.