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James F. Rutherford

Criminal defense Attorney at Wilmington, NC

5.0   16 reviews
  • Licensed for 18 years
    State NC
    Acquired 2005
    Active No misconduct found

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

About James

Learn James’s areas of practice.

James F. Rutherford is a North Carolina native and graduate of the Michigan State University School of Law. He is genuinely passionate about advocating for the rights of the accused and guiding them through the criminal justice system. He is a highly rated attorney who earned an AV Preeminent® Rating by Martindale-Hubbell® for his legal ethics and talent and named a Super Lawyers® Rising Star™ from 2013-2015. James received certification as a criminal law specialist by the North Carolina State Bar in 2011 and is certified to administer standardized field sobriety tests. 

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James Rutherford, Attorney at Law
615 Princess St
Wilmington, NC, 28401-4131


5.0 / 5.0
  16 customer reviews
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Posted by Joel | September 5, 2022
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Absolutely "THE BEST"
I was dealing with a horrible situation. The rest of my life on the line. The biggest thing I learned is to listen when he says hes got it...he has it. Not guilty all counts. Simply, absolutely, positively "THE BEST!!!!" I owe him more than I can ever repay.
Posted by Justin | April 22, 2022
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
James Rutherford is knowledgeable, kind and professional. Fantastic Lawyer! I can't recommend him more!
Posted by anonymous | February 14, 2022
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Academic Honor Code Case
James was careful and attentive, and worked with me to DISMISS charges relating to academic dishonesty that threatened my career. Would absolutely recommend to any other student who finds themselves in a similar scary situation.
Posted by anonymous | December 17, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Excellent Attorney!
Mr Rutherford was excellent! He listened, asked for additional details, was friendly, understanding, professional, efficient, and kept me informed each step of the way until my case was dismissed!
Posted by anonymous | August 31, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Highly recommend
He was able to help me while I was in California and returned. He was highly recommended to me by my former attorney’s office that is now a judge. He was able to get my community service dropped and another charge. I still pleaded guilty but the sentence was reduced. Highly recommend
Posted by Heather | June 28, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Would definitely hire again!
Great guy. He helped my son with a speeding ticket. He called me back right away and took care of everything!
Posted by Deborah | May 8, 2020
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
James Rutherford
Nothing but the Best! James and is entire staff are at the Top of their Game. He has represented me for many years with great success.
Posted by Brion | January 20, 2020
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Brion Oxendine
James Rutherford is an exceptional attorney , and awesome guy outside of business. Rutherford defended me in two cases back to back at University Of North Carolina Wilmington. The first time Rutherford defended me we were against the odds; I was already on behavioral probation for a drinking ticket; therefore, I was facing extreme repercussions : suspension or expulsion from the university . I was extremely upset and discouraged , especially considering that I would be graduating and applying to law school soon and being suspended would deter my chances of being accepted . However, James Rutherford counseled me through the whole process , giving me advise throughout the circumstances. Rutherford was able to prove me Not responsible for what I was accused of , as a result I was able to walk away with a clean record. Rutherford defended me again less than two weeks later facing the same repercussions , however considering my previous situation I for sure thought I was going to be suspended for at least a year. However due to Rutherford’s help and awesome defense I was not expelled or suspended and walked away being found not responsible for Both cases . I have to say that James Rutherford is a professional, Charismatic , and sharp guy . He genuinely cares about his client’s and not just making money. Before both my cases Rutherford advised and counseled me as to what I could had done differently and what steps I should take next. Rutherford sets himself apart from other attorneys from his passionate , caring , dedication and hard work ethic. He will go above and beyond to make sure he wins your case as he did mine. There were times where Rutherford would often stay super late to counsel me and give me advise about my case , I sincerely thought I was going to be suspended but thanks to James Rutherford’s professional help I walked away with all my charges dropped. While Rutherford Fought my cases his passionate drive for my justice inspired me more to pursue law as a degree. If it was not for Rutherford’s help two mistakes could have cost me my whole academic career, however I am currently getting ready to graduate and apply to law school. I highly recommend James Rutherford as an attorney. He is an awesome guy.
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Posted by Tara | October 30, 2019
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Highly recommended
I highly recommend James Rutherford. He was able to get my case dismissed and went above and beyond to do so. His professionalism and hard work made me feel cared for and at ease the entire life of my case (which was a long time). He seems highly respected by all in the courthouse and community.
Posted by Elisha | March 8, 2018
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Mr Rutherford was very professional and punctual in dealing with my DWI case that hired him for a year ago. He was able to get it dismissed and also represented my father who also won his case. Mr Rutherford would be highly recommend by me to anyone needing a great criminal defense lawyer.
Posted by Lori | April 25, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Mr. Rutherford exudes nothing but integrity, compassion, and professionalism, and is a well respected attorney by his peers.
Mr. Rutherford is extremely professional, and compassionate. We hired him to defend our son who was falsely accused, and he did a very thorough job proving his innocence. He was always in great communication with us, organized, and reliable, which gave us the utmost confidence in him. He genuinely cares about his clients, and I would highly recommend him to anyone who needs a good defense attorney. He is highly respected by his peers, and the community.
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Posted by Dimitrius | March 11, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
A Lawyer that actually cares for Youth in our Community Schools
After calling multiple lawyers regarding my sons situation at his school, I came across Attorney James Rutherford, he got me and my son in immediately and listened to our concerns regarding his Suspension. He was very professional and knew what he was talking about, and you could see it on his face he actually cares about children in the school and their rights as individuals. He never once talked about money, I was the one that asked him, and he gave a fair price, that I could live with for my child. Of course there are no guarantees when it comes to short-term suspensions, but we have a plan in place, so I have full confidence in Mr. Rutherford. I would recommend him to everyone that has concerns regarding their children's rights in New Hanover County Schools. I am so glad I found him.
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Posted by Susan | February 5, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Mr.Rutherford is by far the best and most empathic lawyer currently practicing in Wilmington. He prevailed against an unjust system when he helped clear my severely mentally ill son of charges which would have ended his dolorous life. I know I was a hystirical and terrified mother. With no knowledge or experience with the judicial system; he was very kind and reassuring in every step of the way. He stepped up and did an outstanding job that other lawyers with half of his worth and talent would have shunned. He made every step of the way better for my son. Anyone who faces any legal adversary should have Mr. Rutherford on their side.
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Posted by John | June 21, 2014
James Rutherford is the by far the best attorney to have to see you through your case.
Mr. Rutherford is the most knowledgeable and competent attorney I have ever worked with. As busy as he is he will be in contact with quite often in regards with the details of your case. I would not recommend anyone go into court with any other lawyer by your side. I can't say enough about him as abilities as an attorney but I do believe his record speaks for itself.
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Posted by Michael | December 22, 2012
Above and Beyond
James is an extremely competent and brilliant attorney. He went above and beyond his duties as an attorney and handled my case with skill and tact. I would highly recommend Mr. Rutherford to anyone stranger, friend, or family.
Posted by Dale and family | September 10, 2011
Honest And Professional
James is very easy to understand he explains him self very well. James is always willing to go the extra mile for his clients. I would highly recommend James to anyone who is in search for a good lawyer.
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  • Free Consultation 60 minutes
Payment methods
Cash, Check, Credit Card


AVVO RATING 8.1 (Excellent)

Work Experience

  • Principal Attorney
  • James Rutherford, Attorney at Law
  • 2015 - Present
  • Partner
  • Mason & Rutherford, Attorneys at Law
  • 2005 - 2015


  • Michigan State University School of Law
  • JD - Juris Doctor
  • 2005
  • University of North Carolina – Wilmington
  • 2001


  • North Carolina Bar Association
  • Member
  • 2005 - Present
  • North Carolina Advocates for Justice
  • Member
  • 2006 - 2016

Languages Spoken

  • English

Honors and Awards

  • Rising Star
  • Super Lawyers
  • 2015
  • AV Preeminent Rated
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • 2015
  • Rising Star
  • Super Lawyers
  • 2014
  • Rising Star
  • Super Lawyers
  • 2013
  • Criminal Law
  • North Carolina State Bar Board of Legal Specialization
  • 2011
View all awards

Attorney endorsements

Received (2)
Given (0)
Endorse James
Criminal defense Attorney | Oct 12
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse James. He is a highly skilled attorney that is well respected in the legal community."
Criminal defense Attorney | Aug 27
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"I've worked with James on two occasions where he handled the criminal aspects of an issue while I handled the civil aspects. He is an excellent attorney and I recomend him highly."
This attorney hasn't created any attorney endorsements recently on Avvo.

Avvo Contributions

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Wilmington Criminal defense Lawyer James F. Rutherford
James F. Rutherford
Criminal defense Attorney
Wilmington, NC
Licensed for 18 years
Free Consultation