James M. Roux

James M. Roux
United Flight 175

Believer in Simplifying

The law firm — Roux & Ghimire of Portland, Me., and Katmandu, Nepal — was never destined for financial greatness. Although James M. Roux, 42, stoutly described his partner as "the Johnnie Cochran of Katmandu," Mr. Roux himself, a spirited litigator, outdoorsman and windmill-tilter, made impracticality an art form. The firm's rollicking inauguration was held at a club in Manhattan, not Maine, and guests included punk rockers, Mr. Roux's fishing buddies, former girlfriends, a blues-rock band and some Sherpas from Nepal, for whom Mr. Roux designated the evening a benefit.

It was a few years ago when Mr. Roux quit defending corporate clients in asbestos and lead-paint cases to return home to Portland as a small-time general-interest lawyer. He became a magnet for clients like artists, the homeless and the Sherpas.

Dinner chez Roux? He would hand his brother Dave a restaurant menu. Then Mr. Roux, a divorced father of two sons, would attach a fishing reel to a clothesline that stretched from his apartment kitchen window across an alley to the restaurant's back door. Its owner would return the basket full of food — down payment on legal bills.

On Sept. 11, Mr. Roux was on United Airlines Flight 175, on the first leg of a journey to Roux & Ghimire's Himalayan office.

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on June 16, 2002.

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