South Bend attorney leaves behind strong legacy

December 21, 2015

Attorney James Brotherson, who built a career counseling many of the largest manufacturers and suppliers in the recreational vehicle industry in northern Indiana, died Dec. 18. He was 63.

Brotherson was a partner at Faegre Baker Daniels LLP in South Bend but never severed his ties to his hometown of Elkhart. Along with establishing a national reputation for his expertise in transportation law, he was also active in many civic and community organizations in Elkhart.

He graduated from Duke University in 1974 where he was a member of the varsity swim team and Delta Tau Delta fraternity. After a short stint as a newspaper reporter in Anderson, he pursued a career in law, graduating from the Indiana University Maurer School of Law in 1978.

During the 1990s, he returned to Bloomington to serve for a semester as the assistant dean for alumni relations at the law school.

He began practicing law in Elkhart in 1978 with the late Robert A. Pfaff. In 2000, the small firm joined Baker & Daniels, which would later become Faegre Baker Daniels. He focused on corporate law and led the firm’s recreational vehicle industry practice which included clients in Elkhart, California, Texas, Iowa and Florida as well as Canada.

His work with the recreational vehicle industry earned him national recognition for his expertise in transportation law. In January 2015, he began his term as chairman of the lawyers committee for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association.

In addition to his legal practice, he volunteered extensively in Elkhart. He served two terms as director of the Economic Development Corp. of Elkhart County and as director of the Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce. He also had leadership roles as former president of the YMCA of Elkhart County, Elkhart Rotary Club, Samaritan Center and First Presbyterian Church board of trustees.

Within the legal community, he served as president of the Elkhart Bar Association and IU Maurer School of Law alumni association. For his participation in so many professional associations and civic activities, Brotherson received the 2013 Distinguished Service Award from IU Maurer.

He is survived by his wife, Patricia, and two sons, Andrew and Spencer.


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