JAMES E. BRISTOL III grew up in Colorado.  After graduating from high school in Durango, he went into the U.S. Navy for six years and traveled the world.  James attended Loyola University in Chicago, where he received his Bachelor of Arts, and the University of Chicago, where he received a Master of Arts and a Master of Divinity.  After working a number of years as a crisis counselor in the Emergency Room at St. Vincent Regional Medical Center in Santa Fe, James attended the University of New Mexico School of Law.

James is a NM Board Certified Family Law Specialist and Fellow in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, who practices exclusively in the area of Family Law.   James also serves as a Guardian ad Litem representing the interests of children.

As a lawyer experienced in Family Law litigation, James knows that managing emotions is extremely important. Therefore, he maintains a clinical licensure as a Licensed Independent Social Worker (L.I.S.W.).

James is on the Board of the New Mexico Collaborative Practice Group and active in several Collaborative Divorce associations, such as the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, the Santa Fe Collaborative Practice Group, and the Northern New Mexico Collaborative Alliance.

James is on the Board and Secretary of the Family Law Section of the New Mexico State Bar. He plans and promotes Family Law trainings and continuing legal education trainings, including the yearly Family Law Symposium. The Supreme Court of New Mexico appointed James to the Domestic Relations Rules Committee. James is a member of the Adoption and Foster Care Alliance of New Mexico.

Prior to starting his own firm, James was an associate at Sutin, Thayer & Browne, A.P.C., and served as a law clerk to Judge Carol Vigil of the First Judicial District Court in Santa Fe and as an extern law clerk for the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.



  • New Mexico Board Certified Family Law Specialist
  • Southwest Super Lawyers, Rising Star 2014, for Family Law
  • Martindale-Hubbell Rating BV Distinguished

Professional and Community Involvement


  • “Free Expression in Motion Pictures,” 25 Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal (2007).
  • “The Economy, Divorce, and Domestic Violence,” New Mexico Lawyer, Vol 7, No. 3, November 2012.