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Jim McCarten
refer this attorney

James M. McCarten

PH: (404) 532-7236
Fax: (404) 817-3244
Email: James
PH: (615) 724-3238
Legal Secretary
Brenda Allen ()
PH: (404) 685-4315

Jim is a Partner in the Firm's Tax, Trusts and Estates and Corporate practice groups, where his practice is best described as a general tax practice. Jim works with a broad spectrum of clients, including start-up businesses, mid-market family businesses, publicly traded entities, and retired corporate executives and business owners. His practice encompasses the entire range of tax planning, including, mergers and acquisitions, structuring and forming start-up businesses, asset protection, family business planning and estates, trusts and wealth preservation. In addition to his transactional planning practice, Jim is active in representing clients during audits by the IRS and/or states Department of Revenue. Finally, as the parent of a young adult on the autism spectrum, Jim is very involved in special needs planning for clients who have family members with a disability.

Jim is a Fellow in the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and has a broad range of tax experience including: representing clients during audits by the IRS and/or Tennessee Department of Revenue, crafting tax structures for new businesses, counseling clients on the tax aspects of business exit strategies and business succession issues, designing tax-effective executive compensation packages, creating appropriate estate plans, and counseling families on special needs planning.

Jim began his professional tax career with the “Big 8” public accounting firm of Coopers & Lybrand. Following law school, he litigated tax cases for the federal government as a member of the U.S. Department of Justice. In 1994, Jim was a founding member of one of East Tennessee’s largest and most respected law firms.

Jim is admitted to practice law in Tennessee, Georgia, and Missouri. He has been named to The Best Lawyers for America since 2003 in the areas ...

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Honors & Awards

Community Involvement


  • Represented an East Tennessee economic development organization in resolving a seven figure sales and use tax dispute with the State of Tennessee.
  • Represented one of two shareholders of a substantial rehabilitation facility during a business divorce eventually resolved by a sale to a white knight and negotiated the put-call arrangement with the venture firm to maximize capital gains, minimize ordinary income and increase the client's total return.
  • Active in structuring the planned gift of $25M for a community foundation.
  • Through a combination of family partnerships, Tennessee Investment Services (Dynasty) Trusts, charitable and defined-value gifting, and sales to grantor trusts, Mr. McCarten assisted in the transfer of a Tennessee service business and other family business assets worth more than $50M to the second generation at a minimal Federal transfer tax cost.


  • "When I asked for advice from a friend in another state about selecting an attorney to help start our foundation I was simply told, "The most important thing you can do is to find the best possible attorney." My search led me to Jim McCarten and he fit the description perfectly. His knowledge is unsurpassed and he has always taken time to work with me, not for me. In today's legal world that is a virtue I am afraid is lost on many, but not Jim McCarten."

    -Best Lawyers

  • "Jim McCarten is the best of the best. Jim prepared our estate plan. He has a vast knowledge of estate and trust tax law. We successfully navigated through some rather complex estate planning issues. Jim crafted a document that dealt very precisely with each issue and included trust language where appropriate. He very patiently explained the documents and made it easy to understand."

    -Best Lawyers

  • "Mr. McCarten is an outstanding professional. Multi-degreed and multi-faceted, James has the rare ability to transcend the limitations of the profession to provide broad advice and counsel regarding the legal and financial ramifications of taking one course of action versus that of another."

    -Best Lawyers

  • "The best thing about Jim is that he is an excellent listener. He takes the time to understand our problems, as well as consider what we would like the end results to be. In the long run, it saves considerable time, and as we are always on the same page, there are no surprises or misunderstandings to deal with. He is quick to apprise us of changes in the community, government, or legal system that will benefit or affect our company. I have the absolute security of knowing he is always looking out for our company's best interest. Jim is a genuinely nice person, as well as an extremely intelligent professional. His legal and accounting/tax background are invaluable to our not-for-profit 501(c)3 corporation. His concise, efficient, and proactive legal advice got us through a messy reorganization with minimal headaches! "

    -Best Lawyers