James Suter appointed General Counsel for Diocese

By Lance Murray

North Texas Catholic

July 28, 2017

James Suter (NTC photo/Juan Guajardo)

FORT WORTH — Serving as General Counsel for the Diocese of Fort Worth is a chance for attorney James Suter to “harmonize two of the major aspects of my life – my faith and my career.”

Suter assumed the post on July 1.

“The opportunity to serve Christ’s Church through my profession as a lawyer is what attracted me to the General Counsel position for the diocese,” he said.

He said the role of in-house counsel is extremely broad, and that every organization — whether public or private, for-profit or nonprofit, secular or religious — has a need for legal services.

Suter said that some of the critical roles of his job include providing legal advice and direction to the diocesan decision makers —providing legal support for such things as employment law matters, real estate transactions, compliance with laws and regulations, contract drafting and review, and managing any litigation involving the diocese.    

Suter has been practicing law in in North Texas for about a decade.

“I was an assistant district attorney in Wichita County, Texas, for about nine years,” Suter said. “I served primarily as a felony prosecutor, but I took on some additional duties such as serving as the chief of the Asset Forfeiture Division and overseeing protective orders.”

After leaving the district attorney’s office, Suter joined Elder & Bickings, a civil law firm in Burkburnett and Wichita Falls, both of which are in the Diocese of Fort Worth.

“I practiced in a multitude of areas while with Elder & Bickings, including probate, estate planning, real estate, commercial law, and oil and gas,” Suter said.

Suter said that while work is important, it is our faith that should be at the forefront in our lives.

“There’s often a tendency to compartmentalize the different areas of our lives — we’re all about work on weekdays, our families in the evenings, and God on Sundays,” he said. “And while it’s important to focus our attention on what we’re doing at the moment, our faith is not something that should just be placed on the back burner until it’s time to go to Mass.”

Suter said, “Our faith should permeate every area of our lives.”

He said “one of the great benefits of working for the diocese is the ability to intertwine my faith and my work — it’s truly an environment where decisions are based on what is right and just, rather than what is just expedient.”

Suter received his bachelor of business administration in 2004 from Texas A&M University, and his Juris Doctor and Master of Business Administration degrees in 2007 from Texas Tech University in Lubbock.

Suter and his wife, Madison, have two children, Jimmy, 9, and Avery, 9 months.

The family attended Sacred Heart Parish in Wichita Falls, but their new parish will be St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Keller once they close on their new house and move in a couple of weeks, Suter said.

Serving as General Counsel for the Diocese of Fort Worth is a chance for attorney James Suter to “harmonize two of the major aspects of my life – my faith and my career.”

Published (until 7/28/2030)
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