About Jim Blackburn

About Jim Blackburn
Jim Blackburn graduated from Wake Forest University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law. His legal background includes serving as Special Deputy Attorney General in the North Carolina Attorney General’s office, First Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, United States Attorney, and several years in private practice.


Blackburn’s most notable appointment was serving as lead prosecutor in the trial of Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald, who was accused of murdering his pregnant wife and two daughters. A book and television mini-series, Fatal Vision, was based on this trial.

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Blackburn’s law career ended dramatically in 1993 when he was found guilty of several ethical violations. In April, 1993, he turned in his license to practice law to the North Carolina Bar which subsequently disbarred him from legal practice. He subsequently served time in prison, suffered from depression and waited tables at the restaurant where he formerly entertained his clients.


I attended your seminar in Charlotte about a month ago and found it to be far more than a CLE–it was a challenge to personal integrity, character and humility in the calling to be a lawyer.

– My best,
  David Gossett


Blackburn documented these experiences in his book, Flame Out. He now has a another successful career— sharing his story with others through speaking engagements and teaching NC Bar-approved CLE courses on Ethics and Professionalism, Mental Health/ Substance Abuse and Trial Preparation.

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