Jim Beasley Jr.: The (Literally) High-Flying Attorney

The high-powered attorney discusses flying (as he’ll do in this month’s Atlantic City air show), Taylor Swift, and life as the son of Philadelphia’s most legendary lawyer.

Illustration by Andy Friedman

Illustration by Andy Friedman

My name is Jim Beasley, or JBJ, as everybody calls me. It’s short for Jim Beasley Jr.

I am a teenager trapped in a 48-year-old body.

I grew up in a tornado in Villanova. Four dogs, my dad, two sisters. A million things all at the same time. Now I live in a tornado in West Chester.

When I was a kid, I wanted to grow up to be a fighter pilot. But I went to Penn for medicine. I wanted to be a geneticist.

My most famous client was Taylor Swift. I represented her for a breach-of-contract for an airplane that she bought.

My most infamous client is … George Zimmerman. I have a libel case against NBC that’s still pending.

If you’re pouring me a drink, make it a Miller Lite in a can.

To kids considering law school right now, I say think carefully. There are already too many lawyers.

My biggest verdict was … for $104 million against Iraq, al Qaeda and bin Laden, but I’m still working on collecting that. I think it’s the only 9/11 verdict in the country.

I learned to fly … from my dad, at North Philly Airport in 1984. I’ve flown most of the U.S. and British WWII fighters.

The best lawyer movie is … obviously, My Cousin Vinny.

My wife is always telling me … to get rid of my motorcycles. I’ve raced motocross since 1981, and I have probably 20 bikes. It’s how I relax.

On Sunday morning, you’ll find me … making scrapple and pancakes and yelling at everybody to wake up.

The best thing about my job is … that it never stops. But that’s also the worst thing.

My best karaoke song is … “Into the Void” by Black Sabbath.

The last book I read cover-to-cover is … 101 Places to Get Fucked Up Before You Die.

If I were mayor of Philadelphia, I would … quit.

The closest call I ever had in a plane was … flying in an air show in Canada. There was an intruder in our airspace, and we got very, very close. I also lost an engine at night, which sucked. An electrical failure in an F-86 in Arizona. I ran out of gas over Rancocas. I’ve had a lot.

I got my first tattoo … after my son died in 2003. He was stillborn, and I got a tattoo to remember him by.

When I was 16, I was … fat. But my dad kept reminding me of this, and it made me work out and lift weights. These days, I run Tough Mudders.

The last time I gambled … I ended up with a piece of property in Ocean City. That’s what happens when I make a bet with my wife.

The toughest part about being my dad’s son … is being my dad’s son. You always hear, “You’ll never be your father.” I say, “Neither will you. We’re even.”

Originally published as “One of Us” in the September 2015 issue of Philadelphia magazine.