James Illston

James Illston

Hoover, Alabama

Originally from New Zealand, Mr. Illston obtained his master’s degree in history before attending law school at Georgia State. While in school he was a member of the moot court board and participated as both a competitor and a coach in the American Intellectual Property Law Association’s Moot Court Competition. Since he moved to Birmingham, Mr. Illston has worked as a contract attorney and has volunteered extensively with the Birmingham Bar’s Volunteer Lawyers Program, assisting clients with a range of legal issues. He was recognized as the 2016 Pro Bono attorney of the year by the Birmingham Bar. While working at the Merrell Law Firm Mr. Illston has assisted clients in many areas, primarily involving divorces, child custody and support, wills, and business-related contractual cases. His interests include rugby, medieval history, astronomy, and spending time with his family.

Areas of Practice

  • Family Law
  • Wills
  • Contracts
  • Criminal law
  • Also Handles Cases in Other Areas of Law

Bar Admissions

  • Alabama


  • Georgia State University College of Law, Atlanta, Georgia
    • Juris Doctor
    • Honors: Moot Court Board, Member
    • Honors: Participated as Competitor and Coach, American Intellectual Property Law Association’s Moot Court Competition
  • University of Canterbury
    • Bachelor of Arts
  • University of Canterbury
    • Master of Arts

Honors and Awards

  • 2016 Pro Bono Attorney of the Year (Birmingham Bar Volunteer Lawyers Program)

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Alabama State Bar, Member
  • State Bar of Georgia, Member
  • Birmingham Bar Association, Family Law Committee co-chair
  • American Bar Association, Member

Pro Bono Activities

  • Birmingham Bar’s Volunteer Lawyers Program