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Planting His Roots

Alumnus flourishes in business & politics

James Page grew up in a military family and doesn’t think of one town or state as his childhood home. But Idaho is where James and his wife have built their life together—a life that includes raising four children—for more than 25 years.  

While James’ path to earning his Juris Doctor wasn’t straight, he persevered to earn his degrees, while building a successful business and being dedicated to his community and family. He attended Boise State University and Rick’s College (now Brigham Young University Idaho), but put his studies on hold to focus on starting his business, Ascertain Polygraph Services. Once his business was established James resumed his studies and, at the age of 42, earned a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from Boise State University.

James regards himself a “businessman first and foremost” but when he learned that Concordia University was opening a law school in Boise to be led by Founding Dean Cathy Silak, “I saw a pathway to accomplish my goal and decided to apply for admission into the inaugural class.”

As a member of that inaugural class, James recalls that most of his fellow students had been professionals building their careers prior to starting law school, which he believes contributed to the camaraderie between students. “The collective self-confidence of our student body allowed for a culture of cooperation that elevated all students to a higher plane,” said James.

As a business owner, James said earning a Juris Doctor “strengthened my professional standing and added value to my business by allowing me to administer legal affairs in-house.”  A Nationally Certified Polygraph Examiner, James founded Ascertain Polygraph Services in 2003. Ascertain uses evidenced-based business practices to provide polygraph services for government agencies, criminal defense attorneys, courts, and businesses who have sustained losses.

Answering the Call

In 2014 during James’ 3L year at Concordia Law, the Mayor of Garden City appointed him to the Planning and Zoning Commission to spearhead the city’s ongoing efforts to position itself as a business-friendly community. In the summer of 2019, the Mayor again called upon James to serve the city when a seat on the city council was vacated. James’ legal education proved to be an asset in the mayor’s decision. “The Mayor appointed me because of my experience dealing with complex land-use issues as a Planning and Zoning Commissioner, and he wanted an attorney to buttress the council’s legislative role,” said James.

To retain his city council seat, James launched a campaign earlier this year and in November was elected by voters. “As the junior councilmember, I bring a fresh perspective that is shaped from living and working in this community for over 12 years,” said James. While aspirations for higher political office aren’t a priority now, he is keeping his options open.

Connected Community

For those considering law school, James suggests potential students should visit campus, arrange to sit in on a few classes, and “shadow a practicing attorney long enough to see the highs of lows of his/her practice.” Highlighting the importance of gaining practical experience, this alumnus encourages law students to seek out opportunities beyond the curriculum and outside of the classroom. “Take advantage of Concordia’s robust student success services and academic counselors and take time to connect with one or two professors who you feel drawn to,” said James.

As he reflected on his years as a law student, James was enthusiastic about the importance of building relationships. “Looking back, I would say that the real value was in the networking opportunities and lifelong friendships that I cultivated at Concordia Law,” said James. “Make friends with your fellow students and help each other,” said James. “Dig in, work hard, play hard and go on to be an amazing attorney and servant leader in your community.”

Juggling his family, career, and community commitments hasn’t left much time for James to be involved in alumni activities but “I have set a goal for 2020 to find ways to engage with the Concordia Law alumni.” And, through conversations with Concordia friends and colleagues James is happy to hear that the “community and camaraderie” he experienced are still “alive and well.”

Deeply rooted in his community, James, who enjoys reading, photography, traveling and “turning wrenches” on classic cars, is certainly home.