Outdoor Enthusiast and T&K Environmental Lawyer Leads Scouts

Austin – The Capitol Area Council, Boy Scouts of America (BSA), is proud to announce Jim Morriss, a man passionate about outdoor recreation and conservation, as its new Board President. Jim’s commitment to youth, charity, and ethical business has made him a leader in multiple areas and communities.

Jim assumes the role of top volunteer leader of one of the highest-ranked Scouting councils in the United States, the Capitol Area Council. The council is comprised of more than 20,000 youth members and 7,000 adult volunteers across 15 counties in Central Texas. The Capitol Area Council has earned a reputation for developing challenging outdoor programs and innovative programs in leadership, conservation, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). This combination of opportunities for individual accomplishment and team-centered problem solving is just one of the reasons why 91% of men in Scouting for five or more years graduate from high school, and 83% say the program helped them succeed in their career.

Jim received his Eagle Scout award in 1967 while a member of Troop 22 in Texarkana, Texas. He was privileged to attend the 12th World Jamboree in Idaho in 1967 as a member of the all Eagle Host Corp. Years later, Jim returned to Scouting with his son, serving as a Den Leader and later Cubmaster of Cub Scout Pack 66 in the Austin area. He went on to serve as Assistant Scoutmaster and Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 30 in West Lake Hills. In 2005, Jim was awarded the Silver Beaver for his service to youth in the Capitol Area Council. He is a Vigil Honor Member of the Tonkawa Lodge of the Order of the Arrow, Scouting’s camping honor society. Jim completed and served on the staff of Wood Badge, the Boy Scouts’ advanced adult leader training. In 2007, Jim served as Scoutmaster for a contingent troop attending the 21st World Jamboree in England.

At the council level, Jim served as a member of the Executive Board and the Executive Committee in various roles including Vice President for Cub Scouting, Membership, Camping, and Programs. Jim is a trained BSA Climbing Director and is responsible for the council’s natural area instructor course held twice each year at Enchanted Rock Natural Area. He has also served as climbing course director for the BSA’s National Camp School. He serves on the council’s Climbing and Properties Committees.

Outside of Scouting, Jim is a Partner with the law firm of Thompson & Knight LLP where he heads the Firm’s Government & Regulatory Practice Group and Austin office. He focuses his practice on environmental permitting; compliance counseling; facility siting, including wetlands and endangered species work; and administrative and judicial litigation before local, state, and federal environmental agencies and state and federal courts. Jim received his J.D., with honors, from The University of Texas School of Law and his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering., with high honors, from Southern Methodist University. He is a Fellow of The American College of Environmental Lawyers and is actively involved in numerous other professional organizations, including sections of the Austin Bar Association, American Bar Association, and State Bar of Texas. Jim has been honored by numerous prestigious legal directories, including The Best Lawyers in America® by Woodward/White Inc. (1989-2017), Chambers USA by Chambers & Partners (2004-present), and Texas Super Lawyers® by Thomson Reuters (2003-2004, 2012-2016). Additionally, he has served as an adjunct professor of law at Lewis & Clark Law School and is currently an adjunct professor at The University of Texas School of Law. 

In his capacity as environmental counsel to the Capitol Area Council, Boy Scouts of America, Jim has addressed the issues presented by the presence of the endangered Houston toad on Scout property in Bastrop County. He worked to obtain the Incidental Take Permit and approval of the Habitat Conservation Plan and Conservation Bank Agreement for the Griffith League Ranch and a Safe Harbor Agreement for LCRA/Lost Pines Scout Reservation. 

Jim and his wife, Cindy, have been married for 40 years. They have three children, Lauren, age 34; Katherine, age 28; and Matthew, age 26, who also is an Eagle Scout.