Southwest Senior Features El Paso Developer, Attorney James Scherr
Meet Jim Scherr, a 3rd generation El Pasoan who is heavily involved in running a busy law practice and a real estate office; a man who tells how his younger girlfriend has trouble keeping up with him; someone who admits losing his hair but still asserts that “the best years are in front of me.”
Scherr exudes an unabashed zest for life and a passion for his city. He is the person responsible for taking over the most visible downtown hotel—the old Holiday Inn on El Paso Street—and transforming it from an eyesore into a thriving Doubletree Hotel, a symbol of how Downtown El Paso may one day look.
Seated on the 12th floor of the hotel, with a breathtaking view of the Plaza Theatre, the downtown bridges and beyond into Mexico, Scherr talks of his career and his love for El Paso.
He notes that his law firm takes up two floors and employs 40 people. He also tells of having represented more than 10,000 El Pasoans in his 35 years of practicing law. He’s been featured in Forbes Magazine for his legal work and U.S. President Jimmy Carter issued Scherr a citation for energy efficiency while Scherr was a city councilman.
He responds to the idea of retirement with a defiance that betrays no anger, just a feeling he loves what he does. “The day I stop progressing,” he says, “is the day I start dying.”
As if to punctuate his commitment to El Paso, Scherr talks of running for City Council two years after law school. He went on to serve three terms under three different mayors. Scherr ultimately became Mayor Pro Tem of El Paso.
A plum job as a tax attorney in Washington, D.C. was offered to him just after his election, but Scherr turned it down. “I wanted to make a difference in El Paso,” he says. He looks back on his service to the city with pride. “I had the honor of representing El Paso,” he says.
When asked about his plans for El Paso and the downtown area, Scherr waxes elegant. Besides his investments downtown, he believes in downtown. “I’m a big proponent of downtown,” he says. “I believe downtown is the heart of our city. It’s the lifeblood that makes El Paso glow and grow.”