Mayor Brandon M. Scott Announces Changes in Leadership within City's Law Department

Crest of the City of Baltimore

Brandon M. Scott
Baltimore City
250 City Hall - Baltimore Maryland 21202
(410) 396-3835 - Fax: (410) 576-9425



With the retirement of City Solicitor Jim Shea effective in January 2023, Deputy Solicitor Ebony Thompson will assume lead role

BALTIMORE, MD. (Thursday, November 17, 2022) - Today, the Scott Administration announced the planned retirement of City Solicitor Jim Shea, Esq. effective January 13, 2023. Current Deputy Solicitor Ebony Thompson, Esq. will become the new City Solicitor upon Shea's departure.

"In Jim, my administration has been blessed with the opportunity to have a highly-respected and accomplished legal practitioner offer invaluable insight as our City Solicitor," said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. "Jim has been an instrumental member of my administration. His dedication to good lawyering, equity and accountability has served our city well during his time in the Law Department."

Prior to becoming City Solicitor in January 2021, Shea practiced law for more than 40 years, serving as the Managing Partner/Chairman of Venable LLP for 22 years before stepping down in February 2017. During his tenure, Venable grew from a regional firm generating less than $50 million in revenue to a top 100 Global Firm generating $500 million in revenue.

Currently serving as Deputy Solicitor, Thompson has proven herself to be an integral member of the Scott Administration. She has advanced Mayor Scott's legislative agenda in the Maryland General Assembly, negotiated and presented high-profile settlements for approval before the Board of Estimates, advocated for the City in Consent Decree hearings, and assisted Solicitor Shea in leading attorneys within twelve different practice groups.

Since joining the Solicitor's Office in January 2022, Thompson has worked aggressively on Mayor Scott's call to tackle vacant housing by collaborating with Councilwoman Odette Ramos, the Department of Housing and Community and Development and Chief Judge Audrey Carrion to establish a new track for Baltimore City In Rem Tax Foreclosures. Thompson has also introduced the use of Blockchain technology for recordation of land titles, land valuation, permit tracking and the use of smart contracts to simplify the process for purchasing vacant properties and incentivizing investment in Baltimore City.

Following the departure of former Chief of Staff Michael Huber in September, Thompson assumed the role of Interim Chief of Staff and simultaneously held the role while carrying out her duties as Deputy Solicitor. In this dual capacity, she has developed internal and external relationships, collaborated with the City Council, and led and developed the legal framework for Mayor Scott's Squeegee Collaborative Working Action Plan.

"Ebony has proven to be the ultimate team player, using her skills and experience to advance the mission of my administration," Scott said. "I'm excited to see her continue to lead in this new role and look forward to her contributions continuing to make us a stronger and more effective administration."

Prior to coming to City Hall, Thompson worked as an Associate and Counsel at Maryland's largest law firm, Venable LLP, in the Commercial Litigation group from 2013 to 2022. Thompson has a broad range of experience in complex litigation including contract disputes, real estate litigation, regulatory litigation, insolvency proceedings, employment law, products liability actions and other commercial matters. Her experience includes litigation in state, federal and bankruptcy court for individuals and national and international companies, including pre-trial practice, settlement negotiations, motion practice, fact and expert discovery and witness preparation.

Thompson is a Baltimore City native and a proud graduate of Baltimore City College High School. She earned a bachelor's degree from Brown University, a Master's in Business Administration from American InterContinental University and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Baltimore School of Law, where she served on the Executive Board for Law Review, won the moot court competition and completed numerous internships and externships for firms and judges. Prior to law school, Thompson also worked as a Private Client Group Associate with UBS Global Asset Management, Inc. in New York City and also as a private real estate investor.

"My journey serves as evidence that providing access, investment and opportunity to our youth can go a long way in motivating them to set roots here and become productive and contributing members of society dedicated to making Baltimore the best it can be," Thompson said. "I have merged my passions for the law, real estate, and financial technology to advance the interests of the city in a myriad of matters and disputes and I am honored to continue to support Mayor Scott's vision."

Thompson's credentials speak volumes about her ability to take on the role of City Solicitor, said Shea, adding that his retirement has been long anticipated.

"Before I started as City Solicitor, the Mayor and I agreed that I would serve for two years while making sure that we arranged for a strong, new successor," Shea said. "I am delighted that Ebony will follow me as City Solicitor, adding her considerable talent and energy to the Mayor's very strong and capable team. I am confident that Baltimore is in good hands with Mayor Scott and his team at the helm."

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