Before beginning his current tenure as Baltimore City Solicitor in 2021, James L. Shea was chairman emeritus of Venable LLP, a Global 100 law firm with over 800 attorneys headquartered in Baltimore. He served as managing partner and then chair of the firm between 1995-2017. As a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers, he has tried cases in federal and state court and is recognized as a top lawyer nationwide.
Shea is an active member of the Baltimore community. He chaired the Board of Regents of the University System of Maryland, where he oversaw the state’s public colleges and universities. He is a strong advocate for the Kirwan Commission’s recommendations for educational equity and the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future. He was the founding chairman of the Central Maryland Transportation Alliance, and served as chair of the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore and Empower Baltimore Management Corporation.
He has also served on the Equal Justice Council of the Maryland Legal Aid Bureau, the Board of the Greater Baltimore Committee and the Board of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce.
Shea is a graduate of Princeton University and the University of Virginia School of Law. He was a law clerk for the Honorable Joseph H. Young, United States District Court for the District of Maryland, and served as an Assistant Attorney General from 1981 to 1983.