James L. Shea

Chairman Emeritus
Shea James
Jim Shea, Venable's past chair, maintains an active practice focusing on corporate litigation. A member of the American College of Trial Lawyers, he tries cases in both federal and state systems throughout the country. Jim offers aggressive, thorough corporate counseling, litigation management and trial work. Supported by a highly efficient staff, he regularly handles very large, complex matters.


Government Experience

  • Assistant Attorney General, Maryland

Representative Matters

  • Jim has both prosecuted and defended major corporations in securities class actions, contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and products liability cases
  • Particular matters have involved the ownership of professional sports franchises, software disputes, fiduciary duties, executive compensation, contract claims and alleged personal injury, and a number have required emergency injunctive relief

Representative Clients

  • Marriott International, Inc.
  • M&T Bank
  • CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield 
  • Verizon
  • Software AG
  • Johns Hopkins University

He has also represented financial institutions, sports franchises, professional service firms and pharmaceutical companies in various commercial matters.




  • J.D. University of Virginia School of Law 1977
    • Order of the Coif
  • A.B. cum laude Princeton University 1974

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • Maryland

Clerk Experience

  • Honorable Joseph H. Young U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland 1977 1978

Professional Memberships and Activities

  • Member, Defense Research Institute
  • Member, Maryland Association of Defense Trial Counsel
  • Chair, Board of Regents of the University System of Maryland
  • Chair, Central Maryland Transportation Alliance
  • Chair, Empower Baltimore Management Corporation
  • Chair, Downtown Partnership of Baltimore
  • Board member, Greater Baltimore Committee
  • Board member, Mercantile Bank Shares and Mercantile Bank & Trust
  • Board member, Equal Justice Council
  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers


  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers 
  • Recognized in Chambers USA
    • Eminent Practitioner, Litigation: General Commercial, Maryland, 2017, 2019
    • Litigation: General Commercial, Maryland, 2013 – 2016
  • Selected for inclusion in Maryland Super Lawyers, 2008 – 2017
  • Selected for inclusion in Washington, DC Super Lawyers, 2014 - 2019
  • Recognized in Super Lawyers Business Edition, Business Litigation, Baltimore, 2013
  • Selected for inclusion in Benchmark Litigation "Local Litigation Stars" for Maryland, 2013 and 2019
  • Power 50: The Men and Women Who Rule, Baltimore Magazine, 2007, 2003
  • Leadership in Law Award, The Daily Record
  •  Listed for more than twelve years in The Best Lawyers in America (Woodward/White, Inc.)
  • Listed as one of the leading Commercial Litigation lawyers in the United States in multiple editions of Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business
  • AV® Peer-Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell



  • Trustee, Hippodrome Foundation
  • Trustee, Calvert School