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Joseph W. Shea







Mr. Shea has practiced law in the field civil litigation since his graduation from law school in 1974. He has received many acknowledgments for his expertise in his field of practice. These accolades include recognition in Cincy Magazine as a "Leading Lawyer" in the Tristate area each year of the 12 years the annual award has been given (2004-2016). He has been listed in Best Lawyers in America every year since 1993. By a vote of his peers and review of his work, Mr. Shea has also received the rating of "Super Lawyer" every year since the designation began and either as one of Cincinnati's top 50 lawyers or one of the top 100 lawyers in Ohio almost every year in the past 10 years. Cincinnati Business Courier newspaper has honored him as one of the "Best Lawyers in the TriSat" for 14 years in a row. In addition, Martindale-Hubbell, the 125-year-old lawyer rating organization, rated him and his firm as "Preeminent" in the field of civil litigation every year for the past 23 years. Only three other Cincinnati law firms match that distinction and those three firms are each more than 20 times larger in size.

Mr. Shea has written several published law books. Mr. Shea was appointed by Chief Justice Thomas Moyer to be an examiner for the Ohio Supreme Court of Bar Examiners where he served for 14 bar exams writing two of the 12 essay questions and model answers for each examination. Justice Moyer also appointed him to serve as the Supreme Court's Chief examiner to oversee the examination process and other examiners in 2006.

Chase Law School presented him with its Outstanding Alumni of the Year Award in 2008. The Ohio State Bar Association's Foundation bestowed its highest commendation upon him, the "Ritter Award". This prestigious award is given each year to only one of Ohio's 50,000 lawyers or alternative to one law-related organization for the accomplishment of the highest degree of professionalism, ethics and contribution to the legal profession. In 2008 when he received the award, he was only the 11th person accept it a practicing lawyer in the 40 years of its existence. In 2009, the University of Cincinnati honored him as the Alumni of the Month in the McMicken College Magazine.

In 2013 former U.S. Senator and current Ohio Attorney General Michael DeWine appointed him as "Special Outside Counsel" to serve as the lead litigation trial counsel in a large recovery effort of taxpayers funds that were allegedly exhausted by improper utilization. In the fall of 2015, that litigation effort was concluded with a very favorable outcome for the state of Ohio. He has recently agreed to continue in this capacity with the Ohio Attorney General through to at least 2017.

Bar Admissions

  • Ohio, 1974
  • Kentucky, 1999
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of Ohio, 1975
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Kentucky, 2000
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 6th Circuit, 1979
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 1984


  • Northern Kentucky University, Salmon P. Chase College of Law, Highland Heights, Kentucky
    • J.D. - 1974
    • Honors: National Moot Court
  • University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio
    • B.A. - 1969
    • Major: Philosophy

Published Works

  • Author, Ohio Evidence Manual, Ohio Rules of Evidence with Analysis, Casemaker Print Publishing, 2005, 2008, 2011
  • Author, Shea's Ohio Civil Trial Practice with Forms, Harrison Publishing Company, 1984
  • Author, Terminology Guide for the Reporting of Civil Litigation, American Board of Trial Advocates, 1996
  • Contributing Author, "Sample Testimony" (Contributing Author), Wrongful Death in Ohio (1982 – 2008), Anderson Publishing Company
  • Contributing Author, "Investigation of Witnesses and Statements" (Contributing Author), Civil Litigation in Ohio, Ohio Legal Center Institute of the State Bar Association, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1994-2000, 2002, 2006, 2009


  • Faculty Member, Litigation Forum, Case Western Reserve University School of Law, 1981-1982, 1983, 1984
  • "Masters in Trial" (Mock Jury Trial), ABOTA, Kansas City, Kansas, 1992
  • "Masters in Trial" (Mock Jury Trial), ABOTA, Columbus, Ohio, 1993 to 1994

Honors and Awards

  • Ohio Super Lawyer
  • Leading Lawyers, Medical Malpractice
  • "Ohio's Winningest Lawyers," Ohio Law Newspaper
  • Professional Achievement Award, Northern Kentucky University
  • Fellow, International Society of Barristers
  • Who's Who Among Students in Colleges and Universities
  • Who's Who Among Outstanding Americans
  • Who's Who in American Law
  • Who's Who in America
  • Who's Who in Emerging Leaders in America
  • Salmon P. Chase College of Law “Outstanding Alumni”
  • “Ritter Award,” Ohio State Bar Association
  • Martindale-Hubbell Preeminent Rating by Peer Voting Every Year Since 1995
  • “Alumni of the Month,” University of Cincinnati – McMicken College Arts and Sciences
  • "Leading Lawyer," Cincy Magazine
  • "Best Lawyers in America," Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury
  • "Best Lawyers in America," Product Liability
  • John P. Kiely Award

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Supreme Court of Ohio, Member, Board of Bar Examiners, 1984 to 1989
  • Chief Justice Thomas Moyer, Supreme Court of Ohio, Chief Bar Examination Examiner, 1989 to 1990
  • Chief Justice Thomas Moyer, Special Re-Appointment as Supreme Court Examiner, 1991 to 1991
  • Ohio State Bar Association, Chairman, Ethical Advertising, Marketing and Solicitation Committee, 2008 to 2009
  • National Board of Trial Advocacy, National Certification Examiner, 1984 to 1987
  • National Board of Trial Advocacy, National Certification Examiner, 1991 to 1991
  • National Board of Trial Advocacy, National Certification Examiner, 1994 to 1994
  • National Board of Trial Advocacy, National Certification Examiner, 1997 to 1997
  • National Board of Trial Advocacy, National Certification Examiner, 2001 to 2001
  • National Board of Trial Advocacy, National Certification Examiner, 2003 to 2003
  • Governor's (Ohio) Insurance Task Force, 1984 to 1986
  • American Inns of Court, Master, Potter Stewart Chapter, 1993 to 1998
  • American Inns of Court, Emeritus Master, Potter Stewart Chapter, 1998 to Present
  • American College of Trial Lawyers, Member, 1999 to Present
  • American Board Trial Advocates (ABOTA), Advocate, 1989 to Present
  • American Board Trial Advocates, National Board of Directors, 1989 to Present
  • National Board of Trial Advocacy, Diplomat, 1984 to 2009
  • National Board of Trial Advocacy, Ohio State Representative, 1990 to Present
  • International Society of Barristers, Fellow, 1994 to Present
  • American Board of Trial Advocacy (ABOTA), Cincinnati Chapter – Elected as Chapter's Representative, 1989 to Present
  • ABOTA Cincinnati Chapter Secretary, 1989 to Present
  • OAJ (Youngest President Ever Elected in Academy History), President, 1981 to 1982
  • OAJ, Board of Governors, 1983 to 1998
  • Indian Hill Schools Booster Board, President, 1997 to 1998
  • National Board of Specialty Certification, Nationwide Bar Examiner, 1990 to 2009