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James W. Lea, III

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Family Law Attorney in Wilmington, NC

The Lea/Schultz Law Firm, P.C.
1612 Military Cutoff Road, Suite 300
Wilmington, NC 28403
Phone: 910-421-2625
Fax: 910-239-5992
Selected to Super Lawyers: 2006 - 2022
Licensed in North Carolina Since: 1980
Practice Areas: Family Law
Attorney Profile

A co-founder of Lea/Schultz Law, James W. Lea, III has focused his practice exclusively on family law matters for a great deal of his career. His firm is located in Wilmington, North Carolina, and his client base comes from throughout the greater metropolitan area and other parts of the state.

Mr. Lea majored in psychology as an undergraduate at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and in 1976, he received his Bachelor of Arts. Remaining in the state for his legal education, he attended the Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law, part of Raleigh-based Campbell University, and he was awarded his Juris Doctor in 1980. Mr. Lea became admitted to practice before all North Carolina state courts later in that year, and he has subsequently been admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit.

The bulk of Mr. Lea’s family law practice is devoted to divorce and the associated legal issues that arise. He guides those of his clients whose marriages have broken down through the processes of property division, child custody and visitation, and spousal and child support. Many of Mr. Lea’s clients have business ownership interests as well as qualified pension plans and other retirement assets, and he works with them to develop a strategy that gives them the best chance to walk away with a fair division of those types of property. His successful track record has earned him an AV Preeminent* peer review rating through Martindale-Hubbell along with many other awards and honors.

*AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell Distinguished and Martindale-Hubbell Notable are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell® is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Rating™ fall into two categories – legal ability and general ethical standards.

Practice Areas
  • 100%Family Law
Focus Areas

Divorce, Domestic Violence


17 Years Super Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers: 2006 - 2022

About James W. Lea, III

First Admitted: 1980

Professional Webpage:

Bar/Professional Activity

  • North Carolina, 1980
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of North Carolina, 1981
  • President Elect, New Hanover County Bar Association, 1991
  • Member, Family Law Council, North Carolina State Bar
  • Mediation and Arbitration Committee, North Carolina State Bar
  • North Carolina Bar Association, 1980
  • Secretary-Treasurer, New Hanover County Bar Association, 1987
  • Member, Family Law Council, North Carolina Bar Association
  • National Academy of Trial Lawyers
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
  • President, New Hanover County Bar Association, 1992
  • Member, Political Action Committee, North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers, 1987 - 1988

Pro bono/Community Service

  • Board of Trustees for Cape Fear Community College
  • Board of Directors for the Historic Wilmington Foundation
  • Board of Directors for the Opera Theatre Company
  • Chairman of fundraising for the YMCA
  • Past President of the Residents of Old Wilmington
  • Chairman of the Democratic Party for New Hanover County


  • Martindale Hubbell's (the National Lawyers Rating Service) Register of Preeminent Lawyers in America, 1996 - present

Educational Background

  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, B.A., Honors: Honor Roll, Major: Psychology, 1976
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Office Location for James W. Lea, III

1612 Military Cutoff Road
Suite 300
Wilmington, NC 28403

Phone: 910-421-2625

Fax: 910-239-5992

Last Updated: 5/15/2022

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