Joseph W. (Joe) Shea III

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Medical Malpractice Attorney in Cincinnati, OH

Rittgers & Rittgers, Attorneys at Law
 | 3734 Eastern Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45226
Phone: 513-548-5410
Fax: 513-934-2201
Selected To Super Lawyers: 2004 - 2021
Licensed Since: 1974
Practice Areas:
  • Personal Injury - Medical Malpractice: Plaintiff (70%),
  • Civil Litigation: Plaintiff (10%),
  • Business Litigation (10%),
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution (10%)
  • Free Consultation
Attorney Profile

A personal injury attorney with Rittgers & Rittgers, Attorneys at Law, Joseph W. (Joe) Shea III represents clients in Greater Cincinnati, OH. A former special outside counsel to a United States Senator who became the Ohio Attorney General, he manages the following types of cases: civil litigation, negligence and misconduct of professionals, nursing negligence, hospital care negligence and failures and medical malpractice. He was voted as an Ohio Super Lawyer for 18 years in a row which was every year the rating was in existence (2014-2021).  He was also listed as one of the most often 75 Ohio Super Lawyers Top Listed (Top 100 Ohio or Top 50 Cincinnati) for the decade 2010-2020.  

With over four decades of experience, Mr. Shea is admitted to practice in the state of Ohio. He is also admitted to practice before the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, the United States Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, the United States Supreme Court and the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. He is a member of the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers, American Board of Trial Advocates and its National Representative since 1989, a fellow of the International Society of Barristers and past president of the Ohio Association for Justice.

Mr. Shea attended the University of Cincinnati, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy before attending law school. He then earned his Juris Doctor from Northern Kentucky University Salmon P. Chase College of Law, and for his high ethical standards and long list of successful results, he holds the highest peer rating possible of AV Preeminent* from Martindale-Hubbell.

Cincy Magazine has named Mr. Shea a Leading Lawyer every year since it was founded. The National Board of Legal Specialty Certification awarded him a second certification for Civil Pretrial Practice in 2013. In 2017, the Cincinnati Bar Association awarded him the John P. Kiely Award for his civility, professionalism and ethical standards.

He was listed as AV Preeminent in his field of practice by Martindale-Hubbell every year since 1993.  These ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. He was awarded several awards for outstanding trial skills, professionalism and contribution that are awarded to one lawyer each year.  Those include the Ritter Award (2008) of the Ohio State Bar, the John P. Kiely Award of the Cincinati BAr Association (2017) THe NKY Professional Achievement Award (1999) and the Chase Law School Outstanding Graduate Award (2009). 

Practice Areas
  • 70%Personal Injury - Medical Malpractice: Plaintiff
  • 10%Civil Litigation: Plaintiff
  • 10%Business Litigation
  • 10%Alternative Dispute Resolution
Focus Areas

Medical Malpractice, Birth Injury, Trade Secret, Non-Compete Agreements, Arbitration, Mediation


Selected to Super Lawyers for 18 yearsbottom-image

Super Lawyers: 2004 - 2021

National Board of Trial Advocacy

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About Joseph Shea III

Admitted: 1974, Ohio

Professional Webpage:


  • "Best Lawyers in America," Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury, 1995 - Present
  • "Best Lawyers in America," Product Liability, 1995 - 2005 
  • Alumni of the Month, University of Cincinnati McMicken College Arts and Sciences, 2008 "Leading Lawyer," Cincy Magazine, 2005 - 2020
  • Ritter Award, Ohio State Bar Association, 2008
  • Martindale-Hubbell Preeminent Rating by Peer Voting Every Year Since 1995
  • Who's Who Among Students in Colleges and Universities, 1972 - 1974
  • Salmon P. Chase College of Law Outstanding Alumni, 2009
  • Leading Lawyers, Medical Malpractice, 2005 - 2020
  • Cincinnati Business Courier, Best Lawyers in Tri-State, all years, Best Lawyers in Tri-state, 2020
  • Listed as one of 75 most often appearing in an Ohio Top List, Top 75 Ohio Top Listed Super Lawyers in past Decade, Super Lawyers, 2020
  • Cincy Biz Magazine, Leading Lawyer, 2004-current, Leading Lawyer, Cincy Biz Magazine, 2020
  • Ohio Super Lawyer, 2019, one of 75 Top Listed Ohio Lawyers for past decade (2009-2019)
  • Ohio Top 100 Super Lawyer and/or Top 50 Cincinnati 2009-current
  • Potter Stewart Chapter, American Inns of Court, Master Emeritus, 1993-2020, Master Emeritus, American Inns of Court, 2017
  • Ohio Super Lawyer, Listed all years
  • "Ohio's Winningest Lawyers", Listing by Ohio Law Newspaper, 1991 (only year of listing)
  • "Ritter Award," Ohio State Bar Foundation (its highest commendation) 2008 given to one lawyer, judge, or organization annually for outstanding ethics, professionalism and contribution to the profession. He was the 10th lawyer in private practice to receive the award in the 44 years of its existence., 2016
  • Who's Who in American Law
  • Mr. Shea was listed in the inaugural class of the Fastcase 50, "the nation's fifty most interesting, provocative, and courageous leaders in the world of law", Fastcase 50, Fastcase Legal Publishers, Washington D.C., 2011
  • Salmon P. Chase College of Law annually awards a single graduate it Outstanding Alumni., 2008 Chase Law School Outstanding Alumni, 2008
  • Ohio Supreme Court Chief Bar Examiner, Appointed by Chief Justice Thomas Moyer, Supreme Court of Ohio, 1990-1991., Ohio Supreme Court Chief Bar Examiner, Ohio Supreme Court, 2006
  • Listed every year since 1993, Best Lawyers In America, Woodward White, 2020
  • "Professional Achievement Award", Northern Kentucky University, 1998, 1998
  • Award for 35 years continuous AV rating, Martindale-Hubbell, 2020
  • Salmon P. Chase College of Law "Outstanding Graduate", 2009
  • Martindale-Hubbell Preeminent rating granted to SheaHartmann LLP(f.k.a. Shea & Associates) law firm by peer voting every year since 1995 through 2020, one of only four Cincinnati-based firms to receive this ranking every year since 1995 in Civil Litigation., Preeminent Civil Litigation, Martindale-Hubbell, 2020
  • Who's Who Among Outstanding Americans
  • Who's Who in Emerging Leaders in America
  • 2017 Award Recipient of John P. Kiely award. Per the Cincinnati Bar Association, “This award recognizes a trial lawyer for possessing outstanding trial skills and demonstrating the highest degree of professionalism, civility, and ethical standards in his or her daily practice.” This award is named after John P. Kiely who strongly exuded these characteristics to the legal community during his tenure., John P. Kiely Award, Cincinnati Bar Association, 2017

Special Licenses/Certifications:

  • Joseph was first certified in 1983 in the field of Civil Litigation by the NBTA, 1983
  • In 2013 awarded a second certification in the field of Civil Pretrial Practice by National Board of Legal Specialty Certification (NBLSC), 2014
  • Nationwide Bar Examiner, National Board of Specialty Certification, Field of Civil Litigation 1990-2014. Most often utilized examiner in this field of certification. His questions for the subject of Evidence were utilized in the 2014 Civil Litigation Certification Exam., 2014
  • 38 Year Mark of Board Certification, Civil Trial Lawyer, National Board of Specialty Certification, 2016

Bar/Professional Activity:

  • American College of Trial Lawyers, Member, 1999 - Present
  • OAJ, Board of Governors, 1983 - 1998
  • OAJ (Youngest President Ever Elected in Academy History), President, 1981 - 1982
  • ABOTA Cincinnati Chapter Secretary, 1989 - Present
  • American Board of Trial Advocacy (ABOTA), Cincinnati Chapter Elected as Chapter's Representative, 1989 - Present
  • American Board of Trial Advocates, 1989-current, National Representative 1990- current
  • Kentucky, 1999
  • Ohio, 1974
  • Ohio Association for Justice, President, 1984-1985
  • Appointed Special Counsel to Ohio Attorney General until 2022, 2020
  • Ohio Supreme Court Board of Bar Examiners 2001-2008, Chief Examiner, 2006-2007
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of Ohio, 1975
  • Joseph was the founder of Casemaker Online Law Libraries that now holds over 27 million legal research documents and has provided online legal research to 28 state bar associations and to their 450,000 members, 2020
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 1984
  • Emeritus Master, American Inns of Court, Potter Stewart Chapter, 1998 – Present, 2020
  • National Board of Directors, American Board Trial Advocates, 1989 – Present, 2020
  • Fellow, International Society of Barristers, 1994 – Present, 2020
  • Commonwealth of Kentucky, 1999
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 6th Circuit, 1979
  • Master, American Inns of Court, Potter Stewart Chapter, 1993 – 1997
  • Advocate, American Board Trial Advocates (ABOTA), 1989 – Present
  • Ohio State Representative, National Board of Trial Advocacy, 1990 – Present, 2020
  • State of Ohio, 1974
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Kentucky, 2000
  •  Past President of the Ohio Association of Justice (1981-1982), National Board Representative to the American Board of Trial Advocates (1989-current), Chairman of the Ohio State Bar Association Advertising, Marketing and Solicitation Committee (2008-2009).
  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers, 1999 – Present
  • Diplomat, National Board of Trial Advocacy, 1984 – Present
  • Part President and Fellow, Ohio Association of Justice F.K.A. Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers

Pro bono/Community Service:

  • Board Member Chase Law School Foundation 2009-current, 2020
  • Board of Directors, Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, 2000 – 2005
  • Commission Member, The Village of Indian Hill Board of Recreation, 1978 - 1996
  • Glenn Beach Association (Harbor Springs, MI) President, 1997 - 2008
  • President, Indian Hill Schools Booster Board, 1997 – 1998
  • President, The Indian Hill Club, 1987 - 1988
  • Little Traverse Bay Humane Society Annual Fundraising Event Sponsor, 2007-2012
  • Board of Directors, The Indian Hill Club, 1984 - 1988
  • President, The Village of Indian Hill Board of Recreation, 1989 – 1992

Scholarly Lectures/Writings:

  • Potter Stewart American Inn of Court, 2001-2006, Master Emeritus, 2006- current
  • Author, Shea's Ohio Civil Trial Practice with Forms, Harrison Publishing Company, 1984
  • "Masters in Trial" (Mock Jury Trial), ABOTA, Kansas City, Kansas, 1992 "Masters in Trial" (Mock Jury Trial), ABOTA, Columbus, Ohio, 1993 - 1994
  • Faculty Member, Litigation Forum, Case Western Reserve University School of Law, 1981-1982, 1983, 1984
  • A book supposedly for grandchildren but really gives advice to your children how to keep your aging parents happy, Author, How to Inherit More than your Cousin (tm), 2020
  • Contributing Author, "Investigation of Witnesses and Statements" Civil Litigation in Ohio, Ohio Legal Center Institute of the State Bar Association, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1994-2000, 2002, 2006, 2009
  • Contributing Author, "Sample Testimony” Wrongful Death in Ohio (1982 – 2012), Anderson Publishing Company
  • Past Presidents Presentation of Valuable Evidentiary Snippets, OATL 50th Anniversary Convention, 2005
  • Shea's Ohio Evidence Manual, Institute of Legal Publishing, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, author, Shea's Ohio Evidence Manual, 2006
  • "Premises Liability," TRIAL, Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers, 1981
  • "Spoliation of Evidence," Evidence Seminar, Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers, 1998
  • "Evidence Rules", OATL Annual Convention, 2003
  • Concerns over new ethics rules, Panelist, 2008 OSBA Live and Teleconference CLE seminar
  • "Jury Instructions," Regional Seminar Handbook, Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers, 1993
  • Editor-in-Chief, OAJ Verdict Reporter 1976 – 2010 (also published online by Ohio State Bar Association since 1999)
  • Editor-in-Chief and Founder, Casemaker Online Law Libraries 1988 – 2008
  • Editor-in Chief, Lawriter provision of the State of Ohio Legislative Service Commission’s online public Administrative Code and Statutes, 2005 – 2008
  • Wrongful Death in Ohio, 1982 – 2008 (sole contributing Author) Anderson Publishing Co.
  • Ohio Civil Procedure with Forms, Harrison Publishing Co., 1984
  • Terminology Guide for the Reporting of Civil Litigation, American Board of Trial Advocates, 1996
  • Ohio Personal Injury Litigation Manual, authored chapter "Investigation of Witnesses and Statements" (Contributing Author), Ohio Legal Center, Institute of the State Bar Association, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1992
  • "Civil Litigation in Ohio" (Contributing Author), Ohio Legal Center Institute of the Ohio State Bar, 1994 – 2000, 2002, 2006
  • "Underinsured Motorist, Update and Review," Underinsured Motorist Manual, Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers, 1982
  • "Efficient Methods of Processing a Case," 1983 Regional Seminar Manual, Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers, 1983
  • Pleadings, Depositions and Discovery" 1984 Regional Seminar Manual, Ohio Association of Justice, 1984
  • "Underinsured Motorists: The Dilemma," TRIAL, Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers, 1983
  • "Punitive - Exemplary Damages in Ohio" (with John "Jay" A. Harris III), 1984 Regional Seminar Handbook, Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers, 1988
  • "The Trial Lawyer's Tool: The Personal Computer," 1990 Annual Convention Handbook, Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers, 1990
  • "Case Law Update," Regional Seminars, Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers, 1991
  • Tort Liability, AT&T Long Lines, 1980
  • Fairness in Settlement, "I DAY," Columbus, Ohio, Insurance Association Convention, 1984
  • "Laptops in Trial," Regional Seminar, Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers, 1994
  • "Spoliation of Evidence," Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers, 1998
  • "Masters in Trial" (Mock Jury Trial), ABOTA, Kansas City, Kansas, 1992
  • "Handicapped Applicant Policy, Supreme Court of Ohio", 1988
  • "Masters in Trial" (Mock Jury Trial), ABOTA, Columbus, Ohio, 1993 - 1994, 1994
  • "What are lawyers to do now, Panelist," 2008 OSBA annual Convention, 2008
  • What you can for sure say, what you probably can say and what not to say when marketing your services., Speaker, Real Estate Litigation 2012, Ohio State Bar Association, 2012


  • Verdict in Montgomery County, Ohio (Dayton) $1.5M in medical malpractice against a neurosurgeon.  Prior Malpractice verdicts in Hamilton County ($8.9M), Butler County ($6.7M) and Northern Federal District of Kentucky ($5.4M) still remain largest in those three counties on record in past 25 years, 2020
  • Joseph obtained the largest collectable verdict in an injury case in the past 30 years in Hamilton County, Ohio$7.6M). He also holds the record for the largest collectable verdict in Butler County in a personal injury case ($6.7M). He obtained a $5.7M summary jury verdict in Northern Kentucky Federal Court., 2015
  • Joseph in October of 2015 as lead trial counsel concluded two-year-long litigation on the behalf of the Ohio Attorney General where he collected $6.5M of personal assets from shareholders of a company who borrowed money from the State of Ohio and then closed the business. The recovery litigation in the Hamilton County Commercial Court was based upon lifting the corporate veil, 2016
  • In 2013, our Firm represented a large Chicago-based bank as lead trial counsel in a $6mm recovery action against a group of CPAs who acted improperly regarding a business tycoon who committed fraud upon several banks and then disappeared, 2014
  • Our Firm was to first to discover that a medical device CEO held up release of notifications to physicians of the problem with the product for four months. The CEO suspended release of a completed warning program while he quietly sold large quantities of his company’s shares at a high market price. After the warning program was finally implemented, the stock plummeted, leaving most investors out in the cold. Our client’s loss occurred during the four-month non-disclosure period. Our client’s case was settled shortly before trial for an undisclosed amount, 2013

Representative Clients:

  • Special Litigation Counsel to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and lead counsel in corporate litigation on behalf of the State of Ohio 2013-2019. Reappointed as Special Counsel to Ohio Attorney General 2019-2022. Lead litigation trial counsel Republic Bank of Chicago 2011-2014. Lead Litigation Counsel in Loan Recovery Dispute 2019 for Ohio Attorney General., 2019
  • Lead Trial Counsel for Republic Bank of Chicago in Auditing Malpractice case, 2016
  • Reappointed as “Special Counsel to the Ohio Attorney General” by OAG David Yost, 2020

Other Outstanding Achievements:

  • Cincinnati Business Magazine Top Southwestern Lawyer all years since inception Cincy Magazine Leading Lawyer all years since inception Pre-Eminent Lawyer Civil Litigation Martindale Hubbell 31st year, 2020
  • Joseph was listed as a "Leading Lawyers" in his field by Cincy Magazine every year. He is the only lawyer ever given this listing every year the listed was made (annual since 2004), 2020
  • Martindale-Hubbell wrote that he had received the highest rating available for 35 consecutive years, 2020

Educational Background:

  • University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio, B.A. Major: Philosophy, 1969
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Office Location for Joseph W. (Joe) Shea III

3734 Eastern Ave
Cincinnati, OH 45226

Phone: 513-548-5410

Fax: 513-934-2201

Joseph W. (Joe) Shea III:

Last Updated: 12/28/2020

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