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Joseph W. Shea, III

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Medical Malpractice Attorney in Cincinnati, OH

Rittgers & Rittgers, Attorneys at Law
3734 Eastern Ave
Cincinnati, OH 45226
Phone: 513-496-0134
Fax: 513-934-2201
Selected to Super Lawyers: 2004 - 2022
Licensed in Ohio Since: 1974
Practice Areas: Personal Injury - Medical Malpractice: Plaintiff, Civil Litigation: Plaintiff, Business Litigation
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Attorney Profile

Joseph W. Shea III represents clients in the state of Ohio.  He was the managing  partner at the SheaHartmann firm until it merged with Rittgers and Rittgers in 2021. He specializes in professional negligence concerning doctors, lawyers, accountants, architects and hospital staff.  He also acts as trial counsel in commercial litigation.  Joe has been listed 19 years in a row as an Ohio Super Lawyer.  He was also listed as one of 75 lawyers in Ohio who were Top Listed by Super Lawyers (meaning Top 50 Southwest Ohio or top 100 Ohio statewide) in the past decade (2010-2020) as was published in the Ohio SuperLawyers 2020 printed magazine. 

Joe acquired an eight million dollar jury verdict against a Cincinnati Hospital, a seven million dollar jury verdict against a physician in Butler County and a Five million dollars jury verdict in Norther Kentucky Federal Court which are believed to be some of the highest collectable jury verdicts in the region in recent years.   

Joe has been appointed as Special Outside Counsel to the Ohio Attorney General since 2010, where in one case alone he recovered over six million dollars of taxpayers funds in a loan default recovery litigation. He is a member of the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers and the American Board of Trial Advocates and serves as his Chapter’s National Representative. He is also a past president of the Ohio Association for Justice.

Joe attended the University of Cincinnati, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy before attending law school. He earned his Juris Doctor from Salmon P. Chase College of Law where he was class president all years. 

Cincy Magazine has named Mr. him a “Leading Lawyer” every year since the listing began in 2004 and Cincinnati Business Courier newspaper listed him every year as a “Top Lawyer” in Southwest Ohio every year since 2005. He was listed as AV Preeminent (highest rating available) in his field of practice by Martindale-Hubbell every year since 1993. 

The Ohio State Bar Ritter Award (2008) is given but to one lawyer each year for ethics, professionalism and contribution to the profession. The Cincinnati Bar awards one lawyer each year since 2000 with the John P. Kiely Award for recognition of outstanding trial skills, ethics and professionalism which they bestowed upon him in 2017. He was the first member of Plaintiff's bar to be a recipient .  Chase Law School awarded him with the Outstanding Graduate Award of the year in 2009.  America's Top 100 in 2022 listed Joe as a Top 100 lawyer in several fields of practice including High Stakes and Professional Liability Litigation. 


About Joseph W. Shea, III

First Admitted: 1974, Ohio

Professional Webpage:


  • !976-1992 A monthly reporting of judgments and settlements reported by Ohio Association f Trial Lawyer members. , OATL Verdict Reporter, Plaintiff Bar Members

Educational Background

  • J.D. Degree, Chase Law School.  Was elected class President all years, 1974
  • University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio, B.A. Major: Philosophy, 1969

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
  • 39 Year Mark of Board Certification, Civil Trial Lawyer, National Board of Specialty Certification, 2022

Scholarly Lectures/Writings

  • 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
  • Shea's Ohio Evidence Manual, Institute of Legal Publishing, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, author, Shea's Ohio Evidence Manual, Instiutute of Legal Publishing, printed by Casemaker Print Products, 2011
  • Ohio Civil Procedure with Forms, Harrison Publishing Co., 1984, Author, Shea Ohio Civil Rules with Forms, Harrison Publishing Co., 1998
  • Contibuted the "sample trial testimony" for the book wwrittten by John McCormick, sole contributing author, Wrongful Death in Ohio, Anderson Publishing Co, Plaintiff Bar Members, 2010
  • "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
  • 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
  • "Premises Liability," TRIAL, Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers, 1981
  • "Spoliation of Evidence," Evidence Seminar, Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers, 1998
  • Concerns over new ethics rules, Panelist, 2008 OSBA Live and Teleconference CLE seminar
  • "Evidence Rules", OATL Annual Convention, 2003
  • "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
  • 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

Bar/Professional Activity

  • Elected as ABOTA Cincinnati Chapter Secretary , 2021
  • Re-appointed as Special Counsel to Ohio Attorney General John Hust, 2022
  • Elected American Board of Trial Advocacy (ABOTA), Cincinnati Chapter's Representative to the National Board of Directors, 2021
  • Appointed Special Counsel to Ohio Attorney General Jon Husted term 2020-2022, 2020
  • Ohio State Representative, National Board of Trial Advocacy, 1990 – Present, 2020
  • OAJ (Youngest President Ever Elected in Academy History), President, 1982
  • Chief Examiner Ohio Supreme Court Board of Bar Examiners appointed by Chief Justice Thomas Moyer  2006-2007, 2007
  • Emeritus Master, American Inns of Court, Potter Stewart Chapter, 2021

Other Outstanding Achievements

  • It is believed and well documented that Joseph was lead trial counsel for the three largest collectable jury verdicts in medical malpractice cases in past 25 years, in three adjoining local counties:   1) Location: Hamilton County (Cincinnati) $7.9M jury verdict in Henley v. Children's Hospital 2) Location: Butler County, Ohio (City of Hamilton) $6.9M jury verdict in Scott v. Fenninig and MRH 3) Location: Northern Kentucky Federal Court (Covington KY) jury verdict $5.4M Ninberg v. Manger, 2022

Representative Clients

  • Tenth year appointed as Special Litigation Counsel to Ohio Attorney General and lead counsel in corporate litigation on behalf of the State of Ohio for major loan recoveries against defaulting companies., 2022
  • Lead Trial Counsel for Republic Bank of Chicago in Auditing Malpractice case, 2016


  • 26th anniversary of consecutive years listed in  "Best Lawyers in America", “Best Lawyers in America” , Woodward White , 2022
  • , America's Top 100 Bet-The-Company Litigators, America's Top 100, 2022
  • , Top 100 Professional Liability Litigation Lawyer, America's Top 100, 2022
  • Sixteenth consecutive year Listed a Best Lawyers in Tri-State , Best Lawyers in Tri-state, Cincinnati Business Courier Magazine, 2022
  • 27th consecutive year of Preeminent Rating in Civil Litiagtion, Preeminent Rating, Martindale-Hubbell , 2022
  • 18th  consecutive listing in Cincy Magazine, Leading Lawyer, Cincy Magazine, 2022
  • Every consecutive year listed as an Ohio Super Lawyer since inception in 2004., Super Lawyer Listing, SuperLawyer Magazine , 2022
  • The Ohio Super Lawyer Magazine printed a list of the names of the Ohio lawyers who were “Top Listed” the most often for the decade of 2010-20.  , 75 Ohio Top Listed Super Lawyers in past decade, Ohio Super Lawyers 2020 Magazine , 2020
  • 2017 Recipient of John P. Kiely award from the Cincinnati Bar Association given to one attorney each year.   “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 was named after John P. Kiely who strongly exuded these characteristics to the legal community during his career., John P. Kiely Award, Cincinnati Bar Association, 2017
  • Award for 37 years continuous AV rating, AV 37 Years, Martindale-Hubbell, 2022
  • Mr. Shea was listed in the first published annual 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
  • Alumni of the Month, University of Cincinnati McMicken College Arts and Sciences, University of Cincinnati , 2009
  • Given to one lawyer or one legal organization a year for outstanding professionalism, ethics and contribution to the profession.  When received Joseph was only the seventh private practicing lawyer in the history of the award to receive it. , OSBF Ritter Award, Ohio State Bar Association, 2008
  • Potter Stewart Chapter, American Inns of Court, Master Emeritus, 1993-2021, Master Emeritus, American Inns of Court, 2021
  • Salmon P. Chase College of Law annually awards a single graduate as its Outstanding Alumni., Chase Law School Outstanding Alumni , Salmon P. Chase College of Law, 2008
  • "Professional Achievement Award", Northern Kentucky University, 1998, Professional Achievement Award, Norther Kentucky University , 1998

Pro bono/Community Service

  • Thirteenth year as Board Member Chase Law School Foundation 2009-current, 2022
  • 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
  • Board of Directors, The Indian Hill Club, 1984 - 1988
  • Little Traverse Bay Humane Society Annual Fundraising Event Sponsor, 2007-2012
  • President, The Village of Indian Hill Board of Recreation, 1989 – 1992


  • Oho Attorney  General, 2022


  • A $1.5M verdict in Dayton, OH for medical malpractice of Nuerosurgeon.  No offer before verdict. , 2020
  • Settled medical malpracte case for $975,000., 2020
  • Lead trial counsel behalf of the Ohio Attorney General as Special Counsel.  He collected $6.5M in cash payments from the  corporate officers., 2016
  • Lead trial counsel in a $1.5M recovery action against a group of CPAs who acted improperly regarding a business tycoon who committed fraud upon several banks and then disappeared, 2014

Industry Groups

  • Banking
  • General Public
  • Government
  • Marine


  • “Joe is the best strategist I know. By the time he gets a case to trial or settlement, the other side has little or no options left. He is the attorney that others in his field come to for advice.”
  • “Cincinnati's best plaintiff's lawyer.”
  • “Best pl's lawyer in med mal in town”

These comments were made by fellow attorneys during the annual nomination process.

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Office Location for Joseph W. Shea, III

3734 Eastern Ave
Cincinnati, OH 45226

Phone: 513-496-0134

Fax: 513-934-2201

Last Updated: 5/15/2022

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