James W. Lea, III, is an investor, developer, and visionary, who is deeply engaged in the southeastern coastal North Carolina community.
Mr. Lea has previously served as President of the New Hanover County Bar Association, Chairman of the Democratic Party for New Hanover County, and has served on the Board of Trustees for Cape Fear Community College. Mr. Lea is also the past President of the Residents of Old Wilmington, was the Chairman of fundraising for the YMCA and has served on the Board of Directors for the Opera Theatre Company, and on the Board of Directors for the Historic Wilmington Foundation. Mr. Lea also has created and continues to sponsor a scholarship each year at Cape Fear Community College.
For 40 years, he has practiced exclusively in the area of Family Law and has served on the North Carolina State Bar’s Family Council, a select group of family lawyers that sets policy and recommends changes to Family Law on behalf of the North Carolina State Bar. He was named by North Carolina magazine as one of North Carolina’s Best Lawyers. Mr. Lea has been listed in the Martindale-Hubbell Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers for the last 24 years and The Best Lawyers in America for the last 15 years in the area of Family Law. Lea has been recognized for an astounding fifteen cases.
The firm of Lea/Schultz Law was recently listed in U.S. News & World Report as one of America’s Best Law Firms in Family Law tier one.
When he is not practicing law, and making Wilmington a better place to live — he is an avid tennis player and recent winner of the USTA over 55 State Championship.
- North Carolina, 1980
- U.S. District Court Eastern District of North Carolina, 1981
- U.S. Court of Appeals 4th Circuit
- Campbell University Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law, Buies Creek, North Carolina
J.D. – 1980
- University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
B.A. – 1976
- Honors: Honor Roll
- Major: Psychology
Professional Associations and Memberships
- New Hanover County Bar Association, Secretary-Treasurer
- New Hanover County Bar Association, President Elect, 1991
- New Hanover County Bar Association, President, 1992
- North Carolina Bar Association, Family Law Council, Member
- North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers, Member, Political Action Committee, 1987 – 1988
- National Academy of Trial Lawyers