Gov. Corbett names James Schultz new general counsel; elevates position

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Republican Gov. Tom Corbett has filled the state's vacant general counsel position left empty when Stephen S. Aichele was elevated to Mr. Corbett's chief of staff.

James D. Schultz, 40, most recently Pennsylvania's first executive deputy general counsel, was elevated to the general counsel position a week ago.

As deputy general counsel, Mr. Schultz oversaw the operation and management of the Office of General Counsel's executive office and the chief counsel offices of the commonwealth's agencies. He was also responsible for providing legal counsel to the governor's executive staff and cabinet members.

"It has been an honor to serve the Corbett administration as first executive deputy general counsel," Mr. Schultz said in a statement. "I look forward to facing new challenges and continuing to serve the governor."

The general counsel position does not require Senate confirmation.

Prior to joining Mr. Corbett's administration, Mr. Schultz was "of counsel," or non-partner counsel, at Cozen O'Connor in Philadelphia. He worked in the firm's subrogation and recovery department, as well as in its complex litigation group. Mr, Schultz focused his practice on property damage claims, as well as commercial litigation, products liability and construction defect claims.

Mr. Schultz joined Cozen O'Connor in 2008 from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. While at the U.S. Attorney's Office, he was the director of outreach and law enforcement coordinator.

During his three years at the office, Mr. Schultz worked with the U.S. attorney on the development and implementation of U.S. Department of Justice programs and policy initiatives in the region.

While the bulk of his career has been spent in Philadelphia, Mr. Schultz isn't a stranger to Harrisburg or politics. He has served as a regional advisor to candidates running for federal, state and local offices and served on the transition team for Harrisburg Mayor Linda D. Thompson.

Mr. Schultz is a past chairman and board member of the Stewards Alliance for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. He received his bachelor's degree from Temple University and his law degree from Widener University School of Law.

"Jim has a tremendous record of service and success in my administration, in his community and in the legal world," Mr. Corbett said in a statement. "His experience and guidance are valuable assets to our team, and his talents will suit him well as general counsel."

Cozen O'Connor CEO Thomas A. "Tad" Decker called Mr. Schultz a "rising star." He said the firm hired him at the suggestion of former U.S.-attorney-turned-senator Patrick Meehan, who worked closely with Mr. Schultz in the U.S. Attorney's Office.

At Cozen O'Connor, Mr. Schultz served in a few different capacities. He was a trial lawyer, but the firm also looked to him for guidance when setting up its political action committee and government strategies group. Mr. Decker said Mr. Schultz was helpful to Cozen O'Connor in thinking through strategy on those projects.

Mr. Decker, who described Mr. Schultz as a "bright young lawyer," said the firm knew he was going into the deputy general counsel role and was supportive of that career change.

"This is a recognition of what he's been able to accomplish," Mr. Decker said.

This isn't the first time a Cozen O'Connor attorney has been tapped for a position in Mr. Corbett's administration. Public finance attorney David Unkovic served as head of the Department of Community and Economic Development, and then was named as receiver of financially distressed Harrisburg. He resigned from that role in March.

The general counsel position was vacated when Mr. Corbett elevated Mr. Aichele to be his chief of staff. The chief of staff position opened in May when the governor named previous chief of staff William F. Ward to a vacant seat on the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas.

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Gina Passarella: gpassarella@alm.com or 215-557-2494. To read more articles like this, visit www.thelegalintelligencer.com.


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