Mayor Brandon Scott today will announce that Ebony M. Thompson, his interim chief of staff, will become Baltimore’s next city solicitor, replacing the retiring James L. Shea.
Thompson, who has served as deputy solicitor since January, will assume the position “effective in January 2023,” according to a memo circulated internally today by Scott’s office.
A Baltimore native, Thompson previously worked as a litigator at Venable LLP, where Shea was the longtime chairman and later chairman emeritus.
She is the niece of Kenneth L. Thompson, the head of the monitoring team overseeing the federal consent decree for the Baltimore Police Department and a partner at Venable.
In assuming leadership of the city’s Law Department, Thompson makes history as the first woman to serve in the role.
Dana P. Moore, the city’s chief equity officer, was the first woman to serve as acting city solicitor when she was placed in the position by Scott in March 2020.
The announcement comes on the heels of Scott’s controversial appointment of a new chief of staff, Chezia Cager.
A public relations professional whose resume has not been released by City Hall, Cager will be paid $225,000 in the new position, The Brew reported yesterday.
A Baltimore native and Brown University graduate, Thompson worked in New York for a time for UBS Global Asset Management providing wealth management services to international clients, then returned to Baltimore to start her own real estate firm, according to a 2015 article in Baltimore Law.
After obtaining her law degree from the University of Baltimore School of Law in 2013, she went to work that year as an associate and, eventually, counsel at Venable.
Thompson left Venable in January 2022 when Shea tapped her to become his deputy.
A 2016 Daily Record profile described Thompson as “part of the team of attorneys that represented Exelon Corp. and Pepco Holdings Inc. in their recent merger.”
The piece also listed a number of civic and volunteer positions Thompson held in the city, including serving as a moot court judge at the University of Baltimore School of Law and mentoring students at Frederick Douglas High School.
“Instead of fleeing with the opportunities my community afforded me,” Thompson said. “I choose to live, invest and build in my neighborhood to create better circumstances for those who follow me.”
Mayor Brandon Scott’s press statement, released later in the day announcing Shea’s departure and the appointment of Thompson, has more information.