Colleen Shea is a Partner in the Wilmington, North Carolina office of Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog.  She has been litigating tough and emotional cases for over 19 years.  In addition to matters for her own clients, she is requested by peers from her firm and from other firms to undertake the co-chair seat on cases and trials for their clients.

When the firm opened the Wilmington office, Colleen transferred her practice from the Raleigh office to the coast where she has been instrumental in the internal training of Associates and growth of the office, from two attorneys to over ten additional litigators. Colleen is a member of the firm’s Medical Malpractice, Premises Liability and Professional Liability Practice Groups.  She focuses on the defense of catastrophic injury cases, healthcare and dental providers sued for malpractice, and mental health specialists accused of malpractice, including boundary violations and sexual exploitation.  Colleen also advises physicians, therapists, nurses and dentists on charges before various state agencies.  She has extensive trial experience throughout the various counties in North Carolina and has successfully obtained defense verdicts, dismissals and favorable settlements in tough cases including wrongful death, severe burns, permanent brain damage, and inappropriate sexual relationships with patients. Colleen has been recognized by her peers and is listed in the publication The Best Lawyers in America® 2016 and 2017 editions for Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants.

While Colleen served on the Board of the Cape Fear Rescue Mission, she was persistent and instrumental in moving this 25 year old non-profit organization to expand its facility for homeless men to now include a separate home dedicated for homeless women and children.  In addition to her time serving the homeless population of New Hanover County, Colleen is busy with her two really cool step-children (ages 25 and 17), her 10 year old daughter who knows more world geography than Colleen and her husband combined, and the household’s two slightly trained rescue dogs and enjoys regularly volunteering at her daughter’s elementary school.  Colleen is married to another trial attorney who is also the managing partner of the Wilmington office.  Their daughter likes to talk, a lot.

Most Recent Posts


Colleen Shea and Rebecca Knudson Featured in WILMA Magazine

Conference room

Colleen Shea and Rebecca Knudson are listed in the August 2017 edition of WILMA Magazine. The August Spotlight column lists the Wilmington attorneys featured in the 2017 Women in the Law by Best Lawyers Business Edition and includes a quote from Colleen about her experience as a female attorney.… Read More


CSH Law Attorneys Recognized by Women in the Law List

Close up of star awards

Seven female attorneys from Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog LLP (CSH Law) were recently listed among the 2017 Women in the Law by Best Lawyers Business Edition. The list was printed in the Spring 2017 edition and recognizes female attorneys from each state.… Read More


Martin and Shea Successfully Defend Regional Hospital

Case Results for NC Law

John Martin and Colleen Shea obtained summary judgment of a regional hospital in a case involving two separate visits to the Emergency Department at the hospital and patient admission to the hospital prior to her transfer to a tertiary care facility. … Read More


Martin and Shea Receive Defense Verdict in Wrongful Death Case

Case Results for NC Law

John D. Martin and Colleen N. Shea won a defense verdict for a Psychiatrist and Physician’s Assistant in a wrongful death case involving over $700,000 in medical expenses. The case involved allegations of improperly prescribing a drug with a Black Box Warning at over twice the FDA recommended dose.… Read More