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James W Motsay

Probate Attorney at Baltimore, MD

5.0   1 review
  • Licensed for 42 years
    State MD
    Acquired 1981
    Active No misconduct found

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

About James

Learn James’s areas of practice.

Jim is a Baltimore native, married and father of three sons and a step-son. Jim graduated from the University of Baltimore Law School. He has worked in private practice since 1981 and has also been an Assistant State’s Attorney for Baltimore City. Since 1983 he has served as the Managing Partner for the law firm of Motsay and Lay, Attorney’s at Law. In 1986 he was appointed by Mayor Schaefer to conduct hearings for the City of Baltimore and continues to serve as Administrative Law Judge still today.

In an effort to continue to provide the best possible services to his clients, Jim trained as a mediator in 2000. He serves as a mediator for the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, Circuit Court for Baltimore County, the Orphan’s Court for Baltimore City and the Orphan’s Court for Baltimore County.

In 2003 Jim began guest lecturing at the University of Maryland School of Social Work on the topic of ethics.  In 2006, Jim joined the faculty of the University of Phoenix as an instructor in the Master's in Business Administration program.

Jim is a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and the Maryland Collaborative Law Association, Inc. He received his training for collaborative law in Dallas, Texas in 2006.

Jim’s goal is to provide the best quality of legal service for his clients and he has furthered this commitment by seeking continued education and training from the top educational institutions.  In pursuit of the goal, he has been trained at Harvard Law School.  He attended the Program of Instruction for Lawyers/Program on Negotiation.  As a Harvard Trained Negotiator, Jim is part of an elite group of attorneys across the country that carries this distinction.

In addition to his family and law activities, Jim has served his community in a number of capacities and on various boards. He received his certification as a Little League Umpire in 1977, and has coached youth and adult soccer since 1971. He also co-founded and served as Co-Commissioner of the Catonsville Indoor Soccer Program. He is a past member and president of the Board for the Catholic Community Schools of South Baltimore. He has served as president of the American Society of Italians and Friends. He was Chairman of the Maryland Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and was honored by the Maryland Chapter as Volunteer of the Year and by the National Society for his volunteer activities and for training other trustees. In 2003, Jim was honored with the “Medal of Honor” by the Baltimore County Fire Department for rescuing a neighbor from her burning house.

Jim began his association with the University of Maryland as a student at UMBC; he continued his association as a member of the University’s Board of Regents and currently he is a member of the Board of Advisors for the University of Maryland School of Social Work and a member of the Alumni Board at UMBC.

Jim and his family are well-known in the legal community.  His father is a retired judge from the District Court of Maryland.  He has two sisters and a brother that are all attorneys actively practicing law in the State of Maryland.  Jim has spent most of his life in and around the law.  His career can be traced to the days as a child going to work at the courthouse with his father.   He has also served as a deputy clerk in the old Criminal Court for Baltimore City, a law clerk, an intern, an Assistant State’s Attorney, a solo practitioner and now partner. 

Jim’s areas of professional interest include collaborative law, family law, estates, will and trusts, collections, contracts and real estate, personal injury and worker’s compensation, traffic and criminal matters.

He resides in Baltimore City and enjoys golf, soccer and spending time with his wife and family.



Admitted to practice law in:

Maryland State Bar Association

Supreme Court of the United States of America

Baltimore City Bar Association

United States Federal Courts

Baltimore County Bar Association

United States Bankruptcy Courts

Maryland Trial Lawyers Association

All Maryland Appellate and Trial Courts

Maryland Bankruptcy Bar Association

International Academy of Collaborative Professionals


Motsay and Lay, Attorneys at Law
200 E 25th St
Baltimore, MD, 21218

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5.0 / 5.0
  1 customer review
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1 Star
Posted by Steve | April 7, 2012
Very knowledgeable and polite attorney. Has handled my family affairs for years. Would recommend.


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AVVO RATING 8.3 (Excellent)

Work Experience

  • Mediator
  • Circuit Court for Baltimore City
  • 2000 - Present
  • Administrative Law Judge
  • Baltimore City
  • 1986 - Present
  • Managing Partner
  • Motsay and Lay, Attorney's at Law
  • 1983 - Present
  • President
  • Bar Association of Baltimore City
  • 2023 - 2023
  • Appeals Counsel - Liquor Board
  • Baltimore City Council
  • 1987 - 1991
  • Assistant States Attorney
  • Baltimore City State's Attorney's Office
  • 1981 - 1983
View all work experience


  • University of Baltimore School of Law
  • JD - Juris Doctor
  • 1981


  • Maryland Program for Mediator Excellence
  • Mediator
  • 2013 - Present
  • Maryland Collaborative Law Association
  • Treasurer
  • 2006 - Present
  • Maryland Association for Justice
  • Member
  • 1985 - Present
  • Maryland State Bar Association
  • Member
  • 1981 - Present
  • Bar Association of Baltimore City
  • Member
  • 1981 - Present
View all associations

Languages Spoken

  • English

Honors and Awards

  • Paul A. Dorf Award
  • ADR Outstanding Practioner
  • 2022
  • Medal Of Honor
  • Baltimore County
  • 2003
  • "Hero"
  • Towson Times
  • 2003


  • The Daily Record (Maryland)
  • President's Report
  • 2023

Speaking Engagements

  • Region 2 and 4 Regional Competions
  • Mock Trial Judge 2008 to present
  • 2008
  • Multiple Sclerosis Society National Conference
  • Board Trustees
  • 1996

Attorney endorsements

Received (2)
Given (0)
Endorse James
Family Attorney | Feb 10
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer.Great lawyer. Very Knowledgeable. Real student of the practice of law. Very effective. Fights for his clients.Always prepared"
Family Attorney | May 14
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. James is highly skilled and hard working and will do a great job for you."
This attorney hasn't created any attorney endorsements recently on Avvo.

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James W Motsay
Probate Attorney
Baltimore, MD
Licensed for 42 years