Irish Legal 100


JAMES Whalen is the managing partner of Whalen Montalvo, LLC, in Greenville, South Carolina. He has experience as a prosecutor, criminal defense attorney and civil litigator, plaintiffs and defense.

After completing a clerkship in Washington, D.C., Whalen moved back to Greenville, his hometown, to gain trial experience. He worked for the 13th Circuit solicitor’s office, initially under a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration federal grant to prosecute DUIs and DUACs exclusively. In this role, he prosecuted thousands of DUIs and DUACs, including numerous jury trials and appeals.

Whalen also served as a speaker at the S.C. Commission on Prosecution DUI Conference, as well as for multiple other law enforcement and judicial conferences.

Whalen opened his own practice in 2018. His criminal law experience expands well beyond DUIs. As a prosecutor and criminal defense attorney he has experience with criminal cases of every variety, from simple assaults and simple possessions to armed robberies, burglaries and murder in every state court.

Aside from prosecutor and criminal defense experience, he has also worked in civil litigation on the defense and plaintiff’s side. One of his most cherished legal experiences thus far has been volunteering with South Carolina Legal Services, helping the indigent resolve civil matters.

For 2021, Whalen was named by Legal Elite of the Upstate as a top criminal lawyer in South Carolina; in 2020 he was recognized as a top personal injury lawyer.

Whalen earned a BA in political science and a minor in sociology from Rhodes College; he spent 2001 studying British studies at Oxford University, St. John College. He earned a JD from University of South Carolina School of Law.

Married with a son, Whalen’s great great grandfather departed Co. Waterford during the Famine. He settled in Hoboken, New Jersey and became a police officer. His father is the assistant director of the diaconate for the Diocese of Charleston and is a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians.





Special publications (one-offs)