James B. Jalenak


Of Counsel
6060 Primacy Parkway, Suite 100
Memphis, Tennessee  38119
Phone: 901-525-1455
Email: jjalenak [at] harrisshelton [dot] com

Jimmy Jalenak is a well-respected lawyer and supporter of the Memphis community. Over his 50-year career, he has become highly regarded in the matters of real estate and business transactions, and he has been recognized as one of the Best Lawyers in America. Jimmy’s background in real estate law includes representing clients in the acquisition, development, financing and leasing of large real estate projects. He has aided in the acquisition of businesses for buyers and sellers, as well as the reorganization and buyout of business entities. With extensive experience and success in business law, he has served as general counsel to distribution and retail businesses.

Jimmy began his career at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in New York. A prior 40-year member of Hanover, Walsh, Jalenak & Blair, he joined Harris Shelton when the firm merged with Harris, Shelton, Dunlap, Cobb & Ryder.

As a significantly experienced attorney, Jimmy is looked to as a mentor by many of the firm’s younger attorneys.

A dedicated and engaged Memphian, he has been heavily involved in the Memphis community for several decades. Jimmy previously served as the chief administrative officer and counsel for the nationally recognized Memphis Zoo, and his service has been shared by various other organizations around the city. He has been an officer and served on the board of the Depot Redevelopment Corporation of Memphis and Shelby County, LeMoyne-Owen College, Southern College of Optometry, Memphis PREP Program, Temple Israel and Memphis Urban League, among others.

Jimmy is married to Natalie Jalenak, former public relations director for Playhouse on the Square. They have two children, Margaret Jalenak Wexler and Catherine Jalenak Levit, and four grandchildren, Ariel Wexler, Jonah Wexler, Hannah Levit and Caleb Levit.

Professional Honors and Activities

  • American Bar Association, Member
  • Best Lawyers in America
  • Memphis Bar Association, Member-Director, 1994-1995
  • Tennessee Bar Association, Member
  • Tennessee Bar Foundation, Fellow

Community Involvement and Recognition

  • City of Memphis Health, Education and Housing Facility Board, board member, 2017
  • Morehouse College Alumni Association, Candle on the Bluff Award, 2008
  • Southern College of Optometry, board member, 2005-2013
  • Memphis Zoological Society, board chairman, 2002-2005
  • LeMoyne-Owen College, board of trustees member, 2000-2010
  • National Conference for Community and Justice, Humanitarian of the Year Award, 2000
  • Memphis Rotary Club, president, 1998
  • Memphis Urban League, J.A. McDaniel Community Service Award, 1997
  • Memphis Depot Redevelopment Corporation, board member, 1996-2011
  • Volunteer Center of Memphis, Golden Rule Award, 1994Temple Israel, president, 1992-1994


  • Yale Law School, J.D., cum laude 1964
    -The Order of the Coif, member
    -Phi Delta Phi, member
  • Yale University, B.A., politics and economics, magna cum laude, 1961
    -Yale Banner Publications, chairman
    -Frank M. Patterson Prize, Best Thesis in American Politics – “Beale Street Politics”

Bar Admission

  • Tennessee, 1966
  • New York, 1965
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Tennessee
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Tax Court