James Sheehan was born in New York City and grew up there in a four-room railroad apartmentwith his five brothers and sisters. He started working at the age of twelve, shining shoes at a local shoe-repair shop. At fourteen,he had a newspaper round. He worked at a local delicatessen, an antique store where he strippedand delivered furniture, as a construction worker during the summers, a short-order cookthroughout his college years, and as a roofer's assistant while he attended graduate school inFlorida. He is currently a trial attorney in St. Petersburg, Florida where he has practiced law for over 30years. His experience of growing up in New York has shaped his life.