John Sholly was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. He graduated from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. in 1988, with a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service, majoring in International Politics. While at Georgetown, he met his future wife, Knoxville native Leslie Hunley. He has lived in Knoxville since 1990.
Mr. Sholly and his wife are the parents of five children: Emily, 26; John, Jr., 23; Richard, 22; William, 16; and Lorelei, 12. His community activities have included the Knights of Columbus and the Optimist Club, and he is an active member of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church.
Mr. Sholly worked as a Federal Investigator for two years before enrolling at the University of Tennessee College of Law. He received his J.D. in 1994, and became a Regulatory Analyst for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. He began building his legal practice at the same time, becoming a full-time solo practitioner in 1996. In 1996-1998 he also served as a Knox County Judicial Commissioner.