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  • 29 May 2012 11:14 AM | Kim Fantaci (Administrator)
    For many attorneys, a law-firm partnership provides a life of steady and significant income flow.But for Andrew Ness and others who work at firms that fail, the road can be much bumpier. Over the course of his career, Mr. Ness, a partner who specializes in construction law in the Washington, D.C., office of Jones Day, has lost three equity stakes, the chunks of money often totaling hundreds-of-thousands of dollars that lawyers pay into a firm upon making partner. Read more.
  • 23 May 2012 8:21 AM | Kim Fantaci (Administrator)
    The second longest serving justice on the Ohio Supreme Court, Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, announced today her intention to retire by the end of the year.

    Appointed to the Ohio Supreme Court by then-Gov. George Voinovich, she assumed office on March 7, 1996. Ohio voters elected Justice Stratton to three six-year terms on the court, the most recent in 2008. Her current term was to expire on January 1, 2015. Read more.
  • 22 May 2012 10:18 AM | Kim Fantaci (Administrator)
    Written by Michelle Proia, OWBA President

    Imagine walking into your home after a long day of work.  Your personal chef hands you a glass of ice cold Sangria. She tells you that your dinner will be prepared in minutes and that your only job is to relax until it is ready. Your kids are quietly playing together, the house is spotless and your dog has walked himself.
    Okay, you wake up from your dream, but it was nice to be there even for just a few seconds.  The Ohio Women’s Bar Foundation gave several deserving women a chance to feel this euphoria during one gorgeous Spring evening out on April 19, 2012, at The Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus, Ohio.

    In-house women from the legal departments of both private corporations and government employers enjoyed a chance to network while learning how to make a Mexican feast complete with chicken mole and rice cakes with cilantro pesto sauce, homemade guacamole and salsa, and refreshing key lime pie. The dinner was accompanied by thirst-quenching margaritas and sangrias. 

    The catering staff at the Conservatory rolled out the red carpet for the guests, who were from local entities such as State Auto, DSW, Beacon Hill Fund Services, Scott‘s, Huntington Bank, NiSource, Community Choice Financial and several government court and agency offices.  Ice Miller was the very generous premier sponsor law firm, and Baker Hostetler, Kegler Brown and Thompson Hine also contributed towards sponsorships to ensure the success of this event.

    The Franklin Park Conservatory grounds were impeccable and set the stage for a truly unique and out-of-the box event. The evening benefitted the Ohio Women’s Bar Foundation (OWBF), in its 4th year.  The Foundation supports the annual Law Student Scholarship and runs the very successful Leadership Institute for women attorneys statewide which just completed its inaugural year.  More information about the OWBF (or the Ohio Women’s Bar Association, OWBA) can be found at

    The OWBA has also formed its first in-house counsel subcommittee, thanks to the efforts of OWBA Past President Maria-Kortan Sampson of Goodrich Corporation. If you are a member of an in-house government or private legal department, please contact Executive Director Elizabeth Krile at to join.  The Columbus members of the Committee will kick-off their efforts with an informal lunch meeting at the end of June. Cleveland is also planning a similar event.  If you’d like to help with a similar effort in other areas of the State, please contact Elizabeth Krile.

    And remember to LIKE the OWBA on Facebook!  While hard work in your legal practice is a critical part of the equation in your success, you have to get out from behind your desk and make valuable professional connections!  I promise – you’ll be glad you did.

    Hope to see you at an event this year!
  • 18 May 2012 2:38 PM | Kim Fantaci (Administrator)
    The Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is proposing comprehensive amendments to the Sixth Circuit Rules and Internal Operating Procedures. Pursuant to 6 Cir. R. 47(a) all interested parties have the opportunity to register comments to the proposed changes.

    Proposed Rules

    Comments should be addressed to Leonard Green, Clerk and sent not later than July 12, 2012 to:
  • 16 May 2012 1:44 PM | Kim Fantaci (Administrator)
    Columbus Business First announced its Top Corporate Counsel award finalists Friday:
    • Michael Currie, Kokosing Construction Co.
    • Tod Friedman, Schottenstein Property Group
    • David Garman, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co.
    • Daniel Hackett, Mount Carmel Health System
    • Patricia Hatler, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co.
    • Eric Henricks, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co.
    • Darrell Hughes, Sequent Inc.
    • Kristina Kepner, Cardinal Health Inc.
    • Gregory Kirstein, Columbus Blue Jackets
    • Stephanie Kristal, Inc.
    • James Muckle, Vrable Healthcare Inc.
    • R. L. Kelly Phillips, Safe Auto Insurance Co.
    • Michelle Proia, Mettler-Toledo LLC
    • Bridgette Roman, Community Choice Financial Inc.
    • Evelyn Smith, Mettler-Toledo LLC
    • Gilda Spencer, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co.
    • David Stein, Residential Finance Corp.
    Read more

  • 15 May 2012 8:41 AM | Kim Fantaci (Administrator)
    Excerpts from Michelle Proia’s speech at the 2012 OWBA Women’s Forum and Annual Meeting Luncheon

    A question I am often asked as a lawyer is would I go to law school if I could make the choice again?

    Earlier this Spring, I traveled on a business trip to Pittsburgh. I am a University of Pittsburgh School of Law graduate and made it back to the city after almost ten years.  

    Being there reminded me that around the same time I began law school in the early Nineties, three women in Ohio were uniting a statewide group to form  the OWBA.  They were Justice Alice Resnick, Attorney Pam Hultin and retired Magistrate Judge Patricia Hemann. They along with other leaders became the founding members of our bar.

    What made the efforts of these women so notable was that they organized a statewide effort – they did not focus solely on their local bars– for they had more ambitious plans.  In order to fulfill this vision of our Founders, we will remain steadfast in the inclusion of our entire State membership.  Cleveland and Columbus have been historically strong for us, with Cincinnati growing significantly.  Toledo, Dayton, Akron, Youngstown and surrounding counties are also very critical regions.  

    The geographic diversity represented by our new Executive Committee emphasizes this priority; Jennifer Jacquemain of Akron and Laura Sanom of Dayton join our executive committee of the association this year.  Also, our President-Elect Judge Stephanie Bowman of Cincinnati will most certainly inspire the entire membership base with her commitment to our mission.  In order to reach out to the entire state, Executive Director Elizabeth Krile, who is so vital to our bar,  and OWBA leaders engaged in a seven-city statewide tour to conduct an in-person dialogue with our members. We are listening, and we will deliver sound value for your membership.

    People often ask me why an in-house lawyer of a large public company needs to be part of a woman’s bar.  I  work for a $2 billion global manufacturer based in Switzerland as a General Counsel – Americas (Producing Organizations) and Assistant Secretary for 9 production facilities, in addition to providing lead counsel to our Global Supply Chain, E-Commerce, Information Technology and Group Finance functions in the Americas.  Most of my career has been in-house in heavy manufacturing such as steel and paint and coatings, including 5 years in Cleveland.

    You may be surprised to hear that I have never had a female mentor at any of my jobs.  This has not been because of my lack of interest in such, but rather due to scarcity of supply.  Of the Fortune 500, 488 are led by male CEOs, and men hold 84% of the Board seats.  Four-hundred of the Fortune 500 General Counsel are men. While companies with 3 or more women on their Boards enjoy a higher Return on Investment, 100 companies in the Fortune 500 have decided not to place a single woman on their Boards.

    I am not here to say that one gender is better than the other.  Simply, women are different than men.  This is not unlike saying that Baby Boomers are different than Gen X-ers when companies look at marketing strategies. Different groups of people provide a clear value-add, as they present new life experiences. The same is true for people of color. At  law firms only 1.8% of partners are women of color. The corporate statistics are not much more favorable. We are a better profession than this, and we must do better.  

    In addition to reaching out to the entire state, we are also actively meeting with in-house counsel from both the private and public sectors. With direction from OWBA  Past President, Maria Kortan Sampson of Goodrich, we have formed the first-ever in-house counsel subcommittee. The interest from the in-house segment has been substantial, and we will work together to help law firm women succeed in their practices.  Claudia Herrington and Jennifer Fuller of Scott's have been instrumental in moving this in-house counsel effort forward.

    The Leadership Institute and the Statewide Mentoring Program will further provide lasting value to our members. The Leadership Institute will transform future leaders due to the exemplary service of Valoria Hoover.  She has given her all in everything she has done for us, and we truly thank her. With the extensive experience of Denise Platfoot-Lacey, Angie Courtwright and the entire Leadership Institute Advisory Committee, the Foundation will change the lives of many.

    In the U.S. today, we find ourselves in a presidential election year. The economy is on everyone’s mind. In a few years, average law school debt will exceed $200,000 per student. Almost 125 of our 550 members are law students. They are critically worried about finding a job when they graduate.  

    So in this environment, would I go to law school again?  My answer is yes. My purpose has not changed, it has only become a more firm conviction.

    I went to law school to correct the inequities that the world so heartlessly delivers to the less advantaged, the less favored.  I heard one of our members so eloquently say that the law provides her with the ability to help others while also, in turn, making her strong. And the stronger she becomes the more she can help others. The law allows her a means to this end.  

    After all, even our founding members worked to make people like you and me stronger whom they did not even know. In doing so, they made themselves stronger, they made us stronger, and they made the profession stronger.  

    On behalf of our entire association and foundation leadership teams, thank you for allowing us to serve you this year.

  • 14 May 2012 9:07 AM | Kim Fantaci (Administrator)
    On May 10th, Denise Platfoot Lacey was sworn in as the 3rd President of the Ohio Women's Bar Foundation (OWBF). Platfoot Lacey has been active in both the OWBF and the Ohio Women's Bar Association for many years.

    Platfoot Lacey is currently a professor at the University of Dayton School of Law.

    Professor Lacey joined the Dayton Law faculty in 2007, after having served for two years as the secretary to the Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism for the Supreme Court of Ohio. There she directed all aspects of the Commission's responsibilities and developed policies and activities on its behalf, designed to promote professionalism among Ohio's attorneys and judges. In her capacity as secretary, she served as the spokesperson and representative for the Commission, fostering relationships with Ohio courts, bar associations, law schools and similar Commissions in other jurisdictions to collaborate with, make recommendations to, and assist them in professionalism efforts in the legal profession. She updated the Supreme Court of Ohio regularly on the activities and recommendations of the Commission as well. She regularly developed and taught ethics and professionalism continuing legal education courses in Ohio and designed the curriculum for the Supreme Court of Ohio’s statewide mentoring program pilot (Lawyer to Lawyer Mentoring Program), which launched in 2006 and is currently offered as a permanent program for newly admitted lawyers. She was involved in drafting recommended amendments to Ohio’s New Lawyers Training regulations (Gov. Bar R. X), which were adopted in 2008. She was also one of the initial drafters of A Consumer’s Practical Guide to Managing a Relationship with a Lawyer, which was ultimately published by the Ohio Supreme Court in October 2009.

    Prior to that, Professor Lacey was assistant counsel of the Cleveland Bar Association, now the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, where she investigated allegations of professional misconduct by local attorneys and judges and prosecuted disciplinary cases on behalf of the bar association. She has remained active in the professional responsibility field by serving on the Dayton Bar Association Certified Grievance Committee (2008-2010) and the Bar Examination & Qualifications Committee (2009-Present). Professor Lacey also served as a board trustee of the Ohio Women’s Bar Association from 2008 to 2010. In May 2010, Professor Lacey was honored by the Ohio Women’s Bar Association with the President’s Choice Award, which awards an association member for contribution of support, energy, talent, time and vision.

    While at Dayton Law, Professor Lacey has initiated the Women in the Law Program Series, which provides a forum for discussion on topics of interest to women in the legal profession and provides meaningful opportunities for women law students to network with women in the legal profession. The Women in the Law Program Series includes two facets: the mentoring network series, which creates small groups of women law students and practitioners who engage in on-going meetings for guided discussion on issues relevant to women in the legal profession; and a speakers series, which focuses on discussing women’s perspectives in the legal profession, issues in the profession that uniquely affect women, and practical knowledge and skills that students can use to become successful women practitioners.
  • 11 May 2012 11:24 AM | Kim Fantaci (Administrator)
    On May 10, 2012, the Ohio Women’s Bar Association (OWBA) swore in its 21st President, Michelle Proia, of Marysville, Ohio.
    Michelle M. Proia is a cum laude graduate of the University of Rochester, and a native of Rochester NY.  She received her Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, where she served as an Executive Editor on the Law School’s Journal of Law and Commerce.  Ms. Proia started off her legal career in private law firm practice for three years in Pittsburgh, PA and has since worked as an in-house corporate attorney for the last thirteen years of her practice at Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corporation (Wheeling, WV), RPM International Inc. (Medina, OH) and most currently, Mettler-Toledo, LLC (Columbus, OH).  Her current role is General Counsel – Americas (Producing Organizations) and Assistant Secretary.
    Ms. Proia is President-Elect of the Ohio Women’s Bar Association (OWBA).  She also recently served as Vice Chairperson of the OWBA’s Supreme Court Judicial Ratings Committee, which aids the public in making informed decisions about judicial candidates running for Justice positions on the Ohio Supreme Court.  Ms. Proia also has recently served on the Board of Directors of the United Way of Union County, and also sits on that organization’s Community Investment Committee.  Further, Ms. Proia also currently holds a Board seat with U-CO Industries, Inc., an organization which provides employment for developmentally disabled adults in Union County.  She is a resident of Marysville, OH.  Ms. Proia enjoys spending time with her fiancé Robbie Roe and his two teen-aged sons.
  • 04 May 2012 3:48 PM | Kim Fantaci (Administrator)
    Social media is a phrase that can bring up nightmares of ethical risks and time-consuming efforts on one hand, or happy thoughts of inexpensive and easy marketing on the other. The truth is somewhere in between. Proper and timely use of social media can help expand a network and a career. Improper use can be a time-waster and cause serious embarrassment. But with a little bit of education and a lot of appreciation for its value, social media, combined with more traditional efforts, can help take a legal career from zero to 60 in a surprisingly short period of time. This is especially true for women attorneys. Read more
  • 17 Apr 2012 2:38 PM | Kim Fantaci (Administrator)
    NEWS FLASH: Working mom leaves office at 5:30 to spend time with kids.

    Sadly, this is newsworthy, especially when the mom in question is Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook. By outing herself and urging others to follow her lead, Sandberg did us all a great service. Her announcement is an important step in normalizing and destigmatizing flexible work practices that should be prevailing practices, not exceptions. Read more

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