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  • 12 Jul 2011 8:42 AM | Kim Fantaci (Administrator)

    On July 12, 1984, Representative Geraldine Ferraro (D-New York) became the first female vice-presidential candidate from a major political party. Ferraro was picked as the running mate for Democratic presidential nominee Walter Mondale (D-Minnesota).

  • 07 Jul 2011 6:41 PM | Kim Fantaci (Administrator)
    As I rushed into the Phoenix for Cincinnati’s Leading with Style event (OK, OK … waddled into the Phoenix … I’m six months pregnant and definitely not winning any land-speed contests lately), I was feeling like my usual self: slightly frazzled, sweaty and annoyed with myself for spending an extra 10 minutes seeking out a parking space that would save me every bit of three steps walking into the venue. However, once I took my seat in Chanel’s ultra-glamorous makeup lounge where no less than a pound of expensive beauty products were artfully applied to my still sweaty face and slipped into a posh maternity runway dress, I felt transformed into the legal profession’s version of a Kardashian!

    Uh, really? A Kardashian? No, that’s a bit of a stretch, I admit. I was still me in all my frazzled glory, but for a few hours I did enjoy feeling like a slightly more chic version of myself. And quite frankly, that is what the OWBA’s Leading with Style event aims to accomplish, an occasion focused on providing local attorneys and businesswomen an opportunity to evaluate and refresh their professional image while unwinding with colleagues and meeting new friends. The event was held on June 23, at the Phoenix, a lovely, historical reception center located in downtown Cincinnati. Nearly 100 legal and business professionals were in attendance, including members of the local judiciary. The crowd spent a relaxing evening shopping among the eclectic mix of vendors, receiving makeovers, sipping cocktails and sampling hors d’oeuvres. A large silent auction was held, benefitting both Bethany House Services, a Cincinnati non-profit organization that provides housing, education and assistance programs to homeless and disadvantaged women and children, and the Ohio Women’s Bar Foundation.

    A fashion show featuring styles from Brooks Brothers, Boutique 280, Trottas and Macy’s rounded out the evening with a flourish. I had been tapped to “model” (I use that term loosely) a maternity look provided by Boutique 280. I had agreed to subject myself to this potential public humiliation because:

    1. As a member of the Leading with Style planning committee, I wanted to help out a fellow committee member; and
    2. I’m hopelessly vain and can never bear to turn down an opportunity to get dolled up and wear a beautiful outfit.  

    However, as I prepared to take my walk down the runway, I looked at my fellow models, most of whom were lovely, lithe creatures at least five years younger than me, and started to deeply regret my decision. Luckily, as I made my way down the runway, a group of my friends (as well as a few strategically placed members of the audience I paid off) broke into applause and gave me the confidence to complete my walk like the Kardashian … err, frazzled mother of a toddler (and one on the way) that I am!

    In all, the evening was a wonderful success for the OWBA and I’m proud to have had a hand in planning it along with a terrific group of women. Whether attendees were attracted by the chance to network with other professionals, the opportunity to update their looks, the ability to mix and mingle among friends, contribute to a charitable cause, or maybe see a pregnant lady fall off the runway, Cincinnati’s Leading with Style event had a little something special for everyone to enjoy.  

    Sarah M. Foster is a 2009 graduate of NKU Chase College of Law and has spent the past two years as an associate attorney for Cors & Bassett, LLC.  

  • 07 Jul 2011 2:18 PM | Kim Fantaci (Administrator)
    Thirty years ago today, on July 7, 1981, President Ronald Reagan nominated Sandra Day O'Connor as the first woman Supreme Court Justice.
  • 07 Jul 2011 12:37 PM | Kim Fantaci (Administrator)

    On May 25, 2011, the Toledo Women's Bar Association awarded FBA-NDOC board member, Catherine Garcia-Feehan, the Arabella Babb Mansfield Award at its annual meeting. This award is bestowed on an individual lawyer who has made a significant contribution to the legal profession, assisted other women lawyers in achieving success, or improved the status of women through hard work, devotion and example. It is named after Arabella Babb Mansfield, who passed the Iowa bar exam in 1869 and went on to become the first woman licensed to practice law in the United States. The award was presented by FBA members, Judges David A. Katz, and James G. Carr (the 2011 Arabella Babb Mansfield Award recipient).  Catherine is a career law clerk to Judge Katz and previously clerked for the late Hon. Nicholas J. Walinski and the Hon. David D. Dowd. Catherine is a current member of the Ohio Women's Bar Association.

  • 15 Jun 2011 12:10 PM | Kim Fantaci (Administrator)
    The Women in the Law Forum released its initial list of law firms that have integrated women in top leadership positions... Read more
  • 07 Jun 2011 12:28 PM | Kim Fantaci (Administrator)
    The Ohio Women’s Bar Association (OWBA) had its 2011 Women’s Forum & Annual Meeting Wednesday, May 18, 2011, at the Hyatt on Capitol Square in downtown Columbus. The theme of the event was Celebrating 20 years, Inspiring 20 More! The event kicked off the OWBA’s 20 year anniversary celebration and served as the first of many momentous events honoring OWBA’s contributions--past, present and future--to Ohio’s legal community.

    This year the OWBA honored and celebrated its three co-founders: The Honorable Alice Robie Resnick, The Honorable Patricia A. Hemann and Pamela N. Hultin, who attended the event. Special guest Supreme Court of Ohio Justice Yvette McGee Brown administered the oath of office to the OWBA and Ohio Women’s Bar Foundation (OWBF) 2011-2012 officers and trustees.

    The OWBA presented the Family Friendly Award to the firm of Perez & Morris LLC. The OWBF presented its Leadership Institute Class of 2011-2012 and the Law Student Scholarship award to two worthy Ohio law students, Zoe Lamberson and Kathryn McBride. In addition, OWBA and OWBF President Valoria C. Hoover presented the President’s Choice award to Laura A. Sanom and Gerry Cotter.

    The Annual Meeting highlighted and featured a keynote video designed to tell the story of the OWBA, honor its founders and inspire women lawyers across Ohio. The video featured Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, Pamela Hultin, Kathy Ransier and Maria Kortan-Sampson. The Women’s Forum event also included two continuing legal education seminars.

  • 06 Jun 2011 12:01 PM | Kim Fantaci (Administrator)
    Each year the OBWA presents the Family Friendly Award to a law firm that promotes a work-life balance. “Perez & Morris exemplifies a work-life balance by recruiting woman attorneys, and creating a flexible compensation system and the option to work from home with the latest technology so work can be done efficiently,” said OWBA Past President Valoria C. Hoover.  

    The OWBA Family Friendly Committee selected Perez & Morris out of numerous nominations. “The committee noted the firm’s size, which made the application all the more impressive, as well as all the written testimonials,” said Hoover. The application came with seven testimonials from employees. The following is an excerpt from one of the testimonials:

    I joined Perez and Morris in 2003, three months after the birth of my second child. The transition from a large firm to a smaller one had its challenges at first but John and Troy exceeded my expectations with providing the latest technology available to allow me not only flexibility but to be more efficient. Eight months after joining the firm I became pregnant. I approached John and Troy and they helped me to set up a home office complete with voice recognition software so that I could work as easily from home as from the office. In the several months before my third child was born, I found myself working from home at various times that were convenient for me. It created an environment for me where work was not the anchor but something I enjoyed doing. Our clients were thrilled with the service they were receiving and it was something in which I took pride.

    Perez & Morris was recognized at the 2011 Women’s Forum & Annual Meeting on Wednesday, May 18, 2011, at the Hyatt on Capitol Square in downtown Columbus.  The event kicked off the OWBA’s 20 year anniversary celebration and will serve as the first of many momentous events honoring OWBA’s contributions - past, present and future - to Ohio’s legal community.

  • 18 May 2011 3:34 PM | Kim Fantaci (Administrator)

    Columbus attorney Jennifer Breech Rhoads was sworn in as the 20th president of the Ohio Women’s Bar Association (OWBA) at the association’s annual meeting held yesterday in Columbus.  

    “It’s an honor to have been chosen to serve as president of such a distinguished group of women professionals, particularly at this historic milestone as the OWBA celebrates its 20th year,” Rhoads said. “The face of business is rapidly evolving.  It’s my priority to ensure that the OWBA is a leader in supporting Ohio’s women attorneys in this ever-changing environment.”

    Rhoads is president and chief executive officer of the Ohio Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association (OPMCA). She chaired the OWBA Annual Meeting Committee and the Long Range Planning Committee, a committee tasked with creating a future vision for the OWBA. Rhoads has previously served as president-elect, secretary, and trustee of the OWBA.

    Rhoads is active in the petroleum industry, having been appointed to the Ohio Fire Commission in 2003 by Governor Bob Taft where she represented the flammable liquids industry.  She was reappointed by Governor Ted Strickland in 2009.  Rhoads was recently elected Vice Chairman of the Commission marking the first time a woman has served in this capacity and the second time a representative from the petroleum industry has served in a strategic leadership position on the Commission. 

    Rhoads earned her Juris Doctorate from Saint Louis University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree from The Ohio State University. She started her career as an assistant attorney general for the State of Ohio, and later served as chief legal counsel for OPMCA, handling regulatory and legal issues for the industry, a position she held for more than 10 years before being named president and CEO. 

    Rhoads has two children, Allison and Adam, and resides in Worthington, OH.

  • 10 Jan 2011 12:01 PM | Kim Fantaci (Administrator)
    Below is the speech given by Ohio Women’s Bar Association President Valoria C. Hoover at the swearing in cere- mony for Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor on Jan. 7, 2011, in Columbus, Ohio. To view the ceremony, go to the following link:

    It is customary for anyone speaking at these great occasions to begin her re- marks with the phrase, “it is my great honor” or “my rare privilege,” or per- haps “I have the distinct pleasure.” Well, believe me, it is all those things and more. Honor. Privilege. Pleasure.

    But today Chief Justice O’Connor, members of the court, honored guests, my presence here today is a time of joy! Joy to be saying a few words in honor of my bar colleague, a role model and my friend, Maureen O’Connor, as she makes history and becomes the 10th chief justice of the Ohio Supreme Court.

    I said my friend, as Chief Justice O’Con- nor has on occasion jokingly lamented that when she be- came a judge she lost her first name as friends no longer called her Maureen but Judge. Today, I will take a small liberty and occasionally refer to Chief Justice O’Connor as Mau- reen.

    To be sure I also said, “Makes history.” And indeed this is a day to mark in history, for Maureen, for members of my organiza- tion, the Ohio Women’s Bar Association, for everyone in our profession, for this Court and for the great State of Ohio.
    This isn’t the first time Maureen has made history in her career. Nor is there any rea- son to think it should be the last. Certainly this state and nation have seen women at- torneys make historyundefinedin reaching the pin- nacle. Among them: Nettie Cronise Lutes, Ohio’s first woman attorney; Justice Flo- rence Allen, first woman on the Ohio Supreme Court; Ohio Attorney General Betty Montgomery; U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno; Justice Sandra Day O’Connor; Justice Sonia Sotomayor; and most re- cently, Justice Yvette McGee Brown.

    But I am certain that history was never the first thing on the mind for any of those women. It wasn’t on Maureen’s mind when she crossed important thresh- olds earlier in her career or for the one she’s crossing today.

    The remarkable story of her truly re- markable career isn’t one about history or about being among the first or even being the very first. It has always been about being the best. About being a leader. About being the one who takes on an assignment with the determination and strength of character and professional ex- perience to do that job better than anyone else. And then exceeding even those lofty expectations!

    Being first or among the first has always been the least of it. Performing at the level of the very best in her calling is the one and only expectation she set for herself at every turn. And Maureen has met that goal, surpassed that goal on each occasion.
    She may have been breaking through ceil- ings with regularity, but she’s done that with both feet planted firmly on the floor: sure, steady and solid in her professional- ism, integrity, diligence and commitment.

    I have had the great honor (and yes, I’ll also use the phrase “rare privilege” be- cause it fits) of seeing these qualities in Maureen first-hand, as her career has flourished and her extraordinary leader- ship emerged. I saw those qualities in the days when I observed Magistrate and then, Judge Maureen O’Connor on the trial bench in Summit County and as Ad- ministrative Judge during a time when I was working there with the Ninth District Court of Appeals. From my time as a staff attorney at the Ohio Supreme Court, I fol- lowed her career as she was elected Sum- mit County Prosecutor O’Connor and built a record of service and tenacity that led to statewide leadership roles as Lieu- tenant Governor of Ohio and Director of Public Safety, a position that perhaps was the most demanding cabinet role in the months following 9-11.

    So it was no surprise to me or to anyone who had witnessed her performance in those roles to see Maureen elected (by sizeable margins) to two terms as Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court. And now with another strong electoral showing as the overwhelming choice for Ohio’s high- est judicial office.

    The latest step in her career may sound a bit grand to some, but being grand (like doing something just to be the first) is not Maureen’s style. In fact, she has shown a steadfast determination as Supreme Court Justice and now, as Chief Justice not to wall herself up in some judicial ivory tower. She doesn’t let herself be removed from the lives of everyday Ohioans or from appropriate involvement with those who share her passion for the law.

    The Ohio Women’s Bar Association bene- fits greatly from her keen interest and in- volvement. For example, she has agreed to join 11 colleagues from across the state to serve as advisors to our new Ohio Women’s Bar Foundation Leadership In- stitute. Next week, just days after her ad- vancement to Chief Justice, she will be with us for the advisory committee’s first meeting and help us develop programs for emerging leaders among women attorneys in the early stages of their careers.

    Our association and other professional organizations that rate judges and jus- tices base their evaluations on several key criteria, including integrity, judicial temperament, diligence, profes- sional competence and community involvement and understanding. That’s not merely an assembly of grandiose words to be checked off as we work our way down a rating form. These are very meaningful, quantifi- able and essential qualities that mem- bers of the bar look for in a judge, especially for someone who will lead our highest court.

    Those are also exactly the qualities Maureen has demonstrated from her ear- liest days on the trial bench. But Mau- reen also possesses one crucial criterion that isn’t on anyone’s official list for ju- dicial ratings. Yet, it may be the most important quality of all, the most telling as a predictor of judicial temperament, fairness and leadership. And that is Maureen’s unfailing talent for and com- mitment to listening. That’s a rare judi- cial talent alas, much more rare than it should be today. But I saw Maureen use it early in her judicial career in Summit County. And we can all see that today here in this courtroom or on the tele- vised proceedings. (Watch those re- runs. The art of listening is visible and with Maureen, the intensity of her focus comes across in almost every shot.) It’s a clear demonstration of Maureen’s ability, insistence really, on letting the practitioners make their case. Yes, from the bench, as always she’ll be challenging with well-pre- pared, probative questions. But also she will be listening, visibly and in- tently listening, and hearing the case, not truncating it.

    I said earlier that Maureen had taken every step of her career with feet planted firmly on the ground, profes- sionally and personally. In taking office today as Chief Justice of this court she is also aware of the ways her feet now follow in the steps of Chief Justice Tom Moyer. What footsteps to follow! Our late, beloved Chief Justice was also a judge who listened. And with that gift and all his other matchless qualities, he was exactly the kind of judge, justice, chief justice that members of the bar most admire, whether you agreed with his specific decisions or not.

    I believe that history (there’s that word again) will say the same about Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor.

    And that is why for myself and for my colleagues at the bar it truly is my great honor, my rare privilege, my dis- tinct pleasure and joy to salute Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor on this very special day.
  • 10 Dec 2010 12:12 PM | Kim Fantaci (Administrator)

    During a momentous week for the Ohio judiciary, Yvette McGee Brown was sworn in as the first African- American woman justice in the 207- year history of the Supreme Court of Ohio.    Her swearing-in came after Jus- tice Maureen O'Connor took the oath of office the day before, becoming the first woman to serve as Ohio's chief justice. Governor Ted Strickland ap- pointed former judge McGee Brown to the Supreme Court in early December when the seat became open after Jus- tice O’Connor was elected as Chief Justice in November.

    Governor Strickland administered the oath of office to McGee Brown during a public swearing-in ceremony at the King Arts Complex in the Columbus neighborhood where she was raised. More than 750 people from across Ohio gathered to celebrate the historic event. McGee Brown follows former Justices Robert M. Duncan and Lloyd O. Brown as the third African-Ameri- can member of Ohio’s high court and is the eighth woman to serve on the Court. With her appointment, the Court has its third ever female majority.

    Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, Ohio State Bar Association President Carmen V. Roberto, and Judge Nathaniel R. Jones of the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals offered remarks.

    “And, with her addition, she will com- prise just the third-ever female majority on the Ohio Supreme Court in its his- tory. And, this time, we’re gonna make it stick,” Chief Justice O’Connor said. “I’m happy to call her a colleague, ex- cited that such an accomplished, re- spected public servant has joined the Court, and looking forward to tackling the important work we have ahead of us in a collaborative manner with her and the other members of the Court.”

    Retired Judge Nathaniel R. Jones of- fered remarks on behalf of Ohio’s first African-American justice. Justice Robert M. Duncan was unable to attend the ceremony.

    “Justice Brown arrived at this point of her life after hammering out her thought processundefinedher legal and analyti- cal skillsundefinedon sturdy anvils that con- fronted her in her youth as a child in a single-parent home and through her subsequent achievements grounded in a mental discipline of hard work, in- tegrity, judicial experience, and deter- mination that undergirded a genuine respect for the legal system,” said Judge Jones.

    “This prepared her to search for solu- tions to the complex problems that con- front society. As she pursues her arduous duties as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio, Yvette McGee Brown’s colleagues, the advocates that argue their claims before its bar, and the public at large, will come to know that she, as was Justice Duncan, is a consti- tutionalist,” continued Judge Jones.

    McGee Brown said she was honored to join the Court during historic times. “I have tremendous respect for the Court and the important role it has in our democracy,” she said. “I am humbled by this opportunity and consider it a privi- lege to serve with the other distin- guished jurists on the Court.”

    A series of firsts defines the judicial ca- reer of Justice Yvette McGee Brown. Justice McGee Brown was first elected to the Franklin County Court of Com- mon Pleas, Domestic Relations and Ju- venile Division in 1992. As lead juvenile court judge, McGee Brown led the cre- ation of the Family Drug Court and the SMART Program, truancy and educa- tional neglect intervention program. She served on the court until 2002, when she retired from the bench to create the Cen- ter for Child and Family Advocacy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. She served as founding president until early 2010, when she became a candidate for lieutenant governor of Ohio.

    Justice McGee Brown graduated from Ohio University in 1982 with a degree in journalism/public relations. She contin- ued her education at The Ohio State Uni- versity Moritz College of Law, earning her juris doctorate in 1985. In 2008, Jus- tice McGee Brown was inducted into the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame. Among her many honors, she has received the Champion of Children Award, YWCA Woman of Achievement Award and sev- eral honors from Ohio University and The Ohio State University.

    The Ohio Women’s Bar Association salutes Justice McGee Brown for her groundbreaking work to advance the in- terests of women in and under the law. The OWBA celebrates with pride Justice McGee Brown’s success and remarkable achievements as she continues to make history in her community and in the State of Ohio.

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