CONTACT: Kenneth A. Brown, OSBA, 800-282-6556 or 614-487-4426
Columbus, OHIO (Sept. 26, 2012) – Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA) President Judge Patrick F. Fischer has appointed five Akron-area lawyers to head OSBA committees and sections for 2012-2013. The OSBA maintains 40 standing committees and 11 sections, each of which monitors a particular area of law. Committees and sections work to improve the justice system by keeping Ohio lawyers informed about the latest court decisions and regulatory changes. In addition, they comment on bills before the Ohio General Assembly and draft their own legislative proposals to improve existing laws.
Ronald E. Alexander has been appointed to chair the Administrative Law Committee. Alexander received his B.A. in History from The Ohio State University and his J.D from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. He was a resident fellow at the Center of Study of Financial Institutions and Securities Markets, and subsequently received his LL.M. in Securities Law at the University of Pennsylvania College of Law. Alexander is certified by the OSBA as a specialist in Administrative Agency Law, one of only four Ohio attorneys who have attained this specialty certification. Alexander’s practice areas include real estate, administrative law, regulation of financial institutions, securities and business law. In his role as an impartial hearing officer (IHO) for the Ohio Department of Education for the past three decades, he has heard scores of due process complaints and has prepared many written decisions resulting from due process hearings. He has also served as legislative counsel to the Ohio General Assembly’s House and Senate Committees on Financial Institutions, superintendent of Ohio Division of Building and Loan Associations, and as a fulltime tenured professor at the University of Akron School of Law (Outstanding Professor of Law Award, 1984). In his community, he has served as president of the Stow City Council and as chair of the Council’s Planning Committee.
Thomas P. Coffee has been appointed to chair the Insurance Staff Counsel Committee. Employed by Nationwide Mutual Insurance since 1986, Coffee has worked as a claims representative, claims attorney, trial attorney and managing attorney. He has also served as a regional attorney with Nationwide’s trial division since 2005 and is responsible for litigation in Ohio, Michigan and West Virginia. Coffee received his undergraduate degree from Kent State University and his law degree from the University of Akron School of Law. He is a member of both the Stark County Bar Association and the Ohio Association of Civil Trial Lawyers. In the community, he has been involved with the Cleveland Legal Aid Society Pro Bono Brief Advice Clinics for the last two years. Coffee and his wife, Stacey, have one son, Sam.
William D. Dowling has been appointed to chair the Access to Justice Committee. Dowling has a private mediation practice and is of counsel with Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs LLP in Akron. He received both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in education from The Ohio State University, and went on to earn his law degree from Yale University Law School. Dowling is a member of the mediation panel for the Federal District Court of Northeastern Ohio and an adjunct faculty member for the University of Akron School of Law. In addition to serving on the OSBA’s Council of Delegates, he is a past president of the Akron Bar Association and currently chairs its Judicial Campaign Conduct Commission. Dowling serves on the board of the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation, the Akron Symphony and the Interfaith Hospitality Network for Summit County. An AV-rated attorney, he was named an Ohio Super Lawyer from 2007 to 2012. He has lectured at seminars and law schools on product liability, trial practice, insurance law, legal ethics and alternative dispute resolution. Dowling and his wife, Lynne, have two grown children.
Leigh Herington has been appointed to chair the Public Utilities Law Committee. A partner in the firm Christley, Herington & Pierce, Herington recently retired as executive director of the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council (NOPEC). NOPEC is a public entity that represents more than 160 communities and nearly 600,000 residential and small business customers that aggregate to save on costs of electricity and natural gas. Herington, who has represented public institutions for more than 30 years, served in the Ohio Senate from 1995 through 2003. He was one of the seven members of the legislature that authored SB3 (1999), the legislation that resulted in deregulation of the generation of electricity in Ohio. After having served as a senator for less than two years, he assumed leadership roles as assistant minority whip from 1997 to 1999 and assistant minority leader from 2000 through 2001. In 2001, he was elected minority leader, a position he held until he voluntarily stepped down to run for Ohio Attorney General in 2002. He has been a member of the OSBA for more than 30 years, and earlier this year served as its representative on the Public Utility Commission of Ohio (PUCO) Nominating Council. Herington received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in business administration from Kent State University, and his law degree from the University of Akron. He is married and has two daughters and five grandchildren.
Michael R. Stith has been appointed to chair the Intellectual Property Law Section. Stith began his practice of law in the U.S. Army, which he joined in 1967 as a cadet at West Point. In 1973, he was reassigned from a combat arms position due to injury, and was appointed as a brigade legal officer with the 82nd Airborne Division. In this position, he was responsible for the administration of a criminal justice system that governed approximately 3,000 service men and women, the largest in the 82nd Airborne, in the only brigade large enough to require a legal officer. In 1976, Stith left the Army to obtain a law degree, and graduated from the University of Akron School of Law in 1979. Since then, he has concentrated his practice on engineering law in both the public and private sectors. Having worked as an attorney for the Babcock & Wilcox Company (electric utility boilers), the Ruhlin Company (highway, heavy, roadway, bridge, and commercial construction), and for the Summit County Engineer (public road & bridge construction), he is now in private practice. Stith is licensed, certified or registered to practice before all Ohio courts, federal and state, as well as before the United States Patent & Trademark Office (the “PTO”), U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and serves as an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association, Construction Arbitration Tribunal. He is the outgoing chair of the OSBA Construction Law Committee and current Commander of the Disabled American Veterans, Department of Ohio.
The Ohio State Bar Association, founded in 1880, is a voluntary association representing approximately 25,000 members of the bench and bar of Ohio as well as nearly 4,000 legal assistants and law students. Through its activities and the activities of its related organizations, the OSBA serves both its members and the public by promoting the highest standards in the practice of law and the administration of justice.