OSBA Litigation Section awards Best Brief honors

CONTACT: Maggie Ostrowski

(614) 487-4425



COLUMBUS (April 7, 2017) – The Litigation Section of the Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA) recently announced the winners of the first-ever Best Brief Awards for 2015, recognizing four outstanding briefs, two drafted by private firms and two drafted by public offices. Earning top honors on the private side were a consortium of firms led by Ice Miller, LLP, and Paul Flowers of Paul W. Flowers Co. L.P.A. The Ohio Attorney General's Office and the Ohio Public Defender's Office were each recognized for drafting the best public briefs.

The briefs were selected from among those filed with the Ohio Supreme Court in 2015, and which were submitted for judging to the OSBA Litigation Section by November of 2016.

"I want to commend the winners and thank our volunteer judges who read through some very persuasive and well-written briefs," Martin Foos, Chair of the OSBA Litigation Section said. "I encourage fellow members of the bar, law students and others with an interest to take the time to read these briefs as outstanding examples in the art of both written and appellate advocacy."

Best Private Briefs

One of the winning private briefs was drafted to defend the constitutionality of amendments, statutes and regulations legalizing gaming in Ohio on behalf of casino and video lottery terminal companies. Ice Miller, LLP was the lead firm on the winning brief, represented by Albert Lin, the primary author, and joined by Matt Fornshell and John Oberle. Also contributing were Christopher Williams, James Lang, Matthew Mendoza, Alexander Reich and Lindsey Sacher of Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLP, Alan Abes of Dinsmore & Shohl LLP, and Charles Saxbe, James Abrams and Irv Berliner of Taft Stettinius & Hollister, LLP.

Paul Flowers of Paul W. Flowers Co. L.P.A. was also honored in the private brief category for his filing on behalf of plaintiff-appellants seeking to overturn a lower court decision in a medical malpractice suit, and to clarify use of the foreseeability defense in civil negligence actions.

Best Public Briefs

On the public side, Zach Keller, Jordan Berman and Ryan Richardson of the Ohio Attorney General's Office drafted one of the best public briefs in defense of the Ohio Ballot Board's ballot language for the statewide issue to legalize marijuana.

The other public brief honoree was Stephen A. Goldmeier of the Ohio Public Defender's Office for his brief arguing that the use of a prior juvenile adjudication to enhance an adult sentence is a violation of a defendant's right to due process.

Without respect to the views expressed in the cases at hand, all briefs were judged based upon the following criteria:

  • Marshalling authorities and facts: Does the brief comprehensively gather the authorities and facts that support the arguments without adding needless or repetitive citations?
  • Organization: Are the issues presented logically and in an order that maximizes persuasiveness?
  • Clarity of writing: Can a reader without subject-matter familiarity understand the argument after reading the brief once? Does the brief flow so that it reads quickly?
  • Persuasiveness: Does the brief combine all the elements of research, organization, prose, and clarity to deliver an effective end product?


The OSBA Litigation Section sponsored the Best Brief Award in an effort to educate the bar, law students and students generally about excellent written and appellate advocacy, as well as to highlight appellate advocacy as a specialized practice. 

Read the winning briefs by following the links below:

Best Private Briefs:

Brief submitted by Ice Miller LLC and others

Brief submitted by Paul W. Flowers Co. L.P.A

Best Public Briefs:

Brief submitted by Attorney General's Office

Brief submitted by Ohio Public Defender's Office


The Ohio State Bar Association, founded in 1880, is a voluntary association representing approximately 28,000 members of the bench and bar of Ohio. 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.


The Litigation Section of the OSBA is comprised of legal professionals interested in all aspects of litigation practice. It provides a valuable forum for those members to interact and to share best practices, information and resources.



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