OSBA Litigation Section awards Best Brief honors



CONTACT: Annie Yamson

(614) 487-4456


Columbus, Ohio (April 5, 2018) –The Litigation Section of the Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA) recently announced the winners of the second annual Best Briefs Awards. These awards recognize four outstanding briefs filed in the Ohio Supreme Court, two drafted by private firms and two drafted by public offices. 


The offices of Ohio Attorney General and the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor took top honors for the best public briefs while the winners from private firms were from the law offices of Porter, Wright, Morris and Arthur, LLP and Organ Cole, LLP. 


"I commend the OSBA Litigation Section for its work to promote collegiality in the profession and to highlight outstanding appellate advocacy in Ohio," said OSBA President Randall Comer. "Congratulations to all this year's honorees – their briefs are a must-read for law students, members of the Bar and all those interested in the art of rhetoric."


The briefs were selected from among those filed with the Ohio Supreme Court during 2016. Offices and firms were permitted to submit up to three briefs from any stage of litigation which were judged on the basis of marshalling authorities and facts, organization, clarity of writing and persuasiveness. Private brief submissions were judged by members of public offices and public briefs were evaluated by attorneys at private firms. The awards will be presented at the OSBA Litigation Section meeting at the All-Ohio Legal Forum on Aug. 23, 2018 at the Hilton Easton.


"We had a fantastic slate of briefs submitted for the competition," Vincent Holzhall, Chair of the OSBA Litigation Section said. "Our winners are a beacon of appellate advocacy at the highest level and a tribute to the Bar in Ohio."


Best Public Briefs

This is the second year that attorneys with the Ohio Attorney General's Office drafted one of the best public briefs, taking home honors for a filing in Ferguson v. State, defending a statute about employer consent to employee dismissals in workers' compensation appeals. State Solicitor Eric Murphy and Chief Deputy Solicitor in the Appeals Section of the Attorney General's office Michael Hendershot were the primary authors. 

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office Anthony T. Miranda also won for his public brief filed in the case of State v. Mohamed. The brief secured a kidnapping conviction that had previously been reversed by the 8th District Court of Appeals. 

Best Private Briefs

Ryan Sherman, a partner with Porter, Wright, Morris and Arthur, LLP, was the primary author in a winning private brief filed in a case that successfully defended Sunoco Pipeline LP's exercise of eminent domain. Contributing authors included Chris Baronzzi, Kathleen Trafford and Brad Hughes. 


Founding Partner of Organ Cole LLP Douglas R. Cole also won for his merit brief in the case of Johnson v. Montgomery, et al.​ The appeal concerned Ohio's Dram Shop Act and contributing authors included Erik J. Clark and David J. Twombly of Organ Cole, LLP and co-counsel Dennis Mulvihill and Stephen D. Behnke of Wright and Schulte, LLC. ​

Section Chair Holzhall also commended the judges of the competition, who reviewed a total of 27 submissions. "The efforts of our volunteer judges are greatly appreciated and their hard work on behalf of the Best Brief competition is wonderful," said Holzhall.


Public Brief Judges

  • John J. Kulewicz, Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP
  • Douglas R. Cole, Organ Cole LLP
  • Lauren S. Kuley, Squire Patton Boggs
  • Kathleen M. Trafford, Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP
  • Irene C. Keyse-Walker, Tucker Ellis | LLP
  • Philip B. Sineneng, Thompson Hine
  • Paul W. Flowers, Paul W. Flowers Co., L.P.A. 
  • Albert Lin, Ice Miller LLP
  • Thomas D. Warren, BakerHostetler
  • Rachel Bloomekatz, Gupta Wessler PLLC


Private Brief Judges

  • Michael J. Hendershot, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine
  • Hannah C. Wilson, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine
  • Evy M. Jarrett, Lucas County Prosecutor's Office 
  • Ronald W. Springman, Jr., Hamilton County Prosecutor
  • Seth L. Gilbert, Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney
  • Andrew T. French, Montgomery County Prosecutor's Office
  • Bret S. Hammond, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office
  • Craig M. Jaquith, Ohio Public Defender
  • Richard A. Cline, Ohio Public Defender
  • Brooke M. Burns, Ohio Public Defender
  • Katherine E. Mullin, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office

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

Submissions for the 2018 Best Brief Awards are open from April 1 through June 1, 2018. Entries must be briefs filed in the Ohio Supreme Court in 2017 and can be submitted here.

About the Ohio State Bar Association
The Ohio State Bar Association, founded in 1880, is a voluntary association representing approximately 26,000 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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