2012 OSBA Convention recap

Supreme Court of Ohio Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor told the membership of the Ohio State Bar Association on May 3 at the OSBA Annual Convention in Cincinnati that properly funding Ohio’s courts not only keeps courthouse doors open but serves a far greater purpose: ensuring access to justice for the state’s citizens.

Each year the Chief Justice speaks during the Annual Convention of the association that represents about 25,000 members of the bench and bar. This was Chief Justice O’Connor’s second annual address.

“Open and accessible courts are not a luxury,” she said. “They are an absolute necessity in a free and civilized society. They are guaranteed in the Ohio and U.S. constitutions.”

She referenced the American Bar Association’s 2012 Law Day theme of “No Courts. No Justice. No Freedom.” in her remarks. She also noted that ABA President Bill Robinson has made solving court funding his number one issue and priority during his year-long term.

Chief Justice O’Connor also gave an update on the progress of the Task Force on the Funding of Ohio Courts. The group has met twice and will continue to meet throughout this year and next. It was formed to look beyond the immediate financial situation and examine long-term solutions to strengthen the financial picture of Ohio’s courts.

“We who work in the legal system can’t simply bemoan the lack of funding for courts and the consequences and leave it at that,” Chief Justice O’Connor said. “We can’t make demands only to keep a sinking ship afloat. We must make an effort to think differently. Improving the delivery of services is paramount even if we weren’t faced with the financial constraints.”

At the conclusion of her remarks, Chief Justice O’Connor presented the association’s fifth John C. and Ginny Elam Pro Bono Award to Columbus attorney James Feibel.

The OSBA Convention also included these highlights:

  • Judge Mary Jane Trapp of the Eleventh District Court of Appeals received the Nettie Cronise Lutes Award, which recognizes women lawyers who have improved the legal profession through their own high level of professionalism and who have opened doors for other women;
  • Cincinnati attorney John J. Mueller received the Eugene R. Weir Award for ethics and professionalism, which recognizes the demonstration of exceptional professional responsibility among Ohio lawyers;
  • Cincinnati attorney John S. “Jack” Stith received the Ohio Bar Medal Award, which is the OSBA’s highest honor and recognizes a member who exemplifies unusually meritorious service to the legal profession, to the community and to humanity;
  • The OSBA received the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation Pro Bono Award, which recognizes outstanding pro bono service;
  • The OSBA president's gavel was ceremoniously passed to Judge Patrick Fischer of Cincinnati. He will officially become president on July 1, 2012; and
  • Dayton attorney Jonathan Hollingsworth became the new OSBA president-elect. He will take office as OSBA president on July 1, 2013.
Read the complete text of Chief Justice O'Connor's OSBA Convention speech.

Future OSBA Convention schedule

  • 2013 Annual Convention, Cleveland, May 8-10
  • 2014 Annual Convention, Columbus, April 30-May 2



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