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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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:
Read the complete text of Chief Justice O'Connor's OSBA Convention speech.
- 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.
Future OSBA Convention
2013 Annual Convention, Cleveland, May 8-10
2014 Annual Convention, Columbus, April 30-May