attorneys never get the chance to trek in the mountains of Africa to watch
gorillas or camp under the stars in the Serengeti, but Susan Rector
Rector’s work as an intellectual property attorney and
partner at Ice Miller LLP in Columbus presented her with a unique opportunity to
join the board at the Columbus Zoo in 1998, and she has been an active member
and animal advocate ever since.
“I knew the development director at the zoo, and I was
helping her with some trademark work when she asked me to join the development
committee,” Rector explained. Rector became chair of the committee and later
served as the zoo’s board president.
Currently, the zoo is focusing its efforts on the issue of
sustainability and the survival of species in captivity. Rector claims that zoos
across the nation are concerned with the survival of 572 species in captivity.
Fortunately, the Columbus Zoo has the research and support to be at the
forefront of progress in reversing the troubling trend.
“The zoo has more than 500 acres of space for the animals,
as well as 10,000 acres of breeding grounds in Muskingum County,” Rector said,
adding that within the next year, the board will hire a population biologist to
analyze the situation and work toward a solution. “Ohio is fortunate to have
five quality zoos,” she commented. “Success breeds success.”
her spare time, Rector enjoys traveling all over the world with her husband,
Neil. Her favorite experiences have been observing the mountain gorillas in
Rwanda and Uganda. She noted, “It was a total thrill to see them in their
natural habitat. They’re very curious.” In one instance, a juvenile gorilla
approached her husband, stomped on his foot and ran away. She described this as
“something a child would do.”
Rector completed her undergraduate studies at Wake Forest
University in 1981, with a degree in economics. She then attended the University
of North Carolina School of Law, receiving her juris doctorate in 1984. Rector
first became interested in the law as a young child. She said, “I was always
interested in what the law was, especially the policy and business side.” Having
come up through the ranks as a business lawyer, she soon gravitated toward
intellectual property law. Rector finds great satisfaction in helping clients
protect the intellectual property they develop. “I love the variety of law and
being a problem-solver for business owners, helping to advance their personal
and professional objectives,” she said.
A member of the Ohio State Bar Association since 1987,
Rector served on the Intellectual Property Board of Governors from 1998 to 2003.
She is an active participant in the nonprofit community and with organizations
of women business owners. She and her husband Neil, also an attorney, live in