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Family influences young Cincinnati lawyer

Brandi StewartBrandi Stewart was eight years old when she wrote for a school assignment that she wanted to go to law school and be a police officer when she grew up. Thanks in large part to the support and role modeling provided by her family, half of Stewart’s childhood dream came true.

While her father John Stewart’s career as a prosecutor and criminal defense attorney provided a role model for Stewart in her early legal career at Keating Muething & Klekamp in Cincinnati, her grandmother has inspired her community involvement.

“My grandmother ran a soup kitchen at our church in Louisville, Kentucky, and I worked every summer with her,” Stewart said. “A lot of her lessons to me were: treat everyone with respect, be involved and give back.”

Stewart currently serves a number of different organizations in the Cincinnati area. She serves on the board of trustees for both Chatfield College and the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority. She is also her law firm’s representative to the Greater Cincinnati Minority Council Program and recently finished a term as vice president of the Black Lawyers Association of Cincinnati.

“The job is important, but there has to be something other than working and making money—we have to give back and make a difference in our community,” she said.

Just as she credits her family for helping her understand the importance of community service, Stewart attributes much of her success in her professional success to mentors. When asked what her advice to new lawyers would be, Stewart said: “Find a mentor—someone you can call on who will give you unfiltered advice. It’s also important to make sure you’re doing something that you love, give it 100 percent, and be prepared to make mistakes.”

An at-large member of the Ohio State Bar Association’s Board of Governors, Stewart has identified staying relevant in a wired society as a top challenge. She notes of the evolving legal market: “There is a cultural shift away from the traditional face-to-face meeting to more computer-based connections. As an association, we have to evolve in order to keep up with the next generation of lawyers.”

Since her graduation from the University of Kentucky College of Law six years ago, Stewart’s legal practice has focused on business and commercial litigation, insurance defense and products liability.

“The one thing I find most appealing about being a lawyer is also the one thing that keeps me up at night,” said Stewart. “There are times the law is black and white, and times when it’s not, so you have to use your best judgment. I love that part of it.”

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