|John S. Stith, a partner in the Cincinnati office of Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP, has been named the 2012 recipient of the Ohio State Bar Association’s highest honor, the Ohio Bar Medal Award. Each year, this award is given to honorees who exemplify unusually meritorious service to the legal profession, to the community and to humanity. Stith received this honor at the OSBA’s Annual Convention in Cincinnati.
“There are few lawyers today who have made greater contributions to the legal profession and the OSBA than Jack Stith,” said Carol Seubert Marx, OSBA president. “He has provided the kind of leadership that has positioned the OSBA as one of the best and most responsive bar associations in the nation. He is well-known and well-respected in the Cincinnati community as a lawyer, legal community leader and community volunteer.”
Stith has long been a leader in both the legal profession and the Cincinnati business community, and has substantial involvement with the nonprofit sector, both as a professional advisor and as a volunteer.
During his career of more than 45 years in the Cincinnati legal community, Stith has advised a varied list of clients on matters of general business and corporate law; business structure, organization, and governance; securities law; fiduciary responsibilities, indemnification, and insurance coverage of directors and officers; mergers, acquisitions, and dispositions; capital formation, including venture capital; and complex contract issues. He has extensive experience in working with public companies and with entrepreneurial businesses of all kinds.
Stith served as outside general counsel for the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce (now the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber) for nearly 20 years. In addition, he has been listed in every edition of The Best Lawyers in America® since 1993 in the area of corporate law. Stith has received numerous awards for professional excellence and community service. He has been a part of many civic, church-related, youth-oriented and other charitable activities, including The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, where he chaired the governing board for an unprecedented three years; the Dan Beard Council, Boy Scouts of America; the Cincinnati Museum Center; Cincinnati Arts Festival; Leadership Cincinnati; Cancer Family Care; and the Hyde Park Center for Older Adults. He currently serves as outside general counsel for World Choir Games 2012. He also remains active as a leader at Knox Presbyterian Church in the Hyde Park area of Cincinnati.
During his tenure as president of the OSBA, Stith oversaw the strategic plan that, as modified, is currently in operation, and he initiated an in-depth review of the OSBA’s constitution and other governance issues. He has been a key advocate of several measures, including entrepreneurial activities, that have enabled the OSBA to continue as one of the most effective professional organizations in the United States.
Stith currently chairs the board of the Ohio Bar Liability Insurance Company, an OSBA affiliate that provides professional liability insurance to lawyers. He also serves on the board of the Ohio State Bar Foundation, the OSBA’s charitable affiliate.
A former president of the Cincinnati Bar Association, Stith is the former chair of the Supreme Court of Ohio Commission on Professionalism. He was also a member of the Founders’ Steering Committee for the Cincinnati Academy of Leadership for Lawyers and a long-time member of the National Conference of Bar Presidents. He continues to serve on the Supreme Court of Ohio Task Force on Commercial Dockets.
A graduate of Walnut Hills High School and of Princeton University with a major in history, Stith earned his law degree in 1964 from the University of Cincinnati College of Law, where he was editor in chief of the University of Cincinnati Law Review and a member of the Order of the Coif. In 1992 he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the College of Law Alumni Association for excellence and achievement in his field of practice.
An Eagle Scout, he is also a 50-year veteran who has been registered in various capacities with the Dan Beard Council of the Boy Scouts of America. He has received the Silver Beaver Award for outstanding service to community youth from that organization.
Stith and his wife, Bette, reside in Cincinnati and have been married for 51 years. They have three adult children and three grandchildren.