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OSBA honors Judge Trapp with women lawyers' award

Judge Mary Jane TrappJudge Mary Jane Trapp of the 11th District Court of Appeals, which serves Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake, Portage and Trumbull counties, has been selected as the 2012 recipient of the Ohio State Bar Association’s Nettie Cronise Lutes Award. The award was given at the OSBA Annual Convention in Cincinnati.

The Nettie Cronise Lutes Award, created by the OSBA Women in the Profession Section, recognizes women lawyers who have “improved the legal profession through their own high level of professionalism and who have opened doors for other women and girls.” It also honors the first woman to practice law in Ohio.

Judge Trapp was elected to the Ohio Court of Appeals, Eleventh Appellate District in November 2006, and served a two-year term as its presiding/administrative judge in 2009 and 2010, after having served as its administrative judge in 2008. Judge Trapp has also served as a visiting judge on the Supreme Court of Ohio and in the Sixth, Seventh, Eighth and Ninth appellate districts.

A graduate of the Columbus School for Girls and Mount Holyoke College, Judge Trapp received her law degree from Case Western Reserve University. She is the first Ohio court of appeals judge to have been selected by the Council of State Governments to receive the nationally prestigious Toll Fellowship. For her work in establishing pro bono foreclosure mediation programs in all five counties she serves, Judge Trapp also received the President’s Award from the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation.

Judge Trapp spent more than 25 years in a general civil and criminal trial and appellate practice in federal courts in Ohio and Pennsylvania and in Ohio courts at all levels. She also practiced before federal and state administrative agencies. Judge Trapp served as a mediator and as arbitrator for the Geauga and Cuyahoga County Common Pleas courts, and as a guardian ad litem for children in domestic relations court.

Judge Trapp served for six years on the Supreme Court of Ohio Rules Advisory Committee and its appellate rules subcommittee, and three years as the designee of the Ohio Courts of Appeals Judges Association on the Supreme Court of Ohio Commission on the Rules of Practice and Procedure. She also served as chair of the Appellate Rules Subcommittee. The late Chief Justice Thomas Moyer appointed Judge Trapp to serve on the 11-member Task Force to Review Ohio’s Disciplinary System. She is a member of the Ohio Judicial Conference’s Civil Law and Procedure Committee and the Board of Editors of the Ohio Jury Instructions. Judge Trapp also serves on the Ohio Judicial College’s Curriculum Planning Committee.

A leader at the state and national level in issues of administration of justice and legal reform and past president of the OSBA, Judge Trapp served as the OSBA delegate to the American Bar Association House of Delegates, and now serves as the delegate from the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association. She is a Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and a Life Fellow of the Ohio State Bar Foundation. She also is a Life Member of the Judicial Conference of the Eighth Judicial District, and has received the Founders’ Award from the Ohio Women’s Bar Association.

Still actively involved with the OSBA, Judge Trapp is a member of its Judicial Administration and Legal Reform Committee and has chaired that committee on two different occasions. She has also served on a subcommittee of the Supreme Court of Ohio Committee on Technology; as a member of three Supreme Court of Ohio boards of commissioners (Professionalism, the Unauthorized Practice of Law, and Continuing Legal Education); and as a member of the Supreme Court of Ohio Unauthorized Practice of Law Task Force and the Supreme Court of Ohio Records Management Task Force. She also served as a liaison-attorney representative to the Ohio Judicial Conference’s Civil Law and Procedure Committee.

Judge Trapp is active in the Chagrin Valley Women’s Club and the Geauga County Agricultural Society, and in the summer, she serves as a St. Anselm Parish Festival volunteer. She has served as president of the Columbus School for Girls National Alumnae Council and on the school’s board of trustees. She is also a charter member of the United Way of Lake County’s Women’s Leadership Initiative.

Both an author and lecturer, Judge Trapp has written a chapter of a book on civil rules and trial practice, and regularly lectures on the topics of ethics and professionalism, the civil rules and rules of evidence, appellate practice, trial practice for women lawyers, nursing home negligence, living wills and durable powers of attorney for health care, the unauthorized practice of law and judicial selection.

Judge Trapp is married to Attorney Mike Apicella, and has four step-children and three step-grandchildren. They reside in Geauga County.

Carol Seubert Marx, president of the OSBA, said of Judge Trapp, “This award honors women who have served the legal profession with distinction and who have improved opportunities for women in the profession. Judge Trapp is a shining example of that commitment. She has been a guiding spirit for countless young women who aspire to the bench and bar, and it is a great pleasure to honor her for all that she has done.”

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