Ohio State Bar Foundation Announces 2019 Award Winners

September 24, 2019


COLUMBUS, OH (September 24, 2019)— The Ohio State Bar Foundation (OSBF) is pleased to announce four honorees to be recognized at its Annual Awards Dinner, October 4, 2019, at The Exchange at Bridge Park, Dublin.

This year’s honorees include an attorney who has greatly improved the lives of inmates, another who has given selflessly to more than a dozen non-profit agencies, an organization that fights tirelessly for crime victims and an attorney that is on the front lines of fighting the opioid epidemic.

The event is a gathering of all OSBF Fellows, board members, friends and the public from across the state. Attendees will learn more about the individuals and organizations that have impacted Ohio and its residents through the Foundation’s grant-making arm.

“Our honorees this year have made extraordinary contributions in changing lives, while furthering the Foundation’s mission of improving access to justice and helping the public better understand the rule of law,” said Rob Ware, president of the Foundation. “These honorees exemplify the best that Ohio has to offer in upholding the ideals of selfless public service for the greater good.”

Honorees include:

Ritter Award Winner: Richard F. Swope with Swope and Swope, Attorneys at Law, Reynoldsburg
The Ritter Award is the highest honor awarded by the Foundation, given to an attorney for a life time of service. Mr. Swope has spent six decades representing clients, advocating for inmate rights by helping to provide better access to Ohio’s legal system.

Ramey Award for Distinguished Community Service: Donald H. Messinger, Thompson Hine, LLP, Cleveland
This award is given to an Ohio attorney whose career has been exemplified by dedication to public and community service, integrity, honor, courtesy and professionalism. Recipient Donald Messinger has undertaken significant volunteer leadership roles with multiple charitable organizations in Northeast Ohio, including United Way of Greater Cleveland, Legal Aid, Gateway Economic Development Corporation, Circle Health Services, Cleveland Hearing and Speech Center, and Cleveland Pops Orchestra.

Outstanding Program or Organization Award: Ohio Crime Victim Justice Center, Powell, Cincinnati and Cleveland
Given annually, this award highlights a program or organization that promotes improvement in
the Ohio justice system. This year’s recipient, the Ohio Crime Victim Justice Center, is a state-wide non-profit organization that ensures that Ohio state and federal crime victims are treated fairly during the criminal justice process.

Statewide Community Service Award for Attorneys 40 & Under: James K. Stanley, Meigs County Prosecuting Attorney, Pomeroy
Mr. Stanley has passionately combatted the opioid epidemic and addiction crisis in Meigs County, Ohio and has taken proactive measures to prevent addiction and assist recovery before individuals enter the legal system.

John and Ginny Elam Pro Bono Award: Michele Sherrin, Medina
The John and Ginny Elam Pro Bono Award recognizes a lawyer’s exceptional pro bono legal work in the state of Ohio. This year’s recipient, Michele Sherrin has been a long-standing Community Legal Aid volunteer. While maintaining a busy legal practice, Michele has provided pro bono services for the past 10 years to clients with a variety of legal issues.

“We have an outstanding group of award recipients this year,” said Lori Keating, executive director of the Ohio State Bar Foundation. “Each individual and organization has contributed their time, talents and expertise in helping so many Ohioans better their lives. We are deeply honored to recognize them for their contributions.”

To attend the dinner, or to make a donation to the OSBF, please contact Cynthia Kincaid at 614-487-4477.

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