2020 Awards Celebration

Meet this year's honorees!

 John and Ginny Elam Pro Bono Award

The John and Ginny Elam Pro Bono Award* was established in 2007 to recognize exceptional pro bono work in the state of Ohio. With the help of Chief Justice Tom Moyer, Ginny Elam created the Award as a tribute to her late husband John Elam who was an advocate for attorneys to provide public service through pro bono activities. Elam generously donated his own time and talents to support the Legal Aid Society of Columbus, as well as other groups working to provide access to the courts for those who are disadvantaged.

Jennifer Himmelein is as a partner at Brouse McDowell, where she focuses her practice in family law, including domestic relations, juvenile, probate, and mediation. She regularly serves as a Court-appointed Guardian ad Litem in Cuyahoga, Lorain, Lake, and Geauga Counties. Jennifer has participated in extensive divorce-related mediation training and is certified as a Parent Coordinator.

Jennifer is very active in her community in Northeast Ohio. She serves as Chair of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association’s (CMBA) Justice For All Committee (JFA) and has been the driving force behind the Pro Se and Pro Se “Plus” Divorce Clinics for almost a decade. The Clinics, a program of the CMBA in partnership with The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland and the Cleveland Law Library, serve financially disadvantaged individuals seeking a simple divorce who have nowhere else to turn.

To learn more about Jennifer, read our recent press release.

*This award is given out by the John and Ginny Elam Pro Bono Award Selection Committee.


RITTER award

The Ritter Award is given each year to recognize an Ohio attorney’s accomplishments in attaining and promoting the highest standards of professionalism, integrity, and ethics in the practice of law, while assisting other attorneys, the courts, and the public to improve the justice system in Ohio.

The Honorable Michael J. Newman currently serves as a United States Magistrate Judge in the Southern District of Ohio. He was appointed as a magistrate judge in 2011 and was reappointed in 2019 to a second eight-year term. This past February, Judge Newman was nominated by President Trump to the United States Federal District Court Judge for the Southern District of Ohio. The Southern District has court locations in Cincinnati, Columbus, and Dayton and serves more than five million Ohioans in 48 counties.   

In his role, Judge Newman piloted a special veterans court in Dayton. With Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the Dayton VA Medical Center located in the community, and the large number of veterans residing in the area, Southwest Ohio makes for a prime region for establishing a court that concentrates on veterans' unique issues. Judge Newman's veterans court was the first of its kind in the state, and it aims to assist military veterans who have been charged with minor offenses. In many cases, treatment and strong guidance is the best, and preferred, course of action to assist with mental health or substance abuse issues.

To learn more about Judge Newman, read our recent press release.


Ramey award for distinguished community service

The Ramey Award is given each year to an Ohio attorney whose career has been exemplified by dedication to public and community service, integrity, honor, courtesy, and professionalism.

This year's recipient R. Jeffrey Pollock has made extraordinary contributions that continue to impact and improve the lives of so many people in Northeast Ohio. He is an active member of his community and has served various organizations that focus on peoples’ mental health. He was on the board of Magnolia Clubhouse, which is a community-based center that provides people with mental illness opportunities for friendship, employment, housing, education, and access to medical and psychiatric services in a caring and safe environment. Currently, Jeff is a member of the board of directors for Disability Rights Ohio, whose mission is to advocate for the human, civil, and legal rights of people with disabilities in Ohio.

To learn more about Jeff, read our recent press release.


Outstanding Program or ORganization Award

The Outstanding Program or Organization Award is given each year to a program or organization that promotes education of, access to, and improvements in the Ohio justice system.

This year's recipient the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association is a voluntary membership organization that has more than 5,000 legal professional members, including attorneys, judges, law students, paralegals, and other business professionals. As a professional organization for the legal community in Northeast Ohio, the CMBA promotes ethical and professional standards, while bringing together the talent and generosity of its members to serve the Greater Cleveland community.

To learn more about the CMBA, read our recent press release.



The Statewide Community Service Award for Attorneys 40 and Under is given annually to an Ohio attorney, age 40 and under, who contributes substantial time and effort in volunteering within his or her community.

This year's recipient Katrina Thompson consistently goes above and beyond serving the Central Ohio community. She is dedicated to Columbus-based nonprofits, whether volunteering her time or undertaking leadership on a board. In addition to her service to the general public, she is committed to improving the legal community, working to promote diversity and inclusion in the practice of law.

To learn more about Katrina, read our recent press release.