2021 All Rise Annual Awards

2021 all rise virtual annual awards celebration

This year's All Rise Annual Awards Celebration took place virtually on October 1, 2021. 

Click here to view the full event program.     

Judge David Hejmanowski emcees the award celebration.
Ritter Award recipient John S. Stith.
Ramey Award recipient Sanford E. Watson.
Outstanding Program or Organization Award recipient Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio, accepted by President & CEO Peggy Zone Fisher.
Chief Justice O'Connor presents the Duriya Dhinojwala with the Elam Pro Bono Award.
Judge Dave Hejmanowski chats with 2018 OSBF Fellow Joseph Wenger.
2021 OSBF Fellow Jennifer Towell chats about the upcoming Fellows Week of Service.
OSBF Executive Director Lori Keating delivers remarks during the award ceremony.

 meet this year's honorees


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.

Duriya Dhinojwala is a partner at the Akron, Ohio firm of Brenna, Manna & Diamond, where she takes on both immigration and bankruptcy cases. She came to Akron in 1995 and has spent her career representing clients in federal and state courts in all aspects of the immigration process. Duriya has been a champion of pro bono work and established a pro bono committee at her law firm to expand help for those who need it most. She is a board member and volunteer attorney for Community Legal Aid Services, where she offers mentorship and guidance for lawyers. In addition, Duriya volunteers in service of the Indian-American and AsianAmerican community in Northeast Ohio. Duriya was named a recipient of the 2020 Crain’s Women of Note Awards, given to women demonstrating exceptional commitment to Northeast Ohio.

Ritter award | John s. stith

The highest honor awarded by the Foundation, this award is given for a lifetime of service. The award recognizes the accomplishments of the honoree in attaining and promoting the highest level of professionalism, integrity and ethics in the practice of law while assisting other attorneys, the courts and the public to envision and cause changes which improve the justice system in Ohio.

With a career spanning nearly 5 decades, John “Jack” Stith has long been a leader in the legal profession, the business community, and the nonprofit sector, serving as an attorney since 1964. In 1990, Jack joined the Ohio State Bar Foundation and became an Honorary Life Fellow in 2002. In 2006, Jack became the President of the Ohio State Bar Association Board of Trustees, where he also served as an Ohio State Bar Foundation Board Trustee.  

Jack served as outside general counsel for the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce (now the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber) for nearly 20 years. Jack has been the recipient of numerous awards for professional excellence and community service, including being listed in Who’s Who in American Law, as well as in every edition of Best Lawyers® since 1993 in the area of Corporate Law. He also has been recognized by Ohio Super Lawyers®. Jack assisted the Ohio Supreme Court by serving several terms on the Court's Commission on Professionalism and its Task Force on Commercial Dockets. In addition, Jack has been a part of numerous civic, church-related, youth-oriented and other charitable activities.  

Jack’s leadership and contributions have made a tremendous impact that has resulted in many improvements to the justice system. And Jack Stith exemplifies every aspect of the Ritter Award, and his decades of service is marked by professionalism, ethics, and integrity. 

ramey award for distinguished community service   |  sanford e. watson

Given annually to an Ohio attorney whose career has been exemplified by dedication of the goals and values sought to be furthered by the Foundation; a lifetime of service to the public and the community; and integrity, honor, courtesy and professionalism. This service must be outside the recipients' practice of law and must be given without compensation. 

Sanford E. Watson is a partner at Tucker Ellis, LLP in Cleveland, Ohio practicing in the areas of business litigation, products liability litigation, and public law. An experienced trial lawyer and arbitrator, Sanford’s distinguished career includes roles Chief Prosecutor for the City of Cleveland and the Director of Public Safety. At Tucker Ellis, Sanford has devoted a significant portion of his time shaping their award-winning equity and inclusion policy. Sanford’s service extends well beyond his legal practice, serving on non-profit boards for more than 20 years. Sanford continues to volunteer his time and expertise in the community through his work mentoring young Black lawyers, providing free-advice legal clinics in underserved communities, or cooking and serving meals at his church.

outstanding program or organization | the diversity center of northeast ohio

Given annually to a program or organization that promotes the dissemination of information about, increase access to, and/or generates improvements in the Ohio justice system.

Founded in 1927 as the National Conference of Christians and Jews, the NCCJ of Cleveland became The Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio in 2006. Through their programs, the Diversity Center serves hundreds of schools and businesses, training thousands of youth, youth-serving professionals, and community leaders throughout eleven Northeast Ohio counties in an effort to eliminate bias, bigotry, and racism. The Diversity Center is a sought-after leader whose youth programming, development initiatives, and professional engagement is creating transformational systemic change.

The Outstanding Organization Award is accepted by Peggy Zone Fisher, President and CEO of the Diversity Center. Peggy has been a Cleveland business and community leader for over thirty years, receiving numerous local, state, and national recognitions. Under Peggy’s leadership, the Diversity Center has expanded to more Ohio counties, reached more students, and broadened engagement and impact.

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