On Friday, July 24, the Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA) will recognize excellence in the legal profession at its 2020 Annual Meeting.
Originally scheduled to take place in June, the meeting was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic and will now take place virtually, via Zoom.
The event will include the presentation of the Ohio Bar Medal – the OSBA’s highest honor – to Kurtis Tunnell, posthumously.
In addition, Hudson attorney Tania Nemer will receive the OSBA Women in the Profession Section’s Nettie Cronise Lutes Award. The OSBA’s Eugene Weir Award for Ethics and Professionalism will go to Cincinnati attorney Edwin W. Patterson III (Terry). The Ohio Access to Justice Foundation will present its Presidential Award for Pro Bono Service to Gerry Greene of Cincinnati.
The Ohio Bar Medal is the OSBA’s highest honor, awarded to those who have given unselfishly of their time and talent by taking prominent leadership roles on the bench and in the organized bar and who have worked quietly to earn the deep admiration and respect of their colleagues and their community.
Kurtis Tunnell, a prominent Columbus attorney and devoted legal advocate, passed away in August 2019 at the age of 58. He spent his 31-year legal career at the law firm of Bricker and Eckler, where his practice centered on public policy and politics, rising to the position of managing partner in 2010. He was a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion in the legal profession as well as a mentor for many young lawyers. While at Bricker and Eckler, he created the Tunnell Leadership Development Program in order to grow leadership capacity and provide opportunities for young attorneys to make contributions to the firm.
Tunnell was widely recognized and valued for his public policy expertise. At 31 years old, he was tapped to serve as chief legal counsel to Governor George Voinovich and during the course of his career served as advisor to attorneys general, members of the Ohio General Assembly, congressional leaders and President George W. Bush.
Tunnell retired from the practice of law in January 2018. He remained involved at his church, serving as deacon, and on community boards and foundations. He assisted in the creation and development of a self-sustaining farm business model in Malawi. The Namikango Farm continues to provide jobs for Malawi workers and their families and serves as a demonstration site for other international charity efforts in Africa.
Tunnell is survived by his wife, Julie, and their three children, daughters Kristine and Jessica and son Jordan. He will be awarded the Bar Medal posthumously, for his legacy of leadership and service.
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The OSBA Women in the Profession Section created the Nettie Cronise Lutes Award to recognize women lawyers who demonstrate a high level of professionalism and open doors for other women and girls. The award commemorates the first woman to practice law in Ohio.
Tania Nemer serves as the community outreach prosecutor for the Summit County Prosecutor’s office. Nemer is a zealous advocate who dedicates her time to educating young children about the law and serving immigrant families, including volunteering her time at detention facilities along the southern U.S. border.
Nemer served as a student attorney at the Washtenaw County Public Defender's Office in Michigan and later joined the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office in Ohio. In 2008, she joined McGinty, Hilow & Spellacy Co. LPA, where she was of counsel, focusing her practice on criminal and immigration law.
After working in private practice for seven years, Nemer shifted her practice to the nonprofit sector, serving as an immigration senior attorney at Catholic Charities, Diocese of Cleveland, an organization that offers pro bono and low-cost legal services to individuals living in the eight county diocese.
In 2019, she served as a magistrate for the Akron Municipal Court where she presided over cases involving small claims, traffic, criminal and civil matters.
Nemer received her bachelor’s degree from John Carroll University and graduated with distinction from Western Michigan University’s Thomas M. Cooley Law School.
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The OSBA Board of Governors established the Weir Award in 1998 to honor the memory of Eugene R. Weir, a former member of the board. Weir championed improvements in lawyer regulation and strongly advocated for professionalism and legal ethics. Each year this award is given to one lawyer who has worked to promote and uphold legal professionalism and ethics.
Edwin W. Patterson III (Terry) has been practicing law for more than 40 years, serving as general counsel of the Cincinnati Bar Association (CBA) since 1982, and as counsel to the Certified Grievance Committee and Ethics Committee. Patterson practiced in Columbus as the commission counsel for the Ohio Ethics Commission before joining the CBA.
Since 2015, Patterson has worked with the Certified Grievance Committee to investigate more than 100 complaints of attorney misconduct. Seeing a need for ethics advice and guidance among Ohio attorneys, in 1998, Patterson worked with the Ethics Committee to establish an ethics hotline. The hotline enlists two attorneys each month who are ready to assist callers with interpreting their obligations under the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct. Patterson continues to take calls on a weekly basis, and is a trusted, confidential resource for many lawyers throughout Ohio.
In addition to the ethics hotline, he created the Flying Solo program and the Practice Assistance Round Table, targeted to solo practitioners. He has led the effort to educate attorneys about the need for succession planning, especially in solo and small firm practice, and worked with a colleague to create a handbook on accounting for client funds.
Patterson is a frequent lecturer on legal ethics at the CBA, the University of Cincinnati College of Law, the Ohio Board of Professional Conduct and the Hamilton County Trial Lawyers Association, among others. He served on the Ohio Supreme Court’s Task Force on Rules of Professional Conduct from 2003-2006, the National Organization of Bar Counsel Association of Professional Responsibility (NOBC-APRL) Joint Committee on Aging Lawyers from 2005-2007 and co-chaired the NOBC-APRL Joint Committee on Competency from 2007-2010.
Patterson received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Miami University in Oxford and his law degree from the University of Toledo College of Law.
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The Ohio Access to Justice Foundation (formerly the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation) established the Presidential Award for Pro Bono Service in 1996 to recognize individuals, law firms or organizations that have made outstanding efforts in improving access to justice in Ohio.
Gerald (Gerry) H. Greene is a volunteer attorney at the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati. Greene attended law school after a 33-year career with Proctor and Gamble in engineering management. He has dedicated his second career as a lawyer solely to pro bono service.
Looking for a way to give back to the community, Greene approached the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati in 2002 and offered to work full-time as a staff attorney without compensation. In 17 years as an in-house volunteer attorney at legal aid, he has resolved 269 divorce and custody cases. His clients and colleagues recognize him as an exemplar of generosity.
In addition to his legal work, Greene serves on the board of the Taft Museum of Art and on the board of directors of ArtsWave Cincinnati. He has previously been honored with the Cincinnati Bar Association’s Warrington Community Service Award and the Legal Aid Equal Justice Leadership Award.
Greene received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Detroit, a master’s at Purdue University and his law degree from the University of Dayton.
The OSBA Awards are part of the OSBA Annual Meeting, which includes the association’s annual General Assembly for conducting OSBA business, as well as the meeting of the OSBA Council of Delegates, which sets public policy priorities for the association based upon the proposals of the association’s committees and sections, who specialize in specific practice areas.
The Ohio State Bar Association, founded in 1880, is a voluntary association representing approximately 28,000 members of the bench and bar of Ohio. Through its activities and the activities of its related organizations, the OSBA serves both its members and the public by promoting the highest standards in the practice of law and the administration of justice.
Original article posted here.