The Professionalism Award was established by the Board of Trustees of the Akron Bar Association in February of 1996. The award was created to recognize an attorney’s exceptional dedication to the standards of the profession, and to recognize one who has demonstrated integrity and humanitarian concern within the community. Nominations are usually accepted through June, and the award is presented in the fall at a dinner to honor the recipient. The nominations are reviewed by the Professionalism Committee of the Bar Association, whose members are actively engaged in the practice of law. A recommendation is made to the Board of Trustees. The Trustees then select the recipient of the award. Nominees must be members of the Akron Bar Association. The nomination form should be completed and attached to an accompanying letter giving, in as much detail as possible, the reasons for the nomination.
Professionalism among members of the Bar has been of concern to us all. All lawyers should have the high standards of our profession reinforced to insure that they are a regular part of our practice. We hope to recognize those of us who have demonstrated outstanding professionalism at our annual dinner.
1996: John A. Schwemler
1997: S. Samuel Nukes
1998: Bradford M. Gearinger
1999: Jerome L. Holub
2000: Joseph S. Kodish
2001: Frederick S. Corns
2002: Robert H. McDowall
2003: George B. Vasko
2004: Timothy F. Scanlon
2005: Dennis J. Bartek
2006: Amie L. Bruggeman
2007: Jerry F. Whitmer
2008: Gerald J. Glinsek
2009: Orville Reed, III
2010: Thomas R. Pitts
2011: Howard J. Walton
2012: Richard T. Cunningham
2013: Gerald R. Leipply
2014: Peter T. Cahoon
2015: Kathryn A. Belfance
2016: Larry Poulos
2016: Larry Poulos
Larry Poulos has had a long and distinguished career in the practice of law in Summit County. He has been Referee, Magistrate, and Chief Magistrate in the Summit County Probate Court; Chief Counsel, Civil, in the Summit County Prosecutor’s office, and Deputy Mayor for Labor Relations. As an active member of the Akron Bar Association, Larry has been president and treasurer of the board, and a member of the Finance and Senior Lawyers committees, and the Probate Section, to name a few.
Other Akron Bar members have probably been just as involved as Larry has, but there is one thing that truly sets him apart: Larry is probably the only member of the Bar who slid down the brass pole at Fire Station #1 – the present home of the Akron Bar Association. More on that in a minute…
Larry is a native Akronite, born and raised. He was a member of the first graduating class at Firestone High School and went on to complete a BA in History at the University of Akron.
“I started going around on job interviews and wasn’t finding anything, so when my sister suggested law school, I figured I would give it a try. After my first semester, I thought, ‘This works’.”
After graduation from the University of Akron School of Law in 1973, Larry began his legal career as an associate at Cherpas, Manos and Syracopoulos. After a few years, Larry wanted to get some more trial experience, so he agreed to become assistant law director for the City of Akron under Law Director John Holcomb.
“I was working for the city during the day and doing private practice work at night. I eventually told John (Holcomb) that I had to leave. Soon after, I met Finance Director Roy Ray who eventually became mayor. He asked me to be his deputy mayor for labor relations, so I left the firm.”
When Ray’s mayoral term ended, Larry returned to private practice until a call came from Prosecutor Lynn Slaby, offering Larry the Chief Counsel position in the Civil Division. In 1987, Larry ran as a Republican for mayor of Akron, but lost to Democrat Don Plusquellic. Eventually, Larry got another call, this time from Probate Court Judge William Spicer who asked him to serve as a referee in the Probate Court. Larry moved up the ranks at the Probate Court, serving as chief referee, magistrate, and eventually, chief magistrate.
“I liked working in an area of law where I was able to make decisions. The probate court does a lot of problem solving, and I think I’m a pretty good problem solver.
“Sometimes, the families will come in fighting over the division of property. I had one case where I ended up having to divvy up mom’s things, right down to ‘this person gets this figurine’.”
Larry got involved in the Akron Bar Association at the suggestion of his colleague George Manos. He took that suggestion and embraced Bar membership vigorously.
“I think the most challenging position I’ve held at the Bar was treasurer. It was a huge responsibility, working toward solvency and creating a budget. Every treasurer, all board and committee members are very dedicated people.”
While Larry has always been busy with his private practice, civil positions, and Bar activities, there has always been time for family. He and his wife, Karen, married in 1979 and have two adult children and two grandchildren. Daughter Beth is a teacher at Jennings Middle School, while son George followed dad into the legal profession.
“Beth is an excellent teacher, and George is an excellent lawyer. He understands the law.”
Larry’s brother, John, is a retired anesthesiologist living in Columbus. His late sister, Elaine, a retired elementary school principal in the Akron Public Schools, died in 2007.
Larry worships at Annuniciation Greek Orthodox Church where he was baptized, served as an altar boy, and sang on the church choir.
“And there probably isn’t a committee which I haven’t chaired.”
Larry loves to golf and has been active in his church league since the 1970s. His brother gave him his first set of clubs during Larry’s last year of law school.
Speaking of family matters, here’s where the firepole comes in….
Larry’s dad was a fireman and was, at one point in his career, assigned to Station #1. Larry was a little kid, as fascinated by the brass firepole as any other little kid might be, and probably not the only fireman’s son who was permitted a special ride down the pole.
Fire stations factored into Larry’s love for cooking, too. His dad became part of a long line of skilled firehouse chefs who learned to cook in the station kitchen. Larry learned to cook from his dad and continues to be hailed for his skill in the kitchen and at the rotisserie.
“When I was in my 20s, I helped to cook at church, where my godfather, Kimon Kipper, shared his cooking skills. I served as ovenman for the Greek Festival and learned how to roast lamb.”
Larry’s cooking career took off, and he eventually got his own rotisserie spit.
“Things snowballed from there,” says Larry.
Chef Larry roasts lamb, pork, and chicken. His not-so-secret recipes include a red wine, lemon juice, oregano, and olive oil marinade for the meats, while the chickens are stuffed with lemons and feta cheese.
This will be Larry’s third year cooking for the December Madrigal Dinners at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, where he was surprised some years ago to see pork tenderloin brought out when the King called for the boar to be presented.
“I made a roast pig for the next night, and I’ve been the meat guy ever since.”
Larry roasts one 40-pound pig, multiple pork butts, and a slew of chickens for the Madrigal Dinners, stuffing everything with oranges, pears, cranberries, and other fruits and vegetables.
The Chef still cooks at Annunication where a fine Greek luncheon is offered to the public on Thursdays. Bar members and staff can also attest to Larry’s skills, having not only enjoyed his roasted pork, but also tray after tray of homemade spanakopita.
When he’s not serving up a meal, Larry is of counsel with son George and Bob Rischitelli in the firm of Rischitelli and Poulos, LLC, and with Barry Ward, who is the last attorney practicing in Larry’s old firm. Larry also continues to be a familiar and welcome face around the Akron Bar Association office.
“I’ve been practicing law since 1973. I can’t believe that the time has gone by so fast. I’ve enjoyed it. All the people I’ve worked with, or opposed, have been great people.”
2015: Kathryn A. Belfance
Kathryn A. Belfance graduated from The University of Akron with a Bachelor of Arts in English in 1974, and then attended The University of Akron School of Law where she was conferred the degree of Juris Doctor in 1977. She was licensed and admitted to the practice of law in the State of Ohio in November, 1977 and established her own law practice. In 1978, she was appointed the first female Bankruptcy Trustee to administer bankruptcy cases in the Northern District of Ohio, an appointment in which she still continues to serve.
Kay is a Partner in the law firm of Roderick Linton Belfance LLP which she joined in 2008. In addition to serving as Bankruptcy Trustee, she continues to focus her practice in the areas of bankruptcy & creditor’s rights, domestic relations, and mediation. She has shared her knowledge with the legal community for many years by lecturing locally as well as nationally on a variety of domestic relations issues and bankruptcy matters.
Kay has been a member in good standing of the Akron Bar Association since 1977 and has been dedicated to the Akron Bar Association by serving on numerous committees and sections for over thirty-eight years, including the Board of Trustees from 2009-2012. Kay has also supported the Akron Bar Foundation as a Fellow since 1990 and served on the Foundation Board of Governors from 1993-1998, including serving as Secretary from 1996-1997.
Throughout her legal career, Kay has resolutely stood as a beacon for all lawyers through her living example of integrity, ethics and civility. The Akron Bar Association is honored to present the 2015 Professionalism Award to Kay in recognition of all the many and significant contributions she has made to the Akron Bar Association and to the legal community.
2014: Peter T. Cahoon
Born in Nyack, New York, Pete grew up almost entirely in New York City, attending the highly rated Stuyvesant High School. After graduating from New York University with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, Cahoon chose The University of Akron School of Law because he wanted to see a different part of the country, the school was affordable, and the clinical and trial programs appealed to him.
During law school, Cahoon married Lakewood native Heidi Eve-Cahoon which helped to seal his decision to practice in Northeast Ohio. They have three daughters, Faith, a senior majoring in biology at The Ohio State University; Elizabeth, who is a global marketing manager at the cultural exchange company Intrax; and Laura, an associate at Marco & Marco in Medina.
Pete began his law practice with the firm of Oestreicher, Sternberg & Manes. He later formed the law office of Baker Chapman & Cahoon and practiced there until joining Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs in 1998, where he continues to focus his practice in the areas of criminal defense, family law, and professional responsibility work.
Pete is a member of both the Akron Bar Association and the Ohio State Bar Association. With the Akron Bar, Pete has been actively involved by serving on and chairing numerous committees and sections for over thirty-five years. Pete served as Treasurer from 1991-1993 and was Bar President in 2004-2005. He has supported the Akron Bar Foundation as a Fellow since 1990 and currently serves on the Foundation’s Board of Governors.
In addition to serving as an Adjunct Professor of Trial Advocacy at The University of Akron School of Law and as a Member and Bencher of the Scanlon/Bell Inn of Court, Pete has served as a legal advisor to the Hudson High School Mock Trial Team from 2004-2010 and currently serves as a legal advisor to the Hoban High School Mock Trial Team.
Pete, whose hobbies include distance running on both roads and trails and the mixed martial arts Muay Thai and Krav Maga, has no plans to retire anytime soon, and will continue to focus on providing service to his clients and contributing to the Akron Bar Association and the community.
2013: Gerald R. Leipply
Jerry was born on a farm in western Pennsylvania. At age 8, he moved to Cuyahoga Falls, was raised by an aunt and uncle, and has made Cuyahoga Falls his home. During his high school years, he played the clarinet in a Dixie-land band he formed with a few friends. He has a wife, Annemarie, two daughters, Etola and Tarla, a stepdaughter Martina, and five grandchildren. For 12 years he served Cuyahoga Falls as a councilman-at-large. He is a long-time member and past president of the Akron Executives Association.
Jerry graduated from Cuyahoga Falls High School in 1952, and attended Heidelberg College in Tiffin, Ohio. During his college career he participated on their successful speech and debate team; studied one summer at Heidelberg University in Germany; and received his Bachelor’s Degree in 1956. Jerry applied to and was accepted for law school at Cambridge, Massachusetts and Ann Arbor, Michigan. Although a Buckeye fan at heart, he chose Michigan, because he felt the Midwest was a better fit for him. It also taught him how to be cool in the face of adversity by cheering for the Buckeyes in the Big House! In 1959, he received his Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan and was admitted to the Ohio State Bar that same year.
Jerry began his law practice with the firm of Alpeter, Reed and Diefenbach in 1959; then from 1962-65 served as the Law Director of Cuyahoga Falls. Jerry, along with Dave Sanders and Orval Hoover, formed the law office of Sanders, Hoover & Leipply in 1966. In 1982, after the death of Dave Sanders, Jerry and Steve Fallis formed a partnership. After Steve Fallis, he practiced with Margaret Kreiner for a few years, and then on his own for a few more. Since 2003, he has partnered with James Armstrong and formed Leipply & Armstrong. Working in small firms or alone, afforded Jerry the opportunity to be a major part of his daughters’ lives as they were growing up, and now it enables him to enjoy activities with his grandchildren.
Throughout his 50+ years as an attorney, Jerry has practiced in many different areas of law; and while he now focuses most of his practice in the areas of Probate and Domestic work, he still gets a rush when he needs to prepare for a criminal or civil jury trial. Jerry is a member of both the Akron Bar Association and the Ohio State Bar Association. With the Akron Bar he is actively involved with the Probate and Family Law Sections and Character and Fitness Committee. He also serves as a mentor to newly admitted attorneys with the Lawyer to Lawyer Mentoring Program offered through the Supreme Court of Ohio.
Jerry enjoys motorcycling and taught the weekend Motorcycle Rider and Safety Course for the State of Ohio for many years. He pitched for an Akron men’s traveling fast-pitch softball team for 27 years, and coached women’s fast-pitch softball for a few more. Two of the women’s teams he coached enjoyed national success. Through his love of fast-pitch softball, he became involved with the Akron Amateur Softball Association and now volunteers time as a commissioner at the Softball Hall of Fame in Firestone Stadium. Other activities he enjoys are shooting trap and dealing casino tables at casino parties for the Beach Boyz Entertainment Services.
2012: Richard T. Cunningham
Born in Akron, Dick grew up in Cuyahoga Falls and graduated from Cuyahoga Falls High School in 1948. He attended Western Reserve University for one year before transferring to Columbia University on an NROTC scholarship. He then transferred to the University of Illinois Law School, where he graduated in June 1953 and was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Navy. He was admitted to the Ohio and Illinois Bars in March and April of 1953. After serving three years in the Navy as a legal officer, Dick joined the office of the Attorney General of Ohio, serving in the Section of Workers’ Compensation and doing trial and appellate work. He returned to Akron in 1957 and began a general practice in an office-sharing arrangement with his late father, Ernest, and the late Bernard J. Amer and Charles S. Schnur. In 1971, Bernard Amer, Dick and David L. Brennan formed and incorporated the law firm formerly known as Amer Cunningham Brennan Co., L.P.A. Dick’s practice eventually narrowed to trial and appellate work in the areas of personal injury, business and real estate law.
Dick is a past President of the Akron Bar Association, a former member of the Executive Committee of the Ohio State Bar Association, a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, a life member to the Conference of the Sixth Judicial Circuit of the United States, a member of the Akron, Ohio, State and American Bar Associations and a Fellow of the Akron, Ohio, and American Bar Foundations.
In his “President’s Message” for the Bar, in 1976, he coined the phrase, “The Akron Lawyer”, describing that Lawyer as “a proud and dedicated professional in the law, amenable to changes in legal and office procedures, but unbending to change in integrity and honesty to himself, to his clients, and to his profession.” He predicted that the Akron Lawyers would survive and would continue to be considered as the best Bar in Ohio.
In his community, Dick served a nine-year term on the Board of Trustees of Kent State University (two years as chairman), a six-year term on the Board of Trustees of the Kent State University Foundation (two years as Chairman) and a four-year term on Cuyahoga Falls School Board. He is past President of the Cuyahoga Falls Rotary Club and Cuyahoga Falls Family Service. In 1989, he gave the Commencement Address at Kent State University. Excerpts from his speech have been published in a book by Peter J. Smith entitled “ONWARD: twenty-five years of exhortation and inspiration from America’s best commencement speeches.” The author read 2500 speeches and chose, what he considered, the best 250 speeches. Dick volunteered for three years at a local inner-city school and authored and gave a “Street Law” program to fourth graders.
Dick was married to Mary Lou (Mackin) from 1953 until her death in 1999. Born of this marriage were eight children, six now surviving, and 15 grandchildren. Dick also has a stepson after marrying June L. (Henry) in 2002.
Dick joined the Akron law firm of Brouse McDowell as “Of Counsel” in the firm’s litigation and appellate practices in 2001. He presently has finished his book on lawyers and others on living a happy and successful life. The book is entitled, Order in Your Court; Happiness in Your Life.
2011: Howard J. Walton
September 2, 1945 was the day the Armistice of Surrender was signed by Japan at the end of World War II. It was also the day Howard was born in Brooklyn, New York. The boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens were home for the first eight years of his life. In 1954, the Walton family moved to West Islip, Long Island where Howard spent his formative years growing up, getting educated and becoming a musician. He entered Syracuse University in the fall of 1963 and graduated in 1967. While at Syracuse, Howard earned money giving piano lessons exclusively to “Sorority Girls” who also served as look-outs for bright, cute and funny sorority sisters who might be willing to go out on a blind date. One such unsuspecting co-ed was Susan Jane Goldberg of Watertown, New York. They were married in 1968 and recently celebrated their 43rd anniversary. Howard and Susan have two children – Julie, who lives in Houston, Texas and Matthew, who lives in Los Angeles, California.
Howard started Law School at the University of Akron in 1967 and graduated (Articles Editor of the Law Review) in 1970. After taking the Bar Exam and spending five months in Basic Training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina with the Ohio National Guard, Howard began practicing law with the law firm of Cherpas, Manos & Syracopoulos in March of 1971 and has been engaged in the private practice of law ever since. Seventeen years ago, Howard became a certified mediator concentrating in matrimonial mediation. He continues to mediate complex domestic relations disputes in Summit and adjacent counties. Howard has also served on arbitration panels in the public and private sectors.
After his admission to practice in 1971, Howard immediately became involved in the Akron Bar Association activities and spent many years in the grievance process, including chair of what was formerly called the Inquiry Committee. He also served as Treasurer of the Bar Association, Chair of the Group Medical Insurance Committee, and served on many other committees over the last forty years. Howard has lectured on the topics of divorce, mediation and pension plans at the University of Akron and Stark State College, and has presented at various seminars in and around Akron. Howard is also a fellow of the Akron Bar Association Foundation, having served on the Board of Governors and as Chair of the Grants Committee. Over the years, Howard has been involved in charitable and political fund-raising activities, including the Akron Symphony Orchestra, Akron Jewish Center and Muscular Dystrophy Association. Howard is most proud of his service to “IMAGINE AKRON” as the Infrastructure Chair in 2000 and of his service as an Election Monitor in the 2008 Presidential Election.
Aside from spending time practicing law, Howard’s greatest joy is traveling throughout Europe with his wife and two children. Another trip is now in the planning stage to Northern France. Music is also an important part of Howard’s life. He plays the piano and other keyboards and hopes to find time, if he ever slows down, to regain his embouchure for the trumpet, which he played in high school and college.
2010: Thomas R. Pitts
Born in Detroit, Michigan, Tom Pitts’ family moved to the Akron, Ohio area in 1952. Tom graduated from Cuyahoga Falls High School in 1964. After service in the United States Marine Corps from 1966 through 1969, Tom returned to the University of Akron. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1976, majoring in Philosophy and Communications/Mass Media Studies. He immediately entered the University of Akron School of Law from which he obtained his Juris Doctor degree in 1979. Since then he has been engaged in the private practice of law. For over 20 years he has limited his practice to the representation of injured workers in Ohio Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability claims.
Tom is an adjunct professor of law at The University of Akron School of Law since 1996 where he has taught a seminar in the Law of Workers’ Compensation. He is a past-President of the University of Akron Law Alumni Association, having served on the LAA Board of Trustees from 1994 to 2007. He has also served as a member of the National Board of Trustees of the University of Akron Alumni Association.
In August, 2008, Tom was honored to be appointed by Governor Ted Strickland to the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Board of Directors. During his three year term, Tom will be representing the interests of all Ohio employees.
Serving the legal community, Tom is the immediate past-President of the Summit County Association for Justice (formerly the Summit County Trial Lawyers’ Association). He is a member of the Ohio Association for Justice (formerly the Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers) where he most recently served as Chairperson of the Workers’ Compensation Committee. He serves on the Workers’ Compensation and Lawyers’ Assistance Committees of the American Association for Justice (formerly the American Trial Lawyers Association) and the Workers’ Compensation Committee of the Ohio State Bar Association. He also belongs to the Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group.
Tom is a former Trustee of the Akron Bar Association and has participated on many of the Akron Bar’s Committees including Workers’ Compensation and Lawyers’ Assistance. Tom frequently speaks at Continuing Legal Education programs on the subjects of Workers’ Compensation law and assistance to persons impaired by alcoholism and drug addiction.
Tom’s active service in the Marine Corps resulted in him receiving the National Defense Service Ribbon, the Good Conduct Medal, the Presidential Unit Citation, the Vietnam Service Ribbon with multiple stars and the Vietnam Campaign medal with multiple stars. Tom has served as a Summit County, Ohio, Veterans’ Service Commissioner and became President of the Ohio State Association of Veterans’ Service Commissioners.
In his personal time, Tom enjoys being with his wife and grandchildren, reading mystery novels, playing golf, and building and maintaining computers.
2009: Orville L. Reed, III
Orville L. Reed, III received a BA degree, magna cum laude, from Borromeo Seminary College in 1969. He attended the University of Notre Dame School of Law and was conferred the degree of Juris Doctor, with distinction, in 1973. In the same year, he was duly licensed and admitted to the practice of law in the State of Ohio.
Orville has been a member in good standing of the Akron Bar Association since 1974 and has served on numerous committees. He became a Fellow of the Akron Bar Foundation in 1988 and served on the Akron Bar Foundation Board of Governors from 1993-1998.
Orville served on numerous Boards of community organizations including the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO), the United Way, and Walsh Jesuit High School. He was a founding member of the Scanlon Inn of Court, served as its President from 2006-2008, and has served as a Bencher since 1988.
Orville recently received special recognition for being named for more than twenty consecutive years as one of the Best Lawyers in America ® (1989- 2010). He has been listed as one of Ohio’s Super lawyers ™ from 2004 – 2009, as voted by his peers. He has also been listed among the Top 10 Ohio Super Lawyers,™ one of the Top 50 Lawyers in the Cleveland area in 2007, and among the Top 100 Ohio Super Lawyers™ in 2004-2006 and 2009-2010.
Orville joined the law firm of Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs in Akron in 1973, and became a partner in 1979.
2008: Gerald J. Glinsek
Gerald J. Glinsek was born and raised in Akron, Ohio. After service in the U.S. Army, Jerry received a BA degree from University of Akron in 1963 and the degree of Juris Doctor from The University of Akron School of Law in 1967. While he was working on his undergraduate degree Jerry pledged to Phi Kappa Tau fraternity. As an undergraduate, he served as president of the fraternity. He was an alumni advisor to the fraternity from 1982-2006, was awarded the outstanding advisor award in 1996-97, and received a presidential citation in 2005. After passing the Bar, Jerry took a position in the Summit County Prosecutor’s office, working there until entering private practice in 1971. As a young lawyer, he was the President of the Summit County Young Democrats in 1971 and President of the Ohio Young Democrats in 1973. Now approaching his seventieth birthday, Jerry still practices with the vigor of youth, keeping Saturday hours if need be.
Jerry is a member of many professional organizations. He is a member of the Ohio State Bar Association. His work with the Akron Bar Association has included serving as Chair of the Criminal Law Committee, the Lawyers’ Assistance Committee, and the Bar Applicants Committee. He was treasurer of the organization in 1981 and served on the Board of Trustees from 2005-2008. He is a fellow of the Akron Bar Foundation and was Board president of Summit County Legal Aid from 1978- 1982. He is a member of the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Association of Family & Conciliation Courts.
Jerry is married to Debra Glinsek and lives in Akron. Together they have nine children, two grandchildren, and a large local family. Even approaching his seventieth birthday, and as a cancer survivor, Jerry is an avid and very good skier as a member of the Goodyear Ski Club and a competitive runner in the Summit Athletic Running Club, consistently winning 5K races in his age group. Jerry Glinsek is constantly reading– about five different books at a time, mostly history, as well as newspapers and magazines. His keen interest in politics and history led him to work closely with the Akron Council on World Affairs, where he serves on the Board of Directors.
2007: Jerry F. Whitmer
Jerry was born in Wauseon, Ohio, the ninth of ten children born to Frank and Bessie Merle Whitmer. He attended the Wauseon High School where he played varsity sports and was president of Hi Y and his senior class.
Upon graduation from high school in 1953, he entered Kent State University’s Senior in Absentia Prelaw Program. The program provided for a student to enter law school at the conclusion of his or her junior year and receive an undergraduate degree at the conclusion of the first year of law school. Along the way, however, Jerry met his future wife Kathleen, or, as she is better known, Boo, also a student at Kent, and elected to remain at Kent to complete his undergraduate degree, and graduated from Kent State in 1957.
The following semester, jerry entered Case Western Reserve University School of Law. While at Case he served as a class proctor and the Law School’s Honor Chairman from 1959 to 1960.
Upon graduation from Case Western Reserve Law School in 1960, Jerry joined the firm of Johnson, Whitmer and Sayre, practicing in the area of bankruptcy and general insolvency law. He joined the firm of Roetzel, Hunsicker and Michaels in 1968, and in 1971, when that firm merged with Brouse, McDowell, May, Bierce and Wortman he became a partner in the new firm of Brouse McDowell. Jerry served many years on the Firm’s Executive Committee and Compensation Committee and ultimately served as Managing Partner from 1998 to 2004.
He has been an active and involved member of the Akron Bar Association, serving on numerous committees and its Board of Trustees. He became President in 1990, and during his leadership, the Akron Bar Association purchased the Akron Legal News. Jerry was a Charter Member of the Akron Bar Association Foundation and a member of its Board of Trustees from 1990 to 1991.
During his legal career, he was a member of the Scanlon Inns of Court from 1990 to 1991; a member of the Summit County Republican Party’s Executive Committee from 1991 to 1992; a member of Summa Health Systems Development Council in 1991; a member of the Board of Directors of United Way of Summit County from 1990 to 1994; a member of the Fairlawn Country Club Board of Directors from 1970 to 1973; and President of the Fairlawn Country Club from 1972 to 1973.
In 2000, Jerry was awarded the Akron Bar Association’s Presidential Award of Special Merit for his efforts in assisting the Akron Bar Association in the acquisition of the Akron Legal News. Also, in 2000, Jerry was awarded the Akron Bar Association Senior Lawyers Award for Outstanding Service to the Legal Profession and Community.
Old Trail School benefited from his quiet leadership skills when he served on the School’s Board of Trustees, first as Treasurer from 1993 to 1995, and then as President from 1995 to 1997. Jerry is currently a Trustee Emeriti of Old Trail School, and in 2000, he received the Schools’ Non-Alumni Award of Merit. He currently serves on the School’s Capital Fundraising Committee.
In recognition of Jerry’s leadership in promoting the betterment of society and his devotion to the highest standards and traditions of the law, he was admitted, in 1993, to the Case Western Reserve University School of Law’s prestigious Society of Benchers.
In 1994, Jerry was selected to represent the Eleventh District of the Ohio State Bar Association on its Board of Governors. While serving on the Board, he was a member of the Association’s Council of Delegates. Since 1994, Jerry has been a fellow of the Ohio State Bar Association Foundation.
Jerry became interested in golf in 1957 when his brothers and sisters gave him a set of golf clubs as a graduation gift. He became an avid golfer and joined Fairlawn Country Club where he met Golf Professional Frank Wharton. Frank taught Jerry the game of golf and together they have played in hundreds of tournaments together, and they are looking forward to many, many more of their joyful afternoons doing what they love best – playing golf!
Jerry represented several corporate clients with properties and businesses in the Florida Keys. During his frequent travels to the Keys, he found time to develop an interest in fishing, diving, and exploring the back waters of the Florida Everglades.
Jerry has many hobbies besides golf, including woodworking, gardening, and caring for the family’s Irish Setter, Peaches, and prior to his recent death, their cat KC.
In 1979, Jerry’s and Kathleen’s lives took a sudden turn when Kathleen was diagnosed with cancer. The prognosis provided little hope and in early 1980 Kathleen entered an experimental protocol under the direction of Dr. Stephen Rosenberg at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. Jerry found it necessary to balance his legal career with the need to make frequent trips to Bethesda, Maryland and to assist in his wife’s care. The treatments saved Kathleen’s life, but destroyed her heart. In 1999, she received a heart transplant at the Cleveland Clinic. Jerry stood faithful and strong during the complicated day-to-day procedures. Today, both live productive, happy lives. Boo has painted dozens of oil paintings and written four books: Green Rubber Boots, A Joyful Journey to Wellness; For the Asking, A Joyful Journey to Peace; The Glory in a Story, A Joyful Journey to Making Memories; and Blue Boo and Her Colorful Friends. Jerry remains of counsel at Brouse McDowell. Their continued, sincere mission filled with love and respect for this wonderful community we all call home is evident.
2006: Amie L. Bruggeman
Amie Bruggeman was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania. She received her undergraduate degree in 1969 from the University of Montana. Amie graduated from The University of Akron School of Law in 1982. She ranked third in her class and was Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review. She immediately began work as an attorney-law clerk for Judge Dan Quillin in the Ohio Ninth District Court of Appeals. When Judge Sam Bell was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Amie was his very first law clerk, and she served Judge Bell in that position from 1983 to 1989. In 1989, Amie started her career with Roetzel & Andress. Over her 17-year career with the firm, she developed her practice in land use law and became a partner in the firm. She also became General Counsel of the law firm, guiding the firm through the many legal and ethical challenges that a growing law firm must face.
Amie is a member of many professional organizations. She served many years on the Summit County Board of Retardation, and was that organization’s president from 1992 to 1994. From 1995 to 2000, she served on the Board of Goodwill Industries of Akron. During the last year of her board service, she was chairman. She is a graduate of Leadership Akron, where she was elected as the president of her 1995 class. She also is a past president of the Leadership Akron Alumni Association and is on the Board of Trustees of Leadership Akron. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of Blick Clinic, the Women’s Endowment Fund, and Downtown Akron Partnership. She has served on the Acts of Courage Committee of the Summit County Chapter of the American Red Cross. She has also served on the Board of the Akron Bar Association as the Association’s Treasurer and has served on the Board of Governors for the Akron Bar Association Foundation. In 2001, she was recognized by the YWCA as on of the top 100 women in Summit County. In 2003, she received the Outstanding Alumni Award from The University of Akron School of Law.
Amie is married to Brad Bruggeman and lives in Bath with their dog, Lilli. They have three children. Their son, Brian, lives in Annapolis, Maryland with his wife, Mary Beth, and Amie and Brad’s first grandchild, Grace. Their daughter, Allison, lives with her husband, Mike Lawrence, in Boise, Idaho. Their daughter, Pam, lives in a group Home in Stow.
2005: Dennis J. Bartek
Denny Bartek was born and raised in Akron, attended St. Mary’s and Kenmore High Schools, graduating from Kenmore in 1964. He attended both college and law school at the University of Akron. He received his BA in 1968, and his JD in 1971. During law school, Denny was a claims adjuster with the Travelers Insurance Company. Upon graduation from law school, he was an Assistant Summit County Prosecutor for 2 years and received a public service award for the performance of his duties. Since 1973, he has been in private practice as a small or solo practitioner. For many years, he was in practice with George Pappas whom he considers to be the greatest trial lawyer he has known. Denny has also had the honor and pleasure of serving as Acting Judge in Cuyahoga Falls Municipal Court, usually as an appointee of Judge William Pike.
Denny is a member of many professional organizations. He has been active in the Akron Bar Association, and has served on numerous committees over the years. He has served on the board, as Secretary, as President Elect, and as President. He was selected as outstanding committee chair for the 1993-1994 year. He has also been a member of the OSBA Council of Delegates, the Board of Trustees of the Summit County Trial Lawyers, and the Board of Trustees for the Akron Law School Alumni Association of which he is a life time member. He is a Master of the Bench of the Charles F. Scanlon Inn of Court and is a graduate of the Justice Institute for the Legal Profession. He has served on several Federal Court Merit Selection Panels and served on the Criminal Justice Task Force for the Northern District of Ohio. He is a member of the Federal ADR panel. He has also served on various community boards and commissions through the years.
Denny has an “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell. He has been selected as a “leading lawyer” in northeast Ohio by Inside business magazine for each of the past several years. He has been selected as one of Ohio’s “super lawyers” by Law and Politics Magazine for the past few years as well. In 2003 he was selected as an “Outstanding Alumnus” by the University of Akron School of Law.
Denny is married to JoAnn Garver. Daughter and son in law Wendy and Trevor Nelson live in Alpharetta, Georgia. Denny and JoAnn are the proud grandparents of Trevor, Jr. (age 6), and Maxwell(age 4) Nelson. Denny enjoys spending time with his family. He is an avid runner and also enjoys most types of physical activity, especially biking, hiking, swimming, tennis, and basketball. Everyone in the family enjoys travel, particularly if the travel is an ” adventure” vacation, a trip to an exotic place, or a trip to an amusement park.
2004: Timothy F. Scanlon
Timothy F. Scanlon is the 2004 recipient of the Akron Bar Association Professionalism Award. Tim was one of five children born to Chick and Betty Scanlon. He graduated from St. Vincent’s High School in 1955, and received his undergraduate degree in 1959 from the College of the Holy Cross, located in Worcester, Massachusetts. A few weeks after finishing college, Tim enrolled in law school at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, attending school on a year-round basis and graduating in the summer of 1961.
Tim began his law career in 1961 with the firm of Buckingham, Doolittle and Burroughs, where he remained for almost 15 years. He left that firm to start his own law practice, which eventually led to the formation of Scanlon and Gearinger, Co., L.P.A. in 1979.
During his career, Tim served on many committees within the Akron Bar Association, as well as serving as President-Elect and President in 1979-1980 and 1980-1981, respectively. Tim was a member of the Board of Trustees for the Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers, the Western Reserve Girl Scouts Council and the Summit County Trial Lawyers Association. For almost 20 years, Tim was on the Board of Directors for the North Akron Savings Bank. This is the same seat previously held by his father, Chic, and his grandfather, Daniel Scanlon.
Tim and his wife, Mary, currently reside in Naples, Florida and have 6 children: Maura, Tracy, Paula, Greg, Cory, and John. They currently have 15 grandchildren with the next grandchild due in February 2005. With their children located in Milwaukee, Atlanta, San Francisco, Dallas and Akron, they are able to incorporate family visits and golf with their cross-country travels.
2003: George B. Vasko
George B. Vasko is the 2003 recipient of the Akron Bar Association Professionalism Award. George was born in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania and raised by a widowed mother. He graduated from Phoenixville High School in 1950 and that evening started employment at BF Goodrich. While working the midnight shift, he started at Ursinius College, a small liberal arts college west of Philadelphia. After graduating in 1955, he joined the United States Army and served with the Military Police until discharge in 1957.
The day he got out of the service, George began law school at Boston College. He married his wife, Diane Elanor Drake, then a student at Boston University on February 23, 1957. George graduated in 1960 and passed the Massachusetts bar. He practiced law in Massachusetts until he was appointed as assistant general counsel of the United Rubber Workers International Union in 1962. After passing the Ohio bar in January 1963, he was appointed as general counsel in 1967. He left the URW in 1973 to go into private practice.
George has served on many boards and commissions including the Akron Art Institute, Visiting Nurses of Summit County, and Treasurer of the St. Vincent DePaul Society, Summit County Catholic School Commission, President of Legal Aid Society, Chairman of the Public Defender Office, Vice Chairman of Akron Housing Commission, Board of Trustees of the Akron Bar Association and many more.
George and his wife Diane have five children: Sharon, Kimberly, Scott, Tracy and Kelly. They are the grandparents of ten. They also travel quite extensively. George’s major hobbies are his children, grandchildren and the law.
2002: Robert H. McDowall
Robert H. McDowall is the 2002 recipient of the Akron Bar Association Professionalism Award. Bob was born in Cleveland, attended Akron Public Schools and graduated from Buchtel High School in 1948. Anxious to serve his country, Bob enlisted in the Naval Reserve and spent six months as a reservist before entering the Navy and serving four years from 1948 to 1952. Bob spent his naval career on a submarine in the Pacific under the command of Lewis Patrick Gray III, an attorney, who later in life succeeded J. Edgar Hoover as head of the FBI. Bob credits the training and discipline he received during his Navy years as having a positive effect on shaping his life and career.
Upon returning to Akron in 1952 bob enrolled in Kent State University and took classes year round and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration in three years. Upon graduation from Kent State in 1955, Bob went to work for Goodyear for the next 7-1/2 years while concurrently attending the Akron Law School, graduating in a class of eight in 1962. Upon graduation from law school Bob worked in the prosecutor’s office for the City of Cuyahoga Falls under the watchful eye of whom he fondly refers to as his mentor, the Honorable Sam H. Bell. Bob went into private practice with Judge Bell in the Falls for five years until Judge Bell left to serve on the bench. Bob has continued in private practice in the Falls to this day.
Bob has been an active member of the Akron Bar Association serving on and being chair of the Probate Law Committee, the Domestic Relations Committee and the Traffic Safety Committee. Bob has also been a member of the standing committees of Family Law and Criminal Law for the Ohio State Bar Association. He has been a long-time member and supporter of the Law School Alumni Association for which he served as Chair for two years and received the Outstanding Alumni Award. Bob was elected to the Woodridge School Board and served for six years. In addition to all of Bob’s other accomplishments he served a term as Trustee of the Akron Bar Association and has served both on the Board and as President of the Akron Bar Foundation.
Bob and his high school sweetheart, Julie, have been married 49 years and have two sons, David, employed by Goodrich Landing Gear in Redmond, Washington and Bob Jr., Director of Pediatric Anesthesiology at Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.
2001: Frederick S. Corns
A lifelong resident of Akron, Ohio, Fred Corns graduated from Buchtel High School in his hometown of Akron, received an undergraduate degree from Williams College and went on to serve his country achieving the rank of Lieutenant in the United States Air Force. Following his Honorable Discharge, while working at what was then known as the Dime Bank, Fred attended and graduated from the University of Akron School of Law in 1967. Following his graduation from law school, Fred went to work at what was then known as the law firm of Slabaugh, Walker, Plueger, Roderick and Myers. Fred continued to practice with the firm that is now known today as Roderick Linton Belfance, LLP until his retirement from the practice of law in 2013. Those in the Akron legal community knew Fred as a “lawyer’s lawyer” and as one who had the respect of his clients as well as his opponents.
Fred is a long suffering fan of his beloved Cleveland Indians and for many years traveled with a number of fellow fans to spring training in Florida and Arizona to follow the Tribe. Fred also served as the Commissioner of one of the first fantasy football leagues in the Akron area, which traced its beginnings back to the mid-1970s. Fred has served on the Board of the Akron Bar Association and the Akron Bar Foundation and also served as past Chairman of Sumner on Ridgewood and The East Akron Cemetery Association. A humble man, generous with his time, Fred served as a mentor to many young lawyers in town. It is not surprising that he was chosen by his peers as the recipient of the 2001 Professionalism Award.
2000: Joseph S. Kodish
Joseph S. Kodish, Director of the Legal Defenders of Summit County, Ohio Inc., is the 2000 recipient of the Akron Bar Association Professionalism Award. An Akron native, Kodish has practiced law in Akron throughout his career. He is a graduate of Buchtel High School and The Ohio State University. He received his law degree from Cleveland Marshall Law School in 1969.
That same year he joined the City of Akron Law Department as an Assistant Law Director. A year later he became an Assistant City Prosecutor an in 1972 was appointed Chief City Prosecutor. In 1974, Kodish moved to the defense side of the courtroom when he became the Director of the Legal Defenders Office, the position he continues to hold. He is also associated with the Akron firm of Sternberg, Newman & Associates and has served as a lecturer for criminal law and professional ethics seminars.
Kodish is an active member of the Akron Bar Association where he is a past member of the Executive Committee and a former Chair of the Grievance Committee. He has also served on the Criminal and Insurance Committees and the Commission on Judicial Candidates.
Kodish and his wife, JoEllen, have two children, Rick and Jeff.
1999: Jerome L. Holub
Jerry was born in Akron, Ohio in 1922 to Ben and Rebecca Holub. He graduated from Buchtel High School in 1940 and went on to Ohio State University to study Journalism and prepare for a career as a sports writer. The pursuit of that dream was cut short with the onset of World War II and a stint in the Army as a field artillery recorder.
After the war ended, Jerry returned home with a new career choice – law – that he would pursue after enrolling at the University of Michigan Law School in 1947. He attended classes there for two years before transferring to Ohio Northern University to complete his law degree. After graduation, Jerry began practicing law with his father where he remained for the next 15 years until the elder Holub passed away in 1966. Since 1962, Jerry has served as Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustee.
On December 7, 1952, Jerry married the former Margery Schmitman. The couple had three children: Carol, Alan, and a daughter, Reba (named after Jerry’s mother), who was killed in a 1978 automobile accident at the age of 24. The death was reminiscent of his mother’s death by the same means in 1950.
Jerry has been a member of the Akron Bar Association since 1951 and during that time has served two terms as a Trustee. He has been a charter member of the Judicial Commission and a regular contributor to the Examiner magazine. Jerry was the first person to be honored by the Akron Bar Association with the Senior Lawyer Honorary Award, in recognition of outstanding service to the legal profession in the community.
He also was awarded the Professionalism Award in 1999 which is given to an individual who displays exemplary dedication to the standards of the legal profession and demonstration of integrity and humanitarian activities in the community.
Jerry has also been involved in numerous community organizations and activities including the Inventors Hall of Fame and the City of Akron Holocaust Commemoration Committee. He has shown long-standing involvement in area sports organizations receiving various awards, including the William Schlemmer Award for Meritorious Service from the Dapper Dan Club and the Andy Palich Outstanding Athletic Service Memorial Award from the Summit County Sports Hall of Fame. Jerry co-founded the Akron Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1971. He has given countless hours in support of local athletics in the Summit County area.
Jerome L. Holub is well regarded both within the legal profession and the community in general for his honesty, integrity, and sincere concern for others.
1998: Bradford M. Gearinger
Bradford M. “Buck” Gearinger was born in Pennsylvania, received his undergraduate degree from the University of the South in 1962, and received his J.D. degree from Vanderbilt University in 1965. He was admitted to practice in Tennessee that same year, and was admitted in Ohio in 1969, after serving three years in the United States Marine Corps. He joined the firm of Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs, and in 1979 he cofounded, with Tim Scanlon, the firm of Scanlon & Gearinger, where he remains a shareholder. He represents plaintiffs in personal injury, product liability and medical malpractice litigation.
Buck is a member of the Akron, Ohio and American Bar Associations, and served as president of the Akron Bar Association in 1988-89. He is also a member of Scanlon Inn of Court, Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers, the American College of Trial Lawyers and the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. Buck is a fellow of the International Society of Barristers, the American Bar Foundation and the Akron Bar Foundation.
1997: S. Samuel Nukes
Akron Attorney S. Samuel Nukes is the 1997 recipient of the Akron Bar Association Professionalism Award.
Nukes has practiced law in Akron throughout his career. He is a graduate of the University of Akron and received his law degree from Western Reserve University in 1956. His practice is concentrated in the areas of personal injury, products liability and wrongful death.
Nukes is a past president of both the Akron Bar Association and the Akron Bar Association Foundation. He is a member of numerous professional organizations and is active in his church, the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church. Nukes is married to Mary Alice and has two children, Ted and Lisa.
The Professionalism Award was created by the Akron Bar Association in 1996 to recognize an attorney for exceptional dedication to the standards of the profession and for integrity and humanitarian concerns. Nukes is the second award recipient.
1996: John A. Schwemler
John A. Schwemler was the inaugural recipient of the Akron Bar Association Professionalism Award.
After serving in the United States Navy, John received his J.D. from Western Reserve Law School and was admitted to the bar in 1954. John joined the law firm of Brouse McDowell in 1974, where his practice focused on banking, commercial and bankruptcy law. He worked on many of Northeast Ohio’s most visible and contentious commercial cases.
John was deeply respected by not only his partners, but also his many friends and colleagues at the bar association. Often, a lawyer or judge would claim a seat near John to be able to ask his advice and talk out a problem or point of law. Humble and modest, John was proud to receive the Professionalism Award honor because it came from his peers.
Throughout his life, John gave freely of his time to the community. He was an active member of the Stow Lions Club, served on the Stow Planning Commission and Stow Charter Review Commission. John was also an active member of the United Methodist Church in Stow. After taking of-counsel status at Brouse McDowell, John gave much of his time to pro-bono work. In 2003, he was recognized with the Akron Legal Volunteer Services Program Lifetime Achievement Award.
John passed in March of 2005. He is survived by his wife Jackie, of nearly 50 years, three children and grandchildren.