Moritz College of Law The Ohio State University
This Month @ Moritz

Bea Sowald '66 Receives OSBA's Highest Honor

Bea Sowald
Bea receives the Lutes Award at OSBA Ceremony

A recipient of the Bar Medal Award, given each year for meritorious service to the legal profession, the community and humanity, Bea is nonplussed by all the attention she received at the Annual Convention on May 13. "I think it's interesting, or amazing, that an award is given for something I've always enjoyed doing. I get a lot out of committees and groups," she noted in an interview with the Columbus Daily Reporter. From the impressive list of commitments she has made in her nearly 40-year career, it's obvious that Bea enjoys the collaborative process.

After graduating from Moritz Law in 1966, Bea began her career with the Legal Aid Society of Columbus as a staff attorney, and by 1972, had risen to the position of supervising attorney. After eight years in the not-for-profit sector, she teamed with daughter Heather to form Sowald & Sowald. They focused their practice on domestic relations law. Just four years later, Bea joined the Franklin County Common Pleas Court as a judge in the Domestic Relations Division, and later served on the Franklin County Municipal Court.

During her career, she has never hesitated to become involved in groups where she could make an impact on the profession and the public it serves. She has been a member of the Bankruptcy Committee and the Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee of the Columbus Bar Association (CBA), has served on its Board of Governors, and has chaired the Professional Ethics Committee and the Family Law Committee. In 1993, she was the recipient of the CBA's Professionalism Award.

Judge Sowald
Judge Sowald was in demand as
a speaker and panelist

The OSBA has also benefited from her service. Bea is a member of the Council of Delegates, and has chaired the Family Law committee and the Professional Ethics Committee. She has participated as a mentor in bar association mentoring programs for many years.

Her remarkable service extends beyond the city and state bar associations to include service to her state and her alma mater. She has served on the Governor's Task Force on Credit for Women and the Governor's Commission on Child Support. She also offered her time to the Ohio Statutory Child Support Guidelines Advisory Commission and the Task Force on Family Law and Children. This expert in family law is also co-author of the "Ohio Domestic Relations" resource book since 1987, and has served as an adjunct law professor at Moritz, teaching family law.

"Bea Sowald inspires us with her career-long dedication to improving the law as it relates to families and to assuring equal access to justice. She is a true family law expert, and one devoted to using that expertise to make a difference not only for her clients but also for all families," says Moritz Law Dean Nancy Rogers.

Bea's commitment to service has not only garnered her the recognition and gratitude of the OSBA and the legal community, but has also produced a legacy: Bea's daughter Heather became the president of OSBA on the same night Bea received her award. Just as Bea was honored by her daughter's commitment to the profession, Moritz Law is honored by Bea's devotion to Ohio's families and her exemplary life of public service.