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

OSBA Women in the Profession Section Honors Ginny Trethewey '77

Ginny with her Lutes Award
Ginny with her Lutes Award

The Nettie Cronise Lutes Award, created by the Ohio State Bar Association's Women in the Profession Section, recognizes women lawyers who have improved the legal profession through their own high level of professionalism, and who have opened doors for other women and girls. It also commemorates the first woman to practice law in Ohio. Ginny received the award at the OSBA Annual Convention on May 12.

In her current position as general counsel to The Ohio State University and executive assistant to OSU President Karen Holbrook, Ginny has made many contributions in support of women in the workplace. In 1997, Trethewey became one of the main forces behind the formation of the Women's Place and the President's Council on Women's Issues at OSU. Since then, she has continued to support women by promoting leadership opportunities for women and minority faculty and staff.

Ginny works to ensure a supportive environment for all OSU staff members. For example, she used as a recruitment tool a partial work-from-home option and flexible schedules to allow attorneys and staff to meet personal and professional goals at critical stages in their careers.

Ginny entered law school after serving five years as a sixth-grade teacher in the Fredericktown, Ohio public school system, and graduated cum laude from Moritz Law in 1977. After graduation, she joined the law firm of Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease. She became a partner at a time when very few women attained that position. As leader and mentor to the younger female associates at Vorys, she advocated for working mothers, and helped develop a policy for maternity leave and a part-time employment option for women at the firm.

She understands fully the complex demands on women devoted both to their careers and to parenting. In 1979, Ginny became the first Vorys attorney to give birth when her son Kyle was born. In 1991, she left Vorys to raise her younger son, John. When he was 4, she resumed her career, this time at her alma mater. She joined OSU as vice president for legal affairs and general counsel in 1995, succeeding the Hon. Robert M.
Duncan '52.

Former Ohio Attorney General Betty Montgomery, who recommended Ginny for the position, said at the time that Ginny "has an impressive breadth of experience appropriate to the responsibilities of this position and an equally imposing record of accomplishment. Her practice involved a spectrum of regulated activities and contractual arrangements, and work with non-profit organizations such as Children's Hospital and corporations such as Honda of America."

In addition to general counsel, Ginny's title has grown to encompass "executive assistant to the president." In addition to managing OSU's Office of Legal Affairs, Ginny's other responsibilities include matters relating to the OSU board of trustees, major contracts and affiliations, special projects as directed by the president and provost, University governance, and other special projects.

Ginny also serves as an active fellow of both the Ohio State Bar Foundation and the Columbus Bar Foundation, and serves as a member of the Moritz Law National Alumni Council. In addition, she has taught seminars as an adjunct professor, and currently mentors Melissa Palmisciano, a recipient of the prestigious Moritz Scholarship.

Several community organizations have also benefited from her ingenuity and time. Her board service includes the Wellington School, Columbus Association for the Performing Arts, Columbus Speech and Hearing Center, Ohioana Library, the Jack Nicklaus Museum, and The Ohio State University Foundation.

"Ginny Trethewey not only blazed trails for women in the profession, but also turned back to lend a supportive arm to those who followed on the path," says Moritz Law Dean Nancy Rogers. "The profession did not welcome women as eagerly 27 years ago as it does today. Ginny had to be better than her peers in order to succeed and met that challenge. She took on the difficult task of changing lawyers' attitudes toward the influx of women into the profession, in a constructive and determined way. Women who enter the legal profession now have more opportunities because of persons like Ginny."

Like Nettie Cronise Lutes, Ginny remains a pioneer, even in an age somewhat more accepting of strong women who make strides in the public arena as well as the private. Undoubtedly, future generations of Moritz Law women will be inspired by her example.