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

Committed Leader Judge Jeffery P. Hopkins '85 is "Paying Forward"

Judge Jeff Hopkins and family

Judge Jeff Hopkins with wife Michelle, daughter Haleigh and son Jeffrey

Judge Jeffery P. Hopkins '85, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge, Southern District Ohio, is both the President-Elect of the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges and the Co-Chair of the Seventh Biennial Just the Beginning Foundation Conference. His participation in these organizations is not by coincidence, since the common thread linking the two is the emphasis on education and the improvement of the practice of law; his commitment to these goals emanates from his inspiring clerkship with Hon. Alan E. Norris, 6th Cir., USCJ.

Judge Hopkins will begin his term as National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges (NCBJ) President in October 2006, one month before its annual conference, which will be held November 1-4, 2006 in San Francisco, California. Outside of the American Bar Association's yearly conference, the NCBJ is the largest convention of lawyers-featuring a membership that includes ninety-five percent of all 327 or so bankruptcy judges in the country. As a component of the NCBJ educational initiative, Judge Hopkins is creating a program, scheduled to launch in 2007, which will feature national and international speakers discussing matters of insolvency and bankruptcy restructuring practices. In addition, he has taught classes on bankruptcy law at the University of Cincinnati for nearly four years.

Hon. A. Thomas Small, Hon. Charles G. Case, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, Judge Hopkins, and Hon. David Adams
Hon. A. Thomas Small (U.S. Bankruptcy Judge - Eastern District, N.C.), Hon. Charles G. Case (U.S. Bankruptcy Judge - District, Ariz.), U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, Judge Hopkins, and Hon. David Adams (U.S. Bankruptcy Judge - Eastern District, Va.)

It is not surprising that Judge Hopkins' penchant for education would lead him to the Just the Beginning Foundation (JTBF). JTBF is a non-profit organization whose members reflect broad-based diversity across racial groups and disciplinary training who share the common goal of commemorating and disseminating information about the contributions of African-Americans to the federal judiciary. Judge Hopkins began attending JTBF conferences in 1998 because he enjoyed the educational component. He recognized that the conferences posed educational and networking opportunities for both students and lawyers and notes that many students have obtained clerkships through their meeting federal court judges at these JTBF conferences..

This year, the JTBF conference will be held from September 21-24, 2006 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The conference will include various panel discussions-one in particular will give high school and college-aged students, who are interested in practicing law, an opportunity to talk directly to federal judges about their experiences on the bench.

One would tend to think that Judge Hopkins' leadership positions in both the NCBJ and the JTBF would prevent him from taking on additional responsibilities, but that is not the case. Currently, he serves on the boards of two non-profit organizations: the Queen City Foundation and Working in Neighborhoods (WIN). The Queen City Foundation is a Cincinnati non-profit organization that provides academic opportunities in independent schools both in Cincinnati and throughout the U.S. to talented minority students, as well as programming which furthers communication, socialization and academic achievement among the students. WIN targets public housing residents and teaches them about finance and home ownership. Judge Hopkins has also served on the Moritz Alumni National Council since 2004.

Recalling a lesson that his mentor, former Columbus Mayor and City Attorney, Gregory S. Lashutka taught him, Judge Hopkins states, "You have to pay forward - because you cannot pay back." Following that advice, he has reached out to others through his leadership in educational initiatives. It is an expression of his gratitude to those who reached out to him.

We invite friends to reconnect with Judge Hopkins, and learn more about his work.