OSBA Alumni Reception May 17 Features Supreme Court of Ohio Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer ‘64
Supreme Court of Ohio
Thomas J. Moyer '64
The Ohio State Bar Association's Friend of Legal Education Award is given annually to the bar member who has contributed most to legal education. Thomas J. Moyer ’64 has continually demonstrated his commitment to legal education during his 20-year tenure as chief justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio, working with law schools, the bench, the bar and the general public.
Within a year after taking office, Chief Justice Moyer organized the first annual Bench-Bar-Deans Conference, which gave Ohio law school deans the opportunity to meet with the chief justice, key staff members from the Court, and officers and executives of the organized bar to discuss matters of mutual interest. For nearly 20 years, conference participants have had the opportunity to focus on issues facing legal education, including teaching legal ethics and professionalism, and maintaining a diverse student population.
The Ohio Judicial College, established in 1976, had programs that were initially available only to judges. One year after Chief Justice Moyer took office, courses were offered to court referees and magistrates, and in 1990, the college created classes for non-judicial court personnel. The college also expanded its orientation program for new judges to assist them in making the transition from client advocate to impartial arbiter.
He has also created a national consortium, the Advanced Science and Technology Adjudication Resource Project, to prepare judges on how to successfully incorporate emerging science and technology into trials and proceedings. His goal: to train 700 resource judges in the United States and foreign jurisdictions by the end of the decade.
The chief justice has also shown his commitment to increase public knowledge and understanding of the judiciary. In December 2006, he opened the Visitor Education Center. The center is part of an ongoing effort to increase public awareness by informing the public about the history and role of the judiciary. It offers its visitors an inside look at the role of Ohio courts through realistic, interactive displays, featuring video exhibits and courtrooms for role-play. The center also provides elementary and high school teachers with materials to help them meet curriculum benchmarks. Nearly 10,000 people have visited the center since its opening and their responses have been very enthusiastic.
Beyond having the center in Columbus, Chief Justice Moyer has also taken the Court “on the road.” The Off-Site Court Program has enabled more than 30,000 Ohioans, nearly 23,000 of them high school students, to observe the proceedings of the Supreme Court and interact with justices, attorneys and court staff.
The programs described here account for only a few of the chief justice’s initiatives to improve legal education, but they are ample evidence of his dedication to it. He has been a driving force in creating educational opportunities not only for the profession, but also for the public. The Moritz College of Law will honor the chief justice for his commitment to legal education at the OSBA alumni reception.
To RSVP for the reception, please contact Laura Landy Carr at 614-292-2937.