The Fantastic Four: Moritz Grads Serve Ohioans as Legislators
While their careers after law school scattered them throughout the state, their positions as members of the Ohio General Assembly keep them coming back to Columbus. Did their experiences at Moritz Law lead them to seek elected office which in turn allows them to become makers of Ohio's laws? How did their days at Ohio State impact their collective and individual abilities to represent the citizens of Ohio?
The Senior Statesman
It's not surprising that William Batchelder '67 became an attorney, considering his 93-year-old father is an attorney who is "still trying lawsuits." Bill has been married for 41 years to the Hon. Alice M. Batchelder, a member of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit whom President George W. Bush once considered nominating to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The 1967 Moritz law graduate, a Republican who lives in Medina, Ohio, served as an administrative aide to Ohio Lt. Governor John W. Brown before being elected to his first term in the Ohio Legislature in 1968. He ran for and won re-election until he left the legislature in 1998, when he was elected to the Common Pleas Court of Medina County. However, he sat on the bench only two months before then-Ohio Governor Bob Taft appointed him to fill a vacancy on the Ninth District Court of Appeals. He was then elected to the appellate bench in November 2000 and served as presiding judge from January 2000 to December 2001. After leaving the bench in 2005, Bill was re-elected to the Ohio House of Representatives in 2006. His current term runs through November 2008.
According to Bill, who jokingly refers to himself as a "rookie" at the Ohio Statehouse since he only returned there late last year, lessons learned at Moritz Law have served him well throughout his political and professional careers.
Bill says he looks back fondly at his years at OSU's law school. He was a member of the school's National Moot Court team and developed what he recalls as wonderful relationships with the faculty. "They taught us academics and ethics and how to treat other lawyers," he says.
He notes that his legal education helps "all the more now, because the complexity of legislation has grown dramatically."
One wonders if his long-term marriage to a judge could lead to some litigious family moments. However, he says with a smile, such is not the case. "She has jurisdiction in four states and I have it in only four counties!" he jokes.
If he could meet anyone alive today, Bill says it would be U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. "He has one of the most challenging jobs in government. When you're the first among equals, they remind you of that," he says, adding, "But you have to lead."
Getting to the 'core' of the matter
Ohio Rep. Anthony Core '90 was just four years old when Bill Batchelder was first elected to the Ohio General Assembly. He was also only 21 when he married; now, he and his wife are the parents of three children. It was at 35 that he came to serve the Ohio General Assembly in 1999.
A native of Rushsylvania, Ohio, where he lives today, Tony says he went to law school to learn how to help family farmers. In addition to being an attorney, Tony is a farmer himself. He says that after earning a bachelor of science degree in Agriculture from Ohio State in 1987, he decided "estate planning, tax planning, real estate and business issues were critical to the survival of farm families."
Ever a Buckeye, Tony says staying at OSU for law school made perfect sense. Besides, he says, "OSU law school has a great reputation."
Tony says his legal education has proven beneficial in his work in the Ohio House. Being a lawyer "helps when parsing the language of a bill or amendment and when researching current law."
Thinking about reading and digesting law-related information reminds him of one of his fondest Moritz Law memories: "Running across the street to 7/11 to get two large coffees and then hiding in the stacks for hours, trying to catch up on assigned reading," he admits.
If he met President Bush, Tony says he is certain what he would tell him: "Thank you for standing by your convictions in the war on terror." Perhaps not surprisingly, his favorite book is one that delivers a similarly patriotic message. He occasionally re-reads "Boomtown U.S.A." because it pays homage to small-town America. "Its suggestions for ways to revitalize small towns are inspirational," he says.
Faber favors litigation
Keith Faber '91, a Republican from Celina, Ohio, is filling an unexpired term as an Ohio State Senator after serving six years in the Ohio House of Representatives. If he wishes to retain his seat, he needs to seek re-election in 2008. The principal in the law firm of Faber & Associates, he is a civil litigator and mediator. He is married and the father of two children, two-year-old son Adam and daughter Brooke, four months.
Keith's route to law school was somewhat circuitous, but, he says, fortuitous.
As an undergraduate student at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, Keith was a biology and pre-med major. However, he says, "I enjoyed politics and government." So, midway through his junior year, he switched his major to public administration and policy.
He says his legal education has given him an excellent foundation for his service in the Ohio General Assembly. Being an attorney helps me "understand the framework for how laws are used and reviewed. It also lets me understand the nuances of statutory law, regulatory rule-making and the interplay between the levels of government."
He has fond memories of his days at Moritz Law, including the legislation class he took with Professor Phil Sorenson and the contracts course taught by Professor Doug Whaley. Not only has his legal education proven to be a solid foundation for his political career, Keith's educational successes were firsts in his family, too. "I'm the first in my family to have a graduate degree and was the first in my immediate family with a college degree," he says. If he wasn't a lawyer, he says there's no doubt he would have been a doctor. "Doctor and lawyer were my two choices," he says.
If Keith could meet anyone alive today, he says his instincts and interests would lead him to choose either Bill Gates or Warren Buffett. "I enjoy hearing how entrepreneurs become successful. I respect risk-takers and would like to hear how they encourage others." Moreover, while he has already met President Bush, Keith says he knows what he would ask him if the opportunity arose again. Since he is concerned about national security, he says he would ask the president to expound on where our nation stands in regards to this matter. "I'm not convinced we're where we need to be or are as safe as we think we are," he says.
Despite being born in Missouri and educated in Michigan, Keith is now a strong advocate for the Buckeye State. "I want to help make Ohio the best place to live, work and raise a family. We do that by making Ohio an attractive place for jobs," he says.
Just a decade later
Only ten short years ago, Mark Wagoner '97 accepted his juris doctor degree from what is now the Moritz College of Law. Today he is in his second two-year term as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives. A Republican who is of counsel with the Toledo law firm of Shumaker Loop & Kendrick, Mark's law practice focuses on franchise and commercial litigation.
It's not surprising Mark became an attorney. His father is a lawyer and Mark says that as a child, he watched him practice law. Not only that, "Most of the role models in my life were attorneys," he says.
After earning an undergraduate degree from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. in 1994, Mark says he knew he wanted to return to Ohio. "I looked around and OSU was an in-state school with a great reputation," he says.
His legal education has proven an excellent foundation for his duties as an Ohio legislator. Says Mark, "The critical thinking skills I learned in law school have been helpful."
The married father of one says children's health issues are important to him. "I have introduced a bill to update the regulatory structure for maternity wards in Ohio so we can better reflect changes in technology and practices," he says. In his first term in the Ohio House, he sponsored legislation that merged the Medical University of Ohio with the University of Toledo. That marriage marked the first time in 25 years that two American public universities merged and was the first time such a merger ever occurred in Ohio, he says.
Mark says several Moritz Law mentors proved intrinsic to his success in law school. He says professors such as Jim Brudney, David Goldberger and Professor Emeritus Morgan Shipman helped make his law school experience memorable.
Considering the nearly three-hour drive each way from Toledo to Columbus in order to represent his constituents in the Ohio House, why does Mark do it?
Being a legislator is "among the most rewarding things I can do."
By Tami Kamin-Meyer