Keith Shumate ’91 Delights in His Family of Legal Eagles
As a student at Moritz, Keith met Kim Callery, another OSU law student who was a year behind him. They dated for the remainder of their respective law school careers and married in 1993. The couple has three sons, Sheridan, 10, Kyle, 5 and Kaleb, 2.
And just how is it for two experienced and successful litigators to be married to one another?
“It’s no different than for other couples. I recognize that the guy has to concede at some point,” he jokes. “Seriously,” he adds, “We can empathize with what the other is going through.”
Kim is not the only lawyer in the family. Cousin Alex Shumate is managing partner of Squire Sanders & Dempsey, and former chair of the university’s Board of Trustees.
Keith acknowledges to being the least-known Shumate in town, but he takes it in stride. “I no doubt live in the shadow of Kim and Alex. They’re more well-known in the community than I am. I always get questions like, ‘Are you related to Kim or Alex?’” But, he adds, “It’s good.” Partly because of his reverence for his cousin Alex, Keith says he has “always wanted to be a lawyer.”
Upon passing the July 1991 bar exam, Keith Shumate spent a year clerking for the Honorable David A. Nelson of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. He then joined Squire Sanders as an associate, where he was named a partner in 2000.
I’ve always wanted to work in a big law firm,” says Keith. He says he enjoys how his position exposes him to cases with interesting and complicated fact patterns. “I like the challenge,” he says. Moreover, while he says his goal was to practice with a large law firm, such as Squire Sanders, he never imagined that “a local practice could evolve into a national one as it has.”
As for what he has found most surprising about practicing law, initially Keith was at a loss for words. However, after a moment of thought, he seized upon something that he has experienced in countless cases, yet it never ceases to amaze him. “I never envisioned how two different sets of people could interpret facts so differently and genuinely see things differently, and no matter how hard you try to reason or persuade them, they can’t or won’t budge.”
Considering the number of hours he puts in at the office and the fact that his three sons also keep him busy, Keith somehow finds time to volunteer for causes dear to his heart. For example, he has served on the Board of Trustees of the Columbus Zoo for several years and the Board of Starr Commonwealth, which oversees troubled youth in various facilities in Michigan and Ohio. He is a member of the Moritz Alumni National Council and has served as president of the Moritz College of Law Alumni Society while also being an active participant on various committees at the Columbus Bar Association.
So, with all the wonderful experiences Keith enjoys as a successful litigator, husband and father, could he actually envision the possibility of his life unfolding any differently? As it turns out, yes. If he was not a lawyer, Keith says he would be a high school history teacher and football coach. As it is, though, he enjoys coaching his clients and helping them create a new history.
Those wishing to get in touch with Keith can contact him at email@example.com.
by Tami Kamin-Meyer