Drawing on clinic experience in his career
Every time he “walks the triangle” in the courtroom, Avonte Campinha- Bacote ’08 has his Civil Clinic experience from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law in his back pocket.
That’s where Campinha-Bacote learned to perform one of the most common tasks for a trial attorney: When introducing evidence, first approach opposing counsel, then the judge, and, lastly, the witness.
“The clinics were the most helpful and practical classes that I took in law school,” Campinha-Bacote said. “I got to play attorney. And now in my practice, I’m remembering a lot of the things I learned from being in clinic.”
As founding partner of Campinha Bacote LLP (CB Law), he heads the general practice firm of seven lawyers, including another Moritz alumnus, Carlton J. Willey ’08, also a partner in the firm. Its offices are based in Columbus, San Francisco, and Chicago.
Specializing in litigation, he represents a slew of clients, from corporations to private people and reality stars, such as Farrah Abraham of MTV’s 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom.
Heading his own firm, though, was a far-sought notion just five years ago. After graduating from Moritz, he joined Thompson Hine LLP as an associate. He left the firm a year later due to layoffs and joined a small Cincinnati firm, Webb & Pillich, LLC, where he primarily practiced immigration law. Sitting behind a desk instead of standing in front of a courtroom allowed Campinha-Bacote to rethink his career goals: “Being a part of a small firm, I got to see the intricacies about how the operations work. … I realized I might have a knack for bringing in businesses and bringing value to a firm.”
Campinha-Bacote launched CB Law in 2010, gaining his footing under his mother’s health care consultation service, Transcultural C.A.R.E. Associates. He filed 15 copyright infringement cases for her, and, in that time, he said, his Mediation Clinic experience proved useful in negotiating a settlement for seven of the cases that resulted in a lawsuit.
“I learned a lot of techniques and tools in mediation to bring the parties to an agreement,” he said. He added the success of those settlements was startling – the first procured more than his entire year’s salary at the time.
“That gave me the ability to start (my firm). I had the financial capacity to hire more people and I had the confidence,” he said. “It luckily worked out perfectly.”
Now, Campinha-Bacote says, CEOs of companies he once sued are reaching out to him for representation.