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

W. Ray Persons '78 Honored as Distinguished Alumnus September 24

Ray Persons with a student
Ray Persons (right) visits with a student during a visit to Moritz

W. Ray Persons '78, who will be honored at the OSU v. Iowa tailgate, is a success by any measure. A skilled litigator, Ray is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, an organization whose membership is limited to the top 1% of the lawyers in the nation, and one of only 600 elected to the International Society of Barristers, a law honor society with membership limited to trial lawyers and barristers drawn from the United States, Canada and England.

Ray's roster of clients is equally impressive, including Union Carbide Corporation, Hewlett-Packard Company, Georgia Pacific Corporation, Lincoln Electric, Bridgestone Corporation, and Colonial Pipeline, among others. His practice focuses on complex litigation, including class actions and mass torts. He regularly appears before the state and federal courts, and has been lead counsel in more than fifty jury trials. Ray has written numerous articles, taught trial advocacy at Georgia State University College of Law, and conducted lectures across the country and abroad on strategies for defending complex cases.

Few would have predicted this success. Money was short and Ray had to drop out of college to earn money in order to be able to continue his studies. With the help of a scholarship and a mother who encouraged him at every turn, he attended Ohio State, earning his J.D. in 1978.

A true Buckeye, he learned the value of "paying forward." Ray and his wife Wendy recently endowed a merit scholarship named in honor of their children. Ray and Wendy hope their children will be inspired by their example and continue to grow the scholarship through the next generation and possibly beyond.

Ray visits Moritz regularly to meet with students and share his experiences. Knowing the power of setting high goals, he encourages students to raise their professional aspirations. He is as persuasive with them as he is with most juries.

A consummate professional, Ray has given back to his community and improved the profession. The American Heart Association, the Fulton County ( Georgia ) Criminal Justice Blue Ribbon Commission, the Task Force for Reform of the Fulton County Superior Court Clerk's Office, and the Atlanta Legal Aid Society top the list of his many civic and professional commitments.

Ray's boundless energy and confidence fuel his drive and personal philosophy that if you can dream it, you can live it. Those lucky enough to know him are instantly true believers.