LIMA — The president of the Ohio State Bar Association visited Lima Thursday to speak to area attorneys about challenges and opportunities facing the legal profession and to recognize three area lawyers.
Ronald Kopp, 2016-17 OSBA president, joined local attorneys at the OSBA District 16 annual luncheon meeting at Shawnee Country Club. OSBA District 16 includes 210 members who practice in Allen, Auglaize, Hardin and Mercer counties.
Honored at the meeting were Richard Warren, a former judge in Allen County, Thomas Bryant, a judge in Findlay, and Melissa Kidder, a Findlay attorney.
Bryant and Warren were recognized for 50 years of practicing law, and Kidder received the Ohio State Bar Foundation Community Service Award for Attorneys 40 and Under.
Warren, a Lima resident, is a retired judge who now serves as a magistrate for Lima Municipal Court. He had previously worked as assistant prosecutor in Allen County for 18 years, during which time he was named Assistant Prosecutor of the Year for the State of Ohio. Warren then served as a judge in the Allen County Common Pleas Court for 24 years.
He is also a co-founder of the Western Ohio Regional Treatment and Habilitation Center, also known as the W.O.R.T.H. Center, in Lima.
Looking back on his 50 years practicing law, Warren reflected on the positions he’s held and the people he met along the way.
“When I first started I was in the First National Bank Building in downtown Lima,” he said. “You wonder where the time’s gone.”
Warren was also thankful to those who helped him in his career.
“I have so many people to thank who gave me a start in the practice,” he said. “I also want to thank the voters of Allen County that gave me the opportunity to serve them for 24 years. … I feel really blessed.”
Bryant is a judge for the Third District Court of Appeals in Findlay. He was a recipient of the Professionalism Award from the American Board of Trial Advocates, and has served on several Ohio Supreme Court boards. Bryant is a U.S. Army veteran and a graduate of Ohio Northern University.
Kopp said both men deserved to be recognized for their accomplishments and dedication to the OSBA.
“Anybody who has paid their dues to any organization for 50 years deserves to be recognized, especially when they are two gentlemen like them who have not only been lawyers, but also have served their communities extremely well,” Kopp said.
It was the service to community aspect that Kopp said was what made Kidder so deserving of the foundation award.
“We feel she has contributed very significantly to her community,” he said. “We think that’s very important — to encourage younger lawyers to get involved in their communities and do whatever they can to make a difference.”
Reach John Bush at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @bush_lima