My regular readers know that this year I’ve sworn to avoid writing about politics, and so far I’ve kept my pledge. But today I want to deviate from that course and write about a candidate who is running to keep a seat on the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas: Judge Gina Russo. You can read about her on her website.
Judge Russo began her legal career as an associate at our firm, Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease, LLP. She was a smart, capable, hard-working member of our litigation group who had a special love for trials and the courtroom. Judge Russo also was an absolute pleasure to work with: someone who invariably displayed a positive, cheerful, can-do attitude and who could be counted on to get the assignment done, and done right. She worked on pretty much every kind of case our firm handles, large and small, and got a lot of experience in various aspects of the civil litigation area. Judge Russo also showed a knack for establishing strong relationships with clients–which is one of the hallmarks of gifted lawyers. If a client keeps coming back to you when they’ve got a legal issue, it’s a tangible sign that the clients think you really care about their problems and are doing a good job on their behalf. I’m happy to report to you that Judge Russo’s clients kept coming back.
Judge Russo left our firm because she relished the courtroom, and civil litigation trials tend to be few and far between. If you want to get that regular courtroom experience, the prosecutor’s office is where to go–and that’s where Judge Russo went. I was sad that she left our firm, but people have to follow their star, and I knew that she yearned to be on her feet before judges and juries and had made a careful, thoughtful decision, as she always had done. It turned out to be a very good decision for her, because Judge Russo got the courtroom work she craved and rapidly worked her way up in the prosecutor’s office to the point where she was handling some of the office’s most challenging, high-profile felony cases.
In March of 2019, Governor DeWine appointed Judge Russo to fill a vacancy on the Franklin County Common Pleas Court bench. Now she is running for a new term as a judge, in the election to be held this November. I’ll be voting for her, and I recommend that others do so, too. Judge Russo has the breadth and depth of experience that we ideally look for in a judge–with significant direct involvement in civil and criminal litigation and first-hand exposure to the law in both of those areas. And the same personal characteristics that made her a fine associate at our firm also serve her well on the bench. Our society wants and needs judges who care about justice, objectivity, and fairness, who aspire to reflect those qualities in their conduct and their rulings, who will read and think carefully about what lawyers have written and argued, and who will work hard at their jobs. And I want to emphasize that last point, because court dockets can become clogged and inert if judges aren’t always focused on deciding motions and keeping the cases before them moving forward. I know from positive personal experience that Judge Russo will do all of those things, and no one will work harder, or with a more positive attitude, at their job.
It’s wonderful for the Columbus community and the justice system that we have excellent judicial candidates like Judge Gina Russo. I recommend her wholeheartedly and without reservation. Remember her when you head to the voting booth this fall.