Judge Gina Russo

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.

Officially A “District”

I was walking through the Columbus airport on may way back from Denver last night when I passed a painted wall map depicting some of the different cool spots in Columbus.  There was the Short North, of course, and the Arena District, and the Brewery District, and the University District, and the Discovery District, and the Gay Street District.

Wait a second — the Gay Street District?

Well, if a painted wall on the airport says it, it must be so.  Good old Gay Street is now officially a “district,” right up there with the other established hot spots in Cbus.  If you’re a “district,” you know you’ve arrived.

Gay Street deserves to be a “district,” too.  It’s easily the coolest street in the core area of downtown Columbus, and it’s getting cooler by the minute.  With the recent addition of the Buckeye Bourbon House, the opening this week of Tiger + Lily, an Asian fusion restaurant, and the forthcoming opening of an Irish pub just across the alley, Gay Street offers a wide range of food and liquor options — and there is even more coming, with the Veritas Tavern set to open next year in the Citizens Building at the corner of Gay and High Street.  The street is bustling from noon onward, and it really shines during the spring and summer months, when the outdoor dining venues like Plantain Cafe, the Tip Top, and Due Amici all seem to be filled to overflowing when the workday ends and the fun begins.

For those of us who worked on Gay Street in the early ’90s, when the area was a kind of ghost town after 5 p.m., the transformation to the Gay Street of the modern day has been both exciting and amazing.  And I like to think that our firm, Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP — which has remained in its offices on Gay Street through thick and thin — helped to make that transformation happen with its large array of hungry and thirsty lawyers, paralegals, and staff helping to fill up the coffee houses, restaurants and taverns that now call Gay Street home.

“The Gay Street District.”  Yep, I like the sound of that.

The Gay Street Moonlight Market

Tonight is the latest Gay Street Moonlight Market.

IMG_3848It’s an opportunity for all of Columbus to come and see the coolest street in the downtown area, with the best food, the best restaurants, the best sidewalk vendors, the best shops, the best buildings, the best parking lot . . . and the coolest law firm, too, of course.  (The outside wall of our 68 building serves as the backdrop for the slide show projections.)

It’s part of the work of the Gay Street Collaborative.  The Moonlight Market takes places on the second Saturday of every month, with the brick-and-mortar businesses staying open for shopping and sidewalk vendors filling both sides of the street.  The first two Moonlight Markets did really well, and we Gay Streeters are hoping that the nice summer weather will bring even more people out tonight.

If you’re in downtown Columbus for the arts festival, stretch your legs, hoof it a few streets to the north, and check out Gay Street tonight.  I’m guessing you won’t be alone, and I’m betting your won’t be disappointed!

Saturday Night With The Crew

Last night Kish and I had my Vorys mentees — Prew, Ru, Brew, and Shu — and their families over for a cookout to start the holiday weekend.  In recognition of my recent purchase and blog posting, the mentees decided everyone should wear a hat.  It was touching gesture that made the occasion even more fun.

We had a cheese plate, chips, white bean dip, and black bean salsa.  Brew brought an orzo salad chock full of inedible vegetables.  I tried with limited success to make the addictive warm balsamic popcorn dish served at Crop in Cleveland.  Noah charmed all assembled.  White wine, pina coladas, and beer flowed like melted ice in the hot sun.  Cobby and Bram apparently found a helicopter in our bushes.  Penny behaved so badly she was ashamed to show her face to the camera.  We grilled marinated chicken, cheeseburgers, hot dogs and brats.  Prew’s lemon tart was a big hit come dessert time.

And at the end of the evening, a few hardy stalwarts remained, talking and brushing away insects in the warm summer air as afternoon turned to twilight and finally to full evening.  It was a very good way to start the Fourth of July weekend.