The Litigation Section of the Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA) recently announced the winners of the OSBA Best Briefs Awards. These awards recognize briefs filed in the Ohio Supreme Court, two drafted by private firms and one drafted by a public office.  

The Office of the Ohio Attorney General took top honors for the best public brief while the private firm winners were two Cleveland based firms, the Chandra Law Firm and Bolek Besser Glesius.  

“The OSBA Litigation Section has a wonderful record of promoting outstanding written advocacy as well as education,” said OSBA President Linda Tucci Teodosio. “This year’s honorees demonstrate a high level of artful rhetoric and set an example for law students and members of the bar. I congratulate them on this great achievement.”

The briefs were selected from among those filed with the Ohio Supreme Court. Offices and firms were permitted to submit up to three briefs from any stage of litigation which were judged on the basis of marshalling authorities and facts, organization, clarity of writing and persuasiveness. Private brief submissions were judged by members of public offices and public briefs were evaluated by attorneys at private firms. The awards were announced at the OSBA Litigation Section Conference on Oct. 20.

“According to our judging panels, the entries this year were well written and competitive,” Joseph Simms, Chair of the OSBA Litigation Section said. “The judges determined our winners based on a demonstration of impressive appellate advocacy and chose from among a group of skilled colleagues.”

Best Public Briefs:

For the third year, attorneys with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office drafted the best public brief. Authored by Ben Flowers and Sam Peterson in City of Athens v. Testa, the OSBA public sector judging panel said that the brief stood out from the many quality submissions this year. 

“We found this brief to be thorough but concise, clear and persuasive. What stood out the most about this brief, though, is that the authors found a way to make a case about municipal tax systems interesting to read,” the judging panel said in a statement. 

Best Private Briefs:

Subodh Chandra and former partner Sandhya Gupta were the primary authors of one of the private winning briefs. According to the private judging panel, “The brief of the Chandra Law Firm was a complete brief and recognized that persuading a seven-member court often requires thinking about the approach that each justice might take to the case. It nicely blended different interpretive methods without feeling disjointed.”

The second winning brief was authored by Matthew D. Besser of Bolek Besser Glesius LLC and was a model amicus.?“It avoided the merits repetition of some many amici,” the judging panel stated, “while giving the court both a broader perspective about what goes on in employee drug testing and a specific example of alternate procedures that could protect privacy rights.”? 

Section Chair Simms commended the judges of the competition, who reviewed a total of 27 submissions.

Public Brief Judges included:

• John J. Kulewicz, Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP;
• Lauren S. Kuley, Squire Patton Boggs;
• Irene C. Keyse-Walker, Tucker Ellis | LLP;
• Albert Lin, Ice Miller LLP;
• Thomas D. Warren, BakerHostetler;
• Rachel Bloomekatz, Gupta Wessler PLLC; and
• Mattew Besser, Bolek Besser Glesius LLC.
 
Private Brief Judges were:

• Evy M. Jarrett, Lucas County Prosecutor's Office;
• Ronald W. Springman, Jr., Hamilton County Prosecutor;
• Seth L. Gilbert, Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney;
• Craig M. Jaquith, Ohio Public Defender;
• Richard A. Cline, Ohio Public Defender;
• Brooke M. Burns, Ohio Public Defender;
• Katherine E. Mullin, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office; and
• Michael J. Hendershot, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.
 
The OSBA Litigation Sections sponsors the Best Briefs Award in an effort to educate the bar, law students and students generally about excellent written advocacy and to highlight appellate advocacy as a specialized practice. Read more about the awards and view the winning briefs at https://www.ohiobar.org/about-us/awards-scholarships/litigation-section-best-brief-award/.

Submissions for the 2021 Best Brief Awards will be open from April 1 through June 1, 2021. Entries must be briefs filed in the Ohio Supreme Court in 2020 and can be submitted at https://www.judgify.me/BestBrief21.

About the Ohio State Bar Association:

The Ohio State Bar Association, founded in 1880, is a voluntary association representing approximately 26,000 members of the bench and bar of Ohio. Through its activities and the activities of its related organizations, the OSBA serves both its members and the public by promoting the highest standards in the practice of law and the administration of justice.  

The OSBA Litigation Section is comprised of legal professionals interested in all aspects of litigation practice. It provides a valuable forum for those members to interact and to share best practices, information and resources.