Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Justice Fischer Preaches Professionalism, Mentorship at Student to Lawyer Symposium

Supreme Court Justice Patrick Fischer was once just a face in the crowd, listening to what his peers and predecessors had to say. Now, after years of standing out in the private then public sector, others absorbed his words of wisdom at the Ohio Supreme Court’s Student to Lawyer Symposium in Columbus.

“I always ask young lawyers, ‘Why did you do this? Why did you become a lawyer?’ Almost all say, ‘I want to help people.’ Whenever you get down or stressed out, remember that,” said Justice Fischer.

The former appellate court judge and Ohio State Bar Association president spoke before a spectrum of legal minds that ranged from law students to veteran practitioners. His message focused on the importance of professionalism, a cause he’s championed for decades.

“Professionalism matters because it makes the difference between a job and a vocation,” he said. “What’s wrong with respecting people? I mean, they’re people just like you and me, and so, the best way to respect them is under the rubric as a lawyer of professionalism.”

On top of educating participants about innovations and diversity in the legal realm through multiple breakout sessions, organizers for the biannual event also stressed the significance of self-care for those in the profession.

“Mental health and wellness is something, certainly, that for our profession is on the front lines, and there is more that we are learning that we know and we’re equipping people differently,” said Mina Jones Jefferson, chair of the symposium’s law school committee and an associate dean at the University of Cincinnati College of Law.

Connecting is also a critical component during these think tanks, not only for networking, but also for guidance, given the never-ending need to learn more about law.

“I still have a mentor at my old law firm that I talk to every once in a while. I would say there’s at least one, if not two, members of the Supreme Court that I often talk to that have more experience than me,” said Justice Fischer.

Having learned from many people along the way, Justice Fischer said he’s happy to pay it forward to anyone at any time, especially those in the process of becoming professionals. He openly invited any of the attendees to talk over the phone, during a cup of coffee, or while grabbing some lunch.

“That transition can really help your career and make you a better lawyer and better person and better citizen to this state, and that’s what matters to this court and to me.”