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May 15, 2008
Chief Justice Reflects on Beauty of Law

Addresses 128th Annual Ohio State Bar Association Convention

Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer of the Supreme Court of Ohio today spoke of the beauty of law in its many forms that inspire and motivate Ohio’s lawyers to enter the legal profession and serve the greater good of society.

Moyer made the remarks in his annual address to members of the Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA) today at the 128th Annual OSBA Convention in Columbus. The complete text of his remarks is available for download at: http://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/PIO/Speeches/2008/OSBA_051508.asp.

“The beauty of law is found in the text of our long-held beliefs in liberty and freedom and fairness,” Chief Justice Moyer said. “It is found in the contract that brings shape to the hope and promise of a new beginning... The beauty of law, in my humble opinion, is that it is the product of the ages – wrapped in the opinion of the moment.”

Moyer offered that the beauty of law can be seen in a literal concrete sense – in the shape of Ohio’s courthouses and the exquisite artwork on display at the Ohio Judicial Center – as well as in the emotional overtones of a passionate orator or the carefully crafted written brief.

“Those of us with years of practice have a well trained eye for the beauty of law in its daily practice, in the well crafted opinion or pleading,” Chief Justice Moyer said. “A skilled trial attorney arguing a case before a judge or jury can be a work of beauty.”

It’s not just those arguing before the court who can produce beauty in the law, the Chief Justice said. Courts themselves play a role. “I present my case to you that the beauty of law also is found in the written decisions of a court. Marbury v Madison is a clear, concise essay – one with a beginning, a middle and an end – that makes clear the authority of the judiciary.”

But beyond the courthouse façade, an attorney’s brief or a court’s opinion, the beauty of law can also be found in more down-to-earth, real-life situations, such as a drug court graduation ceremony or contract dispute.

“Day-in and day-out in Ohio, attorneys help those in need,” Moyer said. “Law’s beauty is found in your efforts to provide free legal services to the thousands of families whose lives have been torn apart by foreclosure.”

In addition to his remarks, Moyer also will present the inaugural John C. and Ginny Elam Pro Bono Award to attorney David A. Kutik, a litigation partner with the Cleveland law firm of Jones, Day, for exceptional pro bono legal services to the people of Ohio. In 2004-05, Kutik served as president of the Cleveland Bar Association and founded the pro bono and public service program “Our Commitment to Our Community,” which asked lawyers and law firms to pledge specific hours to devote to pro bono projects. Kutik serves as vice president of the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland and chairs Legal Aid’s Pro Bono Committee. He also chairs the OSBA Pro Bono Task Force.

The Ohio State Bar Association is a voluntary association representing approximately 25,000 members of the bench and bar of Ohio as well as nearly 4,000 legal assistants and law students. 

Supreme Court Contacts: Chris Davey or Bret Crow, 614.387.9250.
OSBA Contact: Ken Brown, 614.746.2457