June 29, 2006
New lawyer spotlight: Anthony Sharett
~ written by Biru Chen, Columbus Bar Communications Intern
What defines Anthony Sharett is not just what he does for work at the Ohio Department of Commerce, but also what he does in his spare time. This philanthropic attorney devotes so much time and effort into community outreach work that it almost seems like a full-time job in itself.
“My goal is not only to make a good impression in the legal community as a good practitioner, but also an equal goal of mine is to take leadership roles in the community,” Sharett said. “I hope to volunteer my time even more to help people who can’t help themselves.”
A major project he is currently working on is opening a Free Legal Clinic, which will open in August 2006 at the First Church of God on Refugee Road. Sharett is the chair of this institution, which provides legal counseling for those who cannot pay for it normally.
“I saw that there was a need for assistance to indigent clients who do not have the means to hire representation for their needs, particularly on the east side of inner-city Columbus,” he said.
This service is open to the public and the attorneys who will be volunteering their time are members of the First Church of God or nearby sister churches.
“We plan to have twelve to thirteen attorneys and two to three volunteers,” Sharett said. “We will go through legal training in areas that we feel we will see the most of at the clinic, such as domestic violence issues, landlord tenant issues, etc.”
Despite the many local pro bono programs, there are still many people in Central Ohio who are not being served simply because they cannot afford services, Sharett said. Thus, he said they anticipate that there will be a good number of people who will need help.
Sharett is also a member of the Pro Bono Task Force, the Columbus Bar’s effort to market pro bono cases to attorneys and motivate individuals to help out.
Apart from his dedication to helping the less fortunate, Sharett is also passionate about integrating new and diverse lawyers into the current legal community. He is the new co-chair of the New Lawyers committee, as well as the parliamentarian, website creator and communications co-chair of the John Mercer Langston Bar Association, the African American bar association in Central Ohio and the local affiliate of the national association. Its mission is to promote diversity in the legal society through education, community outreach and activism.
How does Sharett find the time to successfully work, volunteer and balance family life?
“It’s tough to manage my time,” he admits. “I have an eight-month-old daughter as home, so certainly time management and having an accurate calendar is key, but you tend to find time for things that you are passionate about, and I think that’s the bottom line.”