May 11, 2006
Columbus Bar to honor Fitch and Readey
On June 9 at the Columbus Bar’s annual meeting, James A. Readey and Stephen C. Fitch will join an extraordinary group of individuals when they receive the Professionalism Award and Bar Service Medal, respectively.
James A. Readey, partner at Readey & Patterson and recipient of this year’s Professionalism Award, concentrates his practice in alternative dispute resolution services. He has a long-standing interest in and has been an activist for the alternative dispute resolution movement. He was the primary author of the original court-annexed arbitration program in Columbus for its local state courts, and has extensive experience as both an arbitrator and mediator.
While serving as president of the Columbus Bar in 1985-86, he initiated a task force for a local Neighborhood Justice Center modeled after the multi-door courthouse concept, and that center now operates as Community Mediation Services of Central Ohio. Readey also started a program of Settlement Weeks in the local courts, which has grown as a nationally-recognized legitimate tool for alternative dispute resolution. Similar Settlement Weeks have been successfully conducted in such cities as Indianapolis, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Fort Worth, Seattle, Chicago, Denver, Rochester and in the West Virginia federal district courts, as well as in several state courts in other cities in Ohio. Since 1993, he has confined his practice solely to the dispute resolution field and has served as a mediator in over 1,000 disputes and as an arbitrator in numerous matters.
“Jim approaches everything he does in the true spirit of the profession we all share. Every person with whom he interacts, be they lawyers, litigant, adjuster, family member or friend, knows that he has been treated with courtesy and respect, professionally by a true professional,” said David C. Patterson.
Stephen C. Fitch, of Chester Willcox & Saxbe and the recipient of this year’s Bar Service Medal, practices in the areas of civil trial and appellate litigation, alternative dispute resolution and professional responsibility. His leadership is felt at the firm through his roles as chair of the firm’s litigation practice, member of the management committee and mentor to the firm’s associates.
Fitch has been in private practice since 1979. He has been an active member and leader in the Columbus Bar, having served as a member of the Board of Governors from 1989 until 1996 and as president in 1994-95. He has also devoted countless hours to the Columbus Bar Foundation, including a term as president in 2003-04. He has been a member of the Council of Delegates of the Ohio State Bar Association since 1990 and he is a member of the Columbus Chapter of the Federal Bar Association.
According to Stephen Chappelear of Hahn Loeser + Parks, “Steve is a real lawyer’s lawyer. He cares passionately about our profession, and made one of the hallmarks of his Columbus Bar presidency the protection of the image of lawyers. He did great work in advancing ethics and professionalism. In all his bar endeavors, Steve used his good humor and easy going manner to effectively lead lawyers where they need and want to go.”
The Annual Meeting also serves as the forum for the installation of the new Columbus Bar president, Belinda S. Barnes. Tables of ten are available for $400 and individual tickets for $40. To reserve a spot, please contact Donna Sweet at 614/221.4112 or mail payment to the Columbus Bar, 175 South Third Street, Ste. 1100, Columbus, Ohio 43215.