MayReport - page 5

E
ric Combs, a partner at Dinsmore & Shohl LLP, will
be installed as the CBA’s 124th president May 8 at the
association’s annual meeting at the Hilton Cincinnati
Omni Netherland Plaza downtown. On that day, he will be
passed the proverbial presidential gavel that will symbolize his
official start to leading the CBA. Leading a major metropolitan
bar association for the next year might seem an unlikely role for
someone who grew up in the small Appalachian town of West
Union, Ohio, 70 miles east of Cincinnati. But his path to law is
no surprise to Combs, the first lawyer in his family. His father,
he explained, was in the banking industry, but always had an
affinity for the legal profession. “My
Dad was intrigued by the law, but
never had the opportunity to pursue
a career as a lawyer. I think it was his
admiration for the profession and the
respect he had for lawyers that really
influenced my career choice,” said
Combs.
After graduating from West Union High School and Miami
University in Oxford, Combs headed north to law school at the
University of Wisconsin. Explained Combs on his choice, “I
wanted to go somewhere outside of Ohio, my roommate was
from Wisconsin, and it had a great reputation. I loved it there —
and I still love the Badgers.”
Career and Community Service
Following law school Combs returned to his roots in the
Ohio Valley. As a commercial litigator, Combs developed a
diverse practice since first starting in the field in 1996. Earlier
in his career, he was given the opportunity to work on several
different kind of cases, including cases involving the sport stadia
and arena along the riverfront. Moving from Taft Stettinius &
Hollister LLP to Dinsmore & Shohl LLP in 2011, he has broad-
ened his practice even further to include intellectual property
and products liability. “I love the variety in my work and the
challenge of advocacy,” said Combs, describing what he likes
best about his role as a lawyer. “As a trial lawyer there is also a
competitive aspect to what I do that’s very motivating.”
Helping to motivate the next crop of lawyers, Combs also
currently serves as an adjunct law professor at the University of
Cincinnati teaching courses in sports law. In 2013, he won the
UC Law Alumni Board’s Adjunct Professor Teaching Excellence
Award.
Perhaps Combs caught the
‘teaching bug’ back in his early
days while a member of the CBA’s
Young Lawyers Section, when he
volunteered as a high school Mock
Trial team advisor for Mercy High
School. “Several of the high school
students I advised back then are now lawyers,” he commented.
“That makes me feel old, but is also shows what a terrific pro-
gram Mock Trial is. It is helping inspire future lawyers.”
Combs shared that Mock Trial was one of his first experi-
ences with the CBA. He later became chair of Mock Trial, chair
of YLS, and then advanced into board level roles with both the
CBA and the Cincinnati Bar Foundation. With respect to the
CBF, Combs has served as “emcee, master of ceremonies, and
crooner” at the Bar Foundation’s annual “Rock the Foundation”
Investing for Justice kick-off event. His penchant for singing
since his childhood days sparked his involvement in the Cincin-
nati May Festival, where he is active on the board. He also serves
on the boards of trustees of ArtsWave and the Cincinnati Law
and Leadership Institute and is chair of the Volunteer Lawyers
for the Poor Foundation Board.
By Carol J. Branch
I love the variety in my work and
the challenge of advocacy.
Leading Off for the Bar…
May 2015 CBA REPORT
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