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Commitment to Work, Clients, and Community Drives Mary Rust ‘87


As a finance major at Miami University, Mary Rust took the LSAT, knowing she might pursue a law degree at some point. After graduating from Miami in 1984, knowing her test scores would remain good for five years, Rust took a job with a bank in Detroit.

In about a month’s time, however, Rust realized she did not want to be a loan officer. So she placed a call to the College of Law, hoping there might be an opening in the Class of 1987.

“Totally fortuitously, they had someone in the incoming class decide he wasn't coming, so they had a spot,” Rust said. “I immediately got the application, filled it out, ‘Federal Express-ed’ it there, and was accepted. I gave two weeks’ notice at the bank, moved back home to Cincinnati and started law school. It worked out great.”

Twenty-five years into her law career, the current partner at Cincinnati’s Taft Stettinius &Hollister office said she has no regrets. Rust liked her class and said she is still friends with some of her classmates.

Today, she works primarily in estate planning, charitable giving, and trust and estate administration. She has been mentioned in The Best Lawyers in America and has been designated as a Cincinnati FIVE STAR Wealth Manager three times.

Rust’s legal career started at what is now known as Aronoff Rosen & Hunt, a firm at which she clerked during school. Rust said she loved her time there, staying with the firm until 1990. She then had an opportunity to go in-house with Fifth Third Bank as assistant trust counsel. “I decided I loved that too, but I really missed having clients where I was doing the drafting, as opposed to reviewing other people’s drafting,” she said of her 1990 to 1996 tenure with Fifth Third. “I also missed the relationships with the families.”

After hearing of an opening at Taft, Rust contacted an attorney she knew in estate planning. Taft was interested, but the “kink in that operation” was Rust had gone part-time at Fifth Third and she hoped to stay on that schedule. Eventually, the firm agreed to her request, and she has been working there part-time for 16 years.

Rust is in the office four days a week, but – especially during tax season – it is not uncommon that she is there every week day. This is in addition to the many hours she works from her home.

“I love what I’m doing. I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” Rust said. “It’s very people intensive. I get out of the office a lot. I get to know people’s families, and their kids, and their grandkids, and I find out when someone is getting married or when they’re having a baby. It’s fun.”

Of course, because of the nature of estate planning, there are many times where it is not fun, but instead very sad. Rust noted how she becomes attached to her clients and, obviously the worst part of her work is when the long-time clients pass away or give her other bad news.

“The flip side of it is you feel like you’re providing a really valuable service when you help someone navigate that,” she said.

Family and Community Play an Important Role in her Life

While she is very passionate about her work and honored about the accolades she has received, Rust said she is most proud of her family – which consists of husband Bill, Charlie (21), Katie (19) and Nick (17).

The Cincinnati native said her family is big into sports and she has always tried to make it to her children’s sporting events (and she has coached, too), which now includes trips to Pittsburgh where Katie is a soccer player at Duquesne University.

Rust’s schedule has given her the flexibility to be heavily involved with her family, but she has also made time for others.

Among other community involvement, Rust is on the board and chairs the development committee of the Cincinnati Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CABVI). She has been involved there in some capacity since 1988, even though no one in her family has vision impairment. Instead, this can be traced back her to days at Miami when her sorority supported a similar cause.

“I just thought how hard it must be to be blind in the world that we live in and with so many things you miss – with beautiful visions and colors and things like that,” Rust said. “We actually bought a seeing eye dog for someone who was a student at Miami and to see how he could navigate was amazing to me.”

Sometime after law school, for one hour every Thursday, Rust began reading the Cincinnati Enquirer aloud to people through a reading service. She eventually took over a committee position at CABVI and has stayed involved ever since.

While in the law school, Rust was involved with and eventually led the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. She was also a member of Moot Court, which included trips to Chapel Hill, N.C. and Buffalo for what happened to be two tax-related competitions. She also fondly recalled being one of the many “cubs” in former professor Alphonse Squillante’s classes.

“I liked law school,” she said. “You hear people say they don’t like it. I thought it was great.”

Rust remains connected with the College of Law as a trustee and legal counsel for the Keeler Foundation, which endows a College of Law scholarship.

Outside of her work and involvements, Rust enjoys running and taking in the scenes of her beloved hometown. The Anderson township resident, who once ran the Flying Pig Marathon, also enjoys exploring the many unique eateries in town, which includes Terry’s Turf Club (East End/Mount Washington, Pelican’s Reef (Anderson), Sammy’s Gourmet Burgers and Beers (Blue Ash), and El Jinete (Fairfax).

By Jordan Cohen, ‘13

Squire Sanders elects Toby D. Merchant to partner in Cincinnati office


CINCINNATI May 08, 2012 - Squire Sanders is pleased to announce that Toby D. Merchant has been elected to partner.

Merchant is based in the global legal practice’s Cincinnati office and is one of 17 lawyers Squire Sanders promoted to partner this year. His practice focuses on corporate and corporate finance transactions; advising public and private companies on mergers and acquisitions, securities offerings, debt financings, private equity investment and general corporate governance matters. Merchant represents clients in both U.S. and cross-border acquisitions and divestitures.

“Toby has a strong track record of providing outstanding service to our clients,” said Scott A. Kane, managing partner of Squire Sanders’ Cincinnati office. “We proudly welcome him into the partnership and are confident he will continue to play an important role in helping us meet the needs of our clients in Cincinnati and beyond.”

Toby D. Merchant
Partner

Toby Merchant focuses his practice on business law and transactions including mergers and acquisitions, securities offerings, debt financings, private equity investment and general corporate governance matters. In mergers and acquisitions, Toby represents public and private companies in both domestic and cross-border acquisitions and divestitures. In the area of private equity investing, his representation includes advising private equity funds with respect to a variety of investment opportunities. In the area of securities, he regularly advises clients with respect to 1934 Act compliance, public offerings and corporate governance matters.

Toby also has experience in the acquisition of financial institutions (in both FDIC assisted and non-assisted transactions).

Toby was selected for inclusion in Ohio Super Lawyers – Rising Stars Edition 2009, a listing of the top up-and-coming lawyers in Ohio.

Toby is the author of “Recognizing ILO Rights to Organize and Bargain Collectively: Grease in China’s Transition to a Socialist Market Economy,” published in Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law, Volume 36, Winter 2004. (Read more)

Charles E. Sieving '97 is executive vice president & general counsel of NextEra Energy, Inc.


Charles E. Sieving '97 is executive vice president & general counsel of NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: FPL), one of the nation’s leading electricity-related services companies. He has primary responsibility for the legal strategies and policies of the Company and its subsidiaries, including legal compliance and ethics, corporate governance, corporate and project financing activities, mergers and acquisitions, and litigation.

Prior to joining NextEra Energy, Mr. Sieving was executive vice president, general counsel, and secretary of PAETEC Holding Corp., a publicly held telecommunications company, where he had responsibility for all legal, regulatory, and legislative affairs.

Mr. Sieving previously was a partner in the Corporate, Securities and Finance Practice Group of Hogan & Hartson, LLP in Washington, D.C., where his practice focused on representation of public companies in complex securities and business combination transactions and with respect to corporate governance and securities law and stock exchange compliance matters. He was a frequent contributor to that firm’s publication on SEC and stock exchange developments. He commenced his practice of corporate law with another major law firm in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Mr. Sieving received his J.D. from the University of Cincinnati College of Law, where he was Publications Editor of the Cincinnati Law Review, and received his B.A. from Denison University. He is a member of the New York, Washington, D.C. and Ohio (inactive) bars and is authorized house counsel in Florida.

NextEra Energy (NYSE: FPL) is a leading clean energy company with 2008 revenues of more than $16 billion, approximately 39,000 megawatts of generating capacity, and more than 15,000 employees in 27 states and Canada. Headquartered in Juno Beach, Fla., NextEra Energy’s principal subsidiaries are NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, the largest generator in North America of renewable energy from the wind and sun, and Florida Power & Light Company, which serves 4.5 million customer accounts in Florida and is one of the largest rate-regulated electric utilities in the country. Through its subsidiaries, NextEra Energy collectively operates the third largest U.S. nuclear power generation fleet. For more information about NextEra Energy companies, visit these Web sites: www.FPLGroup.com,www.NextEraEnergyResources.com, www.FPL.com.

Thomas B. Allen '94 Elected President of the Butler County Bar Association


April 16, 2012 (Cincinnati, OH)– Frost Brown Todd is pleased to announce Thomas B. Allen has been elected President of the Butler County Bar Association. The Butler County Bar Association is a voluntary association of approximately 400 attorneys who either practice or live in Butler County, Ohio. The Association acts as a resource for attorneys throughout Butler County by providing continuing education programs for its members, a referral network of attorneys easily searchable on the Association’s website, and a regular newsletter providing local legislation updates and event postings.

Mr. Allen is a partner in Frost Brown Todd’s West Chester office and practices in the governmental services, litigation, and labor and employment areas. He represents clients in a wide array of matters, with emphasis on litigation, school law issues, municipal law issues, and alternative dispute resolution. He has been named to the The Best Lawyers in America® list each year, beginning in 2008.

Mr. Allen is actively engaged in the community as a member of the Executive Committee of the Butler County Republican Party, and served as 1st Ward Seat of Middletown City Council, 2010-2011.

About Frost Brown Todd

Frost Brown Todd is a full-service law firm serving some of America’s top corporations and emerging companies. With attorneys regularly identified by clients, peers and industry organizations as leaders in their practice areas, the firm advises and protects clients in business transactions and litigation in industries including insurance, banking, financial services, manufacturing, transportation, real estate, construction, energy and healthcare. Its nearly 450 attorneys in nine offices throughout Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia provide unparalleled service to meet clients’ needs; deliver the insights and solutions available only from a diverse group of professionals; and support the communities in which they operate. To learn more, visit& www.frostbrowntodd.com.

Chambers USA 2012 recognizes Kathleen M. Brinkman '75 As 'Leader in their Field'


COLUMBUS, Ohio (April 13, 2012) – Porter Wright is proud to announce that 27 of the Firm's attorneys have been recognized by Chambers USA 2012 as “Leaders in their Field.” Twenty-six attorneys are recognized in Ohio across 10 different practice areas, and one attorney is recognized in Washington, D.C., as a national leader in International Arbitration.

"This year, we are honored to have five more Porter Wright attorneys named as 'Leaders in their Field,'" said Robert W. (Buzz) Trafford, Porter Wright’s Managing Partner. "It is a privilege to have such a large number of our exceptional attorneys recognized by the team at Chambers."

Kathleen M. BrinkmanLitigation: White Collar Crime & Government Investigations

Chambers USA rankings are based on lawyer and client interviews, among other things, and assess criteria such as technical legal ability, professional conduct, client service, commercial awareness and astuteness, diligence, commitment, and other qualities that clients consider relevant.

Jeffrey M. Nye '07 joins board of directors for Autism Society of Greater Cincinnati


CINCINNATI, Ohio (April 13, 2012) - Jeffrey M. Nye, associate with Finney Stagnaro Saba & Patterson Co. LPA joins board of directors for Autism Society of Greater Cincinnati.

Jeffrey Nye, an associate attorney with the Cincinnati law firm of Finney Stagnaro Saba and Patterson Co. LPA has been elected to serve on the board of directors for the Autism Society of Greater Cincinnati. On the board, Jeff will serve the role of secretary. The Autism Society of Greater Cincinnati is a local chapter that is part of the Autism Society of America. The Autism Society of Greater Cincinnati, as the first organization within the region, is dedicated to improving the quality of life for those with autism and their families. They offer knowledge, information & resource services, education programs and events to increase autism awareness.

Founded in 1995, Finney, Stagnaro, Saba & Patterson Co. LPA is a full-service Greater Cincinnati law firm with offices in Hyde Park and Anderson Township. Practices areas include: business entities/commercial transaction; real estate; estate planning/probate; employment/labor law; and commercial/tort/constitutional litigation.

Mark F. Muething Named Chief Operating Officer for Great American’s Annuity and Supplemental Operations


Mark MuethingCINCINNATI, Ohio (Apr 11, 2012) - Great American Insurance Group recently announced the promotion of Mark F. Muething to Chief Operating Officer (COO) of its Annuity and Supplemental businesses. Mr. Muething will also serve as COO for Great American Financial Resources (GAFRI), a wholly-owned subsidiary. He will also continue in his role as General Counsel and Executive Vice President of GAFRI.

Mr. Muething started his career as an Associate at Keating, Muething & Klekamp in September 1984 and was promoted to Partner in 1991. In 1993, he joined American Annuity Group, a predecessor company to GAFRI, as Senior Vice President and General Counsel. Over the last 19 years, his responsibilities have increased and include oversight of the Company’s Supplemental Insurance operations and key functions such as Information Technology, Operations, Legal, and Creative Marketing Services. Over the last few years, Mr. Muething has played a significant role in strategic planning for the Company’s Annuity and Supplemental operations and has led many of his teams through significant growth with a focus on organizational effectiveness.

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Attorney Emma L. Scharfenberger '11 Elected to Artworks Board of Trustees


Emma L. ScharfenbergCINCINNATI, Ohio (April 11, 2012)Emma L. Scharfenberg, of Graydon Head, has been elected to the Board of Trustees of Artworks ArtWorks is a non-profit arts organization that connects artists of all ages with opportunities in the arts through inspiring apprenticeships, community partnerships, and public art.

Scharfenberger's practice is focused on the areas of general corporate law and securities and financial transactions. She is a member of the Firm's Corporate Counsel Practice Group and Banking and Financial Industry Group, Commercial Real Estate Industry Group, and Media, Communications and Information Industry Group. Scharfenberger has assisted clients with mergers and acquisitions; entity formation; securities law compliance and regulation issues; corporate governance; buy-sell agreements and other contract issues. She has assisted banks in various financing matters, including commercial loans and letter of credit financing.

Graydon Head provides interdisciplinary services to clients in a variety of industries with particular emphasis on: banking & financial services; commercial real estate; media, communications & information; construction; health, education & public sector; and manufacturing. The Firm’s Personal Planning Group provides legal counsel to many local business owners and their executives and families in the estate planning and administration area. With offices Downtown on Fountain Square, in Northern Kentucky at the Chamber Center, and in the Butler/Warren area at University Pointe, the Firm provides convenient accessibility to clients in key areas of the growing Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky region.

Clone of Partner W. Kelly Johnson '86 Selected to Serve as Interim Hamilton County Public Defender


CINCINNATI, Ohio (April 10, 2012) – The Hamilton County Public Defender Commission selected W. Kelly Johnson, of Porter Wright Morris & Arthur's Cincinnati office, to serve as the interim Hamilton County Public Defender.  Johnson replaces Shelia Kyle-Reno, who resigned effective April 12, 2012 to pursue other opportunities.

Johnson brings more than 25 years of criminal law experience, in both the public and private sectors, to the role. He is a Partner and Chair of Porter Wright's White Collar and Government Investigations Practice Group. Johnson's private practice focuses on white collar crime and civil and criminal forfeiture; he has extensive experience in cases involving fraud, money laundering, tax evasion, environment, and internet crimes.

Prior to joining the Firm, Johnson spent more than a decade in public service as an Assistant Federal Public Defender. His Public Defender duties included representing indigent criminal defendants in the federal courts in Cincinnati, Dayton and Northern Kentucky and supervising the Cincinnati and Dayton Federal Public Defender offices. He is a past President of the Greater Cincinnati Criminal Defense Lawyers Association and the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Chapter of the Federal Bar Association.

Johnson's service to the Public Defender's Office is being provided on a pro bono basis from Porter Wright. The Commission has thanked Porter Wright for its contribution of Johnson's services to the Office, and Chairman John Issenmann said they are very pleased to have Johnson serve in the role of interim Hamilton County Public Defender.

“Kelly brings significant experience and knowledge to this role. Having previously walked in the shoes of a public defender and now serving as defense counsel in private practice, he brings a unique perspective to this challenging position. His presence will provide a smooth transition in the Public Defender Office and will assure that high-quality services will continue to be provided to criminal defendants in Hamilton County.”

Issenmann said that while Johnson serves in the interim, the Hamilton County Public Defender Commission will conduct a search to fill the Public Defender position.

Robert W. "Buzz" Trafford, Porter Wright's Managing Partner, noted "Kelly's unique combination of skill and experience will prove a steady guide to the Public Defender's Office during the transition process. He understands the needs of community, the importance of serving the underprivileged, and the necessity of a stable Public Defender's Office. Porter Wright takes seriously the obligation of all lawyers to provide pro bono service to the communities where they live and work. Kelly will play a key role in helping disadvantaged individuals in Hamilton County navigate an often intricate legal system."

Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP is a large law firm that traces its roots to 1846 in Ohio. With offices in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, and Dayton, Ohio; Washington, D.C.; and Naples, Florida, Porter Wright provides counsel to a worldwide base of clients.

Partner W. Kelly Johnson '86 Selected to Serve as Interim Hamilton County Public Defender


CINCINNATI, Ohio (April 10, 2012) – The Hamilton County Public Defender Commission selected W. Kelly Johnson, of Porter Wright Morris & Arthur's Cincinnati office, to serve as the interim Hamilton County Public Defender. Johnson replaces Shelia Kyle-Reno, who resigned effective April 12, 2012 to pursue other opportunities.

Johnson brings more than 25 years of criminal law experience, in both the public and private sectors, to the role. He is a Partner and Chair of Porter Wright's White Collar and Government Investigations Practice Group. Johnson's private practice focuses on white collar crime and civil and criminal forfeiture; he has extensive experience in cases involving fraud, money laundering, tax evasion, environment, and internet crimes.

Prior to joining the Firm, Johnson spent more than a decade in public service as an Assistant Federal Public Defender. His Public Defender duties included representing indigent criminal defendants in the federal courts in Cincinnati, Dayton and Northern Kentucky and supervising the Cincinnati and Dayton Federal Public Defender offices. He is a past President of the Greater Cincinnati Criminal Defense Lawyers Association and the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Chapter of the Federal Bar Association.

Johnson's service to the Public Defender's Office is being provided on a pro bono basis from Porter Wright. The Commission has thanked Porter Wright for its contribution of Johnson's services to the Office, and Chairman John Issenmann said they are very pleased to have Johnson serve in the role of interim Hamilton County Public Defender.

“Kelly brings significant experience and knowledge to this role. Having previously walked in the shoes of a public defender and now serving as defense counsel in private practice, he brings a unique perspective to this challenging position. His presence will provide a smooth transition in the Public Defender Office and will assure that high-quality services will continue to be provided to criminal defendants in Hamilton County.”

Issenmann said that while Johnson serves in the interim, the Hamilton County Public Defender Commission will conduct a search to fill the Public Defender position.

Robert W. "Buzz" Trafford, Porter Wright's Managing Partner, noted "Kelly's unique combination of skill and experience will prove a steady guide to the Public Defender's Office during the transition process. He understands the needs of community, the importance of serving the underprivileged, and the necessity of a stable Public Defender's Office. Porter Wright takes seriously the obligation of all lawyers to provide pro bono service to the communities where they live and work. Kelly will play a key role in helping disadvantaged individuals in Hamilton County navigate an often intricate legal system."

Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP is a large law firm that traces its roots to 1846 in Ohio. With offices in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, and Dayton, Ohio; Washington, D.C.; and Naples, Florida, Porter Wright provides counsel to a worldwide base of clients.