Marion Haynes Works to Steer the Queen City in the Right Direction
Founded not long after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Cincinnati is a city rich with history. Situated as it is on the banks of the Ohio River, Cincinnati was a vital city for commerce as the nation expanded westward, and it grew into one of the first major cities away from the east coast. Today, the tri-state area surrounding Cincinnati is one of the largest metropolitan areas in the Midwest. Everyone can find something about Cincinnati to be proud of -- the culture, the heritage, the sports teams, or even the scenic views to name a few. We all contribute something to the ever-changing kaleidoscope that is our city, but perhaps among one of the most important contributions come from those that work as community leaders in city government.
Marion Haynes ’06 is a graduate of the College of Law who remained in Cincinnati and now works for city government. Born in Virginia, Haynes grew up North Carolina, attended the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, and graduated with a major in history and a minor in business. He was drawn to UC Law not only for the quality of the education he would receive here and the affordability, but also for the urban experience. “Growing up in the suburbs and studying in a college town, I was ready to live in a walkable, urban city,” he said. “Cincinnati seemed perfect for that. Not too big, not too small.” He felt a connection with the people he met, both at UC Law and in the city in general. He describes Cincinnati as “one of the biggest small towns around.” Continuing, Haynes noted “though it’s a major metropolitan city with international companies and national sports teams, the people take you in and treat you like family. You can also make a difference if you put in the effort.”
Before graduating from UC Law, Haynes clerked at firm Cohen, Todd, Kite & Stanford, and went on to work there after graduating. In time he sought to move on and focus his practice. He saw the city as the best opportunity. Currently, he works as Cincinnati’s Zoning Hearing Examiner. While working with the city government was not necessarily a goal for him, he noted that he was always civic-minded, getting involved in various local government issues.
His role as the Zoning Hearing Examiner is “quasi-judicial” in nature. He conducts public hearings and makes decisions on applications for variances, conditional uses, and other forms of zoning relief. His position is unique compared to the way other major cities in Ohio make such zoning decisions. As he says, “it’s a big responsibility that I take very seriously.” The job sometimes puts him in the challenging position of hearing controversial cases that are politically charged, but he says that it helps knowing he has the city’s support to exercise his best professional judgment in such cases. “Looking back, it should have been obvious that I would end up working for a city government,” he reflected. “I get to use my knowledge and training to make a positive impact on the issues that are important to me.”
Haynes offered the following advice for law students and professionals alike: “No matter what type of work you are interested in, reach out to others in the same field and find ways to gain experience. Networking is one of the most valuable skills a lawyer can develop. It’s how you find a job, find your clients, and make the connections to be successful in representing your clients. And when you have an opportunity to work in the field you love, take it. Even if it does not offer you the biggest paycheck, the experience will more than pay for itself in the long run.”
In closing, he shared why he chose to stay in Cincinnati after graduating from the College of Law. “It’s because Cincinnati is a great place to live. In the decade I’ve lived here, I’ve seen the city move consistently in a better direction. I’ve had the good fortune to be a part of it, and I’m hopeful the next 10 years will be even better.”