Where we’re born and raised is a potent ingredient in the mix of who we become in life and where we wind up. The pull of our hometown—family, friends, and the landscape of childhood— draws us to return, or makes us run, never looking back.

Illustration of man in white suit with briefcase and hat, walking at a slight incline upwards. Behind him, words like job, opportunity, government, enjoying, lawyer, home and hoping to work, stand out in newspaper text.
Illustration by Gérard Dubois

For some Stanford JDs, establishing a career in their home state is a priority. And while alumni pursuing government service can be found at all levels of the federal government, SLS-trained lawyers are also working in state capitals and city halls across the country—where budget constraints and understaffed legal departments are translating into opportunity. These JDs are taking what some might consider the less glamorous road, but they’re jumping at the chance to work in positions that offer high levels of responsibility in affordable zip codes. For four alumni, returning to Ohio has bolstered their family ties and quality of life—as well as their careers. And much to their surprise, they’ve found a vibrant legal community in their state capital—in the state attorney general’s office, where they also happen to have found each other.

Chris Glaros ’01 first met the Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray in 2005. Glaros was working as a litigation associate at Jones Day, and Cordray was campaigning to become the state treasurer. The two, both active politically, hit it off. When Cordray won as treasurer in 2006, he invited Glaros to become general counsel in the Ohio Treasury. And when Cordray was elected as Ohio’s attorney general in November 2008, Glaros again joined his team, this time as first assistant attorney general.

“Rich is a brilliant lawyer,” says Glaros of his boss and mentor. “Working with him really is inspiring.”

Now about a year and a half into his new appointment— second in command of an office with 1,600 employees including 400 attorneys covering 28 legal sections—Glaros is reveling in the job.

“It’s an incredible position. We touch citizens’ lives every day in all kinds of different ways. It’s really been rewarding and fulfilling to have this chance to play a part as a member of Cordray’s team,” says Glaros.

And he’d encourage new JDs to look past federal opportunities in D.C. for careers closer to home.

“State government, not just in Ohio, is an area where people can come in and get involved at a meaningful level and make a difference even as young attorneys right out of law school. Every level of government is thinly staffed and probably under-resourced—as compared with the private sector. But there’s still a big workload and it has to get done. So government service affords people an opportunity to have more responsibility than they might otherwise have elsewhere,” says Glaros.

Glaros has long had the political bug. A political science undergrad, he volunteered on Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign while at Columbia University. After graduation, he worked for the Estonian government’s investment agency, staffed President Clinton’s reelection campaign in Ohio, and then returned to Columbia for a plum job as a teaching and research assistant for former Clinton senior advisor George Stephanopoulos—all before the start of his legal studies at Stanford. But law wasn’t always in his future.

“It was while I was working with George, researching presidential campaigns and the presidency, that it really struck me how central the law is in our society and how it touches every aspect of people’s lives,” says Glaros, who interned in the Justice Department and, after receiving his JD, returned to Ohio to clerk for Judge Algenon L. Marbley on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Eastern Division.

Another member of the attorney general’s team is
Albert G. Lin ’00, who handles most of Ohio’s major securities litigation as general counsel, with responsibility for more than six litigation sections including tax, civil rights, labor, executive agencies, criminal justice, and charitable law.

After law school, Lin clerked twice—first for Judge Ann Aldrich on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio and then for Judge R. Guy Cole Jr. on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Not particularly interested in a government career while in law school, these experiences piqued his interest in public service.

“I was able to get substantial legal experience in federal and in state government. Both experiences gave me good insight into the things that government lawyers do,” he says.

Lin was also active in the Democratic Party and had met Cordray during the attorney general campaign. And Lin was well qualified for the position Cordray offered, with six years of securities and class action litigation already under his belt, first with Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP in San Francisco and then with Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP in Ohio.

One year into the appointment, he’s enjoying the job—particularly the variety of issues and the level of responsibility he’s been entrusted with.

“State government is so appealing because you have direct impact on the way that the state functions. It’s a great feeling to know that your work benefits every citizen in the state,” says Lin.

Amy P. Minardo ’02 had no plans to work in government service, but had instead geared her career toward private firm litigation, with several stints as an associate at law firms in Chicago and Cincinnati. But none was particularly satisfying to her, professionally or personally.

“I was looking for a position that had some inherent value at the end of the day but also used my education—my law degree,” she says. As luck would have it her husband, Michael Lee Rich ’00, was at Stanford Law with Albert Lin. Lin knew that Chris Glaros was staffing up at Ohio Treasury and put Minardo in touch with him.

Minardo found what she was looking for. She spent two years at Treasury as deputy general counsel and then moved to the attorney general’s office as chief of the business counsel section, working on all non-litigation issues for the state.

“It’s funny, but as a student I had no idea that state government lawyers would be doing this kind of legal work—I just didn’t know,” she says. “There’s a variety of transactional work being done by the attorney general’s office—construction law for universities, real estate contracts, bond opinion letters, and contracts on behalf of other state agencies. We basically serve the in-house counsel function.”

“I had no plans to come back to Ohio,” says David M. Lieberman ’06, the most junior of the four Stanford Law JDs in the Ohio attorney general’s office. He was just coming off a two-year run clerking on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the federal district court in Alexandria, Va., and was seriously considering opportunities in D.C. The Ohio solicitor general at the time, William P. Marshall, happened to also be a good friend of Pamela S. 
Karlan, Kenneth and Harle Montgomery Professor of Public Interest Law. When a fellowship in Marshall’s office was advertised, Karlan encouraged 
Lieberman to apply—and he was offered the job. As things turned out, Marshall left Ohio state government just weeks before Lieberman arrived—but the job was a good fit all the same. When the one-year fellowship came to an end, 
Lieberman was offered a deputy solicitor position and became part of a small team that represents Ohio in major appellate cases.

“In December, I argued my fourth case before the Ohio Supreme Court. I have also second chaired two U.S. Supreme Court cases,” says Lieberman. “My cases run the gamut from criminal procedure and election law to the Second Amendment and education issues. We’re a small team—just the solicitor general and five deputies. Yet every major appeal involving the state of Ohio comes through us. It’s a very interesting place to be.”

But why not do the same work in D.C.—the epicenter of government 

“When I was at Stanford, my view of the ‘government’ pathway always ran through D.C.—and the federal government. Opportunities at the state level never crossed my mind,” says Lieberman. “I thought I’d spend the year of my fellowship in Ohio and then head back. I even had an offer for a position with the Justice Department. But then the attorney general asked me to stay, and I couldn’t pass up this opportunity.”

1 Response to It’s All Happening in Columbus?
  1. Hey guys – I respect the legal professions. Integrity and justice is what this country is based on, and those that choose to follow the path to enforce and defend these rights truly deserve recognition.

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