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June 24, 2024

Ohio State Bar Foundation Welcomes New Class of Fellows

Columbus, OH (June 2024) – The Ohio State Bar Foundation (OSBF) is pleased to announce the induction of 24 attorneys to its Fellows Program. The new class of OSBF Fellows were inducted by Chief Justice Sharon Kennedy at a ceremony at the Supreme Court of Ohio on June 11, 2024 (photos attached). The 2024 Fellows Class includes lawyers representing firms of all sizes and sectors, public defenders, judges, government attorneys, and community advocates.

As the Professional Honorary of Ohio Lawyers, the OSBF welcomes a new class of Fellows each year, a group of attorneys who exemplify the highest standards of professionalism and are committed to serving their communities. Since its inaugural Fellows Class in 1998, the OSBF has inducted over 1,000 Fellows.

Each year, OSBF Fellows design their own class experience, creating a Fellows Week of Service centered around a legal topic they choose. Since 1998, OSBF Fellows have developed 26 community service initiatives focused on issues such as human trafficking, immigrant/refugee citizen education, prisoner reentry into communities, access to justice for developmentally disabled youth, reporting on the legal system, and more.

Earlier this year, the 2023 Fellows Class hosted the 2024 OSBF Trauma-Informed Lawyering Symposium which brought together experts to explore how trauma intersects with the legal system and impacts legal professionals. Panelists discussed strategies for managing legal matters involving trauma, emphasizing the importance of resilience for both individuals affected by trauma and the legal professionals assisting them. The symposium was an enriching experience for legal professionals seeking to enhance their understanding of trauma-informed lawyering. For more information visit

“We are excited to welcome this remarkable class of Fellows to the Foundation,” said Belinda S. Barnes, OSBF President. “Their diverse backgrounds and unwavering commitment to public service will greatly enhance our efforts to improve Ohio’s justice system through community involvement and educational programs. We are particularly eager to see the result of the specific project they will undertake to further our mission.”

Meet the 2024 Class of OSBF Fellows:


  • Robert Salem, Toledo

Robert Salem is Clinical Professor of Law at Toledo University where he teaches clinical courses that equip students with essential legal skills while supporting the law school’s social justice mission. Active in multiple organizations, Salem serves on several boards and has been involved with groups like the Ohio State Bar Association and the National LGBTQ Task Force. Salem has received numerous awards, including the Toledo Bar Association’s Community Service Award and the ACLU of Northwest Ohio’s Civil Liberties Award. He earned his law degree from The University of Toledo College of Law.


  • Junxia “Jackie” Jernejcic, Cleveland

Junxia “Jackie” Jernejcic is Counsel and Trust & Compliance Officer at IBM. Jernejcic transitioned from a career in internal medicine to law after moving to the US from China in 1996. She clerked with Judge Lesley Brooks Wells and worked at Jones Day’s Columbus office as an associate. Jernejcic is dedicated to community service, training students for government internships, organizing mask-making efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic, and leading anti-Asian-hate demonstrations. Jernejcic earned her law degree from Case Western Reserve University.

  • David A. Randolph, Akron

David A. Randolph is an Associate Attorney with Roderick Linton Belfance LLP, focused on a wide range of areas including local government and municipal law, consumer law, business, civil litigation, and criminal defense. He is a member of the Akron Bar Association and Ohio State Bar Association and a board member of the University of Akron School of Law Alumni Association. Randolph earned his law degree from the University of Akron School of Law. 

  • Elsa Reale-Gottfried, Warren.

Elsa Reale-Gottfried is the Managing Attorney for the Volunteer Legal Services (Pro Bono) Program at Community Legal Aid Services. She also served as a Magistrate for the Mahoning County Domestic Relations Court. Reale-Gottfried is an active member of numerous organizations including the Trumbull and Mahoning County Bar Associations, Mahoning County Bar Foundation. She is a board member of Some Place Safe/Solace Center Advisory Board and the Mahoning-Youngstown Community Action Partnership Board. Reale-Gottfried earned her law degree from Capital University. 


  • Kristina Aiad-Toss, Columbus

Kristina Aiad-Toss is an Associate Attorney at Singleton Schreiber, LLP. Previously, she worked at Babin Law, LLC, representing human trafficking survivors and clients harmed by dangerous products. Aiad-Toss focused her studies and professional experience on corporate social responsibility and human rights, conducting research and working with various NGOs on issues such as land rights, war crimes, and labor rights. She currently serves as the secretary of the Board of Directors for The SOAP Project, a national anti-trafficking non-profit. Aiad-Toss earned her law degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Law and earned an LLM from Middlesex University in London.

  • Garrett Anderson, Columbus

Garrett Anderson is a Clerk for Chief Justice Sharon L. Kennedy of the Supreme Court of Ohio. Prior to clerking, Anderson served as an Assistant Attorney General in the Constitutional Offices Section of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, representing officeholders in high-profile litigation, and in the Executive Agencies Section, where he prosecuted administrative proceedings and represented state agencies. Anderson earned his law degree from Capital University Law School.

  • Merisa Bowers, Columbus

Merisa Bowers is the Loss Prevention Counsel at Ohio Bar Liability Insurance Company where she fields ethics and professional conduct consults, conducts continuing education seminars, and develops tools and programs to support best practices. She also serves as a Councilwoman for the Gahanna City Council. Her civic engagement spans various boards, including the Gahanna Land Use Plan Steering Committee and the Columbus Community Relations Commission. Bowers earned her law degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Law. 

  • Allyson Irving, Columbus

Allyson Irving is a Supervising Attorney of Specialty Dockets for the Franklin County Public Defender. She is involved with several local organizations, including the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts and the Bexley Citizen’s Police Academy Alumni Association. Additionally, Irving volunteers her time doing outreach services for justice-involved individuals.She is a current member of Leadership Columbus’s 2024 Signature Program cohort. Irving earned her law degree from the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.

  • Sarah Schregardus, Columbus

Sarah Schregardus serves as Policy Counsel for the Case Management section of the Supreme Court of Ohio. She served as Assistant State Public Defender, and later transitioned into private practice focusing on criminal defense. In her current role, Schregardus manages case inquiries, provides consulting services, and participates in committees influencing justice administration. Schregardus earned her law degree at Capital University Law School.

  • Kimberlyn Seccuro, Columbus

Kimberlyn Seccuro is the Staff Attorney for the Honorable Judge Bill Sperlazza of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas. She is actively involved in numerous organizations including Meals on Wheels, Vote Forward, and Postcards for Swing States. Seccuro is a member of the Ohio State Bar Association, the Columbus Bar Association, and the Ohio Women’s Bar Association. Seccuro earned her law degree from Capital University Law School. Additionally, she holds a Master of Arts in Law, Justice, and Culture from Ohio University.

  • Tom Shafirstein, Columbus

Tom Shafirstein is an Associate Attorney at D’Amura & Zaidman, PLLC, focusing on complex civil and securities litigation. Previously, Shafirstein worked at Vorys Sater Seymour & Pease LLP, Carpenter Lipps LLP, and Allen Stovall Neuman & Ashton LLP. Shafirstein earned his law degree from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.

  • Brandi Staley-Sladek, Columbus

Brandi Staley-Sladek is a Partner at Kitrick, Lewis & Harris Co., L.P.A. She serves as Law School Chair for the Women Lawyers of Franklin County and Membership Co-Chair of The Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer Inn of Court. Staley-Sladek is a former Co-Chair of the Columbus Bar Association Young Lawyers Committee and remains active in the Ohio Association for Justice. She volunteers with the Columbus Metropolitan Library and the Columbus Book Festival, and serves as a board member of Slow Food Columbus. Staley-Sladek earned her law degree from Capital University Law School.

  • Trista Turley, Columbus

Trista Turley is an attorney at Isaac Wiles and Burkholder. Prior to joining Isaac Wiles, Turley served as an Assistant Attorney General in the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and worked as a Staff Attorney to the judges and magistrates of the Ohio Court of Claims. She was part of the Ohio State Bar Association Leadership Academy in 2022-2023. Turley earned her law degree from the University of Notre Dame Law School.

  • Brittany Whitney, Mount Vernon

Brittany Whitney is the First Assistant Director of Law for the City of Mount Vernon. She co-founded and currently directs the Mount Vernon Law Director’s Domestic Violence Special Prosecution Unit. Whitney is the chairman of the Ohio Victims Assistance Advisory Committee, sits on the Board of Directors for the Mount Vernon Rotary Club, is on the executive committee for the Knox County Republican Party, and serves as secretary for the Knox County Republican Women’s Club. A graduate of the Jo Ann Davidson Ohio Leadership Institute and a past president of the Knox County Bar Association, Whitney also devotes much of her free time to advising the Danville High School Mock Trial and Moot Court teams. She earned her law degree from the University of Akron School of Law.

  • Phil Wille, Columbus

Phil Wille serves as Legal Counsel in the Office of the Chief Legal Counsel at the Supreme Court of Ohio. Prior to this role, Wille worked as the Attorney Services Counsel for the Office of Attorney Services with the Court. In that role, he oversaw the Court’s Lawyer to Lawyer Mentoring Program and supported the Commission on Professionalism as secretary. Before working with the Court, Wille spent over 16 years as an administrator and legal advisor at institutions of higher education. Wille earned his law degree from the Valparaiso University School of Law.


  • Judge Kari Bloom, Cincinnati

Judge Kari Bloom was elected in 2020 to serve as Judge of the Hamilton County Juvenile Court. Prior to this role, she worked as a contract negotiator for the United States Air Force at Wright Patterson Air Force Base and at the Hamilton County Public Defender's Office. She also served at the Office of the Ohio Public Defender. Judge Bloom served on several statewide boards and commissions, including the Ohio Supreme Court Sentencing Commission and the Ohio Supreme Court Juvenile Justice Committee, where she worked on policy to improve access to courts and outcomes for children and families. Bloom earned her law degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Law.

  • Erica N. Carducci, Cincinnati

Erica N. Carducci is an attorney with UB Greensfelder LLP. She is actively involved in the leadership of the Cincinnati Bar Association’s Estate Planning and Probate Committee. Carducci has volunteered with several organizations over her career, including the Special Olympics Hamilton County and the Summit Elementary parent teacher organization. She earned her law degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Law.

  • Eric Combs, Cincinnati

    Eric Combs is a partner at Dinsmore & Shohl LLP.  Combs serves on the Ohio State Bar Association Board of Governors and is a past president of the Cincinnati Bar Association, where he still serves on the Admissions and Grievance Committees. Combs also serves on the boards of the Volunteer Lawyers for the Poor Foundation, ArtsWave’s Flow Initiative, the May Festival, and Camp Joy, and teaches Sports Law as an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Law. Combs earned his law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School.

    • Josh R. Lounsbury, Dayton

    Josh R. Lounsbury is a Shareholder with Coolidge Wall. He is a Certified Specialist in Workers’ Compensation law by the Ohio State Bar Association and has handled more than 1,000 hearings before the Industrial Commission of Ohio. He has tried cases in the Court of Common Pleas and handled appeals in the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court of Ohio. He also serves as the Assistant Law Director for the City of Beavercreek. Lounsbury earned his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law.

    • Kara T. Ruffolo, Dayton

    Kara T. Ruffolo is an Associate Attorney at Coolidge Wall. Before joining Coolidge Wall, she worked at Ernst and Young in Cleveland, Ohio, as a tax consultant. Ruffolo is an active member of the Dayton Bar Association and serves on its Membership Services Committee. She was recognized as a “2024 Rising Star” and is part of the 2024 Gen D Ignite Cohort through the Dayton Chamber of Commerce. Ruffolo earned her law degree from The University of Dayton School of Law and an MBA from the University of Dayton.

    • Zach White, Dayton

    Zach White is an Associate Attorney with Coolidge Wall. As an Associate, he offers risk management advice, initiates or defends lawsuits, and collaborates on bankruptcy litigation, business, and healthcare issues. Before joining Coolidge Wall, White gained significant experience helping clients with business disputes and daily operations advice. He is involved with the Dayton Bar Association, Stark County Bar Association, Ohio State Bar Association, and the Dayton Bar Association Inn of Court. White earned his law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School.

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