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Crabbe, Brown & James:  Cradle of Judges

Two of our own will be joining the proud ranks of Crabbe Brown & James lawyers who became Judges at some point in their career. Rick Wetzel will serve as The Common Pleas Judge of Knox County starting in January, and Jeff Brown will also begin serving on The Franklin County Common Pleas Court at that time.

Rick has been with the firm for over 33 years, and has conducted jury trials, bench trials and other contested matters in over 17 counties around the state. He has also argued in The Ohio Supreme Court, The U.S. District Court and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. He received the Republican endorsement in December 2015 for his judgeship, and despite a hotly contested campaign, he won a decisive victory in the Republican primary in March 2016. He ran unopposed in the general election. Rick is well respected in both Franklin and Knox County, and will be an excellent judge.

Jeff has been with the firm for over 36 years, and has served as managing partner for the past 26 years. He tried many civil cases during the course of his career in various courts in Ohio and surrounding states, and also served as a Columbus City Prosecutor as a young lawyer. Jeff was endorsed by The Franklin County Democratic party, and also received all of the sixteen other endorsements that judicial candidates sought during the campaign. He won his contested election by six percentage points. The Columbus Dispatch acknowledged Jeff’s experience in its endorsement, writing: ”Mr. Brown has been practicing law longer than his opponent has been alive. His experience will be invaluable to the court.” Jeff will be an excellent addition to the bench.

Rick and Jeff carry forward a proud tradition at Crabbe Brown & James. Many lawyers in the firm over the years have also served as judges. These include Municipal Court Judge Tom Moody (subsequently Mayor of The City of Columbus), United States District Court Judge James Graham, Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Tom Moyer, Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, Supreme Court Justice Andy Douglas, Court of Appeals Judge John Kennedy (also President of The Columbus City Council), Common Pleas Judge Steve McIntosh, Municipal Court Judge Janet Grubb, and Domestic Relations Judge Rita Danish. The firm takes pride in announcing our two newest judges who are being added to this list.

US District Court Appoints Larry James

Larry James has been selected to serve on the Magistrate Judge Selection Committee. He is one of eleven members of the committee who will screen qualified applicants and recommend five candidates for a Magistrate Judge position in Columbus.

Kenyon College Board Appoints Trustees

Larry James has been appointed to the Kenyon College Board of Trustees for another six years. He serves on both the Executive and the Trustees Affairs Committee.

James inducted to Lambda Boule

On February 19, 2016, Larry James was inducted as a member of Lambda Boule in Columbus, Ohio. Lambda Boule was established in the Spring of 1921. The theme of Lambda Boule is "to whom much is given, much is expected." This organization recognizes its responsibility to give back to the community.

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Center for Healthy Families 10 Year Celebration

The Center for Healthy Families celebrates its 10 year anniversary with a celebration on September 12, 2017. Through the support of Larry & Donna James and Crabbe, Brown & James, The Center has helped to holistically address the needs of pregnant and parenting teens in Franklin County, allowing them to move forward and build bridges to a better life.

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CBJ Profile
CBJ Profile  

Crabbe, Brown & James is a member of ALFA International, the global legal network. With 145 member firms across the globe (80 in the United States) ALFA International is the premier global network of independent law firms whose success is driven by broad, deep, local relationships all over the world. The ALFA International model enables Crabbe, Brown & James to use its local expertise to deliver highly effective legal solutions while drawing upon the collective wisdom and experience of other member firms within the United States and around the world as needed. More information is available at


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