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Fred J. Ball receives Ohio State Bar Foundation's highest honor

Columbus, OH (Nov. 19, 2015) Fred Ball received the Ritter Award at the Ohio State Bar Foundation’s Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner on November 13. The Ritter Award is the Foundation’s highest honor and is given annually to a legal professional whose lifetime of ethical and accomplished service to the justice system and to his community improves both.

For over 55 years Ball’s name has been synonymous with Cleveland’s Legal Aid Society.  As a board member and president during the 50s and 60s, he moved the organization to hire its own staff and to open two offices- a civil division and a criminal division that eventually became the Cuyahoga County Public Defender’s office.  Lessons he learned about poverty law at Columbia Law School, when he fulfilled a 120-hour work requirement at the Legal Aid Society of New York, guided him as he expanded access to justice for low-income people in northeast Ohio.  Today’s Cleveland Legal Aid Society continues to carry out Ball’s mission of providing those in need with professional, well-trained, and mission-driven attorneys.  Even though 96-year-old Ball is retired, he is still one of Cleveland’s biggest contributors and supporters of legal aid.  Ball also was instrumental during his career in Cleveland’s fair housing movement and in support of affirmative action contracts.

Ball was admitted to the Ohio Bar in 1945 and joined Cleveland’s law firm of M.B. and H.H. Johnson where he practiced corporate law for 17 years before becoming general counsel and director of Security Federal Savings & Loan Association (now First Merit Bank).  After retiring in 1985, he continued a small solo law practice for a number of years.

About the Award 

The Ritter Award is the highest honor awarded by the Foundation. This award is given for a lifetime of service. The award recognizes the accomplishments of the honoree in attaining and promoting the highest level of professionalism, integrity and ethics in the practice of law while assisting other attorneys, the courts and the public to envision and cause changes that improve the justice system in Ohio.

About the Ohio State Bar Foundation

The Ohio State Bar Foundation is a 501(c) (3) public charity that works to advance the law and build a better justice system. Through our grants and programs, we educate and perform outreach to the public to make the law fair for all Ohioans. For more information about the Ohio State Bar Foundation, please visit www.osbf.net.

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