Wooster College grad named Supreme Court’s legal resources director
Legal News Reporter
Published: January 8, 2013
Longtime Ohio assistant attorney general Kent Shimeall has been named as the Ohio Supreme Court’s new director of its legal resources division.
“Having observed the great work of the court from the outside, I’m excited about the opportunity of contributing so that tradition continues,” said Shimeall. Although he has been in his office only a few weeks, he said that he is, “learning the ropes and happy to be here.”
Shimeall’s duties include overseeing three offices within the court’s administration which include the Office of Legal resources, the Office of the Reporter and the law library.
He comes to the court from a lengthy career with the OAG, most recently as section chief of the Ohio Attorney General’s Constitutional Office section, which provides legal counsel to all statewide elected officeholders. He was also the attorney general ethics counsel for 14 years.
A native of Findlay, Shimeall earned his bachelor’s degree from the College of Wooster and his law degree from the University of Toledo College of Law.
He started working for the attorney general’s office in 1985, under then-attorney general Tony Celebreeze. “I served under eight attorneys general in my career in that office,” he said.
“I worked in five different sections over that period of time—different litigation and administrative positions that gave me a wide variety of experience. I learned something different in each area.”
His many years working for the attorney general, and his exposure to multiple parts of the state’s legal system, should put him in great stead in his new position, he said.
For instance, one of the other areas that Shimeall worked in at the attorney general’s office was managing the election law litigation section. “That experience will be helpful when we are working on some of the extraordinary writs that come before the court in their original jurisdiction,” he said.
The Supreme Court’s legal resources division has the overall responsibility for the court’s research and publication.
“The division supports the justices’ getting legal work done,” said Shimeall.
The Office of Legal Resources oversees the work of the court’s eight master commissioners, who, he said, “are people with substantive legal expertise in complex areas of the law. They do legal memoranda and drafting. Each of them has an area of expertise,” he continued, although the death penalty area has two master commissioners, and there is some crossover work among them.
The second office under the legal resources division is the Office of the Reporter. Shimeall has supervisory authority over Ohio Supreme Court Reporter Sandra H. Grosko and her staff.
The official court reporter is usually the only person other than the justices to be in the room while cases are being deliberated—unless a person is specially invited in, said Shimeall. The reporter’s office helps edit the final versions of court’s opinions, as well as formatting, publishing and posting them.
The reporter is also in charge of publishing cases from every appellate court in the state, as well as court rules and the Supreme Court of Ohio Writing Manual.
“This office has the people who edit drafts of opinions,” he said. “Overall, this is a process-oriented approach,” to publishing the final edits of the Supreme Court’s opinions.
The third component of the office is the court library, currently headed by the renowned Ken Koslowski.
“I spent a lot of time in the old law library when it was in the same building as the attorney general’s office,” said Shimeall. “It was just down the elevator two floors and into the stacks.”
Although Shimeall has yet to become fully informed about all of the electronic side of the modern law library, he is looking forward to learning as much as he can about it. While he understands that electronic data basing is the future of law libraries, and particularly in the forward-looking Ohio Supreme Court library, he said, “a lot of people are comfortable with a book in their hands.”
“The library is a tremendous resource for every lawyer in the state,” he said. “It is not just for the court. The staff is fabulous. They are well-trained and they love their work. They are very hospitable and the library functions very well.”