Jessica M. Karmasek Jan. 16, 2013, 1:48pm

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Legal Newsline) -- Former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, who stepped down from the bench last year, is joining one of the largest Ohio-based law firms.

Stratton, the second longest serving justice on the state's high court, will join Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP, "where she will continue to pursue her passion for public service and provide strategic legal counsel to the firm's clients," according to a news release.

Stratton, who was appointed to the state's high court by former Gov. George Voinovich, assumed office in 1996. Voters went on to elect her to three six-year terms on the Court, the most recent in 2008.

Her last term was to expire in January 2015; however, Stratton made the decision to retire in May.

"After a great deal of thoughtful deliberation, I have decided to pursue a different course in my life," she said at the time. "My heart tells me this is the right decision. For this reason I will be tendering my resignation as justice at the end of this year."

Stratton said Tuesday of her new job, "Vorys has been an important part of Ohio's legal community for more than 100 years and has a distinguished tradition of public service. The Vorys family welcomed me with open arms."

She continued, "I'm thrilled about this opportunity that will allow me both to provide counsel to the firm's clients and expand my criminal justice advocacy work at the state and national levels. I could not envision a more natural fit."

Stratton will work with firm clients in a variety of areas, including health care, litigation and appellate work. She also will assist Vorys Health Care Advisors, a wholly owned subsidiary of the firm that helps health care providers, business decision makers and professional associations deal with health care issues.

"In addition to being a highly respected judge and an exceptional attorney, Eve is a tireless advocate for military veterans and adults and children with mental illness in the criminal justice system," Managing Partner Russ Gertmenian said in a statement.

"At Vorys, she will continue her efforts in these areas. We are proud to collaborate with her on these initiatives."

Her extensive appellate and trial experience will strengthen the firm's legal practice and help better serve its clients, he added.

Stratton spent the first nine years of her legal career as a central Ohio trial lawyer. In 1988, she became the first woman elected judge of the Franklin County Common Pleas Court.

While serving on the Ohio Supreme Court, she formed and chaired the Supreme Court of Ohio Advisory Committee on Mental Illness and the Courts, which since its formation in 2001 has helped establish 38 mental health courts, recommended changes to Medicaid and advocated for a new juvenile competency statute.

Recently, she has focused on developing veterans' courts, which assist returning veterans with post traumatic stress and other issues that may lead them to criminal activity.

In addition to her work for Vorys, Stratton will continue to serve with Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine as co-chair of his Task Force on Criminal Justice and Mental Illness. The task force continues the work of the Supreme Court of Ohio Advisory Committee on Mental Illness and the Courts.

She also will continue to serve in a leadership capacity at the Ohio Military and Veterans Legal Assistance Program, which connects veterans and military families to a statewide system of referrals to pro bono lawyers, bar associations, legal aid and law school clinics.

Vorys, established in 1909, has nearly 375 attorneys in six offices in Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Akron, Ohio; Washington, D.C.; and Houston, Texas. It currently ranks as one of the 200 largest law firms in the United States, according to American Lawyer magazine.

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