Capital University Law School to honor Yvette McGee Brown with the Esther Brocker award | Capital University
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    • Capital University Law School to honor Yvette McGee Brown with the Esther Brocker award

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      Capital University Law School will honor Yvette McGee Brown with the Esther Brocker award at a reception on Thursday, November 9, 2017. The award is given annually to a woman who has made significant contributions to and had involvement in advancing the status of women in the legal profession & the Columbus community. The event is graciously being hosted by Thompson Hine LLP.

      Yvette McGee Brown is a partner at Jones Day. She advises clients in matters of constitutional law, government regulation, executive investigations, and employment litigation. She has defended clients in public corruption, regulatory enforcement, government investigations, and constitutional challenges, including working with the City of Cleveland on constitutional free speech and safe policing in preparation for the 2016 Republican National Convention and successfully resolved a lawsuit over the city's security regulations. Yvette is the Partner-in-Charge of Diversity, Inclusion, and Advancement for the Firm.

      Brocker Award Inset

      This year’s celebration will be the 4th annual reception and the 3rd year that the Esther Brocker scholarship, a scholarship supported by the proceeds of the evening, has been given. Former Congresswoman Deborah D. Pryce was the first Esther Brocker honoree followed by Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor and Evelyn Lundberg Stratton. Ms. Lundberg Stratton will present the award to Ms. McGee Brown. 

      For more information and to register for the event, please visit: www.law.capital.edu/Brocker

      Prior to joining Jones Day, Yvette was the 153rd Justice on the Supreme Court of Ohio. She was the first African American woman to serve as a Justice on the Supreme Court of Ohio and at the time she was elected, was the first person of color to serve on the court in 37 years. She has represented Fortune 100 companies, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and local governments. Previously she was the first African-American woman elected to the Franklin County Common Pleas Court. She was the founding president of the Center for Child and Family Advocacy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

      Yvette is an active community and corporate leader. She has served on the board of directors for Ohio University, the Dave Thomas Foundation, and served as chair of The Ohio State University Alumni Association Board of Trustees, the YWCA, and the United Way of Central Ohio. She has been a director for two public companies and is currently on the board of Motorist Mutual Insurance Company.

      Yvette was inducted into the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame (2008) and the Central Ohio Business Hall of Fame (2014). She has a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism/public relations from Ohio University (1982) and a Juris Doctorate from The Ohio State University (1985). She has honorary doctorate degrees from Ohio Dominican University, Wilberforce University, Urbana University, and Central State University.

      The Esther Brocker award is named in honor of the first female graduate of Capital University Law School, which at the time was known as the Columbus School of Law.

      Brocker was born April 21, 1883, in Lancaster, Ohio. By age 17, she was making money as a dressmaker. By 1916, Brocker was a single mother, working as secretary of the Hermann Manufacturing Company in Lancaster and assistant treasurer of the Hermann Tire Building and Machine Co. She then worked as secretary in the Deffenbaugh Law Offices in Lancaster. She also worked for the Department of Defense in Cleveland during World War I.

      In the early 1920s, Brocker made a bold choice for a woman and single mother of that time: She decided to go to law school. So, from 1922 to 1926, three nights a week, she made a 30-mile drive and took the interurban trolley to attend classes at Columbus School of Law, a predecessor of Capital University Law School. After 664 trips and nearly 40,000 miles, she became the Law School’s first female graduate on June 9, 1926 at age 42.

      Esther Brocker had attended St. Mary’s High School in Lancaster and for some time attended Ohio University in Athens. She enrolled in law school at a time when the American Bar Association’s recommended minimum standards for admission were two years of college work and three years of law studies.

      Brocker was not the first woman to attend Columbus School of Law. Other women had taken classes starting in 1918, 15 years after the YMCA opened the school in 1903 with a mission of making a legal education available to everyone, regardless of race, gender or background. But Brocker was the first woman to finish her classes and earn a law school diploma, along with nine male classmates.

      After graduating, Brocker stayed in Lancaster and opened a successful private law practice, handling criminal cases and probate work. She served two terms as Lancaster’s city solicitor, and was elected vice president of the Fairfield County Bar Association in 1960.

      She worked as an attorney until age 83, and died in 1972 at age 88. She was honored posthumously as an inductee into the Law School Hall of Honor in 2012.

      This year’s celebration will be the 4th annual reception and the 3rd year that the Esther Brocker scholarship, a scholarship supported by the proceeds of the evening, has been given. Former Congresswoman Deborah D. Pryce was the first Esther Brocker honoree followed by Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor and Evelyn Lundberg Stratton. Ms. Lundberg Stratton will present the award to Ms. McGee Brown.

      For more information and to register for the event, please visit: www.law.capital.edu/Brocker