The 2014 Central Ohio Lawyers of the Year

Columbus Business First

There’s a good chance if an attorney comes to Chris Weber seeking his advice, he or she is in a pickle.

That’s because the Kegler Brown Hill + Ritter Co. LPA attorney is the guy other attorneys seek out when they find themselves facing some type of ethical or professional responsibility miscue or allegation.

“When they come to me with ethical issues, it can be frightening for them,” Weber said. “It usually is a very emotional thing and not because they are lawyers, but because of what’s at stake.”

He is a partner at Kegler Brown Hill + Ritter and is the firm’s ethics adviser. Weber has worked at the firm since graduating from law school in 1992, and is being recognized by Best Lawyers in the category of Professional Responsibility and Ethics Law.

A litigator by experience, Weber said he gravitated into this particular niche- defending private attorneys and corporate in-house counsels- about 15 years ago. He cut his chops in court as a personal injury and commercial litigator. The trial work has come in handy when working with his peers whether it’s arguing before a court or a disciplinary board.

Observations his experience has afforded Weber are that most lawyers who find themselves in an ethical quandary do so because of substance abuse or mental health issues. The other is that courts are not happy when it’s a lawyer standing before them as a defendant.

“Disciplinary cases, once they get into litigation, do not settle,” he said. “With legal ethics, there is no such thing as a settlement.”

In 2012, there were 134 cases pertaining to the practice of law filed with the Ohio Supreme Court, which comprised 6 percent of all cases filed, according to the court’s annual report.

Regardless of the circumstances, Weber said the same standard of justice applies to all. “Clients need assistance whether they are lawyers or non-lawyers.”

Best Lawyers category: Ethics and Professional Responsibility Law

Education: Bachelor of Arts, John Carroll University, 1989; J.D. University of Toledo College of Law, 1992

Organizations: Fellow in the Litigation Counsel of America; Member of the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers; Member of Columbus, Ohio State and American Bar associations

Interests/Hobbies: Golf; Cooking; family time

First paid job: Hospital landscape maintenance

A lesson the client taught you: Defend and advocate for your principles with integrity

Favorite historical figure & why: George S. Patton, for his courage and commitment to the United States in World War II

Season you like best & why: Summer – allows me more time with my girls at the pool

Favorite movie: Usual Suspects

Perfect meal: Osso bucco with risotto

Finish this sentence: The expansion of technology has made the law… more flexible and provided tools to better service our clients’ immediate needs, but at the same has reduced the ability to leave work behind for periods of time.

What the rest of America should know about Central Ohio: It has attracted and retained national and international businesses, and is the home of many fine educational institutions.

If I wasn’t a lawyer, I would be: A chef