Lawyer of the Year: Thomas W. Hill

Columbus Business First

Thomas Hill might be a good bet if your legal action is complicated.

Repeatedly honored as one of the state's best business litigators, Hill has successfully represented private and nonprofit interests over the course of his 40-year-career.

Columbus-based Donatos, the American Cancer Society and Bordens - known today as Hexion Specialty Chemicals Inc. - are but a sampling of cases with settlements sometimes reaching into the hundreds of millions that Hill has litigated.

In the Donatos case, a competitor was sued for infringing on the farmer's "Edge to Edge" pizza trademark. Donatos sued when the competitor was about to launch a Super Bowl ad for a pizza it called the "Edge." Hill said it took about a week to settle the case in Donatos favor from the time the suit was filed to its adjudication.

The case attracted national attention, which Hill said is part of the landscape for attorneys.

"Lawyers live our careers in the vortex of controversy," Hill said. "We don't get called upon unless there is a dispute. To manage the resolution of that dispute requires a lot of effort, skill and an understanding of human nature."

He said a lot has changed over the years in how law is practiced. Technology has revolutionized the legal arena and there is an emphasis on settling cases because of cost.

"To the extent you resolve a dispute, that is a good thing," he said. "To the extent a party has to settle without regard to the merit of the claim, that is not a good thing."

Hill became a lawyer because it seemed "like a logical thing to do" as a political science major (in college). Four decades later, however, his zeal hasn't faded. "I've not lost an ounce of enthusiasm for it."


  • Bachelor of Arts, political science; Grinnell College, 1970
  • Juris Doctorate, Cornell University Law School, 1967


  • American Bar Association
  • American College of Trial Lawyers
  • American Inns of Court
  • Columbus Bar Foundation
  • Columbus Bar Association
  • Ohio State Bar Association


Tennis, golf and playing the piano.