Legal Education

By: Robert Moore, Thursday, January 05th, 2023

 

Legal Groundwork

Most of us, at some point, will need the services of an attorney.  Attorneys seem to be ubiquitous in our society with almost everyone having some idea of what an attorney is or what an attorney does.  However, many people may not know what it takes to become an attorney.  Understanding the process to become an attorney may help us better understand the legal profession and in turn allow us to make a more informed decision when we need to retain an attorney’s services.  The following is a brief summary of the process to become an attorney.

The first step on the path to becoming an attorney is to obtain a four-year undergraduate degree.  An undergraduate degree is a minimum requirement to attend law school.  Many people who plan to go to law school will obtain an undergraduate degree in history, political science or English.  These areas of study are thought to provide a good foundation for law school.  However, applicants are accepted to law school with a wide variety of areas of study.  From personal experience, law schools will accept an applicant with a B.S. in Dairy Science.  Law schools like to have diversity in their student populations.  An uncommon degree or atypical degree, like Dairy Science, can make the applicant more attractive by adding diversity to the law school.

There is an exception to the four-year degree requirement.  Some law schools may allow someone who has completed 3 years of undergraduate work to complete their fourth year of an undergraduate degree by completing their first year of law school.  This is known as the 3+3 program.  

Earning a law degree is the next step.  It typically takes three years to complete a law degree although some law schools offer a part-time program that takes four years to complete.  In the first year or two, students are required to take core law classes such as contracts, constitutional law and criminal law.  In the last year of law school, law students take elective courses that match with their interests.  The degree awarded upon completing law school is a Juris Doctor (JD).  It is possible to go beyond a JD and receive a master’s degree in law (LLM).  LLMs are in a focused area of the law such as taxation or agricultural law.

In the last year of law school, students will begin the process of requesting permission to join the state bar.  The Ohio Supreme Court oversees the admission of new attorneys.  A part of the application process is a character fitness interview.  The applicant will meet with two attorneys, usually in their county of residence. The two interviewing attorneys will evaluate whether the applicant has suitable qualities to be an attorney. The evaluation includes a review of prior criminal charges or citations, an analysis of financial stability and an assessment of a demeanor and temperament suitable to practice law.  The character fitness review seeks to ensure that new attorneys have the requisite background and character to serve clients.

The next step is to pass a professional conduct exam. Each law student must take an exam that focuses on issues such as conflicts of interest and attorney/client privilege.  The professional conduct exam in Ohio is a multiple-choice exam.

After receiving a law degree, passing the character fitness review and successfully completing the professional conduct exam, the law student takes the bar exam.  This notorious exam is two days long.  Part of the test is multiple choice and part is a written test.  The bar exam must be passed before becoming an attorney in Ohio.  The exam is taken in person and is available in February and July of every year.  The passage rate for the July, 2022 bar exam was 72% for all takers and 80% for first time takers.  To put this in perspective, 20% of the people who spent three years in law school and passed all the other requirements were not permitted to be attorneys because they did not pass the bar exam.  The bar exam can be taken as many times as needed to pass. Failing a bar exam does not mean the person can never be an attorney, it just means they need to take the bar exam until passed. Upon passing the bar exam, new attorneys are sworn in by a justice of the Ohio Supreme Court.  

Becoming an attorney is a long process taking at least seven years of school in total.  Law schools ensure each new attorney has achieved certain academic standards and the Ohio Supreme Court confirms that every new attorney has some level of competence in the law and has the character fitness to assist clients in their legal endeavors.  The next time you hire an attorney, you can be assured that the attorney has met the academic requirements of a law school and the competency and character fitness requirements of the Ohio Supreme Court.

 

Posted In: Legal Education
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By: Barry Ward, Friday, October 01st, 2021

Barry Ward & Julie Strawser, OSU Income Tax Schools

 

Dealing with the tax provisions of the COVID-related legislation for both individuals and businesses are among the topics to be discussed during the upcoming Tax School workshop series offered throughout Ohio in November and December.

The annual series is designed to help tax preparers learn about federal tax law changes and updates for this year as well as learn more about issues they may encounter when filing individual and small business 2021 tax returns.

 

OSU Income Tax Schools are intermediate-level courses that focus on interpreting tax regulations and changes in tax law to help tax preparers, accountants, financial planners and attorneys advise their clients. The schools offer continuing education credit for certified public accountants, enrolled agents, attorneys, annual filing season preparers and certified financial planners.

 

Attendees also receive a class workbook that alone is an extremely valuable reference as it offers over 600 pages of material including helpful tables and examples that will be valuable to practitioners. Summaries of the chapters in this year’s workbook can be viewed at this site:

https://farmoffice.osu.edu/tax/2021-tax-school-chapters

A sample chapter from a past workbook can be found at:

https://taxworkbook.com/about-the-tax-workbook/

 

This year, OSU Income Tax Schools will offer both in-person schools and an online virtual school presented over the course of four afternoons.

 

In-person schools:

 

November 1-2, Presidential Banquet Center, Kettering/Dayton

November 3-4, Ole Zim’s Wagon Shed, Gibsonburg/Fremont

November 17-18, Ashland University John C. Meyer Convocation Center, Ashland

November 22-23, Christopher Conference Center, Chillicothe

November 29-30, Zane State/Ohio University Zanesville Campus, Zanesville

December 2-3, Nationwide & Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center, OSU Campus, Columbus

December 6-7, Hartville Kitchen, Hartville

 

Virtual On-Line School presented via Zoom:

November 8, 12, 15 & 19, 12:30 – 4:45 p.m.

 

Register two weeks prior to the school date and receive the two-day tax school early-bird registration fee of $400.  This includes all materials, lunches and refreshments. The deadline to enroll is 10 business days prior to the date of each school. After the school deadline, the fee increases to $450.

 

Additionally, the 2022 RIA Federal Tax Handbook is available to purchase by participants for a discounted fee of $50 each. Registration information and the online registration portal can be found online at:

http://go.osu.edu/2021tax

 

In addition to the tax schools, the program offers a separate, two-hour ethics webinar that will broadcast Wednesday, Dec. 15 at 1 p.m. The webinar is $25 for school attendees and $50 for non-attendees and is approved by the IRS and the Ohio Accountancy Board for continuing education credit.

 

A webinar on Ag Tax Issues will be held Monday, Dec. 13 from 8:45 a.m. to 3:20 p.m.

If you are a tax practitioner that represents farmers or rural landowners or are a farmer or farmland owner that prepares your own taxes, this five-hour webinar is for you. It will focus on key topics and new legislation related specifically to those income tax returns.

 

Registration, which includes the Ag Tax Issues workbook, is $150 if registered at least two weeks prior to the webinar. After November 29, registration is $200. Register by mail or on-line at https://go.osu.edu/agissues2021.

 

Participants may contact Ward at 614-688-3959, ward.8@osu.edu or Julie Strawser 614-292-2433, strawser.35@osu.edu for more information.

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Farm Office Team on Zoom Webinar
By: Jeffrey K. Lewis, Esq., Wednesday, July 14th, 2021

"Farm Office Live" returns this summer as an opportunity for you to get the latest outlook and updates on ag law, farm management, ag economics, farm business analysis, and other related issues.  Targeted to farmers and agri-business stakeholders, our specialists digest the latest news and issues and present it in an easy-to-understand format.

The live broadcast is presented monthly.  In months where two shows are scheduled, one will be held in the morning and one in the evening.  Each session is recorded and posted on the OSU Extension Farm Office YouTube channel for later viewing.

Current Schedule:

July 23, 2021 10:00 - 11:30 am  December 17, 2021 10:00 - 11:30 am 
August 27, 2021 10:00 - 11:30 am  January 19, 2022 7:00 - 8:30 pm 
September 23, 2021 10:00 - 11:30 am  January 21, 2022 10:00 - 11:30 am 
October 13, 2021 7:00 - 8:30 pm  Februrary 16, 2022 7:00 - 8:30 pm 
October 15, 2021 10:00 - 11:30 am  February 18, 2022 10:00 - 11:30 am 
November 17, 2021 7:00 - 8:30 pm  March 16, 2022 7:00 - 8:30 pm 
November 19, 2021 10:00 - 11:30 am  March 18, 2022  10:00 - 11:30 am 
December 15, 2021 7:00 - 8:30 pm  April 20, 2022 7:00 - 8:30 pm 

Topics we will discuss in upcoming webinars include:

  • Coronavirus Food Assitance Program (CFAP) 
  • Legislative Proposals and Accompanying Tax Provisions
  • Outlook on Crop Input Costs and Profit Margins 
  • Outlook on Cropland Values and Cash Rents 
  • Tax Issues That May Impact Farm Businesses 
  • Legal Trends
  • Legislative Updates
  • Farm Business Management and Analysis
  • Farm Succession & Estate Planning
 

To register or to view a previous "Farm Office Live," please visit https://go.osu.edu/farmofficelive. You will receive a reminder with your personal link to join each month. 

The Farm Office is a one-stop shop for navigating the legal and economic challenges of agricultural production. For more information visit https://farmoffice.osu.edu or contact Julie Strawser at strawser.35@osu.edu or call 614.292.2433

Ohio Capitol Building
By: Peggy Kirk Hall, Thursday, February 11th, 2021

There’s an old saying that legislation either lives or dies in committee.  Committees and their chairpersons play a critical role in determining whether an idea makes it through the legislative process and becomes a law.   So let’s take a look at the new members and chairs of our agriculture committees, recently appointed for the new two-year session of the 134th Ohio General Assembly.

After announcing a change in the committee’s name from “Agriculture and Rural Development” to “Agriculture and Conservation Committee,” House Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima) finalized his committee appointments.  The new committee will include:

  • Rep. Kyle Koehler (R-Springfield) will return as Committee Chair.  Now in his fourth term in the Ohio House, Rep. Koehler has a background as a software engineer and working for his family’s tool company but has raised livestock and refers to himself as a hobby farmer.  Rep. Koehler recently received the “Friend of Agriculture” endorsement from Ohio Farm Bureau.
  • Rep. Rodney Creech (R-West Alexandria) will serve as the new Committee Vice Chair during his first term in the House. Rep. Creech farms in Preble County, owns a lawn care business, and has served as a township trustee and county commissioner.
  • Rep. Juanita Brent (D-Cleveland) will also return to the committee as its Ranking Member.  Rep. Brent is in her second term in the House, with a background in non-profit and community engagement work.
  • Rep. Brian Baldridge (R-Winchester)
  • Rep. Adam C. Bird (R-New Richmond)
  • Rep. Sarah Fowler Arthur (R-Geneva-on-the-Lake)
  • Rep. Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo)
  • Rep. Don Jones (R-Freeport)
  • Rep. Darrell Kick (R-Loudonville)
  • Rep. Joseph A. Miller (D-Amherst)
  • Rep. Michael J. O’Brien (D-Warren)
  • Rep. Jena Powell (R-Arcanum)
  • Rep. Michael Sheehy (D-Oregon)

On the Senate side, Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) announced the members of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, which will include:

  • Sen. Tim Schaffer (R-Lancaster) as the new Committee Chair.   Sen. Shaffer is in his third term in the Senate and was also elected to the Ohio House for four terms.  He is also an association executive in the private sector, and has earned the “Friend of Agriculture” award from Ohio Farm Bureau along with over a dozen other awards for his legislative service. 
  • Sen. Stephen A. Huffman (R-Tipp City) will serve as the Committee Vice Chair. Following two terms in the House, Sen. Huffman is in his first term as a Senator.  Sen. Huffman is a practicing physician and will also chair the Senate’s Health Committee.
  • Sen. Teresa Fedor  (D-Toledo) is the committee’s Ranking Minority Member.  A two-term Senator also elected to three terms in the House, Sen. Fedor is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and Ohio Air National Guard and a retired teacher for Toledo Public Schools.
  • Sen. Bob Hackett (R-London)
  • Sen. Tina Maharath (D-Columbus)
  • Sen. Sandra O’Brien (R-Ashtabula)
  • Sen. Bob Peterson (R-Washington Court House)

The House Agriculture and Conservation Committee holds its first meeting next Tuesday, February 16.  Follow the committee through its website, which includes meeting agendas and minutes, bills under consideration, and video of committee meetings.

The Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee began its work last week with consideration of a bill authorizing the use of owls in the sport of falconry.  Meeting agendas and bills under consideration are available on the committee’s website

Stay tuned to the Ohio Ag Law Blog for updateson legislative proposals and what bills live or die in our agriculture committees.

USDA National Agricultural Library and National Agricultural Law Center

By: Barry Ward, Wednesday, October 14th, 2020

Barry Ward & Julie Strawser, OSU Income Tax Schools

Dealing with the tax provisions of the COVID-related legislation for both individuals and businesses are among the topics to be discussed during the upcoming Tax School workshop series offered throughout Ohio in November and December.

The annual series is designed to help tax preparers learn about federal tax law changes and updates for this year, as well as learn more about issues they may encounter when filing individual and small business 2020 tax returns.

The tax schools are intermediate-level courses that focus on interpreting tax regulations and changes in tax laws to help tax preparers, accountants, financial planners and attorneys advise their clients. The schools offer continuing education credit for certified public accountants, enrolled agents, attorneys, annual filing season preparers and certified financial planners.

This is another important year for tax education as the new COVID-related legislation creates some challenges for tax practitioners to prepare tax returns. These schools offer an excellent set of instructors with a great deal of experience and training along with a top reference workbook to prepare tax practitioners to best serve their clients during this ongoing process of incorporating recent tax law changes in completing tax returns.

The workbook alone is an extremely valuable reference as it offers over 700 pages of material including helpful tables and examples that will be valuable to practitioners. Sample chapters of the reference workbook can be found at: https://go.osu.edu/WorkbookChapters

Topics/chapters to be presented this year during the two-day tax schools include:

Financial Distress, S-Corporation Tax Issues, IRS Issues, Business Entity Issues, Agricultural and Natural Resource Issues, Retirement and Investment Issues, Individual Tax Issues, Business Tax Issues, Trusts and Estates, Rulings and Cases, New Legislation.

This year, OSU Income Tax Schools will offer both in-person schools and online virtual schools.

In person schools:

1.         Lima – November 2-3

Old Barn Restaurant and Grill

3175 W Elm Street, Lima, OH 45805

2.         Fremont – November 4-5

Ole Zim’s Wagon Shed

1375 State Route 590, Gibsonburg, OH 43431

3.         Ashland – November 11-12 SOLD OUT

Ashland University

John C. Meyers Convocation Center

820 Clermont Ave., Ashland, OH  44805

4.         Dayton – November 17-18

Presidential Banquet Center

4548 Presidential Way, Kettering, OH  45429

5.         Columbus – December 10-11 SOLD OUT

Nationwide & Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center

2201 Fred Taylor Dr., Columbus, OH 43221

Virtual Online Schools:

1.         Webinar (Zoom)

November 9, 13, 16 and 19

Each Day 12:30 – 5pm

Zoom Webinar

2.         Livestream (Zoom)

December 10-11

Livestream of Columbus Tax School Location via Zoom

In addition to the tax schools, the program offers a separate, two-hour ethics webinar that will broadcast Dec. 4 at 10 a.m. The webinar is $25 for school attendees and $50 for non-attendees and is approved by the IRS and the Ohio Accountancy Board for continuing education credit

Register two weeks prior to the school date and receive the two-day tax school early-bird registration fee of $375.  This includes all materials, lunches and refreshments. The deadline to enroll is 10 business days prior to the date of each school. After the school deadline, the fee increases to $425.

Additionally, the 2020 RIA Federal Tax Handbook is available to purchase by participants for a discounted fee of $45 each. Registration information and the online registration portal can be found online at:

http://go.osu.edu/2020tax

A webinar on Ag Tax Issues will be held Dec. 18 from 8:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

If you are a tax practitioner that represents farmers or rural landowners or are a farmer or farmland owner that prepares your own taxes, this five-hour webinar is for you. It will focus on key topics and new legislation related specifically to those income tax returns.

Registration, which includes the Ag Tax Issues workbook, is $150. Register by mail or on-line at http://go.osu.edu/agissues2020

Participants may contact Ward at 614-688-3959, ward.8@osu.edu or Julie Strawser 614-292-2433, strawser.35@osu.edu for more information.

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Evin Bachelor at OSU Farm Science Review
By: Peggy Kirk Hall, Friday, October 18th, 2019

Mentoring is a rewarding part of my position with OSU, but it is often a bittersweet experience to see young people come and go.  Such is the case with our law fellow Evin Bachelor, whom I’ve had the privilege of mentoring for the past two years.  Evin left the Farm Office on September 30 to pursue private practice. 

While I’m happy to send Evin off to serve farmers with his brilliant legal mind, I’m sad to see him go.  I will miss his passion, his cleverness, his analytical gifts, and his hearty laugh.  But it’s been a joy to help Evin evolve from a law student curious about agricultural law to an attorney prepared to impact the world of agricultural law.  He has deftly exceeded every challenge I’ve given him.

One of those challenges was to co-author a set of law bulletins on legal documents used in farm financing arrangements, his final project.  The Financing the Farm law bulletin series, which specifically targets new and beginning farmers, is now available.  The series includes explanations of mortgages, promissory notes, installment contracts, leasing arrangements and secured transactions, and how they’re used in farm financing.  Access the law bulletins in the Financing the Farm series here.

Evin will be practicing law with our good friends at Wright & Moore Law Co. LPA in Delaware, Ohio.  He's an excellent addition to an already outstanding agricultural law firm.  You’ll continue to see his work on the Farm Office, however, as I’ll be contracting with Evin on a few more finance and farm transition projects in the next year.  The mentorship and Evin’s time at OSU is over, but the relationship will continue.  A bittersweet ending, to be sure.

By: Evin Bachelor, Wednesday, September 11th, 2019

 

Somehow it’s mid-September already, and that can only mean one thing: it’s time for Farm Science Review!  We’re excited to get back out to the Molly Caren Agricultural Center to talk with farmers about our latest publications and answer their questions.

Check out the schedule above for the talks we will be giving on solar leasing, hemp law, and food regulations.  If you can’t make one of the presentations, or want to learn more about other topics on agricultural law, visit us at our booth in the Firebaugh Building, which is located at 384 Friday Avenue.

We will have free copies of our most popular law bulletins available, including:

  • Do’s and Don’ts of Dealing with Trespassers on the Farm
  • Ohio’s Line Fence Law: Frequently Asked Questions
  • Creating an Enforceable Farmland Lease
  • A Checklist of Farmland Lease Provisions
  • Ohio’s Recreational User Statute: Limiting Liability for Hunters, Snowmobilers, and More
  • Ohio’s Noxious Weed Laws
  • And many more!

We will also be bringing along some of our new law bulletins, including:

  • Legal or Not? Growing Industrial Hemp in Ohio
  • The Farmland Owner’s Solar Leasing Checklist
  • Laws that Provide Defenses for Agricultural Production Activities
  • Youth Labor on the Farm: Laws Farmers Need to Know

For more information about Farm Science Review, including directions, tickets, and a list of events and exhibitors, visit http://fsr.osu.edu.  We’ll see you there!

Posted In: Legal Education
Tags: farm science review, fsr
Comments: 0
By: Peggy Kirk Hall, Tuesday, April 09th, 2019

Written by Evin Bachelor, Law Fellow, OSU Extension Agricultural & Resource Law Program

As fans of Elvis and good barbeque, we can’t help but be excited that the National Agricultural Law Center (NALC) is hosting its sixth annual Mid-South Agricultural and Environmental Law Conference soon in Memphis, Tennessee.  Most exciting, however, is that the conference will provide timely legal information for attorneys, lenders, accountants, tax professionals, students and others with a passion for agriculture.  The NALC is the nation's leading source of agricultural and food law research and information, and we are honored to partner with NALC on a number of research projects and outreach efforts.

The 2019 conference will be on Friday, June 7th in downtown Memphis at the University of Memphis School of Law.  You won’t want to miss the welcome reception on Thursday, June 6th at The Rendezvous Restaurant, which is well known for its Memphis-style BBQ.  The schedule on Friday is packed with a diverse mix of speakers and topics that is intended to encourage dialog about the range of legal issues facing agriculture today.

Here’s a sneak peek at the sessions:

  • Keynote address by the USDA’s General Counsel Stephen Vaden
  • Agricultural Labor and Immigration: Do’s and Don’ts--Brandon Davis of Phelps Dunbar LLP
  • Updates from the senior attorneys from the U.S. House and Senate Ag Committees
  • Law and Lending in a Down Farm Economy: Recent Trends and Outlooks with Greg Cole of AgHeritage Farm Credit Services and Michael O’Neal of GreenStone Farm Credit Services
  • Navigating Environmental Law Issues for Attorneys, Lenders, and Landowners--Jim L. Noles, Jr., Partner, Barze Taylor Noles Lowther, LLC
  • The Ethics of Succession Planning for Lawyers--Shannon Ferrell, Oklahoma State University
  • Understanding Ag Bankruptcy--Stephen L. Gershner, Davidson Law Firm

In addition to the presentations, there will be time for discussion with conference attendees during the welcome reception on Thursday and a lunch and networking session on Friday.  For law practitioners, the conference has been approved for CLE credit in some states and NALC will assist with obtaining CLE credit in other states.  The American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers has also approved the program for 7 hours of CE credit. 

Register by May 14 and receive access to a two-hour bonus online program that will feature a one hour session on Divorce on the Farm with attorney Cari Rincker and agricultural and environmental law updates from around the country by Elizabeth Rumley of NALC, Ross Pifer of the Center for Agricultural & Shale Law at Penn State Law, Stephanie Showalter Otts of the National Sea Grant Law Center and our own Peggy Kirk Hall of the Agricultural & Resource Law Program at The Ohio State University.

For more information about the conference and to register, visit the NALC’s website HERE.

By: Peggy Kirk Hall, Thursday, November 02nd, 2017

The American Agricultural Law Association held its national conference last week in Louisville, Kentucky, and two Ohio law students from OSU Moritz College of Law and Capital University Law School took top honors in the student competitions.  Evin Bachelor and  Devon Alexander joined forces with U. of Houston law student Sara Luther and finished first in the Student Quiz Bowl competition.  The Quiz Bowl requires law students to correctly answer questions about law, agriculture and agricultural law.   

Bachelor also entered and won first place in the Student Poster Competition with his research project titled "Ohio: The Midwestern Ag Mediation Holdout." Bachelor discussed the potential for Ohio to become one of the last midwestern states to engage in USDA's Agricultural Mediation Program.  Bachelor is a third year law student at OSU's Moritz College of Law and Alexander is a second year law student at Capital University Law School.  Both hope to work in the agricultural law arena after law school. 

OSU was able to send the students to the conference due to the generous support of the Paul L. Wright Endowment in Agricultural Law at OSU.

For more information about the American Agricultural Law Association, visit https://www.aglaw-assn.org/

By: Peggy Kirk Hall, Tuesday, January 06th, 2015

Attorney Bill Bridgforth will present OSU's next webinar on "The 2014 Farm Bill:  Guiding a Client through the New Law" on Friday, January 9 at 1 pm EST.  Bridgforth is a senior partner in the Arkansas law firm of Ramsay, Bridgforth, Robinson & Raley, LLP who represents agricultural producers around the United States.  He will explain the election decisions producers and landowners must make under the new Farm Bill and will provide examples of decision making impacts. 

There is no registration or fee required for the webinar, which is accessible at https://carmenconnect.osu.edu.  A recording of the webinar and a listing of additional webinars is available at farmoffice.osu.edu.  

The Ohio Food, Agriculture & Environmental Law Webinar Series is an outreach project of OSU Extension's Agricultural & Resource Law Program.

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