The new bar president has been practicing law since 1984.
YOUNGSTOWN -- The new president of the Mahoning County Bar Association says his major goal in the coming year is to get more lawyers to join the association.
Atty. Larry D. Wilkes took over the leadership from Atty. Clair Carlin at the bar's recent election banquet at the Youngstown Country Club. It is Wilkes' first time leading the organization, although he has served on other bar association committees.
He said he would like to get more lawyers involved in the MCBA.
"We have about 650 lawyers in Mahoning County, but only 300 are in the MCBA," Wilkes said. "I want [lawyers] to get more involved so we get to learn from each other."
Membership in the association is open to all people admitted to the practice of law in Ohio who maintain a place of residence or an office within Mahoning County, or who regularly appear before the courts having jurisdiction within the county.
MCBA dues are free for the first year of membership; $85 for the second year; $110 for the third year; and $150 for the fourth year and thereafter.
Wilkes said he also wants, under his leadership, to maintain the bar's public service presence.
He said the bar sponsors People's Law School, which gives residents the ability to find out about the legal system, and also a mock trials program, which allows high schoolers to learn about the legal system by participating as lawyers, witnesses, judges and jurors.
The MCBA also is involved in the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life events, and many lawyers still "do a lot of pro-bono work."
Wilkes received his bachelor's degree in political science from Youngstown State University in 1981 and his law degree from Ohio Northern University in 1984.
Wilkes joined the Davis & amp; Young law firm in Youngstown in 1999. Previously, he was a partner in the law firm of Wilkes, Wilkes & amp; Welsh, where he concentrated on insurance defense litigation.
He has served on the MCBA's trustee board and grievance committee. He is a member of the Ohio State Bar Association and the Ohio Association of Civil Trial Lawyers.
The MCBA also doled out its lawyer of the year and distinguished service awards. Atty. Ronald E. Slipski received the lawyer of the year award, which is given to a lawyer during the calendar year who has advanced the skills of the legal profession.
Slipski, who will serve as bar president next year, is a partner with the law firm of Green, Haines, Sgambati LPA.
Judge R. Scott Krichbaum of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court and Atty. Kimberlee J. Kmetz received the distinguished service award.
The award is given to the judge/lawyer who has provided exemplary service to the bar association and/or the community.
Judge Krichbaum was honored for his 11 years of practice as a trial lawyer and his 14 years on the common pleas court bench.
Kmetz, a lawyer since 1994 and an associate with the law firm of Harshman & amp; Bernard, was honored for her work as coordinator of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America's trial team regional competition, which has been held at the Mahoning County Courthouse the past two years.
Dr. William C. Binning, president of the bar association's foundation, also announced that scholarships were provided to six students who have decided to pursue legal careers. The total of the six scholarships was $9,750.