Local attorney recertified by OSBA in workers’ comp
Legal News Reporter
Published: January 28, 2013
Attorney Barbara A. Knapic has been recertified as a specialist in workers’ compensation law by the Ohio State Bar Association, one of 15 lawyers in the state to be recertified in this area, along with two lawyers who have been certified in this area for the first time.
A total of 154 lawyers were recertified, and 12 received specialty certifications for the first time.
When she was recertified, Knapic was at the Akron law firm of Oldham Kramer. As of the first of the year, she has moved her office and affiliated with several of her previous colleagues at the North Canton firm of Morrow Myer.
Morrow Meyer is a relatively new boutique firm with four certified workers’ comp specialists, including Knapic.
According to the OSBA, in order to be certified as a specialist, a lawyer, among other qualifications, must devote at least one-quarter of practice time to the specialty area, produce five professional references attesting to competency in the specialty area, accumulate at least 36 hours of CLE in that area in the past three years, and pass a written exam.
The specialty attorney must file annual written reports, and go through recertification every four to seven years.
“Certification as a specialist is one way attorneys strengthen their practice skills in a particular area of the law and this designation can be used to inform their clients of that expertise,” said Judge Patrick Fischer, OSBA president. The Ohio State Bar Association congratulates these attorneys who have successfully completed the certification process."
Knapic has had a notable career in the workers’ comp area, including being the first woman in history to chair the Ohio Industrial Commission. “I probably have one of the most varied careers of any worker’s comp attorney in the state,” she said.
She graduated with a journalism degree from Kent State University in 1979, and received her law degree from The University of Akron in 1985.
Starting as a contract negotiator for Babcock and Wilcox’s construction company in Copley, Knapic soon moved to Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP in Cleveland, where she, “really started doing workers’ comp,” she said. “They had just picked up the General Motors Austintown plant as a client, and needed people to go to the Youngstown area for hearings.”
From 1990 to 1993, Knapic ran British Petroleum’s Ohio Worker’s Comp self-insurance program from the BP headquarters in Cleveland. “They had 15,000 employees at the time, with two refineries and a chemical company.”
In that position, Knapic said that she had the opportunity to help BP workers. “Most workers’ comp claims are legitimate,” she said. In a situation like BP’s, “counsel only gets involved if there are problems.”
Most of the time, her job at BP involved helping injured workers receive their benefits and get back on their feet, a job that she found very satisfying. “It gave me a well-rounded perspective,” she said. “I learned to manage clients, an opportunity that not all lawyers get.”
But BP left town as it downsized and outsourced itself, and Knapic continued her career in private practice, first with BP as a major client, and then expanding her client base as she took opportunities to work in several law firms in the area as BP shut down its various Ohio operations, including the refineries and chemical company.
She started at Krugliak Wilkins, with BP as her major client, and then shortly after was recommended to a post with the Ohio Industrial Commission in 1994, where she worked for over five years in helping to modernize Ohio law.
She left Columbus and went to work in the Mt. Vernon office of Wooster’s Critchfield, Critchfield and Johnston Ltd. for the next three years. From there, it was on to the Buckingham, Doolittle and Burroughs Canton office, then to Oldham Kramer and finally to her current position, where she has reunited with the workers’ comp staff from the Canton Buckingham office, who recently formed their own firm.
Knapic has received numerous awards and commendations in her career, the latest of which was being named as a fellow to the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, an honor given to attorneys who have practiced in the area for at least 20 years and who have displayed outstanding professionalism and competence as a workers’ compensation attorney.
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The Stark County law firm of Morrow & Meyer LLC was recently named as one of the Best Law Firms in America by U.S. News & World Report. The firm, which focuses its practice on representing companies in labor, employment and workers’ compensation cases, was ranked as a Tier 1 law firm in each of those practice areas. Only a handful of Ohio law firms achieved a Tier 1 ranking in those legal specialties.
The methodology used by U.S. News and Best Lawyers to rank nearly 9,000 law firms in 39 practice areas worldwide included survey results from clients, lawyers, law firm professionals and established research conducted by Best Lawyers that evaluated categories including expertise, responsiveness, integrity, understanding of a business and its needs, cost effectiveness, civility, and whether the respondent would refer another client to the firm.
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The law firm of Morrow & Meyer LLC is pleased to announce that Best Lawyers in America® has selected Tod T. Morrow and Mary E. Reynolds as Akron-Canton “Lawyers of the Year” for 2011 in the fields of labor, employment law and workers’ compensation law.
Only one lawyer in each specialty in each community was honored as “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers, the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession. Best Lawyers compiles its lists of outstanding attorneys by conducting exhaustive peer-review surveys in which thousands of leading lawyers confidentially evaluate their professional peers. The current 17th edition of The Best Lawyers in America (2011) is based on more than 3.1 million detailed evaluations of lawyers by other lawyers.
The lawyers being honored as “Lawyers of the Year” have received particularly high ratings in our surveys by earning a high level of respect among their peers for their abilities, professionalism, and integrity.