Labor law attorney Ronald Slipski, an adjunct instructor at Youngstown State University, was reappointed as chair of the Ohio State Bar Association’s Workers’ Compensation Law Committee in October.
Slipski has held the position for a year already, and his reappointment means that he will be in charge for another 12 months.
“He’s a fine workers’ compensation attorney,” said Judge Pat Fischer, president of the OSBA. “One of the leading in the state.”
But in addition to his exceptional career in labor law, Slipski spends much of his time away from his office, choosing to teach classes at YSU for the history and political science departments. This semester, Slipski is teaching law and society, along with moot court.
“I lose money doing this,” said Slipski, laughing. “I feel as though I owe this university a great debt.”
Slipski graduated from YSU with a history degree and a secondary school teaching license in the mid-1970s. He decided to continue his education at YSU, accepting an assistantship in the history department, then going on to law school at the University of Akron.
“My advisers suggested that maybe there weren’t a lot of jobs in history, so they suggested I look into law school,” he said. “So, I looked into it and took the LSAT and got into the three schools to which I applied, and I ended up going to Akron.”
At the time, Slipski was the only member of his extended family to go to college. He said he feels that his working class upbringing helps him relate to YSU students.
“These are my people,” Slipski said. “I love students, and I especially love Youngstown State students. I’d much rather teach Youngstown State undergrads than [at] law schools.
Personalities are different. Youngstown students … they’re more humble.”
Jerod Everly, a former student of Slipski’s who graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in political science in May, said Slipski always challenged him and pushed him to do his best, especially in moot court.
“We butted heads,” Everly said. “He wanted to bring out the best in me. He was always there to motivate you.”
Everly said Slipski’s classes helped him learn to think critically. In 2011, the university’s moot court team won the Midwest Regional Tournament of the American Collegiate Moot Court Association under Slipski’s guidance.
“Moot Court has to be … one of the most rigorous critical thinking classes on campus,” Slipski said.
He added that the class helps students get a deep understanding of several issues over the course of a semester.
“The students who argued [the health care act] probably know more about that than anyone else in northeast Ohio about that issue,” he said.
Fischer said there was little doubt that he would reappoint Slipski based on his reputation and performance this past year.
Slipski, a Canfield resident, is a senior partner at the law firm of Green Haines Sgambati. He graduated magna cum laude from YSU in 1975, and teaches a law and society course in the political science department. He also serves for the Mahoning County Bar Foundation.
The committee that Slipski oversees is made up of lawyers that practice all types of workers’ compensation law. Slipski said committee members include attorneys representing injured workers, employers and the state.
“If the general assembly proposes legislation, we weigh in if it matters to us,” Slipski said. The OSBA named Slipski as Lawyer of the Year in 2005. In 2006, he received the OSBA’s Weir Award, the highest award in the state for ethics.
“He was so qualified that there was no question he wouldn’t be reappointed,” Fischer said.