Darren Ford grew up in Connecticut, in a home where his parents encouraged him to pursue a variety of things. So he did. He would try one thing, learn from it, build on it and move onto the next thing. His life so far has unfolded in this way.
It was his mother’s idea to introduce him to the New York TV commercial/acting scene. He did a couple regional commercials, was an extra in a number of big films, and starred in a national anti-drug video for the U.S. Department of Education. “I had to memorize lines quickly and formulate ideas for how to approach various scenes and situations. I had to intuit much of what the directors wanted to accomplish.”
At age 11, after about six years, Darren decided he’d wrung all he could from that world. He took up writing music in his early teens and decided to try his hand at film composition. At 17, he won fourth place in a national competition for young composers for a comedic opera, which turned out to be his most ambitious work. That work helped him get into the University of Southern California, where he graduated with a bachelor’s of music degree.
The plan was to tend bar at night, write music during the day. It satisfied the creative right side of his brain, but not the logical left. One day while visiting his bank -- a large national bank -- it occurred to him that here was an environment where he could acquire new skills that would help him in the next stage of his life.
“I began as a personal banker and found I enjoyed the role of trusted advisor. My clients knew I’d never sell them anything that wasn’t good for them. I knew that these were the professional relationships I wanted to have.”
For three years, he worked at one big national bank, then a second. One fall day in 2006 on a vacation to Quebec City, it struck him that law school was the place for him. He signed up for the LSAT when he got home and, at a law school fair in New York, made the decision to attend the University of Cincinnati. Darren had been to Cincinnati once before, to attend a second cousin’s wedding. His paternal grandfather was born in Norwood. He had some family here, which was another factor. He felt like he’d come home.
His wife, Pilar, was born in Argentina and works in the travel industry. He hasn’t written music for years, but he doesn’t miss it. He’ll tell you every experience he’s had, from those early days in front of the camera, has prepared him for a career in law. It’s a good feeling, he says – it seems to him that it took a while to get here.
He talks about his idea of what it takes to be a great attorney: “You have to understand what motivates people, whether it’s your client, another attorney or a judge. It’s important, too, to maintain objectivity. Always in the back of your mind should be the question of what’s best for your client. The client should look back 10 years later and think, ‘That attorney really did right by me.'"
Darren is a civil litigator and appellate attorney, focusing on media law, labor and employment, and complex business litigation. He emphasizes strategic planning around concrete objectives, while simultaneously promoting efficiency and process transparency during the litigation process.
Darren has handled litigation and appeals for clients in federal and state courts across the country. He has represented major media and tech companies in defamation, freedom of information/public records, and First Amendment litigation, and regularly advises media clients on risk management issues, including pre-publication review and newsgathering. On the labor and employment side, Darren represents employers in discrimination, ERISA, and wage and hour litigation, including class and collective actions. His complex business litigation experience includes abusive tax shelter fraud, business ownership disputes, trade secret misappropriation, consumer protection law violations, and products liability. He also regularly represents clients in litigation involving trademark infringement, copyright infringement, will contests, real estate title disputes, and commercial lease disputes.
Darren currently sits on the board of the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky John W. Peck Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, and has been a member of the Kentucky Bar Association’s Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee since 2018. He is a graduate of the Cincinnati Bar Association’s Cincinnati Academy of Leadership for Lawyers (CALL), and the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Northern Kentucky. His community involvement includes serving as a volunteer faculty member at the Life Learning Center and as a committee member at Arts Wave. He has also served as a volunteer lawyer for the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio’s pro se litigant mediation assistance program.
Darren received his Juris Doctor magna cum laude from the University of Cincinnati College of Law in 2010, and his undergraduate degree in music composition from the University of Southern California (USC). A native of Connecticut, Darren has family roots throughout Southern Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. He currently lives in Villa Hills, Kentucky with his wife and two children.