Kellie Kulka likes to be on the move, always has. Back in her T-ball days, when the other team was up to bat, she was unable to just stand there in the outfield. She was constantly twirling or doing somersaults. She had to dance.
She took up dancing around age 4 and kept dancing, off and on, through her undergrad years at the University of Cincinnati. She has experience with pretty much any kind of dance you can think of – jazz, tap, partner, kick, swing, ballet. She danced pom as an arena cheerleader and, for a brief time in college, taught ballroom dance at one of the Arthur Murray studios.
“Dance is challenging. That was the appeal. It’s not competitive in the sense that you’re competing with other people. It’s competitive in the sense that you have to work at it until you get it right.”
Kellie grew up near Toledo, on a suburban tract that bumped up against the Michigan-Ohio border. Where it turned into Michigan, it was all cornfields. She used to walk around barefoot among the corn stalks looking for snakes – or rather, avoiding them.
“I was rambunctious – always performing, always dancing, always the loudest.”
One of her major influences was her Lebanese maternal grandmother, her “Sittee,” a woman who had been widowed with six children. Kellie remembers her getting up every morning for mass and ministering to the sick and elderly until she was well into her 80s and no longer able to drive. Kellie’s Sittee used to tell her to put her all into everything she did and to leave the rest to God. So she has.
Kellie says she was one of the few in her law school class at UC to attend mass regularly. She met her husband – his name is Chris – on the walk to late mass at St. Monica-St. George in Clifton. They enjoy cooking together and golfing.
She can’t remember a time when she didn’t want to be a lawyer. “I was always making things up, presenting stories to my family. Once when I was in fifth grade, I did a PowerPoint for my parents as to why they should let me go with my friend’s family on their vacation to Florida. They said OK.”
She says things don’t always come easily for her and that she’s no stranger to hard work and long hours. She tends to say ”yes” as much as possible because she doesn’t want a single opportunity to get away. She describes herself as patient, persistent and persevering. She is pursuing a career as a litigator.
She is happy to have landed at Graydon. “This is a different kind of law firm. It’s very team-oriented, very collaborative. It makes it possible to take a holistic approach to legal problems. Working alone, it’s easy to miss the finer points. When you have a few people pulling together, things get balanced out. The result – you do a better job of serving the client.”
Kellie is a member of the firm's Litigation group, working in the areas of personal and business disputes and media law.
Prior to attending law school, Kellie earned her Bachelor's in Political Science with a Minor in Spanish and a Certificate in Journalism from the University of Cincinnati. During her time as an undergrad, Kellie worked for the Ohio Innocence Project as a journalism intern, writing client bios and success stories for the organization's website and clemency letters on behalf of the inmates and exonerees.
After a brief stint as an account manager for a media company, Kellie returned to the UC College of Law where she was a member of both the Trial Practice Team and the Moot Court Honor Board and was awarded The Clinical Legal Education Association Outstanding Clinical Student Award and the College of Law Honors Scholarship. She also worked as a Research Assistant to Professor James T. O'Reilly, researching the evidentiary issues in product liability cases, the treatment of Dementia in the law, federal pay exemption standards for nurses, and successor employer cases in the medical industry.
As a third year law student Kellie interned with UC's Sixth Circuit Appellate Clinic where she worked on two federal criminal appeals, and successfully argued her case, United States v. Fowler, No. 14-2412, 2016 WL 1381907 (6th Cir. Apr. 7, 2016), before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Kellie has clerked for several Cincinnati Judges, including: The Honorable Robert P. Ruehlman, The Honorable Beth A. Myers, and The Honorable Judge Howard Sundermann. During her time with Judge Myers, Kellie worked primarily on the Commercial Litigation docket where she gained experience with complex litigation and commercial disputes.