As the daughter of a career Navy man and his wife, Kristine Maher (pronounced Mare) grew up in a rich variety of settings. She says this most recent move, to Cincinnati, is her last.
Kristine was working as an attorney in D.C. some years ago when she met the guy she would marry. It happened at a tequila bar, where she was celebrating a birthday. His name is Christopher Maher, a Marine Corps veteran who happens to be a grandson of the late Walt Maher, a respected WKRC-TV sportscaster and all-around good guy.
As their courtship progressed, Christopher asked how she’d feel about settling down in his hometown, because that’s what he had in mind. She thought, well, Cincinnati has a music scene, a theater scene, a couple pro sports franchises, plenty to do. Her one condition was that they find a house with a room for a grand piano.
Kristine was about seven when she took up piano lessons. She admits to always having been a bit of a diva, always on stage, playing the piano, singing, never shying away from the spotlight. Whenever the family moved somewhere new, they’d seek out a church to build their social circle. There were always choirs, piano recitals, school plays and other chances for an outgoing girl to perform.
Her favorite classical composers are Mozart and Bach – a preference indicative of a mathematical mind, so she’s been told. “At home, I tend to play Broadway and popular stuff. On a good day, I have a three-octave range. I love Lady Gaga, Sia, Adele and Alicia Keys.”
It was her mother who first suggested Kristine consider a career as a litigator. “She was tired of arguing with me as a teenager and said, ‘You seem to like arguing so much, maybe you should be a lawyer.’ I liked the idea and found the mock trial team at Cumberland Valley High School in Pennsylvania. It was a good fit for me. I was used to performing musically on stage. The mock trial scenarios in the courtroom provided a different kind of performance outlet.”
She took a year between the University of Maryland and George Mason University School of Law, since re-named the Antonin Scalia Law School, to work as a staff assistant on Capitol Hill with the House Armed Services Committee.
“The pay was low and the hours were sometimes long. But it was a fantastic experience. I had a feeling of being part of something much larger than myself. We focused on supporting people in the military in all aspects of their service, from making sure people fighting wars had the supplies they needed to supporting their families with issues of healthcare and housing.”
Something else about Kristine is that, in addition to her love of America, she has a deep affection for all things Italian. Her mother’s family is Italian. As a girl, she wanted to speak to her grandparents in their native language. After three semesters of Italian language and four months of living with a family in Siena that spoke no English, she became fluent. (Ask her sometime about the crazy horse race at the Piazza del Campo.)
Like her mother and grandmother, she makes her own tomato sauce – it’s a bit different than theirs because none of them uses a recipe. Her husband fixes Cincinnati-style chili at least once a month – she likes it as long as she doesn’t think about the noodles as some kind of pasta. She is on a quest in Cincinnati to track down all the places that serve good Italian food and wine, and she’s open to suggestions.
She came to the Firm as a litigator, and her husband calls her the “GI Jane” of the veterans disability claims world.
“To be a great litigator, I think you have to be a bit of a nerd about it, like I am. You also need the drive and the dedication to run down every possible avenue and every potential argument before you finalize your submission to the court in writing.
“And then if you get the chance to argue in court, you have to prepare to the degree where you can’t think of a question you don’t know the answer to.”
Kristine is an accredited attorney through the Veterans Administration and the chair of the firm’s Veterans Initiative. In addition to representing veterans against the VA, she is a seasoned litigator who focuses on complex and specialized litigation, including claims under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, class actions, and appeals. She also has significant experience with litigation involving life insurance, disability, and retirement benefits. Kristine is admitted to practice before the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and has argued on her clients’ behalf in federal courts around the country and the state courts in Ohio, DC, Virginia, and West Virginia. Kristine represents corporate clients and individuals on a wide range of subject matters and thoroughly enjoys the research and writing required to make the most persuasive legal arguments on their behalf.
Kristine is the firm’s designated attorney for e-discovery issues and dedicates time to issues affecting working mothers as part of the firm's Diversity Equity & Inclusion Committee.
Before entering practice, Kristine worked for the United States House of Representatives Committee on Armed Services and finds her experience with the legislative branch to be extremely helpful in litigation when complex statutes are involved. She also clerked for two different judges in the Virginia state court system at the trial and appellate levels and maintains strong relationships with them to date. Her clerkships gave her a solid springboard into the world of litigation that she entered immediately following her clerkship with the Court of Appeals of Virginia. Kristine worked for a smaller litigation boutique and a large law firm’s litigation practice in Washington, DC before moving to Cincinnati.
Kristine graduated cum laude from the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University in Virginia. She was selected to represent the school at the ABA National Appellate Advocacy Moot Court tournament and wrote an award-winning brief for the competition during her third year. From that point on, Kristine has focused on the craft of legal writing and regularly attends seminars and training sessions to hone her writing skills. She views writing legal arguments as similar to the singing and piano playing she enjoys in her free time - requiring a lot of practice but with the final product unquestionably worth the effort.
Originally from Virginia, Kristine and her husband live at Castle Maher in Anderson, Ohio with their little prince, Leo.