The dominant feature in Steve Goodin’s office, other than Steve, is a large horizontal print of Winston Churchill, smiling slightly, cigar dangling from his right hand.
“I get a kick out of that guy. He wrecked his career three or four times, changed his party affiliation three or four times. He was a disaster in school – persistently tardy, always talking. He had a rebellious, difficult personality that worked horribly for him for ninety percent of his career. But with that other ten percent, he changed the world.”
Steve’s father was a UAW member who worked on the line at International Harvester in Springfield, Ohio, for 34 years. He worked whatever hours they’d give him. Steve’s mother stayed home. “She was the Moses. She ran the roost, and she was the one who was big on education. She taught me and my sister to read before kindergarten.”
Steve was not the easiest kid. He had a habit of challenging authority, and he wasn’t good at being told what to do. He might have had a bit of a Churchill problem. He would find himself not so much talking back, he says, as debating his teachers. He grew up in a kind of argumentative environment, one in which his family engaged in a good deal of good-natured back-and-forth on random subjects du’jour, often involving politics.
He worked a year after college as a general assignment reporter for The Springfield News-Sun. The following year, in 1994, he and his wife, Jennifer, joined the Peace Corps in the southern tip of Morocco, where the Sahara begins. He was a “health sanitation engineer,” meaning he dug outhouses. He tells of waiting to catch a bus in a dusty roadside café:
“A kid had a TV and a primitive satellite dish hooked up to a car battery. A bunch of the locals had gathered around, and they were watching ‘Friends.’ They see these Americans in this opulent apartment. The women were wearing tight clothes. Their heads were uncovered. It struck me the Moroccans were simultaneously angry and jealous. Later, I felt like I’d gotten a weird little preview of the tensions that figured into 9/11.”
Steve had been thinking about law school for years. One summer when he was 19 or 20, he was in a three-car accident. The officer told him it wasn’t his fault, but all three drivers were cited and ordered to appear in mayor’s court. Steve represented himself.
“The other two guys had attorneys. I asked the judge, ‘Where’s the officer? Where’s my witness?’ She says, ‘You didn’t subpoena him.’ I was fined sixty bucks, and the other guys got off. In a strange way, that experience contributed to my going to law school.”
As an attorney, Steve says he’s comfortable in his own skin, will not back down, doesn’t get rattled and is not afraid to go to court.
“I stay focused on the big picture. You also have to understand what the other side is trying to do. So many young attorneys I deal with understand the client’s position, but they’re blind to any holes in it. You can get stuck in your foxhole and lose sight of the larger battle around you. That won’t happen with me.”
Steve Goodin is a litigator, counselor-at-law, and general problem-solver.
He is a seasoned commercial litigation attorney who has represented companies of all sizes, municipalities, governmental bodies, pension funds, non-profits, and large religious institutions in both state and federal courts. He also represents individuals, including those under investigation by state and federal agencies.
Steve has significant experience in class actions and complex litigation and has defended all manner of employment-related claims, including qui tam whistleblower suits. Steve also possesses a deep background in criminal defense litigation and has conducted internal investigations for national corporations.
His extensive legal background includes: Five years in the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office Criminal Division; serving as a Special Assistant United States Attorney with jurisdiction over a large Army base; litigating as lead counsel more than three dozen jury trials; and managing his own successful downtown law practice. He has appeared before every judge in our local state courts and federal courts. Steve has also successfully litigated with and before the Ohio Ethics Commission, the Ohio Liquor Control Commission, the Ohio Elections Commission, and the Ohio Supreme Court’s Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline.
Public service has been a constant throughout Steve's career. A former Army reservist, he was mobilized in 2007-08 to serve as a JAG prosecutor for the XVIII Airborne Corps. Prior to attending law school, he served as a Peace Corps volunteer in North Africa.
He lives with his wife Jennifer (executive director of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Cincinnati) and their three children in Wyoming, Ohio – where he was named a Citizen of the Year in 2005.