Legal News Reporter
Published: June 26, 2020
He is one of Community Legal Aid Services Inc.’s longest-serving volunteers and now Ravenna attorney Richard C. Lombardi is being honored as the organization’s 2019 Portage County Volunteer of the Year.
For Lombardi, who has represented legal aid clients in civil law matters for about 20 years, it’s the second time he has received the award. He was also chosen as Volunteer of the Year for 2012.
When he was notified in February that he’d been selected again, he said he was “excited” and “very appreciative” of the recognition.
“Richard started volunteering here before I began working here,” said Steven McGarrity, executive director of Community Legal Aid Services. “His help in handling divorce, family law and estate planning issues has been invaluable. He is someone I can always turn to when I need help for one of our clients.”
Rachel Nader, managing attorney for Community Legal Aid’s Volunteer Legal Services Program said Lombardi “always goes above and beyond” when assisting clients, especially in the area of consumer bankruptcy cases.
“He represents clients in Portage County and the region, who are in desperate situations,” said Nader. “I can’t tell you how grateful we are to Richard for his decades of his service.”
Born in Akron, Lombardi received his bachelor’s degree in history and political science from The University of Akron.
While an undergraduate, he entered the ROTC program. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, but received a deferment to attend law school at The Ohio State University.
After obtaining his juris doctorate, he completed an officers basic training course at Fort Knox, Kentucky.
“While there I was promoted to first lieutenant,” said Lombardi. “I was not required to go to Vietnam because the war was winding down,” he said.
Lombardi said the law was in his blood from a young age. His father, Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge L. A. “Tony” Lombardi was one of his early role models as was his Uncle Paul, who was an attorney.
“I knew in grade school that I wanted to be a lawyer and I knew I would pass the bar exam on the first try,” said Lombardi. “There was never any question as to what direction I wanted my life to take.”
Lombardi spent the first year of his career as a law clerk to 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Paul Weick. He then joined the Ravenna law firm of Loomis, Jones, Poland, Wilson & Griffith, where he handled personal injury and other civil cases, criminal defense and domestic relations matters.
When the firm dissolved in 1986, Lombardi started his own practice in Ravenna, where he primarily focuses on criminal defense and domestic relations.
A former president of the Portage County Bar Association and a member of the Ohio State Bar Association, Lombardi lives in Munroe Falls with his wife Rosemary and has two adult sons, one of whom is also a lawyer.
“My son Paul previously worked at Roetzel & Andress,” said Lombardi. “He is now an in-house attorney in the home office of Lowe’s in North Carolina.
“My son Tony is a former vice president of JPMorgan Chase,” said Lombardi. “My nephews Marc and David are also attorneys. David is a former Akron Municipal Court judge and Marc works in the Summit County Legal Defenders Office.”
Lombardi currently chairs the Munroe Falls Civil Service Commission and is a former longtime member of the city council.
“As an attorney, I believe it is important to give back to the community,” said Lombardi. “The practice of law has been good to me. It’s afforded me a comfortable life and if I can help some who are less fortunate by drafting a will or a power of attorney or handling a divorce, I feel a moral obligation to do so.
“My legal aid clients are very grateful for the assistance I provide and I’m glad to do it,” he said.
Lombardi said he plans to continue to represent the organization’s clients well into the future.
“In the past, I have also taught a credit card counseling course for Portage County residents that the bar association puts on, which explains how to represent and defend yourself if you are sued by credit card companies,” said Lombardi. “I will certainly teach this class again whenever I’m asked to do so.
“As a result of the blow to the economy created by pandemic, I am sure there are going to be a ton of bankruptcies next year and the years after.”
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