Mary Jane Trapp is recognized throughout the state and nationally for her distinguished legal knowledge and experience. Ms. Trapp, a leader in legal reform issues and past president of the Ohio State Bar Association, was elected to the Eleventh District Court of Appeals in November 2006 and served a six year term ending February 2013, hearing cases from five counties in northeast Ohio, Ashtabula, Lake, Geauga, Portage and Trumbull. During her tenure she served a two-year term as the court’s presiding/administrative judge in 2009 and 2010, after having served as its administrative judge in 2008. She also served as a visiting judge on the Supreme Court of Ohio and on the Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Appellate Districts by assignment of the Chief Justice.
Before taking the bench, Ms. Trapp spent over 25 years in a state-wide general civil and criminal trial and appellate practice in federal courts in Ohio and Pennsylvania and in Ohio courts at all levels. She also practiced before federal and state administrative agencies. She served as a mediator and as arbitrator for the Geauga and Cuyahoga County Common Pleas courts, and as a guardian ad litem for children in domestic relations court.
Now returning to the private practice of law, Ms. Trapp focuses her state-wide practice on appellate and trial advocacy in all areas of complex civil and criminal litigation and on providing mediation and arbitration services for attorneys, businesses, and governmental entities at the pre-trial, post-trial and appellate stages of a claim. Ms. Trapp also offers per case appellate consults to other private attorneys, law firms, prosecutors and other governmental law departments, and organizations. Her consulting services include trial court record review and case evaluation, brief review and writing, and conducting mock oral arguments.
Ms. Trapp graduated from Columbus School for Girls in 1974, Mount Holyoke College, cum laude in May, 1978 and received her law degree from Case Western Reserve University in 1981. She was admitted to the Ohio Bar in 1981 and is also admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court and the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. She was the first Ohio Court of Appeals judge to have been selected by the Council of State Governments to receive a nationally prestigious Toll Fellowship in 2011. For her work in establishing pro bono foreclosure mediation programs in all five counties she served, Ms. Trapp received the President’s Award from the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation in 2011. Among other awards and honors, Ms. Trapp was the 2009 Ohio Women’s Bar Association Founders’ Award winner and the winner of the 2012 Nettie Cronise Lutes Award, given in honor of the first woman attorney in Ohio by the Ohio State Bar Association’s Women in the Profession Section.
Ms. Trapp served for six years on the Supreme Court Rules Advisory Committee and its appellate rules subcommittee, and three years as the designee of the Ohio Courts of Appeals Judges Association on the Supreme Court of Ohio Commission on the Rules of Practice and Procedure. She served as chair of the Appellate Rules Subcommittee in 2011. Chief Justice Thomas Moyer appointed her to serve on the eleven-member Task Force to Review Ohio’s Disciplinary System. She was also a member of the Ohio Judicial Conference’s Civil Law and Procedure committee and continues her work on the Board of Editors of the Ohio Jury Instructions. Ms. Trapp also served on the Ohio Judicial College’s Curriculum Planning Committee, designing and teaching courses for Ohio’s judges. Ms. Trapp served as the Ohio State and Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association’s delegate to the American Bar Association House of Delegates. She is a Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and a Life Fellow of the Ohio State Bar Foundation. She is a Life Member, Judicial Conference of the Eighth Judicial District.
Among her many other professional and bar association activities, Ms. Trapp is a member of the OSBA Judicial Administration and Legal Reform Committee and has chaired that committee on two different occasions. She has also served as a member of the Supreme Court Subcommittee on Privacy and Technology, Supreme Court of Ohio Committee on Technology, appellate work group; as a Commissioner on three Supreme Court of Ohio boards of commissioners: Professionalism, the Unauthorized Practice of Law, and Continuing Legal Education; and as a member of the Supreme Court Unauthorized Practice of Law Task Force and Supreme Court Records Management Task Force. She also served as a Liaison - attorney representative to Civil Law & Procedure Committee of the Ohio Judicial Conference.
She is active in the Chagrin Valley Women’s Club and the Geauga County Agricultural Society, and in the summer, she serves as a St. Anselm Parish Festival volunteer. She has served as President of the Columbus School for Girls National Alumnae Council and on the school’s Board of Trustees. Ms. Trapp is a charter member of the United Way of Lake County’s Women’s Leadership Initiative and is a Citizenship merit badge counselor for the Boy Scouts of America.
Ms. Trapp has authored a book chapter on civil rules and trial practice, as well as lectures on the topics of ethics and professionalism, the civil rules and rules of evidence, appellate practice, trial practice for women lawyers, nursing home negligence, tort reform, living wills and durable powers of attorney for health care, the unauthorized practice of law, Ohio constitutional law and history, and judicial selection.
Ms. Trapp lives in Russell Township in Geauga County with her husband, Attorney Mike Apicella. She has four step-children, three step-grandchildren, and two cats. She is a former competitive skater and continues her love of sports as both a participant and a fan, including ice and roller skating, tennis, golf, skiing, and rooting for the Cleveland Indians, the Cleveland Browns, and Ohio State football.
Licensed since 1981
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|Award Name||Grantor||Date Granted|
|Nettie Cronise Lutes Award||Ohio State Bar Association||2012|
|Presidential Award for Pro Bono Service||Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation||2011|
|Henry Toll Fellowship||Council of State Governments||2011|
|Founder's Award||Ohio Women's Bar Association||2009|
|Woman of the Year||Lake County Democratic Women's Club||2009|
|Legislative Award||Ohio Association of Court Reporters||N/A|
|Of Counsel||Thrasher, Dinsmore & Dolan LPA||2013 - Present|
|Appellate Judge||Ohio Court of Appeals, Eleventh District||2007 - 2013|
|Civil Service Interviewer||City of Cleveland Heights Police Department||2002 - 2006|
|General Counsel||Trapp Family Real Estate||1990 - 2003|
|Managing Partner||Apicella & Trapp||1986 - 2007|
|Partner||Stein, Trapp & Associates||1981 - 1986|
|Associate||Krause, Klein & Associates||1981 - 1981|
|Law Clerk||Krause, Klein & Associates||1979 - 1981|
|Association Name||Position Name||Duration|
|Supreme Court of Ohio Commission on Rules of Practice and Procedure||Chair||2009 - 2011|
|Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, Nominating Committee||Member||2009 - 2010|
|Supreme Court of Ohio Committee on Technology||Member of Subcommittee on Privacy & Technology||2002 - 2005|
|American Bar Association||Life Fellow||2002 - Present|
|American Bar Foundation||Delegate||2002 - 2012|
|Ohio State Bar Association, House Counsel Task Force||Chair||2002 - 2002|
|Ohio State Bar Association||President||2001 - 2002|
|Ohio State Bar Association, Ohio Printing Company||Director||2000 - 2003|
|Ohio State Bar Association||Board of Governors||2000 - 2003|
|Ohio State Bar Association||Life Fellow and Trustee||1999 - 2002|
|Ohio State Bar Association, Ohio CLE Institute||Chair||1999 - 1999|
|Cuyahoga County Bar Association||Trustee||1998 - 2008|
|Supreme Court of Ohio, Rules Advisory Committee||Member of Appellate Rules Subcommittee||1997 - 2000|
|Ohio State Bar Association, Ohio CLE Institute||Treasurer||1997 - 1998|
|Ohio State Bar Association, Ohio CLE Institute||Trustee||1995 - 1998|
|Ohio State Bar Association||Board of Governors||1995 - 1998|
|Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association||Trustee||1995 - 1998|
|Cuyahoga County Bar Association||Tresurer||1993 - 1994|
|Ohio State Bar Association, Judicial Admin and Legal Reform Committee||Chair||1993 - 1995|
|Cuyahoga County Bar Association||Trustee||1986 - 1993|
|Cuyahoga County Bar Association, Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee||Chair||1986 - 1987|
|Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association||Member||1981 - Present|
|Judicial Conference of the Eighth Judicial District||Life Member||N/A|
|Lake Legal Views-Lake County Bar Association, Vol 35, No 4||"Batson Challenges in Civil Trials-Determining Whether a Peremptory Challenge Was Racially Motivated"||2011|
|Ipso Jure, Geauga County Bar Association, Vol 29, Number 5||"Use of Social Networking Tolls in the Courtroom: Tweeting and Texting; Trouble or Twaddle"||2009|
|Family Law Practice in Ohio, Law Practice Handbook, Inc 1996||"Civil Rules and Trial Practice" Book Chapter||1996|
|Case Western Reserve UniversitySchool of Law||Law||JD - Juris Doctor||1981|
|Mount Holyoke College||N/A||BA - Bachelor of Arts||1978|
|Ohio Courts of Appeals Judges Association Summer Meeting||Ohio Constitutional Conventions: A Historical Perspective||2012|
|Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association Ins and Outs of Appellate Practice||Appellate Motions & Briefs: A Perspective from the Bench||2012|