Erika M. Smitherman was born in Norwalk, Ohio and graduated from Norwalk High School in 1993, where both of her parents were teachers. She earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from The Ohio State University, with minors in both English and Philosophy. Her spring 1997 graduation in the Horseshoe was rained out; however, her graduation was made official when she picked up her diploma from a box on the floor of the French Field House! While at Ohio State, Ms. Smitherman’s activities included serving as a University Ambassador, chairing several programs in the Student Alumni Council, working as a Resident Advisor, serving on the Homecoming Steering Committee, and membership in the Sullivant Society Honorary. Ms. Smitherman remains active in the Ohio State Alumni Association. After graduating from Ohio State, Ms. Smitherman furthered her studies at Capital University Law School. There, she served as a mentor to first year students, worked in the Admissions Office, and was a member of the Delta Theta Phi Law Fraternity. While at Capital, Ms. Smitherman interned at the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and practiced her research and writing skills. After graduating from Capital in May 2000, she was sworn into the Ohio Bar in November 2000.
Ms. Smitherman began employment at the Ohio Attorney General’s Office in the Consumer Protection Section and later, she simultaneously worked in the Chief Counsel’s Staff. As an Assistant Attorney General, she investigated consumer complaints, effectively mediated settlements, litigated against companies accused of statutory violations and prepared confidential court papers, legal memoranda, and briefs for trial and appellate proceedings.
Ms. Smitherman became an Assistant Chief Legal Counsel in the Auditor of State’s Office, focusing on the Cleveland and Youngstown regions. While there, she provided legal advice to state auditors, trained government officials to effectively apply state laws to their specific municipalities, and collaborated with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office regarding unique litigation on behalf of the Auditor.
After a few years in a small solo practice, Ms. Smitherman became a child advocacy attorney for the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program in Franklin County. At CASA, she represented the best interests of children who were found by the court to be abused, neglected and/or dependent. Many of these children were placed in the custody of Franklin County Children’s Services for their own protection and Ms. Smitherman helped to ensure that the children received appropriate services and treatment by working closely with the child’s Guardian ad Litem and the Juvenile Court. She also provided training to volunteers who were appointed by the court to serve as Guardians ad Litem.
It was through Ms. Smitherman’s involvement with CASA that she met Judge Elizabeth Gill of the Franklin County Domestic and Juvenile Court and subsequently accepted the invitation to become her staff attorney. While working with Judge Gill, she prepared published legal opinions, performed legal research and analysis on complex matters of family law, assisted the Judge in preparing for hearings and trials, reviewed and commented on dissolution paperwork submitted to the court for review, and facilitated the pro se dissolutions and civil protection orders on the date of hearing. During her time with Judge Gill, Ms. Smitherman developed an interest in the private practice of family law and appreciates the opportunity she had to learn from such a fine mentor.
Ms. Smitherman is a member of the Columbus Bar Association and Women Lawyers of Franklin County. She is admitted to practice in all state and local courts in Ohio and in the United States District Court, Southern District of Ohio. Ms. Smitherman serves her community on the Board of Directors of Faith Educare, volunteers as her daughter’s Girl Scout Leader and is an active member of her church.
Ms. Smitherman resides in Canal Winchester with her family including Troy, who is a firefighter/paramedic for Madison Township, and their three children: two sons, who are avid soccer players, and one daughter, who is working toward her black belt in karate. They share their home with their dog and cat. Ms. Smitherman and her family enjoy spending time together during family movie nights, swimming, traveling, camping, jumping on their trampoline, biking to the covered bridge, volunteering at community and charity events, and spending time with family and friends.
|Award name||Grantor||Date granted|
|Alumni Outstanding Service Award||Capital University Law School||2018|
|AVVO Excellent Family Law Attorney||AVVO||2016|
|10 Best Family Law Attorneys||American Institute of Family Law Attorneys||2016|
|Superb Family Law Attorney||AVVO||2016|
|Excellence and Dedication to Her Profession||National Association of Professional Women||2015|
|Adjunct Faculty||Capital Law School Paralegal Program||2016 - Present|
|Partner||Petroff Law Offices, LLC||2013 - Present|
|Of Counsel||McNair Petroff, LLC||2011 - 2013|
|Staff Attorney for Judge Elizabeth M. Gill||Franklin County Court Of Common Pleas, Division Of Domestic Relations & Juvenile Branch||2009 - 2011|
|Court Appointed Special Advocate||Franklin County Domestic & Juvenile Court||2007 - 2009|
|Assistant Chief Legal Counsel||Ohio Auditor of State||2003 - 2007|
|Assistant Attorney General||Ohio Attorney General||2000 - 2003|
|Association name||Position name||Duration|
|New Albany Women's Network||Member||2017 - Present|
|Lawrence Negotiation Competition-Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University||Judge for Competition||2014 - Present|
|Women Lawyers of Franklin County||Member||2012 - Present|
|Columbus Bar Association||Member||2000 - Present|
|Ohio State Bar Association||Member||2000 - Present|
|Capital University Law School||JD - Juris Doctor||2000|
|The Ohio State University||BA - Bachelor of Arts||1997|
|Guest Lecturer||Family Law||2016|
|Lunch With A Lawyer||Becoming a Laywer, Local Practice as an Attorney, Family Law Issues||2015|
|Local Fire Departments||Pension, Division of Property Orders in a Divorce or Dissolution, and Civil Protection Orders||2015|
|Canal Winchester High School||Career Development as n Attorney||2015|
|Rotary Clubs of Central Ohio||Family Law; Divorce, Dissolution, Child Custody||2014|
|Parenting Coordination Acts As Buffer to Contentious Parents||Client maintained shared parenting, an equal time schedule and residential parent status.|
|Relocation Not In Child's Best Interest||Client Awarded Custody|
|Confidential||Full Custody for Client|
|Father Granted Sole Custody||Sole Custody to Father|
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