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Erika M. Smitherman

Family Attorney at Columbus, OH

3.9   11 reviews
  • Licensed for 23 years
    State OH
    Acquired 2000
    Active No misconduct found

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

About Erika

Learn Erika’s areas of practice.

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.

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Petroff Law Offices, LLC
140 E Town St Ste 1070
Columbus, OH, 43215-5125


3.9 / 5.0
  11 customer reviews
5 Star
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1 Star
Posted by Ryan | March 23, 2018
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Intelligent, Tencacious, and Human
I vetted many attorneys before selecting Erika. After meeting her it was very clear that she'd be the one I'd trust to help my son. Over the next year I learned many things about Erika, for example she would actually read the journal I sent her (sometimes several times a week), and there were times when she'd get more upset than I would over the judge's decision, which showed me that she was emotional invested in my case. But most importantly, when things got hard, and trust me they got hard, she wouldn't let me quit! She would carry the load for me, and I needed that sometimes. You see, I wasn't looking for a "great" attorney, I was looking for someone to help my son, for someone to believe me about what was happening to him. And sometimes, I was looking for someone to carry me the rest of the way. She did this for me, even on Sunday's that never showed up on my invoice. It's been a year since my case end and can I assure you she still remembers the details of my case, which are truly the details of my son's life. If your on the ropes and can't decided if she's right for you, take from someone who's been fighting in family court for over a decade, hire her and don't look back, it'll be the best decision you've today. I really hope this helps someone in need of help to connect with Ericka! BTW Ericka got me (my son) everything I asked for.
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Posted by anonymous | June 19, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
My Hero
Erika inherited my difficult case very late in the game. She accepted the challenge and was able to quickly assess the situation, draw up a solid plan, hunt down all parties and reach a positive resolution within a few weeks...for a case that had lingered for over a year in the legal system. She is nothing short of amazing.
Posted by Andrea | May 24, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
She was stellar!
I couldn't have asked for a better experience. She was kind, professional, and very knowledgeable of the law. I wanted my case dismissed due to lack of jurisdiction and that's exactly what happened. She was absolutely stellar. I wouldn't hesitate a minute using her again. She is compassionate AND competent...two qualities rarely seen together. What more can I say.... she is a total class act and came through for me. I will ways be grateful for her defense.
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Posted by Ed | March 18, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Wonderful lawyer and a great person
Erika helped me navigate through my recent dissolution. Her confident, knowledgeable and compassionate approach helped relieve my anxiety about the process. She and her team made the process quick and painless. I didn't even have to go to the courthouse to complete the process. I would highly recommend Erika and her team to everyone going through a divorce/dissolution.
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Posted by Joe | September 19, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
great attorney
Erika represented me very well throughout my entire court battle for my son. My case was a unique case and she took it on with no concerns and ensured me she would fight hard for me and that is just what she did. She was very well prepared at every court appearance and always listened to everything I had to say throughout the process. I have dealt with other attorneys in the past that have recommended doing certain things that were very costly and just ended up being a waste of time and money but Erika was not that way. She was very good at advising me on whether we should pursue certain things and was not just out to make money off of my case. I would definitely recommend her and I have done so already since my case has ended. I was very pleased at the results for my case and will admit she fights for what you want and typically gets what she fights for. Thank you Erika for your service and thank you Petroff.
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Posted by William and Sheila | January 5, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Outstanding Attorney!
Erika Smitherman is an extremely ethical and professional attorney. What sets her apart from the rest, is her empathy and loyalty to her clients. (There are seldom attorney's in it because they care.) The emotional support and honesty provided by Erika is rare to find. When we came to see her our family life was in shambles (due to a Military move out of state)... But Erika gave us hope and decided to take our case when others would not even consider it. Erika stood ready to help our family during a stressful and challenging situation. She is tenacious in fighting for your rights as a parent and your best interests. Erika guided us through the process, step by step, was very responsive, and her rates were extremely affordable. This was our first experience hiring a lawyer and we are more than happy with the outcome and our choice to have her represent us in a custody case.
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Posted by Dave Buck | November 16, 2015
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Sincerely Cares
Erica Smitherman is an excellent attorney. She has incredible knowledge and experience in family law. From the very beginning, it was apparent that her high personal standards and moral ethics made her the right choice to represent my case. She earnestly cares about her clients and tries to place herself in their shoes to gain a deeper understanding of the situation as a whole while still remaining objective and applying her vast knowledge and skills to positively affect the outcome of the situation. The whole team at her firm is equally amazing and should also be noted for the endless amount of support and research they do behind the scenes as well. Erika and the team at Petroff exemplify what attorney's should be in the eyes of the public and certainly have set the bar at a very high level. I would highly recommend them and thank them for all that they have done for me and my family. The effects of their services will be long lasting and completely immeasurable in lives of my children. Thank you from my heart, soul, mind, and strength. Words will never be enough.
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Posted by William and Angela | December 31, 2013
Excellent Quality!
We were referred to Attorney Smitherman by a friend who used her services in the past. Attorney Smitherman was very honest and upfront from the very beginning. She advised us exactly what to do and what to expect during the proceedings. Everything turned out great in the end. What a wonderful experience to have an attorney who actually has knowledge of the system and cares about what happens.
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Posted by anonymous | September 27, 2023
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
No help
She was my attorney and did not support me in any way. I was constantly ignored, made to sign documents I wasn't comfortable with, and more. She is condescending to her own clients and refuses to fight for them. I had to hire another attorney, who got the 50% custody I was seeking in a few weeks vs the years of no progress with Erika.
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Posted by Amy | November 3, 2022
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Don't Do It
I hired Ms. Smitherman in my divorce case to battle my narcissist husband who was fighting every step of the process. Ms. Smitherman told me all the things she could do to help my case, however, she only took my money and I am in worse shape, now than I was before I hired her. She refused to file contempt against my husband to get him to pay court ordered child support and court ordered medical reimbursement, and then sat on the divorce proposal for 7 weeks in order to make more money and drag out my case to trial. Then, despite the fact that I kept them updated on the remaining credit I had to spend after maxing out all of my credit cards ($25,000 total in attorney fees and I wasn't even divorced yet) they went OVER the amount I had given them to spend by $3300 and they have threatened legal action against me if I didn't pay it. I terminated their services and I'm fighting my own battle. You don't need an attorney to navigate a divorce.
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Posted by Steven Carley | October 17, 2018
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Worst lawyer money can buy
Erika took advantage of the fact I was stationed 12 hours away, ignored emails and phone calls and let them add up so she could charge more. Claimed to have Judge in her pocket since her boss was funding her election campaign. Didnt do a single thing that I as her client wanted done. Failed to properly inform me that I still had custodial rights of my children. Signed documents and agreements that I had no knowlege of. Bakrupted and still fighting for my rights as a father. Do yourself a favor and avoid this attorney.
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Response from Erika Smitherman December 1, 2018
At Petroff Law Offices, we always strive to provide clients with quality advice and representation with the given facts of their specific case. We have always taken pride in the ethical and communicative way in which we operate, which is reflected by our reputation in the legal community, including colleagues and the courts. We often work successfully with clients based in different states and value client time and financial resources. This former client's comments are untrue, unfortunate and completely unwarranted. My office bent over backwards to work with this client's financial and logistical constraints while zealously and aggressively representing his interests. A Guardian ad litem was appointed by the court to represent the best interests of his minor children. Unfortunately, at times, the circumstances of a matter are beyond our control. This client went on to retain at least two other attorneys since our office stepped out of the case. It is too bad that he blames others for his misfortune and hardships. The old adage is spot on - no good deed goes unpunished.
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  • Hourly Rates $ 112-225 per hour
Payment methods
Cash, Check, Credit Card


AVVO RATING 9.1 (Superb)

Work Experience

  • 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
View all work experience


  • Capital University Law School
  • JD - Juris Doctor
  • 2000
  • The Ohio State University
  • BA - Bachelor of Arts
  • 1997

Legal Cases

  • 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
View all legal cases


  • 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
View all associations

Languages Spoken

  • English

Honors and Awards

  • 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
View all awards

Speaking Engagements

  • 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
View all speaking engagements

Attorney endorsements

Received (12)
Given (7)
Endorse Erika
Family Attorney | Sep 25
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. Ms. Smitherman is a knowledgeable and caring attorney."
Divorce and separation Attorney | Dec 15
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"I've had the opportunity to work with Erika on two matters, one as opposing counsel and one as a Guardian ad Litem. She's willing to work toward amicable resolution of cases without the need for protracted litigation or discovery demands to be cost effective for her clients. At the same time, she's more than capable of fighting hard for her clients when the need arises. It was a pleasure working with her in finding workable and effective results for both our clients and their young children."
Family Attorney | Sep 01
Relationship: Co-worker
"Erika provides her clients with dedicated, sophisticated, and compassionate legal representation. Her extensive experience in the courtroom makes her an asset to her clients."
Family Attorney | Mar 14
Relationship: Opposing Counsel on matter
"I endorse this lawyer. Recently, I had the pleasure of working with Erika on a child custody matter. Our clients had numerous issues which required extensive communications between Erika and I. Erika is professional, courteous and thorough. While being easy to work with, she is a very strong advocate for her clients. I have great respect for both her extensive knowledge of the law and her abilities as a quality attorney."
Divorce and separation Attorney | Mar 10
Relationship: Opposing Counsel on matter
"Erika and I worked on a dissolution over the last several months. Erika was kind, professional and a pleasure to work with. She was knowledgeable on the law and also utilized a great deal of common sense. Common sense seems to be less and less common these days, so it was certainly nice to work with someone of Erika's character."
Family Attorney | Dec 30
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Erica is knowledgeable in the area of family law and always diligent in her representation of clients,"
Divorce and separation Attorney | Nov 11
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"I endorse this lawyer. Erika is extremely diligent and tireless in her approach to her cases. She is very knowledgeable about the law, and has an excellent working relationship with Court personnel."
Family Attorney | Nov 11
Relationship: Co-worker
"Attorney Smitherman is an excellent lawyer who takes the time to really learn and understand what her client's goals are in each case. She never makes promises she cannot keep, and is always 100% honest about what her clients should expect throughout the litigation process."
Divorce and separation Attorney | Nov 11
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Erika is a dedicated and experienced domestic lawyer who understands the complex legal issues in domestic cases. She is constantly fighting for favorable results for her clients in the most professional manner. I am proud to endorse Erika Smitherman"
Family Attorney | Nov 11
Relationship: Worked for lawyer
"Erika is truly an amazing attorney. Erika clearly knows anything and everything there is to know about family law. But the most important trait of Erika is that she truly cares about her clients. She is a true advocate that fights for every inch inside and outside of the court room. It's it very frustrating seeing other lawyers that just don't care about their clients or their needs. With Erika I know she cares about her clients and their legal issues. Besides the legal knowledge she possess, her care and concern for clients is what separates her from other family law attorneys."
Family Attorney | Nov 10
Relationship: Co-worker
"I endorse Erika for any family law related matter. Erika has a proven track record of successfully representing her clients from the beginning stages of a divorce and/or custody matter all the way through trial. She provides excellent representation to her clients."
Family Attorney | Nov 06
Relationship: Co-worker
"I endorse this lawyer as a diligent and fearless advocate. Attorney Smitherman is not afraid to go to trial if her reasonable offers of settlement are rejected. I would hire her for any family law case, but particularly high conflict custody cases"
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Columbus Family Lawyer Erika M. Smitherman
Erika M. Smitherman
Family Attorney
Columbus, OH
Licensed for 23 years