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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.  


Practice areas


  1. Litigation: 50%
  2. Mediation: 50%


Payment types:

Cash, Check, Credit card

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Contact info

Thrasher, Dinsmore & Dolan LPA

1400 West 6th St. Suite 400
Cleveland, OH, 44113

100 7th Ave. Suite 150
Chardon, OH, 44024



We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.
Avvo contributions
Legal answers
Award nameGrantorDate granted
Nettie Cronise Lutes AwardOhio State Bar Association2012
Presidential Award for Pro Bono ServiceOhio Legal Assistance Foundation2011
Henry Toll FellowshipCouncil of State Governments2011
Founder's AwardOhio Women's Bar Association2009
Woman of the YearLake County Democratic Women's Club2009
Legislative AwardOhio Association of Court ReportersN/A
Work experience
TitleCompany nameDuration
Of CounselThrasher, Dinsmore & Dolan LPA2013 - Present
Appellate JudgeOhio Court of Appeals, Eleventh District2007 - 2013
Civil Service InterviewerCity of Cleveland Heights Police Department2002 - 2006
General CounselTrapp Family Real Estate1990 - 2003
Managing PartnerApicella & Trapp1986 - 2007
PartnerStein, Trapp & Associates1981 - 1986
AssociateKrause, Klein & Associates1981 - 1981
Law ClerkKrause, Klein & Associates1979 - 1981
Association namePosition nameDuration
American Bar AssociationLife Fellow2002 - Present
Cleveland Metropolitan Bar AssociationMember1981 - Present
Judicial Conference of the Eighth Judicial DistrictLife MemberN/A
Supreme Court of Ohio Commission on Rules of Practice and ProcedureChair2009 - 2011
Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, Nominating CommitteeMember2009 - 2010
Ohio State Bar Association, House Counsel Task ForceChair2002 - 2002
American Bar FoundationDelegate2002 - 2012
Supreme Court of Ohio Committee on TechnologyMember of Subcommittee on Privacy & Technology2002 - 2005
Ohio State Bar AssociationPresident2001 - 2002
Ohio State Bar Association, Ohio Printing CompanyDirector2000 - 2003
Ohio State Bar AssociationBoard of Governors2000 - 2003
Ohio State Bar AssociationLife Fellow and Trustee1999 - 2002
Ohio State Bar Association, Ohio CLE InstituteChair1999 - 1999
Cuyahoga County Bar AssociationTrustee1998 - 2008
Ohio State Bar Association, Ohio CLE InstituteTreasurer1997 - 1998
Supreme Court of Ohio, Rules Advisory CommitteeMember of Appellate Rules Subcommittee1997 - 2000
Cleveland Metropolitan Bar AssociationTrustee1995 - 1998
Ohio State Bar AssociationBoard of Governors1995 - 1998
Ohio State Bar Association, Ohio CLE InstituteTrustee1995 - 1998
Ohio State Bar Association, Judicial Admin and Legal Reform CommitteeChair1993 - 1995
Cuyahoga County Bar AssociationTresurer1993 - 1994
Cuyahoga County Bar AssociationTrustee1986 - 1993
Cuyahoga County Bar Association, Unauthorized Practice of Law CommitteeChair1986 - 1987
Publication nameTitleDate
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 Chapter1996
School nameMajorDegreeGraduated
Case Western Reserve University School of LawLawJD - Juris Doctor1981
Mount Holyoke CollegeN/ABA - Bachelor of Arts1978
Speaking engagements
Conference nameTitleDate
Ohio Courts of Appeals Judges Association Summer MeetingOhio Constitutional Conventions: A Historical Perspective2012
Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association Ins and Outs of Appellate PracticeAppellate Motions & Briefs: A Perspective from the Bench2012