Judge Beatty Blunt joins the Ford School as Towsley Foundation Policymaker in Residence

August 24, 2022

Distinguished litigator, legal expert, and public servant Judge Laurel Beatty Blunt (Ohio Tenth District Court of Appeals) will join the Ford School faculty for fall 2022 as a Harry A. and Margaret D. Towsley Foundation Policymaker in Residence. Judge Beatty Blunt will teach a graduate course on the Supreme Court and host a public event.

“I’m so excited for the chance to teach future policy leaders about the U.S. court system,” said Judge Beatty Blunt. “The intersections among policymakers and the judiciary are hugely important, as we’ve seen so vividly over the last year. Deeper knowledge about our judiciary branch’s structure, goals, and boundaries will make policymakers better able to navigate and manage the impact of court decisions on people’s lives.”

“I am so honored and thrilled to welcome Judge Laurel Beatty Blunt as one of our esteemed Towsley Policymakers in Residence,” said Dean Celeste Watkins-Hayes. “After serving many years as a litigator and judge, in 2018, Judge Beatty Blunt became the first Black woman to serve on the Tenth District Court of Appeals in Columbus, Ohio. Her professional experience, expertise, and perspective will greatly enrich the Ford School community."

Judge Beatty Blunt started her legal career at Frost Brown Todd (formerly Frost & Jacobs) in Cincinnati, Ohio where she was a member of the litigation department, focusing primarily on commercial and diet drug defense litigation. She then returned to her hometown of Columbus and joined Kegler Brown Hill & Ritter where she was a member of the litigation, creditor’s rights and bankruptcy, and government affairs departments. Afterward, she handled small business, probate, and personal injury matters for Otto Beatty, Jr. & Associates where she sat first and second chair in several trials.

Judge Beatty Blunt then served as Director of Legislative Affairs and Counsel to the Voting Rights Institute for the Ohio Secretary of State. In that role, Judge Beatty Blunt served as liaison to the Ohio General Assembly and 88 county boards of elections.  She also oversaw the drafting of legislation, obtained sponsors for bills, and provided testimony and information on bills pertaining to the Secretary of State’s office.

In 2009, Governor Ted Strickland appointed Judge Beatty Blunt to serve on the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas. In that capacity, Judge Beatty Blunt has jurisdiction over felony criminal cases, administrative appeals, and civil matters in which the sum or matters in dispute exceed $15,000. She has presided over a variety of issues from sentencing on murder and rape case to multi-million-dollar civil litigation. Judge Beatty Blunt was overwhelmingly elected in November 2010, earning 68% of the vote in Franklin County and re-elected in 2016 to a second term. In November 2018, Judge Beatty Blunt was elected to the Tenth District Court of Appeals which hears appeals from the court on which she previously served, as well as appeals from the other divisions of the Franklin County Common Pleas- Probate, Domestic Relations, and Juvenile- in addition to appeals from the Franklin County Municipal Court, the Ohio Court of Claims, and various state administrative agencies.

Judge Beatty Blunt is currently a member of the Supreme Court of Ohio Board on Continuing Legal Education. She also serves on numerous law-related panels and is a member of the Ohio Women’s Bar Association, Ohio State Bar Association, Columbus Bar Association, Women Lawyers of Franklin County, and John Mercer Langston Bar Association. Judge Beatty Blunt is a past member of the Board of Trustees of the YWCA of Central Ohio, the United Way of Central Ohio Board of Trustees, and the Greater Columbus Infant Mortality Task Force.

She attended Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, where she received a BS in Psychology magna cum laude in 1996. She subsequently attended Vanderbilt University Law School and received a Doctor of Jurisprudence in 1999.

In addition to Judge Beatty Blunt, Dr. Abdul El-Sayed and Hardy Vieux (MPP/JD ‘97) will return to the Ford School to serve as Towsley Foundation Policymakers in Residence.

About the Towsley Foundation Policymaker in Residence program

The Harry A. and Margaret D. Towsley Foundation Policymaker in Residence Program was established at the Ford School in 2002 to bring individuals with significant national and international policymaking experience to campus to interact with students and faculty. The program enhances our curriculum and strengthens our ties to the policy community.