November 5, 2020 at 7:49 pm

Alumni News | Passion for Politics, Strong OHIO Mentorship Shape Flowers’ Legal Practice

Amy Flowers, po;rtrait

Amy Flowers

Ohio University alumna, Attorney Amy Flowers ’05, ’08MPA began her undergraduate degree with a sense of intellectual curiosity and excitement for the possible legal careers she could pursue. Although she would not have imagined her winding path to becoming a bailiff and now a litigator, she was willing to immerse herself in each new opportunity presented to her.

Her advice to students: “Don’t go to law school for the money. Like anything, a true passion and desire to immerse yourself within your work will pay more than dollars ever will. Let law be something that moves you and inspires you to dedicate a life’s career to. And, if you are not quite sure if you want to practice law, now is the time to poke around and see if it feels right for you. Talk to attorneys, work in law offices, participate in student organizations geared toward that profession, and discover if you love it. If you don’t love it, don’t do it.”

Transferring to OHIO at 16 years old

Flowers began her journey at Ohio University as a third-year transfer student from Washington State Community College in Marietta, Ohio. Flowers, at only 16, transferred to Ohio University because it was close to home in McConnelsville, Ohio, but still offered a great capacity to grow.

“Ohio University, and Athens in general, allowed me to see a bigger part of society. I grew up in small town Ohio. Moving to Athens gave me the ability to live in an area where you were free to have your own thoughts and carve your own path gave me the flexibility to be exactly who I wanted to be – without fear of too much ridicule or harm. As a young gay woman, I needed that type of environment.”

At Ohio University, Flowers was president of the Ohio University College Democrats and was an active member of Students Defending Students and Phi Alpha Delta, Pre-Law Fraternity. Each of these organizations allowed Flowers to develop her aptitude for leadership, advocacy and political discourse. She used each of these opportunities to connect with legal professionals and discover new possibilities for a career in law.

“Truly, it was from my involvement in politics in Athens that initiated my path for law school preparation. From the time I first started working in campaigns and politics I would meet people that I could ask questions of, glean insight into the practice of law, and dream of becoming exactly what I wanted to be: a lawyer.”

While at Ohio University, Flowers worked alongside the then chair of the Athens County Democratic Party, Susan Gwinn. “Susan was an early mentor for me and demonstrated that I, as a woman, could practice law and be great at it. Then and now, the practice is comprised mostly of men but, it was my time with Susan where I learned that there was room for me, too,” Flowers says.

Finding that First Job

While Flowers knew her path would eventually lead her to becoming an attorney, she was still uncertain as she approached graduation of what exactly she wanted to do with her passion for law and politics.

“Quite frankly, I have no idea why practicing law has always been a dream of mine. I do not come from a family of attorneys, in fact, I am the one and only. However, from the time I can remember, it is all I have wanted to do.”

Her very first job was as an assistant at a local law firm and there, she recognized her appreciation for judges, attorneys, and courtroom personnel. However, she was still unclear of her path to practice. “It was not until I worked within the court system (and probably after countless hours of lawyer shows) that I was drawn to criminal law, specifically criminal defense,” she said. “I have stayed close to those attorneys that are advanced in that area in order to grasp every bit of knowledge that I could.”

Flowers graduated from Ohio University with a Bachelors of Arts and Science in Political Science in 2005, but stayed to earn her Master of Public Administration degree in 2008. She used this time to continue to develop and grow within the Ohio University community.

“I loved the Political Science Department, specifically the professors. The department was comprised of brilliant minds like Dr. Julie White; I just felt like I wasn’t finished learning.”

Following her time at Ohio University, Flowers took a job as a bailiff at the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas. “While employed as a bailiff, I had the opportunity, with some nudging and encouragement from my then boss, Judge Kimberly Cocroft, to pursue my dream of working full time and go to law school part-time.”

Upon earning her Juris Doctor from Capital University Law School, Flowers took a job was a practicing lawyer. She currently works as a practice attorney in the Litigation Group at Ice Miller, LLP. Flowers’ day to day work “consists of meeting with clients, drafting motions and pleadings, legal research, coordinating pro bono projects, attending court hearings, and supporting other law firm partners in their work.” She has learned to value her position not only because of her proximity to the criminal justice system, but also because of the mentorship offered to her by her colleagues.

“Hands down my favorite part [of my position] is working with Attorney Diane Menashe. Diane is a leading attorney in the practice of criminal defense and racial justice. And quite frankly, she is one of the best. Being able to work with her, learn from her, and develop my career through her mentorship has been incredible. It is time I do not take for granted  Through that relationship I have grown passionate about shifting and shaping the criminal justice system to be as it was designed to be: fair. For far too long the criminal justice system has been far from fair and just, and I hope that through the work that I do, there is change for the better,” Flowers said.

Staying Connected with OHIO

Over the last several years, Flowers has given back to her alma mater by participating in several programs hosted by the Center for Law, Justice & Culture. For example, she has served as a guest presenter at the Summer Law & Trial Institute for the last six years. Additionally, she has participated in the annual Pre-Law Day program, giving advice to current students and alumni about law school and the legal profession, and also participated this year. She also serves as a guest judge on the Ohio University Mock Trial Team, helping students learn trial practice skills.

She never misses an opportunity to share what she learned about law, education, and friendship.

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