Frantz Ward is proud to announce that partner Kelley J. Barnett
is the 2019 recipient of the Women in Law RISE Award, established by the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, given to a woman who has inspired and lifted others through resilience, integrity, service and excellence. Kelley will be recognized at the International Women’s Day “We Rise Together” reception on Friday, March 8 at the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association in partnership with The Greater Cleveland Delta Foundation Life Development Center.
Kelley’s devotion to advocating for women and girls started very early in her law career. As an assistant prosecutor for Cuyahoga County handling criminal matters from drug offenses to capital murder, she saw firsthand everything from rape to domestic violence to human trafficking cases. She resolved to do something about it and has devoted much of her personal and professional time to women’s advocacy with a persistence and resilience that are born of true passion. Kelley devotes countless hours to advocating for sexual assault survivors. Since 2015, she has served on the Board of Directors and Public Policy Committee of the nationally-recognized Cleveland Rape Crisis Center. She also provides pro bono legal representation to female sex trafficking victims through referrals from the Northeast Ohio Human Trafficking Law Clinic and other organizations.
In addition to advocating for female survivors of abuse, Kelley has displayed incredible integrity in advocating for her fellow female attorneys. In 2018, Kelley discovered the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel’s “Ladder Down”
program which is a year-long program dedicated to empowering female attorneys by providing coaching in the critical areas of leadership, business development and mentoring. Kelley personally spent hours, weeks and months reaching out to local law firms and organizations as well as local leaders to educate them about the program and raise enough money to launch the program in Cleveland. The program launched in January and includes female attorneys from more than twenty local law firms. Kelley is also active in the CMBA’s Women in Law Section and is a member of the OWBA. She is also involved in Frantz Ward’s Women Initiative, which is committed to recruitment, retention, promotion, and mentoring of the firm’s female attorneys. She mentors female attorneys at the firm and serves as Ombudsmen for all associates of the firm, including planning bi-monthly professional development programs. In addition to her efforts focused on the firm’s associates, Kelley also serves as a female role-model in her role of adjunct professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Law.
Kelley has a reputation for excellence in her regular practice, focused on product liability and toxic tort matters for global manufacturers and suppliers worldwide and on commercial litigation matters for small businesses and Fortune 500 companies all across the United States. Kelley has tried nearly one-hundred cases to verdict but counsels clients at all stages of disputes, including litigation avoidance. Additionally, Kelley counsels clients in a broad variety of contract matters, including drafting, reviewing, and negotiating. She also conducts internal corporate investigations into allegations of employee misconduct, fraud, compliance issues, and criminal misconduct. She is OSHA certified and counsels clients on a wide range of OSHA issues including training, compliance, and safety and accident investigations. Kelley earned her J.D. from Case Western Reserve University School of Law and her B.A., with High Honors, from Michigan State University.