IAALS Advances Justice with Federal District Court Judge Jack Zouhary

IAALS simply would not be what it is without the support of our partners and friends. They are essential to our efforts and hail from a wide range of backgrounds, viewpoints, and sectors. Every month, IAALS will shine the spotlight on one such person and take you behind the scenes for a lighthearted glimpse into those upon whose guidance and support we rely. Together we are advancing justice.

The Honorable Jack Zouhary, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Western Division

In a recent commentary in The Federal Lawyer, Judge Jack Zouhary analogized being a judge working to implement the new Federal Civil Rules to being a baseball team manager. He wrote that “[t]he team manager tries to make the right in-game decisions, but also to have a winning season.” He then defines a winning season for a judge as shepherding cases to a successful conclusion, “whether that conclusion be a trial, a decision on a dispositive motion, or a settlement.” Few judges or attorneys have embraced the call for reform with such passion, intelligence, creativity, and integrity as Judge Zouhary.

IAALS began working with Judge Zouhary in 2009, and ever since, we’ve relied on his wisdom to help shape our work in the area of Rule One. In 2015, as a member of the ACTL Task Force on Discovery and Civil Justice, we presented him with IAALS' Rebuilding Justice Award. So, perhaps it was only a matter of time before we could entice him to take on a formal role on IAALS' Board of Advisors.

We at IAALS are also enticed by Judge Zouhary's famous “Deliberation Cake," which he bakes for jury deliberations (naturally, it serves 12). Judge Zouhary’s sweet tooth is famous (when his first grandson, Henry, was born, he gleefully passed out Oh, Henry bars—rather than cigars—to one and all) and we are delighted to share his recipe here for our IAALS readers to enjoy as well.

When it comes to making America’s justice system work better for us all, Jack’s devotion to litigants, understanding of baseball, and famous apple cake have much to offer all of us.    

We caught up with Judge Zouhary for this month’s Partner Profile Q&A. 

What living person do you most admire? My two accomplished daughters. And I also amire all those single working parents raising a child well. There are too many children who begin life with little or no chance.

What is your most treasured possession?  My birth certificate—blessed to be an American citizen. And also a table-size Scales of Justice—of little monetary value—left behind in my courtroom from a predecessor judge—a daily reminder of the obligations of my position. My mother’s recipes—and my wife's affection.

What is your most marked characteristic? Optimism, father's sense of humor, and a sweet tooth.

Who is/are your favorite authors? Dr. Seuss for story time and any uplifting book of fiction or non-fiction for downtime. My last read was “I Am Pilgrim” by Terry Hayes; current read is about Detective Harry Bosch from the Michael Connelly series; and my next read is “The American Spirit” by David McCullough.

What would you be if you weren’t a judge? Lawyer (still am), teacher, or author.