Attorney Kathi McNabb Welsh has been named the 2021 Professionalism Award Recipient by the Mahoning County Bar Association Board of Trustees.
McNabb Welsh was honored for more than three decades of service and contributions to the legal community in the “Opening of Courts” luncheon on Monday, September 13, 2021.
Each year, the Professionalism Award is presented to a member of the Mahoning County Bar Association who has been practicing for at least 30 years and embodies qualities including fairness, integrity, competence, diligence and civility in their work and life.
McNabb Welsh serves as the Mahoning County Chief Deputy Clerk of Courts, where she ensures the clerk of courts offices function effectively, comply with the laws and serve in a competent and professional manner. She has overseen the operation of these offices and the title department in this role since 1994.
Prior to her position as the Chief Deputy Clerk of Courts, McNabb Welsh served nearly a decade as an assistant prosecutor, working for both the Mahoning County Prosecutor’s office and the city of Akron.
“One of the things that makes Kathi unique is that she has infinite patience when dealing with other lawyers, judges, the public and vendors,” says Judge Shirley Christian, retired attorney and former Mahoning County Common Pleas Court Judge. “Whatever problems arise in the clerk of courts office, she works through them in a cheerful and friendly fashion, which is what makes her so good at her job.”
Technology is one of McNabb Welsh’s favorite parts of her position. “We started a massive e-filing project that continues to benefit lawyers and the courts,” she explains. “I am excited about expanding e-filing from civil cases to court of appeals and domestic relations cases.”
“Also, I look forward to developing a mechanism for pro se litigants to ensure that they receive the same access to the system in those matters where they are representing themselves,” McNabb Welsh says.
McNabb Welsh has been a dedicated member of the Mahoning County Bar Association, formerly serving as president and currently the secretary-treasurer of the organization.
“Kathi has been a leader in the promotion of women in law,” says Bob Price, president of the Mahoning County Bar Association, “and as the first woman president of the Mahoning County Bar Association, she broke the barrier for the three women who have followed her in that position.”
In addition to the experience and skills she brings to the courts and legal profession, Kathi McNabb Welsh has given of her time and talents as a member of the boards for the Educational Service Center of Eastern Ohio (ESCEO) and the Mahoning County Career & Technical Center (MCCTC) since 2003. She is also on the board of directors of the Boardman Civic Association.
“Kathi has been an exceptional board member that has helped our district be at the forefront of education for the past 18 years, '' says John Zehentbauer, Superintendent of the Mahoning County Career and Technical Center. “She has set the standard for our administration and district as a whole.”
“Kathi has been an amazing advocate for education in the valley,” says Traci Hostetler, Superintendent of the ESCEO. “With her input and guidance as a member of our board, our organization has transformed into a top ranking educational service center in the state of Ohio.”
“In my mind, it was a given that she would receive [the Professionalism Award] at some point,” says Christian, who nominated McNabb Welsh for the award.
“My life as an attorney has been a blessing,” says McNabb Welsh. “I have been able to serve the public and my constituents and I’m grateful for that. When I was in college I did not see my legal career playing out as it has, but I truly love what I do.”
“I am a believer in education and the freedom that it grants you to embark on the journey of your choosing and when you hit forks in the road to take them and sometimes reinvent yourself along the way,” says McNabb Welsh.
Kathi McNabb Welsh’s journey through her career, service, and commitment to the community have gone above and beyond reinventing herself - her roles have given her the opportunity to lead the way for others in her profession and redefine education in the Valley.