For more than two decades, Justice French has dedicated her career to public service. In that time, she has served as a lawyer for a state agency, an assistant attorney general, counsel to the Governor, and, finally, as a judge.
In 1993, she joined the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency as deputy director for legal affairs. From 1997 to 2002, she worked for Attorney General Betty Montgomery as an assistant attorney general, and later as chief counsel.
From 2002 to 2004, Justice French served as chief legal counsel to Governor Bob Taft. In that role, she served as the chair of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Task Force, which made recommendations to the legislature for making Ohio’s sex-offender laws more effective.
In 2004, Justice French was elected as a judge on the Tenth District Court of Appeals, which hears appeals from Franklin County courts and state administrative agencies. While a judge on the court of appeals for eight years, she authored more than 800 legal opinions.
In December 2012, Governor John Kasich appointed Justice French to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court of Ohio. She became the 155th justice of the Ohio Supreme Court on Jan. 1, 2013.
And in 2015, United States Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts appointed her to serve on the Federal Appellate Rules Committee.
Although her 25 years of public service are critical to her understanding of state laws and the Ohio judicial system, Justice French also has the benefit of experience in the corporate and private-practice arenas. She began her career as an attorney with the Columbus law firm of Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur, specializing in environmental law. Justice French also served as in-house counsel for a large manufacturing company.
Justice French grew up in Sebring, Ohio, a small town in Mahoning County. She graduated from Sebring McKinley High School in 1980, when she started her undergraduate studies at The Ohio State University.
She received three degrees from OSU: a B.A. in political science, an M.A. in history (with a concentration in military history and strategic studies), and a J.D., with honors. She is a member of the Moritz College of Law National Council, and in 2018 was awarded the college’s Distinguished Jurist Award for her work on the bench.
Justice Judi French currently resides in Grandview Heights, near Columbus, with her husband. They have two children.