Heather G. Sowald, managing partner at Sowald, Sowald, Anderson, Hawley & Johnson, on legal trends, promising opportunities

Current: Managing Partner, Sowald, Sowald, Anderson, Hawley & Johnson; 35 years

Education:B.A., Case Western Reserve University, 1976; J.D. Capital University Law School, 1979

Professional affiliations/memberships:

Past president, Ohio State Bar Association; past president, Columbus Bar Association; past president, Ohio Metropolitan Bar Association; past president, Franklin County Trial Lawyers; past president, Women Lawyers of Franklin County; past president, Ohio State Bar Foundation; past president, Columbus Bar Foundation; past president, Central Ohio Association of Collaborative Divorce Professionals; past chair, Franklin County Youth Services Advisory Board; Capital University Law School Alumni Board; past chair, Columbus Bar Association's: Professional Ethics Committee, Family Law Committee, Juvenile Law Committee, Admissions to the Bar Committee

Practice areas/specialization:

Family and divorce law, collaborative family law, custody and child support matters, prenuptial agreements

Significant awards:

Columbus Bar Association, Bar Service Medal; Capital University Law School Alumni Association, Alumni of the Year; Capital University Law School Alumni Association, Professionalism Award

Community involvement:

Board member: Ohio Bar Liability Insurance Company; Ohio Lawyers Assistance Program; former board member: Ohio Board of Nursing, lay member; Ohio State Bar Association; Columbus Bar Association; Jewish Family Services; The Legal Aid Society of Columbus; former member of: The Supreme Court of Ohio's Advisory Committee on Children, Families and the Courts; The Ohio Supreme Court of Ohio Task Force on Rules of Professional Conduct; Ohio Lawyer Magazine Board of Editors

Noteworthy cases:

Not disclosed due to client confidentiality.

Previous jobs:

Not applicable.

How did you come to focus on your practice or specialization?

I realized that with my skills and interests, this was an area of law practice where I could be of great assistance to and advocate for my clients and their family law issues. Nothing is more important than people's relationships, their children, and issues about money.

What business or legal trends are key drivers in your practice?

When people have relationships and/or have children, and the relationships end, legal problems frequently arise.

What is the biggest change you have adapted to in your practice?

As in many other industries, there are more regulations and, as a result, more specialized knowledge and extra paperwork are required in divorce, dissolution, and custody matters.

What are the most promising opportunities for your practice?

Collaborative law, which is a civil method for terminating a marriage, uncoupling of same-sex relationships, and the growth in the number of unwed parents fighting over custody.

If not law, what would be your dream job?

Unfortunately, I was not blessed with a great singing voice, athletic abilities, or natural artistic talent. Fortunately, I have found a profession which suits my abilities, and my clients' satisfaction is my reward.