...a personal message from John Burlew
This message is my attempt to summarize my career and explain my philosophy of life and the law. I was the recipient of a spectacular elementary and secondary education from the Cincinnati Public School System. Athletics and coaching are a big part of my life. I have lettered in three sports, coached a fourth and have a black belt in a fifth.
I have always detested bullies. I always tend to side with the underdog and am not a member of any group or fraternity, except my church that meets regularly or has a motto. In spite of this, I enjoy people and consider myself a social being. I have been influenced by smart women all of my life, my mother, wife and daughters. You will see an article attached, written about my wife. My daughters, living in other cities are both Magna Cum Laude graduates of Spelman College and are doing things on their own that their mother and I can only admire.
I look at a law degree as a weapon. Like any weapon, it can be used for good or evil. It can be used selfishly to acquire wealth, power or generously to improve society or empower the powerless. This site features a number of articles. I am most proud of cases that might surprise you. I will talk about some of them.
I represented a wonderful woman who was the first female African American firefighter for the City of Cincinnati. She developed breast cancer and her doctors recommended that she undergo a bone marrow transplant. The City of Cincinnati was self-insured and decided that this costly procedure could be delayed and they would not pay for the operation, the oncologistís opinion notwithstanding.
I became an activist. We lobbied City Council and worked with the firefighters. We had fundraisers. With her friend, Holly Broach, and the generosity of her doctors, led by Dr. Ken Davis, we raised the money and the procedure was performed. The City was shamed into changing procedures which better protected employees facing catastrophic uncovered medical procedures. This story does not have a happy ending. Paula Duncan died. One of my prized possessions is the $4.00 basketball that I bought for $500.00 signed by Oscar Robertson at a benefit for Paula. I used my weapon the right way.
In the first trial televised in the State of Ohio, I represented an investigator charged with assaulting a city policeman at a packed city council meeting. The tension and hate between the police force and the community was as high as I had ever observed. Police officers surrounded City Hall and parked their cars around City Hall and left their sirens on. At the city council meeting they were in attendance, en-mass and armed. The investigator was found not guilty of all charges and settled a subsequent civil case against the City.
The City of Cincinnati, because it had a police force which was composed of an inadequate number of women and African-Americans, entered into a consent decree where more minorities would be hired and promoted so that the force would more accurately reflect the population of the City. The decree had the desired effect. The City underwent a budget crisis and proposed a lay-off which would undo all of the gains made under the consent decree. Through intensive negotiations, lay-offs were prevented, every policeman retained their job, and the gains made have been retained.
I hope you enjoy the webpage.