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Shane Starkey ’95 Is Committed to Leadership Development and Community Service


Shane Starkey

Shane Starkey ‘95, originally from Youngstown, Ohio, came to the College of Law right after graduating from Wittenberg University in 1992. At Wittenberg, Starkey majored in economics, with a minor in philosophy. "The director of law school admissions had previously worked at Wittenberg,” he explained, “and was quickly able to convince me that UC was the best law school in the state.” Starkey was also attracted by the law school’s relatively small class size and the University’s urban campus.

Throughout his time at UC Law, Starkey worked at downtown Cincinnati law firm Jacobs, Kleinman, Seibel & McNally. He was also on the Moot Court Board, and served as a research assistant to Professor Paul Caron, the Charles Hartsock Professor of Law, and Professor Emeritus of Law William Rands.

After graduating from UC Law, Starkey moved to Naples, Florida, where he had several close family members, and worked for a year as an estate planner. He then attended the University of Florida, earning a masters degree in tax law. After completing his LLM, Starkey accepted a position at Thompson Hine LLP, where he remains today. This position also enabled him to return to Ohio.

Taking On A Leadership Role

At Thompson Hine, Starkey advises public companies and their compensation committees on a wide spectrum of executive compensation matters. “I enjoy this area of law because it requires a multi-disciplinary focus on a number of practice areas, including tax, corporate, securities and employment law,” he said. “Plus, I have the opportunity to work directly with senior executives and board members at public companies.” Starkey leads the firm-wide executive compensation team and regularly speak at compensation conferences throughout the nation, most recently in New York, San Francisco and New Orleans. He is also included in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for executive compensation and Best Lawyers in America for both tax and executive compensation.

In addition to being nationally recognized, Starkey has remained involved locally. He has served as chairman of the Southwestern Ohio Tax Institute and as chairman of the Tax Section of the Cincinnati Bar Association. He was also recognized by Cincinnati's Business Courier on its “Forty under 40” list in 2005 and is a graduate of the Cincinnati Academy of Leadership for Lawyers, Class VIII (2004).

Starkey recently assumed an important leadership role in April when he was appointed partner-in-charge of the Cincinnati office of Thompson Hine. “As a young leader in charge of a major law firm office,” he said, “my new role presents many challenges and opportunities. I am responsible for managing over 100 employees and attorneys in the Cincinnati office, leading local market initiatives, recruiting lawyers, and overseeing client service.” Amid all of that, he also continues to maintain a busy law practice.

Creating A Culture of Service

Within the Cincinnati office, one of Starkey’s priorities is to “promote a culture of service.” He has also remained extensively involved in the community at large. “Community service has always been a significant part of my professional life,” he explained. Two of my most meaningful positions include serving on the executive committee of the Cincinnati May Festival, which is ramping up for another amazing season, and serving as chairman of the Board of Learning Through Artwhich has developed an award-winning arts literacy program called Books Alive! for Kids.” In explaining his passion for the community, Starkey stated: “It has been very fulfilling to serve in leadership roles with organizations that have a meaningful impact on our community. It’s also a refreshing change of pace from life in a large law firm; it helps me maintain a proper perspective on the important issues in life and the value of giving back to the community.” Starkey commented that his advice to all lawyers is “to be fully engaged in community service.” In keeping with that goal, Starkey recently started a program that matches Thompson Hine’s younger attorneys with important nonprofits in town. The directive to the young attorneys is to make an immediate impact with the organization and ascend to leadership positions.

The culture of service Starkey has cultivated also extends to the firm’s relationship with clients. “Thompson Hine has had the highest client service ranking of any Cincinnati law firm for the past four years, based on a national survey of corporate counsel,” Starkey explained. “I firmly believe that our client service program gives us a competitive advantage. And I am leading efforts to ensure that everyone, from staff to our most senior partners, continues to understand the importance of delivering superior client service every day.”

Valuing Personal Growth

In addition to the steps he has already taken, Starkey continues to look for opportunities to grow as a leader. He recently completed the Leadership Cincinnati program. “This was a wonderful and timely experience, especially in light of my new leadership role at Thompson Hine,” he said. “I enjoyed learning more about the key institutions and leaders in town and better understand the important issues that they face. It was also inspiring to spend time with my classmates, all of whom are truly invested in our community and working hard to improve our region.”

Outside of work, Starkey and his wife Erin have three children: James (age 10), Ben (age 7) and Scarlett (age 4). Erin, formerly McKee, is a 1994 graduate of UC Law. Prior to becoming a parent, she worked at Dinsmore & Shohl. Of their meeting, Starkey laughed, “like many law school couples, we first met at Uncle Woody’s.” In his free time, Starkey coaches his sons’ soccer and baseball teams.