Steve G. Thomakos

Office: For Judge of the Tuscarawas County Court of Common Pleas, General/Domestic Relations Division
Term Beginning 1/2/2021

Age: 58

Residence: New Philadelphia



Social Media: 

Occupation: Attorney

Education: J.D. The University Of Akron, School Of Law

Work Experience: Out of Law School, my first job was with The Stark County Public Defenders Office. My second job was with Ohio’s Fifth District Court of Appeals. In 1990, I started my own private practice, which included working for a workers compensation lawyer, part time, for 7 years starting in 1992. I also taught business law to night students for a year at Kent State University, Tuscarawas campus. I have been a trial lawyer for the most part with experience in Appellate work as well.

Family: Married 33 years this March to Judge Elizabeth Lehigh Thomakos. We have 4 children, and 1 grandchild.

Affiliations: ·Appointed by the County Commissioners to serve for 6 years on The Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board · Past President of the Tuscarawas County Bar Association · Former Adjunct teacher at Kent State University, Tuscarawas Campus · Admitted and practice in Northern District of Ohio Federal Court and, The U.S. Appellate Court, Sixth District · Tuscarawas Central Catholic High School legal adviser for mock trial since 1999 · Member of the Greek Orthodox Church

Endorsements: none yet

Bar Association Ratings: not available

(1) List your judicial experience (courts and years)
My judicial experience includes employment as a Staff Attorney for Ohio’s Fifth District Court of Appeals from 1988-1990. I have been married to one of the two Common Pleas Court Judges in our county for 33 years. She took the bench in 1999, and if elected, we would certainly be the first wife/husband tandem to serve in our county, and possibly, the State.

(2) What about your non-judicial legal experience qualifies you to be a judge?
My non-judicial legal experience started in 1986. As a student at Akron University’s School of Law, I received a “legal intern certificate” allowing me to work and argue in courtrooms, without a law degree. I represented the Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority in Akron Municipal Court for evictions. In 1987, I used that same certificate at the Stark County Public Defender’s Office representing clients charged with misdemeanors and felonies. After I passed the bar exam that same year, I joined the Public Defender’s Office as a Staff Attorney. I was assigned to Juvenile and Municipal Courts in Canton and Massillon, Ohio until moving to felony court. I stayed there until late 1988 when I was offered a job to work as a Staff Attorney at Ohio’s Fifth District Court of Appeals.

Working for the Appellate Court was akin to returning back to law school. My new, but familiar, home was the law library. When I wasn’t researching case law, I was was watching oral arguments by lawyers arguing their appeals to the court. I worked for all five of the Appellate Court Judges, but reported to one specifically, John R. Milligan. After the lawyers completed oral argument before the Court, the three judges on the panel that day would retire to an office, with staff attorneys present, and vote as to how the case should be decided after discussion. Each staff attorney had a different role for their respective assigned judge. My judge charged me with the duty of briefing cases prior to argument, and then providing him with a case memorandum post argument including issues raised in discussion. The variety of issues before court was endless and challenging.

In 1990, I started my own practice. I took criminal cases both by private hire and appointment. I took juvenile appointments and started doing Bankruptcy filings. In 1992, while maintaining my own law firm, I moonlighted for a workers compensation lawyer and found a home in disability law. All along, I continued to take cases to trial and argued before juries, appellate courts, federal courts, and on two occasions before the Ohio Supreme Court.

I have been President of the Tuscarawas County Bar Association. I have taught business law as an adjunct Professor at Kent State, Tuscarawas campus. I have had jury trials in four different cities and represented 4,500 clients.

(3) Why are you running for this particular court seat?
In 1990, after my term expired as staff counsel with the Court Of Appeals, I hung my shingle to enter the realm of private practice. Buoyed by the prospect of being mentored and groomed by six seasoned attorneys, I entered into an office sharing agreement with veteran counsel. My office-mates referred work to me, and I took criminal and juvenile appointments for two years in hopes I could pay office rent. My wife and I did not have any children at the time, so the idea of creating a practice from scratch was invigorating and exciting.

Since 1990, my practice has grown substantially. In the twenty-nine years following that shingle, I have represented 4,500 clients in forums ranging from the Ohio Court Of Claims to the Ohio Supreme Court. I’ve tried jury trials in Cincinnati, Canton, Akron, and New Philadelphia, Ohio. I have appeared in four separate Courts Of Appeals. I have an active Workers Compensation and Social Security Disability practice.

I feel I have built a successful practice, and there is a lineal correlation between it and why I am running for this seat. In my practice, zealous advocacy is always coupled with client respect and candor. Information is conveyed in a timely manner, mindful of the importance legal matters have in the lives of my clients. Justice, and decisions dispensing that justice, should also be swift and respectful. Moreover, if incarceration is necessary, that too should be dispensed swiftly and without delay.

Interestingly, “creativity” is also part of a judge’s job. More and more, low level felonies are being legislatively stripped of prison time as an option. The legislature tells us there is no room in the prisons, and it is too costly to imprison. Hence, like my wife has employed, I want to establish my own specialized docket “Drug Court” as a method to address this issue.

Demeanor and experience are important. They provide the basis for judicial decision making. The decisions a judge renders affect the parties, their families, and the community. I have experience with both courts and people. This experience translates into what I want from the judges I see in my day to day practice. Paraphrasing Gandhi, I want to be the change I crave from others. The prospect of implementing that change is what fuels my desire to run for Common Pleas Court Judge.