The Alumni Medal is the highest honor the University bestows on a graduate. The following graduates were recognized for accomplishments in their professions, exemplary family and personal lives, contributions to their communities, and dedication to the University: Nancy Cunningham Benacci ’77; Tony Coyne ’82; Jack Kahl ’62; Chuck Kyle ’73, ’79G; and Bob Maynard ’58.
Trial lawyer caps off career with honors
By Susan Curphey
Bob Maynard ’58 deserves a victory lap. After practicing law for half a century, including 25 years of service to the Sisters of Charity, he has won high honors from his colleagues and the community for his many years of hard work and servant leadership.
Last year, when he retired at age 75, Maynard was selected as the attorney from among eight counties by the Lawyers Guild of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland to receive its St. Thomas More Award for exceptional personal integrity, professional competence, and community service. Additionally, he was honored with the Caritas Service Award from the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine for his dedication to their mission as general counsel and long-standing board member.
“It doesn’t get any better than to be recognized like this at the end of your career,” he says. “I’ve had one great opportunity after another for 55 years with multiple highs and lows. I view the recognition I’ve received to be more for making it to the finish line than any particular event.”
The Cleveland native began his prolific career as a public defender in Washington, D.C., after earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in law from Georgetown University Law Center. He was among eight law school graduates from throughout the country awarded an E. Barrett Prettyman Fellowship in trial advocacy that trains recent law graduates in the academic and practical aspects of courtroom advocacy.
Maynard joined the Washington firm of Hogan & Harston before returning to Cleveland with his wife, Aggie ’90G, and children in 1969 to work for Squire, Sanders & Dempsey, where he became a partner. In 1985, he co-founded and served as managing director of the law firm Jacobson, Maynard, Tuschman, & Kalur, which specialized in defending medical and legal malpractice cases.
When reflecting on his career, Maynard recalls his mentor, Edward Bennett Williams, a well-known trial lawyer in D.C., who instilled courage in him to take on difficult cases.
“Williams always said: ‘Trial lawyers should win every case where the odds are 70 to 80 percent in their favor. Great trial lawyers are willing to try cases that are in the 40 to 60 percent range, where they have a greater chance of losing, and advocacy skills make the difference.’ So, I learned to be ready, willing, and able to try those cases, and I shared that philosophy with the young lawyers in the firm,” Maynard says.
“I attribute the success I had in my trial practice to being prepared to try a defensible case … to take it on and do my best,” he adds. Maynard is a designated Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, as well as a former president and chairman of the board of the Defense Research Institute, a national organization of defense trial lawyers.
In 2001, at age 64, Maynard left the courtroom to accept the role of general counsel for the Sisters of Charity Health System, where he served as chairman and member of the board of trustees since 1995, as well as board member of St. Vincent Charity Medical Center for several years before that.
“I reinvented myself from being a trial lawyer to a corporate boardroom governance lawyer,” says Maynard, who had legal responsibilities for all 20 ministries of the health system.
“His dedication and expertise has had a significant impact throughout the system,” says Sister Judith Ann Karam. “I’ve known Bob for more than 25 years; he’s admired for his honesty, hard work, and respect for others.”
In addition to his servant leadership with the Sisters of Charity, Maynard has served on the board of trustees of Huron Road Hospital, the Cleveland Opera, and the Greater Cleveland Bar Association. He’s a former president of the University’s alumni board and a member of the Magis Legacy Society.
During his days as a student at Carroll, the English major was active in Sodality (Christian Life Communities), Glee Club, and the Little Theatre Society, acting in every play the society performed during his sophomore, junior, and senior years.
“I knew I could never make it as an actor on the stage, so I converted whatever skills I had to the courtroom, where I could deal with real-life drama and make a living at it,” he says. JCU
To watch a video about Maynard, click here.