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Esther H. Brocker Award and Scholarship Reception

Capital University Law School cordially invites you to the

10th Annual Esther H. Brocker Award Reception

Honoring Mary Amos Augsburger, L'02

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

Law Library
Capital University Law School
303 E. Broad St.Columbus, OH 43215



The Esther H. Brocker Award and Scholarship were established in 2013 in honor of Esther H. Brocker, the first woman graduate of Columbus Law School (predecessor to Capital University Law School) in 1926. The Esther H. Brocker Award recognizes an attorney or judge who has made significant contributions to and involvement in advancing the status of women in the legal profession & the Columbus community. The Scholarship supports women law students in pursuit of their education and aspiration to become members of the legal profession.

To support the Esther H. Brocker Scholarship fund, please go to, select the designation "Other," and manually enter "Esther H. Brocker Scholarship."

2024 Esther H. Brocker Award Recipient

Mary Amos Augsburger

Attorney Mary Amos Augsburger is a passionate advocate and a true trailblazer. She serves as the first female CEO of the Ohio State Bar Association and only the fourth leader in the professional legal association’s more than 140-year history.

In this role, she leads and directs the $10 million organization, which represents more than 80% of private practitioners in Ohio and engages many more lawyers, law students and legal professionals as the state’s top provider of continuing legal education and an effective advocate at the Supreme Court, Ohio General Assembly and the U.S. Congress to promote justice and advance the legal profession.

The daughter of public servants, Mary has always believed in the power of the law to help people. She is most fulfilled when she is bringing together attorneys, policy makers and other stakeholders to solve problems. After graduating from The Ohio State University, she attended Capital Law School at night while serving as a legislative aide in the Ohio General Assembly.

Mary began her legal career as Chief Legal Counsel and Policy Advisor for the Ohio Senate Majority Caucus at just 30 years of age. After a brief stint in private practice in government relations and health care law at Squire Sanders + Dempsey LLP (now Squire, Patton & Boggs), Mary returned to state government leadership, holding posts as Division of Financial Institutions Chief Counsel and Policy Advisor for the Ohio Department of Commerce as well as Director of Policy and Public Affairs for the Ohio Auditor of State. It was in 2012 that Mary joined the Ohio State Bar Association as Legislative Counsel. By age 40, she had become its CEO.

Mary is committed to ensuring all Ohioans have access to the services of a good lawyer. She serves as Vice President of the Ohio Access to Justice Foundation Board and as a member of the Ohio Public Defender Commission. She also gives back through her work on boards of trustees of Wellington School and Groundwork Ohio. Mary attends services at Trinity United Methodist Church in the Village of Marble Cliff, where she is chair of its leadership board.

Outside of work, you’ll often find Mary with her nose in a legal thriller or in the saddle of her Peloton. She enjoys traveling to new places with her husband Ryan, son Alex, and will one day figure out how to keep up with their energetic Goldendoodle Phoenix.

Past Esther H. Brocker Award Recipients

2023 Kathleen M. Trafford, L'79
2022 Lisa L. Sadler, L'84
2021 Gretchen Koehler Mote, L’78
2019 Sharon L. Kennedy
2018 Betty D. Montgomery
2017 Yvette McGee Brown
2016 Evelyn Lundberg Stratton
2015 Maureen O'Connor
2014 Deborah D. Pryce, L'76

*there was no 2020 award due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

About Esther H. Brocker

The path Esther H. Brocker, L’26, created while working to become the Law School’s first female graduate started in Lancaster, Ohio, in the 1920s and was built commuting to Columbus, three nights a week, over four years. It was followed by a lengthy legal career that extended well into her 80s.

Brocker was born April 21, 1883, in Lancaster, Ohio. By age 17, she was making money as a dressmaker. She married in 1902, and her first child, Mary, was born and died in 1909. Her only living child, John W. Brocker, was born in 1911. By 1916, Brocker was a single mother, working as secretary of the Hermann Manufacturing Company in Lancaster and assistant treasurer of the Hermann Tire Building and Machine Co. She then worked as secretary in the Deffenbaugh Law Offices in Lancaster. She also worked for the Department of Defense in Cleveland during World War I.

In the early 1920s, Brocker made a bold choice for a woman and single mother of that time: She decided to go to law school.

From 1922 to 1926, she made a 30-mile drive and took the interurban trolley to attend classes at Columbus School of Law, a predecessor of Capital University Law School. After 664 trips and nearly 40,000 miles, she became the Law School’s first female graduate on June 9, 1926, at age 42.

After graduating, Brocker opened a successful private law practice in Lancaster, handling criminal cases and probate work. Her first office was above a bank in Lancaster; later, she would move her law offices to one-half of the house in which she had lived with her parents. She served two terms as Lancaster’s city solicitor and was elected vice president of the Fairfield County Bar Association in 1960.

She worked as an attorney until age 83 and died in 1972 at age 88.

Brocker was not the first woman to attend the Columbus School of Law. Other women had taken classes starting in 1918, 15 years after the YMCA opened the school in 1903 with a mission of making a legal education available to everyone, regardless of race, gender, or background. But Brocker was the first woman to finish her classes and earn a law school diploma, along with nine male classmates.

Esther Brocker’s legacy lives on at Capital University Law School in the form of an endowed scholarship, the Esther H. Brocker Scholarship Fund.

In 2012, Brocker was inducted into the Capital University Law School Hall of Honor, which recognizes individuals who have profoundly influenced the Law School and reached and remained at the pinnacle of their fields for a period of time that demonstrates perseverance and maturation.