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Toledo Legal News - News Richard S. MacMillan elected Toledo Bar Association’s 2017 – 2018 president


Richard MacMillan, the recently elected president of the Toledo Bar Association (TBA), has been a fixture in the Toledo legal community for thirty-seven years now. “I’ve been a member of the Toledo Bar Association since I became an attorney,” MacMillan said in a recent interview, “and I’ve been actively involved in committee work for most that time.”

MacMillan became a lawyer in 1980 after obtaining his law degree, cum laude, from Ohio State University. He then promptly returned to Sylvania, where he grew up. “I like this area. I like having four different seasons. I like the town, I liked raising my kids here. It’s the right size for me.”

Resettled in the Toledo area, MamMillan began working for intellectual property firm Fraser, Barker, Purdue & Clemens. It was with the firm’s gentle encouragement that MacMillan first joined the TBA. “Back then the mindset was you became a lawyer, you joined the state bar, maybe you joined the American Bar Association, and you joined the local bar. And our firm, like ours today, encouraged people to join. And more often than not that encouragement took the form of paying our dues for us. So that’s how I got started.”

He went on to add, “The Toledo Bar Association was, and is, a good way to accomplish a lot of things. It’s a great way for new and young lawyers to meet other attorneys, to gain experience through those interactions and get advice and mentoring. It’s a good way to get some assistance on the business side of practicing law.”

After several years with Fraser, Barker, Purdue & Clemens, MacMillian became a resident partner with the Toledo branch of the national intellectual property firm Willian, Brinks, Olds, Hofer, Gilson & Lione. After that he went on to found his own intellectual property firm, MacMillan, Sobanski & Todd LLC, where he is currently managing partner.

His legal practice primarily includes domestic and foreign patent and trademark prosecution (including appeals within the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office), infringement evaluation and analysis, and the licensing of technology. He has counseled clients in strategic management in the creation and maintenance of intellectual property portfolios. He has experience in litigation of intellectual property matters for both plaintiffs and defendants.

Running parallel with MacMillan’s career development was his deepening involvement with the Toledo Bar Association. “I wanted to participate. I wanted to be of service. I wanted to be a part of the functioning and objectives of the Bar Association.” And so he began giving his time to multiple committees, including: Membership; Grievance; Intellectual Property; Bar Applicants; Grievance Investigation; and Citizens Dispute Settlement.

“Plus, I got to interact with a bunch of non-patent attorneys. Which is helpful from a business standpoint and was nice socially.”

In 2014 MacMillan was elected the Toledo Bar Association’s third vice president.

MacMillan is a member and past president of the Toledo Intellectual Property Law Association. He is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan (Intellectual Property Law Section) and the American Intellectual Property Law Association.

In addition to his TBA activities, MacMillan has also been active in the community. He is a trained and experienced mediator for the Court of Common Pleas in Lucas County and in the Citizens Dispute Settlement Program of the Municipal Court of Toledo. He has served on a number of political action committees supporting school levy and other community issues. He has been an active participant in a variety of school booster organizations (academic, athletic, band, choir, and theater) and has coached a variety of youth sports.

He is replacing the former TBA president, Toledo Municipal Court Clerk Vallie T. Bowman-English and is excited to begin his term. “The Toledo Bar Association is going to focus on three things, service to our members, service to the community, and service to the Association itself. We want to find benefits that will benefit attorneys in the practice of law, we want to encourage pro bono work and participation in philanthropic organizations, and we want to increase our members’ involvement with the TBA’s day to day operations.”

When asked how he will spend his time as TBA president MacMillan explains, “I’m hoping to bring an outside viewpoint in. I’ll try and pull on doors like everyone else and put a constant but changing flavor on what we want to get done this year. It’ll be a combination of substantive work and trying to be the face of the TBA in public. And it will be over all too quickly.”

And how will he know if his term has been a success? “Success will look like an increase in membership on the inside, on the outside success is going to be providing programs that help people, be it building houses with Habitat for Humanity or our Modest Means Program.”

“I don’t want to overstate it, but joining your local bar association is the right thing to do. Giving back to your profession and your community is important for all people, and particularly for attorneys who are rightfully held to a higher standard.”

MacMillan has been married to his loving wife Laura for 30 years. They have three children: son Jim is an architect in Louisville; daughter Amy teaches dance in Philadelphia; and daughter Kelly recently graduated from Indiana University.

Additional reporting by The Toledo Bar Association

Mike Davisson, Toledo Legal News Staff Writer

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