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Toledo Legal News - News For Judge Pietrykowski, his family history is a chance to leave his own legacy

 

photo of Judge Mark PietrykowskiAppeals Court Judge Mark Pietrykowski is a man with a pedigree. His family is an institution in Toledo. His father was a Federal Magistrate. His uncle served as Clerk of Courts. One great uncle served as Parish Priest to St. Hedwig’s, another was on the city counsel during the 1930’s. Former Toledo Mayor John Carey, is a relative of his. His mother sat on the school board, was a member of the city counsel and served as vice mayor. The first hit when googling the name ‘Pietrykowski’ brings up a web site about the law firm founded by his grandfather.

You probably had a very different childhood than Judge Mark Pietrykowski. Unlike him, FBI agents probably never regularly visited to your house asking your father to sign search warrants. Also, if you wanted to call a friend, you probably could. “My mom was very active in the City. There were many phone calls from constituents all the time. This was in the days before call waiting and cell phones. There were a lot of calls from friends that never got through.” You probably also had a bit more free time than the Judge. “About the time I was old enough to recognize what was going on, I was always hearing about campaigns and going to events and things like that.”

Still, the Judge’s childhood wasn’t all that hard. An active boy who wrestled in high school at St. John’s, Pietrykowski enjoyed the family trips out on their boat every summer. “Back then, towards the end of June the courts wouldn’t hold trials because it was so hot and there wasn’t any air-conditioning. So we went boating in the summer and it was a good get-a-way.”

Judge Pietrykowski also got a bug for history and politics from all the elections that surrounded him as a child. When he went off to Notre Dame for college he studied government and international relations, a major with a particular emphasis on history.

After his years away from Ohio, the Judge decided to return home and study law at Ohio Northern. “Becoming a lawyer wasn’t preordained or predestined, but it was in the family and something I grew up with. In fact, my father used to joke that I could either be a lawyer like him or a priest like his uncle.”

Upon obtaining his J.D., Judge Pietrykowski returned to Toledo proper and began working as a clerk for Judge Walter Krasniewski, a Northern District of Ohio Bankruptcy Court (he also worked shoulder to shoulder with current Bankruptcy Court judge Richard Speer). “That was my first experience working on that side of the Bench. I came to really appreciate what the Courts and the judge’s do. I came to really understand how much preparation judges put in, even though you might never know it.”

Judge Pietrykowski left the Bankruptcy Court after two years and began working at the law firm founded by his grandfather, William Finn, now known as Manahan, Bamman Pietrykowski & Delaney. He would work there for 18 years before becoming an Appeals Court judge. “Since I was on the bottom of the totem pole at the firm, I was given cases that sent me all over Northwest Ohio. And one thing I really learned from that was to get to know all the clerks and bailiffs. Each court does things a little different and it was always best to talk to the Judges’ bailiffs and the court clerks to figure out how things were done. Sometimes the most important person is the clerk who takes the filing.”

While working as an attorney, Judge Pietrykowski continued his family’s tradition of public service. In 1985 he became a city council member and held that position until 1992. For two years between 1987 and 1989 he served as vice-mayor to the city council and in 1992 began his seven year tenure as a (the?) Lucas County Commissioner.

It was his work on the city council and as a (the?) County Commissioner that convinced Pietrykowski to run for the judiciary. “I had worked with the city counsel and the county commission and had known for some years that being a judge was something to consider. I felt that I already knew quite a bit about the district. And I knew I wanted to run, rather than seek an appointment. I felt that running would be a better way to get in. So when a judicial seat became open in the Appeals Court, I ran.”

Judge Pietrykowski was elected in 1998 and began serving in February of 1999. When he first began he, and the other Appeals judges, worked out of the old building. By then it was far too small for the Appeals staff. “The old building was only 6,000 square feet. We literally had paperwork and filing stacked out in the hallways. There was no room to store anything. I mean, once an appeal is decided all the case filings return to the Clerk of Court’s office, but while we’re looking at it it’s in the building and we have to put it somewhere. And there was just no place for it to go.” Luckily for the Northern Ohio District, Judge Pietrykowski was able to bring everything he had learned as a councilman and commissioner to the planning meetings and really helped design the new building.

In his spare time Pietrykowski can either be found out sailing on the lake with his family, wife Janet and their three children, or at home making stained glass; a hobby he’s recently gotten into. Unfortunately this former lawyer cum council member cum county commissioner cum turned Appeals Judge doesn’t have as much free time as he would like. He’s too busy living up to his family’s history and making them proud.

Michael Davisson, Toledo Legal News Staff Writer

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