Rick RobinsonRick Robinson, a Graydon Head & Ritchey partner, became a fixture of Northern Kentucky politics as a top aide to then-U.S. Rep. Jim Bunning and an active party leader for 30 years. For the last 20, he was also a frustrated novelist, trying repeatedly to break through the first three chapters of a coming-of-age story.

He left all that frustration behind when, at the suggestion of a trusted client, he turned his creative attention to Washington politics, a world whose colorful stories Robinson had been telling for years.

The result isThe Maximum Contribution, a story of political intrigue that centers around a fictional candidate for Northern Kentucky’s 4th Congressional District who unwittingly becomes ensnared in an FBI sting operation after he receives national attention for his position on an arcane tax policy.

Robinson’s book won a Next Generation Indie Book Award for being one of the best political novels of the year. It has broken through Amazon.com’s top 100 best sellers among political thrillers.

Publisher Page, which published the book, sent Robinson on East and West Coast tours, and to numerous radio and bookstore interviews.

“To do something different like this has just been a blast,” Robinson says. So much so that he’s already nearly finished with a sequel called Sniper Bid, which is due to be released, appropriately enough, on Election Day this November.

Taft Stettinius & Hollister acquired Sommer Barnard, an Indianapolis law firm with more than 100 lawyers. The merger brings Taft’s number of attorneys to 320. “The leadership and professionals at Sommer Barnard share our values of personal service, creativity and performance-driven attitude, and are a great fit for us as we expand into the Indianapolis market,” said Thomas Terp, Taft managing partner.

Dinsmore & Shohl hired 27 attorneys departing the Columbus office of Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs, tripling the size of Dinsmore’s Columbus office. The attorneys bulk up the firm’s practices in health care, employment, corporate, construction, litigation and estate planning law.

Gregory S. Shumate, of Greenebaum Doll & McDonald’s Covington office, received the Kenton County Republican Lifetime Achievement Award. He has been chairman of the Kenton County Republicans since 1997, and he is heavily involved in fund-raising efforts for the party and organizing local events for visiting office holders.

Dinsmore & Shohl andAllen Freeman formed a new company, D&S Consulting, that will take a multi-disciplinary approach to government relation services, working with clients to identify opportunities for growth and strategies for addressing marketplace challenges. Freeman, formerly of the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments, has more than 10 years experience specializing in transportation and public funding consulting.

Paige Ellerman, an associate in Taft Stettinius & Hollister’s Cincinnati office, is the new chair of the Cincinnati Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section. She will serve on the CBA board of trustees and on the Cincinnati Bar Foundation.

Jacklyn D. Olinger joined Dinsmore & Shohl as an associate in the corporate department and a member of the family wealth planning practice group.

Dinsmore & Shohl and the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati both celebrate their 100th anniversaries this year. They are marking the occasion by donating their time and resources to theVolunteer Lawyers for the Poor Project. Dinsmore & Shohl will handle all of Legal Aid’s expungements for Hamilton County, allowing Legal Aid to focus its limited resources elsewhere.

Graydon Head & Ritchey received the Canstruction Cincinnati 2008 Food Drive Challenge Award for its collection of the most money and canned food donation for the FreeStore FoodBank. Design and construction firms competed to design and build the best sculptures made entirely from full cans of food. Graydon also added three attorneys to its practice:Stephanie C. Morris, who will focus on commercial litigation and antitrust matters; andScott K. Jones andRobin D. Ryan in client service for litigation and dispute resolution.

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