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Youngstown attorney recertified in estate planning, trust and probate by OSBA

Legal News Reporter

Published: January 31, 2013

Youngstown attorney James B. (“Jamie”) Dietz recently became recertified by the Ohio State Bar Association as a specialist in estate planning, trust and probate law practice.

Dietz, a lifelong resident of the Mahoning Valley, is with the office of Friedman & Rummell Co.,L.P.A., located in City Centre One in downtown Youngstown.

Dietz said that he was the first attorney in the area, and one of the first in the state, to obtain his specialty certification when the OSBA first started the certification program in this area about 10 years ago. This is his second recertification.

Dietz graduated from Cardinal Mooney High School. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Dayton, with a bachelor’s degree in business administration (finance major), and then obtained his juris doctor from the University of Toledo College of Law.

His relationship with specialty certification comes from his family roots, said Dietz.

His father was a board-certified plastic surgeon, he said. In many conversations with him, both before and after Dietz became a lawyer, his father expressed both his pride in and the utility of his plastic surgery board certification.

“He was a big believer in certification,” said Dietz. To be certified, the surgeon had to pass a test, and be credentialed in a way that reflected on the doctor’s education and knowledge. “He was such a believer in the process that he took the test again every year, even though he didn’t have to.”

The medical field certification also ensured that the public knew what the level of expertise the doctor held, which contrasted to, in his father’s case, a trend of non-board certified doctors performing plastic surgery functions. “He always felt that specialists should be board certified the right way,” said Dietz.

“My father always questioned why lawyers did not have the same sort of board certification in specialties that doctors did, “said Dietz.

So, when the OSBA first offered specialty certification in his area of expertise, Dietz jumped at the chance to hop onboard. He did so, not in spite of the fact that specialty certification requires passing a test and taking extra CLE, but, following the example of his father, because of the extra qualifications required.

The specialization exam, prepared by the OSBA, “is not easy,” he said. Certification also requires twice as much CLE classroom time, but he said that he would do that anyway, and that it can only enhance his ability to help his clients.

“I believe that I was the first attorney in Mahoning County who went forward with the process,” he said.

Because of this background, Dietz’s approach to certification is tied into the way that he can help his clients, more as a measuring stick than as an advertising vehicle.

Dietz does not advertise, even though, he said, many attorneys look at certification as a way to distinguish themselves through ads. “The OSBA offers suggestions on how to use the specialty certification in advertising,” he said. “But I don’t.”

Dietz received the 2005-2006 Lawyer of the Year Award (recognition of the skills advanced in the profession in the prior year) and the 2010-2011 Distinguished Service Award (appreciation for the many years of exemplary service to the MCBA and the community at large), both presented by the Mahoning County Bar Association. He was listed as a Super Lawyer for 2010 and 2011 in Cincinnati Magazine.

He served as president of the Mahoning County Bar Association for its 2008-2009 term year.

He also ran in the 2010 Boston Marathon.

Dietz is surprised that more attorneys do not become certified in their specialties. A lot of them, he said, are simply comfortable in their practice and do not see the need to go through the process because they don’t think that it will affect their business.

But to Dietz, certification is more about professional competence than it is about business development. “I would encourage everyone to do this,” he said.”

Jamie Dietz and his wife, Denise, a physical therapist, reside in Canfield, Ohio with their two children, James Jr. and Luke.

The OSBA certifies specialists in 10 areas of the law. They include administrative agency law, appellate law; estate planning, trust, and probate law, family relations law, federal taxation law, insurance coverage law, labor and employment law, real property—business, commercial, and industrial law, real property—residential law and workers’ compensation law.