women and minority attorneys

Taft is committed to creating an inclusive culture of individuals from diverse backgrounds. We are proud of our ongoing efforts in this area and of our growing diversity, and we invite you to contact any of our women and minority attorneys to discuss what it is like to practice at Taft.

Below are informal profiles for some of our women and minority attorneys. To see a full list, click on “View by Last Name” or “View by Practice Area.”

View by Last Name View by Practice Area

Photo of Elizabeth A. Shuster Elizabeth A. Shuster

Liz is a partner in Taft’s Intellectual Property practice group. She is a registered patent attorney and with more than 10 years of experience providing intellectual property services to individuals and companies of all sizes. Liz has substantial experience in the preparation and prosecution of U.S. and foreign patent applications, consultation with clients to avoid patent infringement, preparation of patent invalidity and non-infringement opinions, intellectual property due diligence, and strategic counseling. She enjoys helping clients implement strategies to protect and grow their intellectual property portfolios.

Before law school, Liz was a structural engineer designing various types of bridges nationally and abroad. She designed over 40 bridges and became a Registered Professional Engineer in Illinois in 1996.

Liz has been very active with the Indiana State and Indianapolis Bar Associations over the years and is also a member of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO). 

Photo of Elizabeth M. Stanton Elizabeth M. Stanton

Elizabeth [Betty] is the Key Partner in Labor and Employment law in the Columbus office and has been practicing law since 1979. After getting a degree in Business Administration, she started her career as a computer programmer and a systems analyst. Her career changed when she decided to attend law school. At that time, she was married with one son and she had her second son during law school. She began her legal career in Texas, and after moving to Columbus in 1981 she began practicing in the areas of labor and employment law and higher education law and continues to do so. She is Board Certified by the Ohio State Bar Association as a specialist in labor and employment law. She belongs to numerous women’s bar associations and is a founding member of the Women’s Leadership Council of the United Way of Central Ohio. She has been named one of the “Top 25 Columbus Women Lawyers” by Ohio Super Lawyers in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2017. Betty is also a founding member of the Women's Leadership Council (WLC) of the Central Ohio United Way. On a personal note, she and her husband’s two sons are successful and happily married to career women and they are the proud grandparents of two.

Photo of Meredith K. Sugar Meredith K. Sugar

Meredith focuses her practice in the area of sophisticated estate planning and administration, probate and tax planning for individuals, corporations and partnerships. She frequently advises high net worth individuals on how best to structure and implement wealth transfer and estate plans, and she also represents estates and businesses in IRS audits. In addition to her estate planning and tax practice, Meredith advises business owners regarding structuring complex transactions, entity formation, succession planning and other corporate needs. She also represents nonprofit organizations in matters related to formation and application for tax exemption. Meredith is a frequent speaker and has authored many articles. 

Meredith received her B.S. and M. Ed. degrees in mathematics and her J.D., with honors, from The Ohio State University. Meredith is a recognized leader in Columbus; she is a recipient of Business First’s 40 Under 40 award, the Ohio State Bar Foundation 2011 District 7 Community Service Award, and the Columbus Bar Association Community Service Award. She currently serves as president of the board of directors of the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Washington, D.C., and as immediate past-president of Easter Seals of Central and Southeast Ohio. Meredith is also a member of the Parent Advisory Board of Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio.

Photo of Suzanne Sumner Suzanne Sumner

Suzanne comes from an Air Force family. Her father is retired Air Force, her husband recently retired from the Air Force, and Suzanne served on active duty with the Air Force for six years. She believes the members of our Armed Forces and their families make great sacrifices for the rest of us and we should do what we can to recognize and assist them when possible. In her spare time, Suzanne works with local organizations that support the interests of military members and their families. She is also a contributor to the Fisher/Nightingale Houses, which provide lodging in a homelike atmosphere for the families of the seriously ill patients at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Medical Center.

Photo of Casey Cantrell Swartz Casey Cantrell Swartz

Casey is an associate in the firm’s Business Restructuring, Bankruptcy and Creditor Rights group where she focuses her practice on representing debtors and creditors in all aspects of business restructurings, workouts and bankruptcy. She received her B.A. and MBA degrees from the University of Cincinnati and her J.D. from Salmon P. Chase College of Law. Prior to joining Taft, Casey was a law clerk to the Hon. J. Vincent Aug, Jr. and Hon. Beth Buchanan at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Ohio. Casey endeavors to balance the demands of her family and her career and finds time to pursue community interests. She is a past Chair of the Judicial Liaison Committee for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Ohio at Cincinnati and past Chair of the Bankruptcy Committee at the Cincinnati Bar Association.  She is a member of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce's WE Lead program and a graduate of Cincinnati Academy of Leadership for Lawyers (CALL) Class XVII.  She served on the Board for the League for Animal Welfare where she co-chaired their annual fundraising event.

Photo of Valerie M. Talkers Valerie M. Talkers

Valerie is an associate in the firm’s Litigation practice group. During law school at the Emory University School of Law, Valerie was a member of the school’s Moot Court team and volunteered for local Atlanta high school mock trial competitions. While an undergraduate at Indiana University, she volunteered with the Junior Achievement Program. Valerie was selected to participate in the Dayton Bar Association Leadership Development Program in 2012 and has been recognized in Ohio Super Lawyers—Rising Stars in the field of litigation. She currently serves as vice chair of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Miami Valley Associate Board and serves on the Dayton Children’s Hospital Women’s Board.

Photo of Julia E. Tarvin Julia E. Tarvin

Julie is a partner in the Private Client Practice Group. Before attending Northern Kentucky University’s Salmon P. Chase College of Law, Julie worked as a community service provider at a mental health agency serving Cincinnati and surrounding Hamilton County. Today, Julie continues to help the community meet the needs of adults with chronic mental illness: She serves on the board of Greater Cincinnati Behavioral Health Services, Inc.—an agency created by the merger of QC/M, Inc., where Julie had worked, and CRI, another leading Cincinnati mental health care provider.

Photo of Adrian D. Thompson Adrian D. Thompson

After earning his undergraduate degree at Ohio’s Bowling Green State University and his law degree at The Ohio State University School of Law, Adrian began his career as a Legal Aid Society attorney in Cleveland’s central neighborhood. He was a partner at an African American law firm and served as Chief Legal Counsel of the Cleveland Municipal School District for eight years before joining Taft.

Adrian is the Chief Diversity Officer for Taft and chairs the firm's Diversity Committee. He helps to drive the firm’s commitment and strategy regarding diversity and inclusion across Taft offices, as well as Taft's attorney involvement in the communities that we serve.

Adrian was elected to the Board of Directors of the Cleveland Area Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association in June 2011. He formerly served on the Commission on the Rules of Superintendence for Ohio Courts, having been appointed by the Supreme Court of Ohio.