Global Perspectives: Kessia Cericola

Kessia Cericola is an Ohio State Moritz College Of Law alumna, Columbus Attorney, and Chair Of The GCSCI Curitiba Committee.

I moved to Columbus, Ohio in 2008 right after I finished my Bachelor of Law and passed the Brazilian Bar exam. I decided to go back to school in 2011, when I applied to the LL.M. program at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. As an LL.M. student, I had the opportunity to meet students from many different countries, and I learned as much with them as I learned in the classroom. After I graduated, I decided to fulfill the requirements to sit for the Ohio Bar. Once the Supreme Court of Ohio approved my education, I studied day and night to pass the test. Thankfully I passed. The support and encouragement that I received from my friends, family and mentors – in special from Jim Lewis, co-chair of the Moritz LL.M. Council, were essential during that time.

Shortly after I passed the Bar, I joined a local commercial litigation firm as an associate, and I was appointed as the chair of the Columbus Bar Association International Law Committee. During my two-year term I had the opportunity to organize monthly meetings with lawyers and students interested in international law or with an international background. Columbus is a very immigrant friendly community, and the support of the CBA was – and still is – incredible. My involvement with the CBA led me to learn more about other international organizations in Columbus, such as Greater Columbus Sister Cities, Inc. (GCSCI), and the Columbus Council on World Affairs. In 2015, I participated on an official trip to Curitiba, Brazil, led by Franklin County Commissioner Marilyn Brown.

After the trip, I became a solo practitioner, focusing on business transactions. I also became an active volunteer with GCSCI, and in 2017 I became the chair of the Curitiba Committee. I will be joining the organization as a board member in 2018.

In April of 2016 I gave birth to my first child. Unfortunately, she passed away in my arms three days later. My experience with grief shifted my perspective of life on many levels, and led me to learn more about the high infant mortality rate in Franklin County. In May of 2017, I joined forces with two other moms, Elizabeth Yassenoff and Kerry Janidlo, and co-founded Alive in My Heart, a nonprofit organization that connects families with each other and resources in the community.

As I look back at the last nine years, I realize how important my experience at Moritz has been. It prepared me to truly become an international attorney. Additionally, throughout my entire journey in Columbus, I have been able to count on the support of the friends that I met at Ohio State, both within the professional and personal context. I am grateful for the privilege of being part of such a wonderful community.