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Matthew John Markling

Matthew John Markling is a founding director of McGown & Markling, which is a statewide law firm representing public entities, officials, and employees throughout Ohio in diverse practice areas.

Matt is the motivating force behind McGown & Markling’s continuous presence as a leading education law firm throughout the State of Ohio. Through his leadership and guidance, McGown & Markling remains among the select few law firms to receive a Tier 1 Ranking by U.S. News—Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” in “Education Law” for every year since the ranking began. Matt’s wide-ranging experience and knowledge in education law makes him a preeminent attorney to advocate on behalf of Ohio’s educational community. In fact, his legal peers have consistently selected him as one of The Best Lawyers in America® in the specialty of Education Law. Matt is also General Counsel for the Ohio Educational Service Center Association (“OESCA”), which allows him to further provide school law consultation to a wide array of educational service centers and school districts.

Matt is also regarded as a specialist in labor and employment law. In fact, he is among the less than one percent of Ohio attorneys who have earned the prestigious distinction of being renowned as an Ohio State Bar Association Certified Specialist in Labor and Employment Law. Matt has also been appointed by the Ohio State Bar Association President to serve on the Ohio State Bar Association Labor and Employment Law Specialty Board, which sets eligibility standards, reviews applications, determines eligibility, prepares written exams, and hears appeals for licensed attorneys seeking to become specialists. Matt was also recently recognized as one of the “10 Best” Employment & Labor Law Attorneys for Client Satisfaction in Ohio by the American Institute of Legal Counsel™.

Matt is a respected specialist in labor and employment law by school boards, administrators, and unions alike as evidenced by the fact that he has been appointed to serve as an Ohio Department of Education Referee, appointed by administrative associations to serve as association counsel to protect the contractual and due process rights of administrators, and appointed by school boards to conduct impartial employee investigations.

With his extensive knowledge and experience, Matt is a trusted litigator and appellate advocate as illustrated by the fact that insurance companies, risk management pools, and self-insureds have appointed Matt and his team to represent public entities, public officials, and employees in over 200 lawsuits throughout the State of Ohio since the law firm was established. This ongoing trust and support in Matt and his team has ensured that McGown & Markling remains among the select few law firms selected for inclusion in the Best’s Directory of Recommended Insurance Attorneys® for every year since the firm was established.

Matt is currently both the Superintendent for the Middle Bass Local School District and the Superintendent for the North Bass Local School District, as well as a former President of the Lakewood City School District Board of Education, giving him a powerful perspective on the daily issues faced by school districts that has proved invaluable.

Matt currently serves as both a senior lecturer with the University of Akron LeBron James Family Foundation College of Education and an adjunct faculty member with the University of Akron School of Law. He has also served as an assistant professor for the Bowling Green State University College of Education and Human Development, Division of Educational Administration & Leadership Studies, and an adjunct faculty member for Ashland University. Matt also gives countless presentations throughout the State of Ohio on a variety of school law areas.

Matt and his wife Katie are proud parents to three wonderful sons, all of whom have unique and special needs. Matt and Katie also established the Markling Family Foundation to improve the quality of life for children with disabilities through greater community awareness, health and wellness, education, and advocacy. Matt is also a member of the Ohio Council of School Board Attorneys Special Education Roundtable. Matt’s personal experiences have given him exceptional insight into the complex challenges inherent in special education.

As busy as managing a statewide law practice keeps him, Matt still manages to carve out time for his varied interests and, most importantly, his family. Matt and his wife enjoy camping with their boys, and cheering them on at their hockey and baseball games. He remains actively involved in the Boy Scouts of America as a leader and parent. Matt is also an avid motorcycle enthusiast and a proud Ohio State football fan. Go Bucks!

Awards & Accomplishments

  • Renowned as an Ohio State Bar Association Certified Specialist in Labor and Employment Law.
  • Selected as one of The Best Lawyers in America®in the specialty of Education Law.
  • Recognized as one of the “10 Best” Employment & Labor Law Attorneys for Client Satisfaction in Ohio for 2016 by the American Institute of Legal Counsel™.
  • Holds an AV® Preeminent™ Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Rating™ for ethical standards and legal ability.
  • Awarded the Outstanding Leadership Award by OESCA in recognition of his legal leadership to Ohio Educational Service Centers and their school districts.
  • Awarded both the “NITA Advocate” and “NITA Master Advocate” designations by the National Institute for Trial Advocacy in recognition of his dedication toward trial advocacy.
  • Bestowed the lifetime distinction of Master Board Member Award by the Ohio School Boards Association.
  • Received the 2011 Ohio School Board Association Outstanding Board Member Award, and was a nominee by the Northeast Region Ohio School Board Association for the 2011 All-Ohio School Board Award.
  • Received the 2010 Ohio School Boards Association Award of Achievement, the 2011 Ohio School Boards Association Award of Achievement, and 2012 Ohio School Boards Association Award of Achievement.
  • Inducted into the Gahanna Lincoln High School Alumni Hall of Fame in recognition of exemplary public service and professional achievement.

Educational Background

  • The Ohio State University
    • College of Arts and Sciences School of Social & Behavioral Sciences
    • Honors Thesis: European Monetary Union: Past, Present, and Future
    • Economics Bachelor of Arts, summa cum laude, Distinction in Economics (1994)
  • The Ohio State University
    • College of Arts and Sciences School of Social & Behavioral Sciences
    • Political Science Bachelor of Arts, summa cum laude, Honors in Liberal Arts (1994)
  • The Ohio State University
    • Moritz College of Law
    • Jessup International Law Moot Court Team
    • Public Service Fellow
    • Doctor of Jurisprudence (1997)
  • The Ohio State University
    • College of Education School of Educational Policy & Leadership
    • Educational Administration
    • Master of Arts (1998)
  • The Ohio State University
    • College of Education School of Educational Policy & Leadership
    • Educational Administration
    • John A. Ramseyer Fellow
    • Doctor of Philosophy Program (presently enrolled; Dr. Scott R. Sweetland, Advisor)

Public/Professional/Civic Memberships

  • Superintendent of the Middle Bass Local School District
  • Superintendent of the North Bass Local School District
  • Elected Member of the Lakewood City School District Board of Education (2008-2011)
  • Lakewood City Schools Community Recreation & Education Department, Youth Athletic Commission
  • Boy Scouts of America, Den Leader
  • Markling Family Foundation
  • Fraternal Order of Police Associates of Ohio, Inc. Lodge No. 28
  • DRI – The Voice of the Defense Bar
  • Ohio Council of School Board Attorneys
    • Ohio Council of School Board Attorneys Special Education Roundtable
  • Education Law Association
  • Ohio School Boards Association
    • 2009 Ohio Superintendent Evaluation System Focus Group
  • Northeast Region Ohio School Boards Association
    • Northeast Region Executive Committee (2010-2011)
  • Ohio State Bar Association
  • Ohio State Bar Association Labor and Employment Law Specialty Board
    • Labor and Employment Law Section
    • Education Law Committee
    • Litigation Section
    • 2008-2009 Ohio State Bar Association Task Force on Attorney Advertising and Marketing

Bar Admissions

  • The United States Supreme Court
  • The Ohio Supreme Court
  • The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • The United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio
  • The United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio