SIDNEY — Recently-appointed Shelby County Probate-Juvenile Court Judge Jeffrey J. Beigel said he’s in for the long haul to oversee the office, whose leadership he officially assumed Feb. 21.
Last week, state officials chose Beigel to fill the unexpired term of William Zimmerman Sr., who assumed his position as judge on the Third District Court of Appeals in Lima on Feb. 16.
The term ends on Feb. 8, 2019. Beigel has already decided to seek the office on the November 2018 ballot.
“I didn’t come into this without looking at serving long term. I want to continue such a well-run and respected court. I want to continue the tradition of this office that Judge Zimmerman set in place,” said the 57-year-old Beigel.
With a hectic day scheduled Tuesday, and stacks of pending case files piled on a nearby table, Beigel spoke with the SDN about taking office.
“Fortunately, I’m not here to rescue a problem (situation). I plan to continue building on top of what is already in place,” he said.
Beigel is familiar with the job in several ways.
In 2012, he became assistant prosecutor to litigate custody, parenting, support, abuse, neglect, and dependency cases. In October 2013, he accepted the position of Juvenile Magistrate to oversee the disposition of cases.
In pursing the judgeship, Beigel felt his experiences led to him being “well-suited” to be judge. He noted more than 30 years of law practice, in both the public and private sectors, gave him a clear view of the post.
Regarding the court’s budget planning, Beigel said his master’s degree in business from Ohio State University has aided him in managing his own law private office, and a multi-partner firm. Dealing with the court’s budget planning later this year won’t be Beigel’s first financial planning rodeo.
The entire probate/juvenile court staff will be retained except one. Former Judicial Assistant Jo Clem has accepted a position in Zimmerman’s office in Lima. Clem will be replaced by Heather Roe-McClain, a paralegal for the Beigel Law Office for the past eight years.
A new juvenile magistrate is expected to be hired within the next 30 days.
Beigel is a 1982 graduate of Miami University in Oxford. He earned his law degree at Ohio State University in 1986. He obtained his business administration degree at Ohio State in 2002.
In March 1990, he opened his law office focusing on family law, criminal law, and estate planning work. In March 2003, Beigel merged with the law firm of Kerrigan, Boller, Stevenson, Goettemoeller and Beigel, Co. In 2013, he opened his private law office.
As judge, Beigel is not permitted to practice law. He is currently involved in the transition of current clients to other attorneys.
Over the years, he has served as village solicitor for the villages of Fort Loramie, Port Jefferson and Lockington. He has also provided legal work on a pro bono basis for local service agencies. He was previously an adjunct professor at Edison State Community College.
Beigel and his wife Lorie, have two daughters currently attending college.
The biggest problem for local youth, Beigel said, is substance abuse. He noted the most success to get juveniles back on the right track, is found with those not involved with drugs, and positive parental involvement.
Overall, considering law enforcement, service agencies, and the court system, Beigel feels a good safety net for the children of Shelby County is in place.
Beigel concluded, “Our primary job here is to make decisions that are in the best interest of kids. In our community, I feel these children are well protected.”
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.