Kurtis A. Tunnell

Managing Partner

Biography

Kurt Tunnell is the managing partner of Bricker & Eckler and a member of the firm's Government Relations and Southeast Ohio teams. He has unique experience in the development and operation of legislative coalitions to advocate public policy goals through the Ohio General Assembly, including service as legislative and legal counsel to the over 200-member Ohio Alliance for Civil Justice, which has advocated dramatic and comprehensive tort reform initiatives such as medical criteria for asbestos, silica and mixed dust cases. He has represented trade associations and business coalitions before the Ohio General Assembly and the Administration in complex and technical public policy debates to develop and implement strategies for the successful enactment of legislation.

Kurt led the legislative initiatives that have reduced and broadened the insurance premium tax, applied Ohio's tax abatement law to all electric generation facilities and eliminated the tax on prescription pharmaceutical samples. He assisted in the development of a coalition of advanced energy companies, including solar, wind and biomass business, to advocate adoption of a renewable energy portfolio standard in Ohio.

Kurt has also advocated for health care entities in the complex and challenging environment of health care legislation and regulation. He is registered as a lobbyist on behalf of OhioHealth and worked with all Central Ohio nonprofit health care providers to defend against actions by the for-profit New Albany Surgical Hospital. Whether policy is being shaped at the state or local level, Kurt works with major hospitals and health care systems in achieving their goals to protect the community and patients they serve.

Kurt has extensive experience in and a practical understanding of the executive branch of state government, including the governor's office, all major departments and agencies, and the significant Ohio boards and commissions. His practice emphasizes Ohio governmental ethics and election laws, petition and ballot issues, formation and development of corporate political action committees, and utilization of alternative dispute resolution in a governmental context. Also, Kurt is an active appellate advocate for trade associations filing numerous amicus briefs in federal and state courts on behalf of insurance, manufacturing and other business interests.

Kurt serves as legislative Counsel to the Association of Ohio Life Insurance Companies, as general counsel and Parliamentarian to the Ohio Republican Party, as general counsel to the Ohio Manufacturers' Association, as counsel for the American Insurance Association in Ohio, as special Ohio counsel to the National Federation of Independent Business, and as special Ohio counsel to the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. He served as Chief Legal Counsel to Ohio Governor Voinovich from 1991 to 1994 and was responsible for providing counsel on legal and policy matters to the Governor, chief of staff and other members of the governor's office, as well as directors of the administrative departments of state government.

Professional & Community Activities
  • Member, Board of Trustees, Marburn Academy
  • Treasurer, Ohio Public Expenditure Council
  • Member, Board Nominating Committee, Simon Kenton Council of the Boy Scouts of America
  • The Executive Order of the Ohio Commodore
  • Participant, Leadership Columbus Program, 1989
Presentations & Published Works
  • Panelist, Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, May 15, 2015
Bar Admissions & Activities
  • Chair, Managing Partner Diversity Initiative, Columbus Bar Association, 2011-2012
  • Member, American, Ohio State and Columbus Bar Associations
Awards & Recognition
  • Listed, Best Lawyers in America (government relations), 2011-2015
  • Listed, Ohio Super Lawyers, 2005-2007, 2012-2015
  • Ranked as AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Listed, Central Ohio Power 100, Smart Business 2001-2012
  • Recipient, National Diversity Council's “Champion of Diversity Legal Award,” 2011
  • Recipient, Outstanding Lobbyist Award, Ohio Lobbying Association, 1995, 2006
  • Recipient, Distinguished Service Award, The Columbus Jaycees, 1997
  • Recipient, Ten Outstanding Young Citizens Award, The Columbus Jaycees, 1997
  • First recipient, Outstanding Young Alumni Award, The Ohio State University College of Law, 1996
  • Forty Under 40, Columbus Business First 1995
  • Recipient, Community Service Award Under Age 36, Columbus Bar Association, 1994
  • Robert A. Taft Award for Outstanding Young Republican, 1990
  • John M. Ashbrook Award for Community Activities, 1990
  • John W. Bricker Man of the Year Award, 1988
  • Who's Who in American Law
Education
  • The Ohio State University (J.D., with honors, 1987); President, Society of International Law OSU Graduate and Professional Academic Board
  • University of Toronto (M.A., 1985); Rotary International Scholar
  • Hastings College (B.A., magna cum laude, high distinction in Political Science, 1983); Harry S. Truman Scholar; Who's Who at Hastings College
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