About the Candidate

Judge Tammy O’Brien was appointed to the Summit County Court of Common Pleas in 2011 and elected to that position in 2012 and 2014.  Since then, she has presided over thousands of felony criminal matters and has tried cases involving, for example, murder, rape and major drug offenses. She has also presided over thousands of complicated civil cases involving medical malpractice and trade secret violations, to mention only a few.

Previously, she was elected to the State Board of Education in 2008 and 2010, where she represented the citizens of Summit, Portage, Trumbull and Ashtabula Counties on issues involving public education in Ohio.


Prior to taking the bench, Judge O’Brien was in the private practice of law in Akron for nineteen years. From 1999-2011, she was a partner in the law firm of Roderick Linton Belfance LLP, practicing primarily in the areas of business and general civil litigation. She also had extensive experience in appellate practice and in tort and employment litigation and argued before the Supreme Court of Ohio and the federal Courts of Appeals on numerous occasions.  

In addition to her litigation practice, Judge O’Brien also represented community institutions in facilitating large projects that benefited the public. These included representing the Akron Civic Theatre through all phases of its $17 million renovation project and the University of Akron in its collaboration with Bath Township to establish and manage the Bath Nature Preserve.

During her time in private practice, Judge O’Brien also served as an assistant prosecutor for the City of Hudson. Among her professional accolades, she was twice named a “Super Lawyer/Rising Star” in Cincinnati Magazine’s list of top lawyers in Ohio under 40 years of age.

In 1992, she began her career as a judicial law clerk/staff attorney for the Honorable William R. Baird of the Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth Appellate District. A former high school teacher, she has also been an adjunct professor of law at the University of Akron and, for many years, has been selected by the Supreme Court of Ohio to serve as a Reader/Grader of the State Bar Examination. In 2010, she was selected by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to serve on the Merit Selection Panel to select the next Federal Bankruptcy Judge in the Northern District of Ohio.

She is co-author of a legal treatise involving the introduction of evidence at trial. Ohio Motions in Limine: Evidence Exclusion Guide was published annually by Thomson West from 2007-2010.

Judge O’Brien also serves the community as a member of the Board of Trustees of the American Red Cross of Summit, Medina and Portage Counties and the Akron Bar Foundation. She is a graduate of Leadership Akron, past president of the Board of Trustees for H.M. Life Opportunity Services, a multi-faceted program serving homeless single-parent families, and former member of the Board of H.M. Housing, Inc., a multi-state law income housing program.

Judge O’Brien is active in the Akron Bar Association, having previously chaired its Common Pleas and Appellate Courts Committee, and is a fellow with the Akron Bar Association Foundation. She is a Bencher in the Scanlon/Bell Inn of Court.

She graduated from the University in Akron in 1988 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree, magna cum laude, in Secondary Education and received her Juris Doctorate Degree, cum laude, from the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University in 1992. She also completed course work at the College of Wooster and Ashland College.

Judge O’Brien is the mother of two adult sons.