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Susan B. Gellman

Susan Gellman is a nationally prominent First Amendment and Civil Rights attorney and scholar.  She has represented clients in numerous high-profile cases in the United States Supreme Court and other federal courts and state supreme courts and is a prolific writer on Constitutional Law topics.   Much of her litigation practice has focused on Civil Rights law, particularly employment discrimination, where she skillfully obtains relief for wronged clients with a minimum of drama, expense, and inconvenience.

Susan graduated summa cum laude from The Ohio State University of Law, where she was Managing Editor of the Law Journal, and passed the Ohio bar in 1986.  She received her bachelor's degree from Brandeis University Magna Cum Laude and her master's degree in Social Work at Columbia University.

She clerked for two federal judges, the Hon. Judge Max Rosenn of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and the Hon. Judge John Holschuh of the Southern District of Ohio.  She has worked for the American Civil Liberties Union and the Ohio State Public Defender, and was a partner in the firm of Wolman, Genshaft &  Gellman. In 2009, she associated in an “of-counsel' capacity with  Zacks Law Group LLC now Zacks Law LLC, in the areas of Employment,  Constitutional, General Litigation,  appellate practice, probate litigation, and other legal areas. She now works from her home in Tel Aviv, Israel. She has developed extensive relationships throughout the United States and Israel.

Susan is the author of the seminal article on hate crimes legislation, Sticks and Stones Can Put You in Jail, but Can Words Increase Your Sentence?  Constitutional and Policy Dilemmas of Ethnic Intimidation Laws, 39 UCLA L. REV. 333 (1991).  As the leading authority on constitutional infirmities of hate crimes statutes, she has participated in numerous symposia and state and federal Supreme Court cases, testified before the United States Congress, and advised various government and academic bodies on hate crimes and hate speech policies. She served for many years as Co-Chair of the American Civil Liberties Union of Central Ohio and on the First Amendment Rights Committee of the American Bar Association, and was the civil rights “Ask-a-Lawyer” for Martindale-Hubbell's early website.  When Ohio became “Ground Zero” in national elections in the early 2000s, Susan was called upon to develop expertise in Election Protection Law as well.

Notable cases include:

Recent Case Results

  • Watchtower Bible & Tract Society of New York, Inc. v. Village of Stratton, 536 U.S. 150 (2002) (ordinance specifically targeted at Jehovah's Witnesses was unconstitutional) Read On

  • State v. Dalton, 153 Ohio App.3d 286 (2003) (the notorious “Dirty Diarist” case that shocked commentators around the world and across the political spectrum) Read On

  • ACLU of Ohio v. Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board, 243 F.3d 289 (6th Cir. 2001) (challenging us of a quotation from the New Testament as Ohio's state motto) Read On

These cases often involved working strategically and with various teams of advocates.

Susan has served on the boards of trustees and influential committees of many Columbus organizations and political campaigns, and has devoted herself to social issues in various civic and Jewish organizations, including the Columbus Jewish Federation, the Jewish Community Center of Greater Columbus, the ACLU of Central Ohio, the Anti-Defamation League Legal Committee, and Gallery Players.  She has served on the board of ADAMH of Franklin County and the Columbus Bar Association Ethics Committee.  She is a fierce advocate for the rights of women, the LGBTQ community, and minorities.

Susan is also an accomplished and award-winning actor, performing in local and regional professional and community productions.  She has traveled extensively throughout the world, from Galapagos to Antarctica, and has taught English in Vietnam and India.

Susan now holds dual citizenship in the United States and Israel.  She is married to Jack Chomsky, Cantor Emeritus of Tifereth Israel Congregation of Columbus. Ohio, and has two children and a grandson.  Susan continues to build bridges across the world and serves as Zacks Law base in Israel.

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