Gayle a. reeves, esq. – eric nord award for excellence in leadership

Partner – Dooley Gembala McLaughlin & Pecora

Gayle A. Reeves has been a visionary, innovator, and servant-leader in Lorain County for over forty years. Gayle started her private practice as an Elder Law Attorney when there were very few female attorneys in Lorain County, and even fewer who practiced in the Estate Planning and Probate area. When Long-Term Care Planning became a new area of practice, Gayle was one of the first attorneys to embrace it.

She personally experienced the overwhelming feeling of having to move her father to a nursing home and providing care for her mother when she moved in with Gayle and her husband, Mark. She understands the humbling experience of standing in line at the Medicaid office and being treated as a nonentity. Her heart was changed, and she committed herself to helping her clients and their families navigate the complicated world of long-term care planning. Gayle provides exceptional counsel to individuals and families with her elder care practice. She truly cares about her clients and her compassion comes through, giving them understanding, and hope.

Gayle has served on the Elder Law Committee of the Ohio State Bar Association, the Probate Committee of the Lorain County Bar Association, and the International Committee of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. Gayle has travelled all over the world, including to China, Iceland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, with a delegation to learn unique solutions adopted by other countries to manage the legal challenges facing the elderly.

She has used her successful, professional platform to help the Lorain County legal community every step of the way. She sat on the Lorain County Bar Association’s Executive Board for ten years and served as the President of the Board in 2006-2007. She has sat on the LCBA Legal Ethics & Grievance Committee and served as that Board’s Chair. Gayle also served as a mentor for female attorneys entering the field to help them fit in the Lorain County legal community during a time when there were very few females that practiced probate law. She continues to be sought out by her peers when they have elder law questions because they know Gayle always takes the time to assist her colleagues. She regularly presented for the Lorain County Bar Association’s continuing education series and conducted character and fitness interviews of Ohio Bar Applicants for the Ohio State Bar Association.

Recently, Gayle joined the firm of Dooley Gembala McLaughlin & Pecora as a partner, so that her clients would have continued excellent representation after she retired. As she caps off her professional career, Gayle received the LCBA’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2023 and was honored at the Lorain County Bar Association’s 100th Anniversary Gala.

Gayle’s desire to help others is not limited to the legal arena. She worked in partnership with local school districts to promote student success and connected many school systems to services and partnerships with non-profits. Gayle has spent her entire career giving back to our community by serving on many non-profit boards. She served on the Board of the Epilepsy Foundation, Board of the Community Foundation of Lorain County and is a past Chair of that Board. During her tenure on the Community Foundation Board, Gayle and Brian Frederick created the Board Chair network to elevate the effectiveness of all non-profit boards in Lorain County.

Gayle sat on the Board for Second Harvest Food Bank and Chaired that Board as well. Gayle co-chaired a very successful capital campaign that raised $5.1 million to fund a new food distribution center. She plans to continue to promote the Second Harvest mission in new and innovative ways and volunteers on the Medical Ethics Committee for Kendal at Oberlin, where she also provides counsel to decision makers regarding difficult and complex problems.

As Gayle begins to wind down her practice, she continues to promote the importance of volunteerism by leading a new generation of attorneys through regular activities between her firm and Second Harvest. She has demonstrated her dedication to improving Lorain County for countless years and in many ways.  Gayle has always led with her heart and moved forward with purpose, courage, and enthusiasm to support innovative ideas and goals that raise dignity for individuals and communities throughout our area.