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UC College of Law alumna recognized by YWCA as a Career Woman of Achievement

Congratulations to UC College of Law alumna the Hon. Marilyn Zayas, First District Court of Appeals, who has been named one of the 2019 YWCA Career Women of Achievement. She will be recognized at a luncheon event on Wednesday, May 8. This annual event was established 40 years ago to increase community awareness and appreciation of the many contributions of women in the work force and community. One of the YWCA’s largest events of the year, all proceeds from the event directly benefit YWCA programs, supporting its mission to eliminate racism and empower women.

photo of Judge Marilyn Zayas, UC Law graduate

Zayas, '97, is the first Latina to be elected to any Ohio Court of Appeals and the highest-ranking judge of Latino heritage. She has served on the appellate bench since 2016. Prior to joining the bench, she served her community as an attorney for almost 20 years.

A native of New York City, Zayas earned a degree in computer science at City University of New York, training which helped her land a job with Procter & Gamble here in Cincinnati. But she carried with her a passion for law, born of her experiences as a teen who saw how the legal system worked when her parents divorced and she grew concerned about the custody and care of her younger brother. She left her job as a P&G tech manager to pursue her law degree. After graduation, she worked as a public defender before opening her own firm, MZD Law, in 2000.

While building her firm, Judge Zayas made time to teach students at her alma mater and also volunteered to train judges and magistrates about victims’ advocacy and immigration law. She now serves on the boards of Beech Acres Parenting Center and the Cincinnati Memorial Hall.

In 2017 Zayas sat as a visiting judge for the first time at the Ohio Supreme Court. She is also a commissioner of the high court’s Character and Fitness Board. She is a recipient of the law school’s 2017 Nicholas Longworth, III Alumni Achievement Award, recognizing law school graduates for their outstanding contributions to society. And in 2014 she was awarded the LULAC Women’s National Convention Service and Commitment Award.

Zayas is committed to promoting accessibility and accountability through student outreach and community forums. To this end she created the “Educating Tomorrow’s Leaders” program, an educational program for high school students where they can learn about the law, interact with judges and attorneys, and be inspired to dream big.

View YWCA's video interview about Judge Zayas.