A lawyer new to Joseph Shea III's Casemaker online legal library might wonder how a small Cincinnati company can compete with multi-national giants like Lexis and Westlaw.

A closer look at the fast-growing organization might raise the question of how the big boys can start to compete with Casemaker.

The downtown company and its 38 employees have won exclusive online content, providing contracts with 25 state bar associations since partnering five years ago with the Ohio Bar to take the service nationwide. Rival Lexis has beat out Casemaker in just two states, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, making Casemaker the leading company in its niche among state bar associations.

"State bars are seeing a consortium saying these guys are good, trustworthy people," Shea says. "If you're a state bar, this is the place to do it."

Casemaker is so confident that more states will buy the service that Shea, a partner with Shea and Associates, and the Ohio Bar decided to add state law from all 50 states and make it available to all participating bar associations.

"Historically, we always said when a new state joins we would add that state's law library. We just made the decision to provide all of it as a benefit to members," Shea explains.

Casemaker's roots are in a 1981 partnership between Shea and Anderson Publishing. The partners distributed Ohio cases and codes in CD-ROM format years before Lexis and Westlaw. Anderson bought out Shea's rights to the electronic format technology for law book publishers, so the enterprising attorney sold the Ohio Bar Association on the concept of making the electronic library available to bar members as a benefit of membership.

Bar Associations pay Casemaker directly and adjust their dues in any way they choose to make the service available to all bar members. Members have unlimited access to the online data bank.

Scott Carroll, a partner at Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease, has been elected president of the board of trustees of the Southern Ohio Chapter of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Carroll specializes in labor and employment law. The Mount Lookout resident is a 10-year blood cancer survivor who completed the 2004 Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon on the Team in Training fundraising team. Vorys also has hired six new associates in its Cincinnati office: Amy L. Combs, Jacob D. Mahle, Tiffany S. Miller, Michelle S. Pan, Robert T. Razzano and Kristin L. Woeste.

Megan E. Murray is now with the corporate and commercial practice group at Greenebaum Doll & McDonald's Cincinnati office. She received her law degree from the Pennsylvania State University and her undergraduate degree from Miami University.

Michael Newman of Dinsmore & Shohl was elected vice president of the Ohio Sixth Circuit Federal Bar. He will be a national officer in the bar with responsibility over chapters in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee. Newman practices labor and employment law in state and federal courts.

Natasha Cavanaugh of Taft, Stettinius & Hollister's tax, probate and estate planning department was appointed vice chair to the board of directors of FreedomYP, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center's young professionals group. Terrance Ashanta-Barker, of Taft's business and finance department, was elected to the Freedom YP board of directors.

Elizabeth A. Horwitz joined Wood & Lamping's business practice group. She brings more than 20 years of experience representing businesses of all types and sizes, from start-up companies to publicly traded corporations.

Shannon H. Barrow joined Graydon Head & Ritchey's commercial real estate group downtown. At the University of Cincinnati School of Law, she was an aide to former Cincinnati City Council member David Pepper and a law clerk in city solicitor's office. Lynda M. Hils joined Graydon's Northern Kentucky office in commercial litigation client service.

Law news relevant to the Tristate business community may be e-mailed to Cincy Business at law@Cincybusinessmag.com