It wasn’t an extensive knowledge of lawyers that inspired Edward D. Diller to enter the law profession. “I think I knew one lawyer before I went to law school,” say Diller, partner-in charge of the Cincinnati office of Taft Stettinius & Hollister.

Instead, it was an incident during his three years as a Mennonite missionary in rural Jamaica that drew him to the field. Late one night his Jamaican neighbor — a bar owner — received a police beating that Diller and his wife overheard, courtesy of the country’s windowless housing. It was the only negative in their Jamaican experience.

“I thought, that’s not right,” says Diller, who figured he could best remedy that kind of mistreatment by becoming a lawyer. So after he and his wife finished their teaching missions, Diller earned his law degree from Harvard Law School.

Both Jamaica and Harvard are a long way from Diller’s origins. He grew up in Pandora, Ohio (near Lima and Findlay with a population of 800). He earned his undergraduate degree seven miles from home at Bluffton University, attendance to which has become a family tradition.
In between, Diller pursued his Ph.D. in mathematics at the University of Oregon. Though he originally envisioned himself practicing law for the Legal Aid Society, he found the casework too repetitive and emotionally draining for his personality. “It’s very honorable and good, but it was clear it was not going to be life-giving for me,” says the genial Diller.

He found a better fit in general corporate law, with a concentration in real estate. Among his favorite assignments have been those projects that have helped to shape downtown, such as the Fountain Place project, the stadium and the riverfront. “It’s fun to be involved with downtown and look out my window and say I was involved in that.” Diller recalls with a laugh, “My daughter used to think I owned all the buildings (I worked on), and she maybe had a different lifestyle in mind.”

Diller says the law profession suits his extroverted personality.“For me, practicing law is a good excuse to be with people, and to help them make a difference. The variety in a day is extraordinary, interesting and fast-paced, which keeps me focused, enthused and wondering what’s next.”