Son Of Retired Judge Joins Father’s Old Office

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The Ward family is very familiar with the Athens County judicial system. Now, Matt Ward, son of retired Judge Michael Ward, will join the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office, the office his father formerly ran.

“My dad influenced me indirectly,” the younger Ward said. “He never pushed me toward law, but since he was a lawyer I grew up around it.”

After graduating from Ohio University in 1997, Ward moved away to spend 13 years in Columbia, Mo. He became a father himself and now that daughter Parker is 7-years-old, he is returning to his hometown with her.

“She’s doing well, she’s busy with Brownies and gymnastics, she definitely likes being with her grandparents,” Matt Ward said.

Ward worked for nine years with the Public Defender’s Office in Missouri before coming back to join the law office of William Walker while he obtained his Ohio Law License.

“I felt like coming home,” Matt Ward said.

Criminal law is his focus and what he plans to do with the rest of his law career. He said he enjoys criminal law above the other specialties he has had as a general attorney.

“It’s amazing, every crime is different,” he said. “I don’t think you can get bored, there’s unfortunately always a unique way that crimes are done.”

But he always wanted to be a prosecutor, following in the footsteps of his father. Michael Ward was the county prosecutor for more than a decade.

“It’s a good career move for him,” Judge Ward said. “He’s very analytical, he’s good at resolving and figuring out cases.”

His background of litigation in the public defender’s office will help him in working as a prosecutor, Michael Ward said of his son. His return to Athens will help the family enjoy more time together.

“It’s certainly a lot better than having them (Matt and his daughter) 12 hours away,” the retired judge said.

Having his eldest son and his granddaughter move back has changed Judge Ward’s retirement as well.

“I spent the last week at a soccer camp with her, so it’s been different,” he said.

Matt Ward starts his new position as assistant prosecutor on Monday, and hopes to “play a small part in making the community safer,” he said. That is, after he drops his daughter off at her new school.

“That’s a good idea, isn’t it, being late to my first day of work,” Matt Ward said. “I think they’ll understand.”