spea magazine

Alumni Watch

Private Sector / Public State of Mind

Robert A. Meyer Jr., BSPA ’75, Partner, Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP

meyerA graduate of the first SPEA class in 1975, Robert Meyer paired his SPEA degree with a law education to prepare himself for a career in environmental law, land use, and zoning law. He began his career in the Columbus, Ohio office of the prominent law firm Porter Wright Morris & Arthur, where he focused for 15 years on environmental law – particularly cases dealing with air pollution – and where he advised clients on land use.

“Over the decades since World War II, land use decisions have too much been driven by parochial, often elitist, considerations resulting in closed communities, wasteful consumption of land, and stretched infrastructure that will unduly burden future generations. Good regulatory and economic decision-making can promote better-planned, more efficient, more thoughtful, and more inclusive development patterns. The public sector, especially at the local level, must take an active and committed role.”

Meyer left Porter Wright Morris & Arthur to work for Dominion Homes, a public company that now builds housing developments in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. Meyer had the expertise the company needed to negotiate the complex environmental and zoning legal matters involved with building homes, and they hired him as their general counsel. After nearly 12 years with Dominion Homes, he’s now back as a partner in the law firm, where he enjoys being on the legal frontlines once again.

“Much of my work is on the regulatory side of land development, which involves helping entities through the approval processes that are necessary to build communities,” he says. Meyer sees himself and his fellow SPEA alumni as public servants. “A SPEA education assures more thoughtful decision-making on the public side of life,” he says. “That public service emphasis has helped me think like those responsible for regulating businesses, so I can ensure that the business is doing things right and can get its work done.”