Couple's Quality Time Includes Helping Future Attorneys
By Csaba Sukosd | March 9, 2023
A Fairfield County couple has devoted much of their lives to helping other people. That willingness to serve includes assisting hundreds of future Ohio attorneys every year.
The Suttons help oversee the Ohio Bar Examination as trained assistants known as proctors. The couple of 40 years continued that service at the most recent bar exam - a duty they've shared for two decades.
"We like to serve and help others. It's how we were raised and how we raised our family," said Billy Sutton.
He first proctored in 2001 after a friend and former proctor recommended it to him. As a retired U.S. Army veteran, Billy experienced how precisely the exam is administered by the Supreme Court of Ohio. He enjoyed the responsibility of distributing and collecting exams and monitoring test takers. Within that structure, he could also be helpful by answering questions about the exam process or offering encouragement to law school graduates taking the big test of their lives.
"When they come in, they're nervous. We try to keep them calm and show them a smiling face," Billy said.
The chance to help people and the legal profession was something he knew his wife, Billie, would also appreciate. The challenge for her was fitting it into her schedule. While her husband was retired, Billie was still working for the Ohio Department of Taxation. But a couple years into her husband's tenure, Billie worked it out where she could join Billy. And they've been side by side at the February and July bar exams since.
"Everybody says, 'You're always together.' I say, 'This is just a good day for us,'" joked Billie, as the couple also volunteers at their church and for the Bloom-Carroll School District.
The Suttons firmly believe in the value of helping people and how that can impact others. They see that potential in the schoolchildren they work with and the future attorneys they meet and assist during the bar exam.
"The greatest accomplishment in life is to be a helper because at some point that's what everyone is called to do," said Billie.