A lot has changed in the legal world over the last three and a half decades.
"When I started, the Ohio Revised Code, it contained nine volumes. We're now up to volume 61, which is actually two separate books," said Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Ed Lane.
Keeping on top of an ever changing legal landscape would be plenty to keep Lane occupied, but the busy Common Pleas Court schedule means there is never a lack of cases to be tried, pleas agreements to be approved and criminals to be sentenced.
"I do a lot of reading, a lot of listening," said Lane, summing up his job.
Lane's laid-back, friendly demeanor on the bench has resonated well with those who practice before him.
"He is one of the friendliest judges," said Mark Kerenyi, magistrate of the Washington County Court of Common Pleas Probate and Juvenile Division.
Occupation: Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge.
Education: Undergraduate and law degree from Capital University.
Family: Wife, Susan; daughter, Heather Weiker; son-in-law, Anthony Weiker; grandson, Benjamin Edward Weiker; and two granddogs, Rocko and Charlie.
Previous Jobs: Marietta Municipal Court Judge from 1987 to 1992 and private practice attorney from 1977 to 1987.
Kerenyi, who served as a Washington County Assistant Prosecutor for six years, said it was a pleasure to prosecute in Lane's court.
"He treats everyone with respect and I mean everybody. The jurors, the public, the defendants, the lawyers," remembered Kerenyi.
Lane was born and raised in Marietta. Growing up, he worked weekdays at his father's welding business and weekends as a gas station attendant.
"I've actually enjoyed every job I have ever had. And I feel like every job I have had I learned something," he said.
Lane began practicing law in 1977 after receiving his law degree from Capital University in Columbus and had a private practice for 10 years before deciding it was time for a change.
"I first ran for Common Pleas Court Judge in '86. I was narrowly defeated and I was appointed as municipal court judge," said Lane.
When he ran again in 1992, Lane won, and he has been serving as a Common Pleas Court Judges since that time.
Though he has spent more than half his life dedicated to the legal field, it was not his first career path in life.
"I wanted to teach, and I did teach for five years," said Lane.
But Lane's first year teaching in a Columbus City junior high school was not an ideal experience. Two of Lane's college roommates had gone on to law school and because he was looking for a way to occupy his nights, he applied to law school as well.
By the time he graduated law school, Lane had come to enjoy teaching. In fact, it shaped Lane's life in one very important way-it helped him meet his wife.
"Our rooms were right across the hall from each other," recalled Lane.
At first, Lane's wife Susan rebuffed him, saying she would not date fellow employees. However, as she and Lane formed a friendship over the years, she decided to make an exception for him, and it's an exception that has now lasted more than 39 years.
Sitting on the bench has its ups and downs. Custody battles are particularly difficult to mediate, said Lane.
"Sometimes they are both good parents and they love their children and sometimes you don't know," he said.
When it comes to choosing a single thing he likes best about the job, Lane can not whittle it down to only one.
"You occasionally get a chance to help people turn their lives around and I think that is the goal," he explained.
Additionally, Lane's job gives him a chance to be constantly learning.
"Sometimes I learn something about the law, but usually I learn something about life, and careers, and other people," he said.