On weekdays, litigation attorney David K. Greer stands before judges, clients and opposing counsel. But once the weekend hits, Greer speaks to a considerably larger audience as a DJ for Mix 97.1, an FM pop station in Columbus.
While pursuing a journalism degree at Ohio State in the early ’80s, Greer got his first radio job at a small 500-watt AM radio station in Delaware, Ohio. Luckily, the pressure wasn’t too extreme: “I didn’t have any experience, they just put me on the air,” he says. “There probably weren’t even 75 people listening to me.”
Greer also jumped into the deep end to start his legal career. After getting his J.D. from the University of Toledo in 1988, he worked for a year in the Franklin County Prosecutor’s office. “I was actually able to try some cases and got a lot of mentoring in that office,” he says.
Greer parlayed that early experience into a successful solo practice handling criminal defense, juvenile matters and appeals. “My goal is to win cases but also break new legal ground,” he says. “In 2003, I took up an appeal as to whether a parent who has lost legal custody of a child can be allowed to have an annual review [to determine if the parent is suitable to regain custody]. The lower court decided against me, but the court of appeals agreed with me and created new law.
“This is why I like appellate law — it’s where the action is. You can effect lasting change.”
After taking a break for a few years to focus on his law career, Greer got back into the broadcasting arena. He worked several stints at other radio stations, including one in which he hosted a weekend show devoted to love songs, but eventually settled at Mix 97.1. “I got tired of experiencing romance vicariously on Saturday nights,” he laughs.
But he doesn’t just spin the hits of the ’80s, ’90s and today. “What I like about the job is that I can try to educate the lay public about the law,” Greer says. “If a story comes up where a celebrity is arrested or sued, I try to explain the process. I won’t just say a case is dismissed, I’ll say it’s a summary judgment and explain what that is.”
Greer says that one of the most common legal misconceptions he clears up is the view that if there is a hung jury, as there was in the recent McCoy highway shooter case, the defendant gets off free. “There’s a lot of educating to do,” he says. “The power of media to influence and educate people is uniquely satisfying, and that’s why I got into broadcasting.
“My law practice obviously comes first, and it can get hairy sometimes. I’ve had to literally run from the station to the courthouse for a hearing,” Greer says. “The two jobs together can be demanding, but it usually works out.”