Alumna Jane Murphy Timken is Taking on a New Professional Challenge: Running for U.S. Senate

Jane Murphy Timken
Jane Murphy Timken

By Deborah Taylor

Jane Murphy Timken (WCL 1994) always knew she would study law.

“My dad was a law professor and a big believer in the Socratic method, and that was often practiced at the dinner table as if I had been in law school all my life,” she says.

Those vibrant conversations at home in Cincinnati helped ignite Timken’s intellect and set her on a trailblazing career path of attorney to prominent Ohio officeholder to candidate for the U.S. Senate.

“I’m not the kind of person that can sit on the sidelines. If I think I can make a difference, then I’m going to step up and work with others to tackle issues and solve problems and get things done,” she says.

Timken, who earned her undergraduate degree in psychology at Harvard University in 1989, was employed at Davis, Polk and Wardwell LLP in Washington, D.C., when she decided to pursue a law degree while remaining in the city. American University Washington College of Law was the ideal choice.

“The WCL professors and students were challenging and intellectually engaging. My favorite classes were First Amendment and Constitutional Law,” she remembers. “Ira Robbins was one of my most challenging professors. I took his Conflict of Laws class, and he taught me a lot of critical thinking.”

Timken was also a notes and comments editor for The Administrative Law Journal of the American University. She graduated summa cum laude and launched her career in employment and general litigation.

“One of the great aspects of law school is reading and analysis and really understanding how to craft an argument,” she says. “I felt very prepared to practice law after graduating.”

Timken’s affinity for administrative law and expertise in how the federal government operates were put to good use when she returned to Ohio and became increasingly interested in politics.

She first served as the vice chair of the Stark County Republican Party from 2010 to 2017, stepping down when she was elected as the first female chairwoman of the Ohio Republican Party. She resigned the chair in February 2021 when Senator Rob Portman announced he would not run for re-election in 2022.

Timken encourages AUWCL students to shape the political landscape and society in general through the tools they gain from their education.

“Law studies help students to look at issues from all sides and understand the arguments for and against something. I think we’re starting to get to a point in our society where we’re not able to have civil discussions and disagree. I would encourage them to continue to understand the importance of having dialogue.”

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