Spater & Davis-Williams, LLC continues a four decade tradition of fearlessly fighting for people. In 2012, Ohio civil rights icon Attorney Alexander “Sandy” Spater partnered with Raphael Davis-Williams as the founders of The Law Office of Spater & Davis-Williams, LLC.
Sandy Spater (1943-2013)
Sandy Spater was born in upstate New York. He attended Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin where he earned a B.A. degree in 1965 and attended the University of California at Berkeley between 1965 and 1967, where he earned his M.A. degree in Asian Studies. Mr. Spater also served in the Peace Corp. in Nepal between 1967 and 1969, working as a community development specialist. Between 1969 and 1970, he worked for a low-income housing program in Corinth, Mississippi.
Mr. Spater earned his J.D. in 1973 from The Ohio State University School of Law. Sandy Spater’s tireless fight to protect and preserve the civil rights of all garnered him the respect and admiration of both plaintiffs’ and defendants’ lawyers nationwide. Attorney Spater doggedly litigated cases that led to the racial integration of the Columbus Police Department, ensured women could serve as firefighters in the Columbus Fire Department, and protected the housing rights of racial minorities and families with children.
The trailblazing Attorney Spater held a lifelong belief that all human beings deserved fair and equal treatment. This fervently held principle compelled Sandy, in 1977, to bring one of the first law suits in the United States that argued gay, lesbian, and bisexual Americans had a constitutional right to equal protection under the law. Mr. Spater fought all the way the Supreme Court of the United States to get Marjorie Rowland, a self-identified bisexual school counselor, rehired after the Mad River township near Dayton, Ohio fired her merely for revealing that she was in a romantic relationship with another woman. The Supreme Court declined to take up the case, but Sandy’s arguments helped set the stage for future civil rights gains for LGBTQ* Americans. A riveting account of Attorney Spater’s Supreme Court battle for Ms. Rowland is included in Chapter 10 of “Courting Justice: Gay Men and Lesbians v. the Supreme Court,” a 2001 book authored by Joyce Murdoch and Deb Price.
In March 2012, after learning he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, Attorney Spater wound down his practice and permanently shuttered the Spater Law Office. A few months later, he and Attorney C. Raphael Davis-Williams announced their partnership in The Law Office of Spater & Davis-Williams, LLC. Understanding that his cancer was terminal, one day Sandy lamented, “You know, I just wanted to be around a little longer to keep being a thorn in the side of people who discriminate.” Sandy never stopped his lifelong fight for people; he actively participated, as his health would permit, in litigation undertaken by Spater & Davis-Williams.
On September 8, 2013, Sandy Spater passed away. Over the course of his 40-year legal career Attorney Spater received numerous awards and recognitions from community, service, and professional organizations. The Ohio Civil Rights Commission posthumously inducted Attorney Spater into the Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame in October, 2013.