Hon. James R. Knepp II became a United States District Judge for the Northern District of Ohio on November 19, 2020 following his confirmation by the United States Senate earlier that month. Previously, he served as Magistrate Judge in the federal court for over ten years. He grew up near Akron and is a graduate of Mount Union College (BA, magna cum laude, 1986), Bowling Green State University (MA, 1987) and was the valedictorian of his class at the University of Toledo College of Law (JD, summa cum laude, 1992). Judge Knepp began his legal career as a law clerk to District Judge John W. Potter (ND Ohio). He was then in private practice as a civil litigation attorney in Toledo for 16 years with the law firm Robison, Curphey & O’Connell.
Judge Knepp has been active in the Toledo community, serving as a board member and past president of the Northwest Ohio Hemophilia Foundation and was previously a member of the board of directors of Legal Aid of Western Ohio/ABLE and is past president of the Toledo Legal Aid Society. He is a past president of the Toledo Junior Bar Association and former member of the board of directors of the Toledo Bar Association. Judge Knepp is past president of the Morrison R. Waite Inn of Court. He is an active member of Little Flower parish where he participates in the ACTS ministry and sings in the choir. He is a founding member of the board of directors of the Thomas More Society of the Diocese of Toledo.
In 2019, he was awarded the Order of the Heel by the Toledo Junior Bar Association, presented annually since 1935 to the member of the Bar who has given most unselfishly of time, talent, and energy to assist young lawyers
He and his favorite law school classmate, Judge Linda Knepp of the Lucas County Court of Common Pleas Juvenile Division, have two children: Sarah, a third-year student at the University of Toledo College of Law; and Joshua, a graduate student at Michigan State University. Their family is completed by three rescued fur babies: Lucy the Great Pyrenees, Winnie the black lab mix, and Gracie the cat who is convinced she is in charge of the entire operation.