Join The Ohio Black Judges Association


We just wrapped up an amazing My BarStory podcast recording session with Eighth District Court of Appeals Judge Emanuella D. Groves and Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Lauren C. Moore. Hosted by CMBA’s Community and Pro Bono Events Specialist Chavone Nash, who says “it’s a talk about the intersectionality of being a Black woman in law, being a judge, and being a mom.”

New episodes of My BarStory are released every Sunday at Noon at clemetrobar.org/podcasts and on your favorite podcast apps.

Judge Kani Harvey Hightower was elected as a Summit County Domestic Relations Court Judge on November 8, 2022.

Judge Hightower is the mother of three: Kwame, Jalen, and Lyndea, and believes they are her best blessings and greatest accomplishments. The daughter of immigrants, Judge Hightower’s parents instilled in her early a strong sense of service, community involvement, humility and the need to help others. Her father, Dr. Milton Harvey is professor emeritus from Kent State University, her mother, Lynda Harvey Williams, is a long-time practicing attorney in Summit County, and her step-father, Lonnie Williams, is a retired procurement manager for Lockheed Martin. She is the baby of the family and also has five siblings who are all successful in their own right.

Judge Hightower was an Akron Municipal Court magistrate from January 2020 through December 2022. She worked as a private trial attorney in numerous counties for over fourteen years in the areas of family, juvenile, criminal, civil, and probate law – handling complex and high level criminal and civil litigation, as well as conducting numerous jury trials.  Hightower also practiced appellate law and briefed cases with the Ohio Supreme Court.  Much of Hightower’s practice focused on the representation of indigent and underrepresented clients, or of individuals struggling with significant needs. As an attorney, Hightower believed that every individual needed fair and competent representation.

Judge Hightower was also an adjunct professor at the University of Akron Law School for eleven years, from January 2009 to December 2020.  Prior to that, she served the public as a Clerk of Council for the City of Aurora, Ohio from 1998 to 2004.

Judge Hightower is the proud mother of three children and happily accepts the title of “sports mom.”

Judge Hightower holds a Juris Doctor from the University Akron School of Law, certificates in general mediation and divorce mediation, and a Bachelors of Arts degree from Kent State University. She is also a active member of various professional and community service organizations, including, but not limited to the Akron Bar Association, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated, Jack and Jill of America, and 100 Women Strong Ohio.

Judge Hightower is also a graduate of Stow-Munroe Falls High School and a product of the public school system. As a life-long Summit County-area resident, Judge Hightower knows our community and is committed to being a fair voice on the bench.