On the eighth floor of RiverCenter in Covington, you can get an unvarnished look at Cincinnati’s urban beauty.

Through a large window in Ben Dusing’s office, you can see the nearby Roebling Bridge as it stretches over the Ohio River, which leads your eyes into perfect views of Paul Brown Stadium, Great American Tower and the ballpark with the same namesake.

It’s still not the most interesting part of Dusing’s office.

Hanging from the wall near his desk is the Serenity Prayer, an invocation commonly heard among recovering addicts.

“That’s the thing with recovery, it’s a journey, it’s not a stop,” says Dusing, who’s now 12 years sober. For a lawyer enlisted to help white-collar criminals and defendants, it’s a daily reminder of his own lapses.

“It would be profoundly ridiculous for me to look at anybody and say I can’t represent them because they did this awful thing. That would be more than hypocritical and I think it would be that way for pretty much anybody,” says Dusing.

The defense attorney has represented local figures like SoMoLend founder Candace Klein, former Northern Kentucky University Athletic Director Scott Eaton, Kenwood Town Place developer Matt Daniels and Cincinnati Money Manager Glen Galemmo. In addition to his headline-grabbing cases, Dusing started his own firm in late 2013, introducing a cost-cutting business model to the region’s legal world.

Dusing’s career didn’t start off in the positive limelight, however. In 2001, he was set to graduate from the University of Kentucky College of Law, where he was the editor-in-chief of the Kentucky Law Journal. He had several opportunities awaiting him following the bar exam, but instead of spending his summer studying, he “drank and drugged” himself.

For years, close friends had brought the issue to his attention, but it wasn’t until he failed the bar exam—becoming the first editor-in-chief of the Kentucky Law Journal to do so—that he decided to get sober.

“I had yet to look at myself and say, ‘It’s undeniable that there is an issue here,’ and the bar exam did that, so it was like a spectacular downfall,” says Dusing. “Sometimes your worst moment can end up being your best and most significant.”

After recalibrating his life and passing the bar, he landed a federal clerkship before becoming an assistant United States attorney in Ohio and Kentucky. The experience put Dusing on a trajectory for success in the Tristate legal arena.

“[His experience on the U.S. District Attorney’s office] demonstrated that he has developed a high level of expertise in the litigation arena, and earned with courtroom experience,” says Wm. T. “Bill” Robinson III, member-in-charge of Frost Brown Todd LLC’s Florence office. For more than 40 years, Robinson has practiced law on a regional and national platform, including a stint as president of the American Bar Association from 2011-2012. His familiarity with Dusing goes back to his father, Gerald F. Dusing, a commercial litigator who has practiced nearly as long as Robinson.

“[Ben Dusing] is a lawyer of exceptional intellect and his reputation is enhanced by a dynamic personality and a high level of energy,” says Robinson.

Following his departure from the U.S. District Attorney’s office, Dusing went to Baker & Hostetler, LLP, where he led the white-collar crimes practice. After more than year at Baker & Hostetler, he went to work with his father at Adams, Stepner, Woltermann & Dusing, PLLC., where he continued the same type of defense. Much of his work revolved around national cases in places like New York and Washington D.C., but many of his services priced him out of the local market.

In late 2013 he started his own firm, BGD Law, aimed at making certain legal costs affordable. Traditionally, law firms charge clients standard consultation rates for reviewing documents, data entry and other administrative work that doesn’t require a law degree. Instead of charging clients $300 per hour, Dusing has enlisted pre-screened and prequalified law students, as well as other lawyers, to do the work in a shorter time for roughly half the normal cost.

“You’re talking about a tremendous cost-savings to the client,” says Jason C. Kuhlman, a partner at BGD Law. “I think it’s pretty hard to argue against this model.”

Kuhlman has known Dusing since they were classmates at Covington Catholic High School. They became close friends when they attended law school together and worked together at Adams, Stepner, Woltermann & Dusing, PLLC. Through their tenure, they had always talked about working at their own firm and when Dusing asked Kuhlman to join him it didn’t take much convincing.

After seeing him through struggles and success, Kuhlman believes Dusing has become a better person, resulting in a better lawyer.

“It’s just given him a better appreciation for people who have fallen and people who failed in a way that is embarrassing or humiliating because he knows what it’s like,” he says.

When Dusing’s not in the courtroom, he spends time with his wife and three children, plays golf or watches UK basketball. He’s also a volunteer with KYLAP, the Kentucky Lawyer Assistance Program, where he helps lawyers struggling with addiction issues.

He’s toyed around with idea of running for higher office, but his young children, have kept him away. For now he’s focused on his fast-rising firm and his clients.

“I’ve been very blessed,” says Dusing. “We have got things we have to do better and we’ve got problems… I love all those problems and they’re the right problems to have.”