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    Christopher J. Hewitt Partner

    Chris Hewitt is a businessperson's lawyer.

    A corporate attorney with an M.B.A, Chris serves as a strategic advisor to the boards of directors and management of public and sophisticated private companies on mergers and acquisitions, takeover preparedness and defense, corporate governance, corporate counseling and SEC compliance. In short, Chris helps clients find solutions and avoid business problems.

    Business Transactions. Chris has the business acumen to assist clients not only in structuring, negotiating, and closing sophisticated business transactions, but also in strategically analyzing and understanding how the transaction relates to the client’s business. Chris began his career in the New York office of Skadden Arps and came to Tucker Ellis from Jones Day, where he was partner for 10 years in the M&A practice group. As a result, Chris brings a "Big Law" sophistication to each matter, while crafting cost-effective solutions with Midwestern practicality. He understands that negotiating a transaction is not about keeping score on deal points won or lost or taking polarizing positions. Chris practices the art of "getting to yes" negotiating, which means not only effectively articulating the client’s interests in a transaction and making sure the documentation protects those interests, but also resolving, in a common-sense fashion, the myriad, idiosyncratic issues that often arise in transactions.

    Chris has negotiated numerous high-profile, multibillion-dollar acquisitions and divestitures, as well as many smaller deals, and has worked on transaction financing, including debt and equity offerings. He works with clients in industries such as energy, minerals and mining, manufacturing, retailing, media and technology, to name a few.

    Corporate Governance and Compliance. Now more than ever, boards of directors need the pragmatic advice of trusted lawyers like Chris who understand the issues directors face. Chris has extensive boardroom experience advising directors on the issues they confront in today’s dynamic corporate governance environment—experience that enables him to cut through the clutter and assist directors in making informed decisions.

    In addition, Chris has successfully defended large and small public companies in contests for corporate control, including both hostile takeovers and proxy contests, and has assisted numerous companies in responding to shareholder proposals. He has also assisted engaged shareholders in establishing a dialogue with the board and management of struggling public companies.

    Chris is frequently sought after to speak on corporate governance, M&A and securities laws matters, and has published several articles on these topics. He is also co-editor of the firm’s blog on corporate law, Lingua Negoti, which means “the language of business.”

    Chris comes from a large family that includes two brothers and five sisters, and is a triplet with two of his sisters. He is the proud father of three children. Chris is also a fitness nut, working out every morning before work.

    Jayne E. Juvan Partner

    Jayne Juvan chairs both the Mergers & Acquisitions and Securities & Capital Markets practice groups at Tucker Ellis.

    She is also a member of the board of directors of Mace Security International (OTCQX: MACE), a manufacturer of personal safety and security products such as the widely recognized Mace Pepper Spray.

    Jayne advises investors, boards of directors, and management teams on corporate transactions, regulatory compliance, and fiduciary duties. She counsels public and high-growth private companies, private equity firms, and venture capital firms from initial formation through all stages of the business life cycle.

    Jayne frequently can be found in the boardroom with directors as they make highly impactful, potentially transformative, and confidential decisions. She is often tapped to assist corporate boards to maximize effectiveness and institute best practices. As the former co-chair of the American Bar Association's Task Force on Director Misconduct, she is regularly called upon to advise corporate boards during their most challenging situations. She has also assisted activist shareholders in engaging with the board and management of struggling public companies.

    Whether making a decision to grow or divest corporate assets, clients in a variety of industries — including the heavily regulated health care and financial services industries — turn to Jayne for her strategic advice. She navigates complex issues that arise in transactions of all sizes and has been a key advisor on deals valued from approximately $5 million to more than $1 billion. Examples of other industries in which Jayne has served as counsel include technology, aviation, energy, transportation and logistics, and manufacturing.

    Jayne passionately stays abreast of emerging boardroom issues, macroeconomic and financial factors that impact global deal activity, and the potential influence of geopolitical events on corporate strategy. A frequent and sought-after writer and speaker featured in the Harvard Business Review and Forbes for her unique use of social media as an attorney, Jayne covers the daily developments in these areas on Twitter at She is also the co-editor of the firm’s blog on corporate law, Lingua Negoti, which means “the language of business.”

    Jayne and her husband Dan, who are both black belts in Tae Kwon Do, met in martial arts and competed nationally together in forms and freestyle sparring. Originally from Ohio, they are proud to call Cleveland home and enjoy raising their young twin sons Alexander and Zachary in the area. Jayne incorporates her love for sports into her practice, serving as counsel to Al “Bubba” Baker, a former professional American football defensive lineman who played in the National Football League for the Cleveland Browns, and on the advisory board to the family foundation for 2003 Open Championship winner Ben Curtis.

    Kristen A. Baracy Counsel

    Kristen Baracy assists clients in complex and routine business law issues.

    Kristen's experience includes representing both privately held and public companies where she has worked on public and private offerings of securities, compliance with rules and regulations enforced by the Securities and Exchange Commission, mergers and acquisitions, and general corporate matters.

    For public clients, Kristen prepares quarterly, annual, and current reports, beneficial ownership reports, and registration statements filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. She also counsels clients in the area of alternative public offerings, with an emphasis on reverse mergers. She has assisted in alternative public offerings for companies in the green technology sector, and she has worked with several high-tech companies, including software providers and mortgage due diligence companies, in drafting licensure and development agreements.

    Before entering private practice, Kristen worked as a Brand Protection Officer for the Sydney Olympic Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games in its intellectual property legal division, where she reviewed and enforced terms of sponsorship agreements.

    Kristen lives in Santa Monica with her husband, two young children, and dog. When she is not attending her son’s sporting events, she enjoys running and hiking with her dog and hanging out at the beach with her family.

    Heather M. Barnes Partner

    Heather Barnes is a registered patent attorney focusing on intellectual property matters, including the domestic and international prosecution of patents, trademarks, and copyrights.

    Heather values learning every client’s business to align their intellectual property strategy with tactical business goals. Her undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering allows her to both understand clients’ technology and clearly communicate to all parties the best strategy for protecting it. Her management of intellectual property portfolios helps clients move projects forward and properly allocate financial resources.

    Heather manages extensive domestic and international patent and trademark portfolios, assists in-house counsel with strategic decisions, and provides analysis for risk assessment on pre-litigation issues. She also routinely provides intellectual property advice for corporate transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, license agreements, intellectual property policies, and joint development agreements. As a result of her involvement in the start-up community, Heather works with independent entrepreneurs and corporate clients seeking alternative revenue streams by shepherding new innovations from conception to commercialization.

    Heather is a soccer mom to three children. She and her husband Jerry love spending time with their kids, family, and friends and especially enjoy hiking in Cuyahoga Valley National Park and the Cleveland Metroparks.

    Corine R. Corpora Counsel

    Corine Corpora has been serving the employee benefits community for over 25 years.

    Corine’s client service experience includes representing all sizes of privately and publicly held organizations in the manufacturing, health care, financial, food and beverage, and entertainment industries, among others. She counsels clients with respect to qualified and nonqualified retirement plans, welfare and fringe benefit plans, and executive compensation, as well as incentive and stock-based compensation and rewards programs. She also advises clients on the complex rules governing employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), represents diverse parties in ESOP corporate transactions, and counsels several wholly and partially ESOP-owned clients. Corine works directly with corporate executives and senior human resource and benefits personnel, as well as clients’ accountants, actuaries, and other service providers to resolve corporate and benefits-related issues in an effective, efficient, and understandable manner. Corine also assists clients with mergers and acquisitions, various corporate governance and financial matters, and serves as counsel to various Board committees.

    Chambers USA-ranked in Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Ohio), one client remarks that Corine is "very helpful, very collaborative and willing to listen," while another client praises her as "a wonderful practitioner, who is very responsive and provides great client service."

    Corine is proud to give back to the employee benefits community through her involvement in the Worldwide Employee Benefits (WEB) Network, a national not-for-profit organization devoted to the development and education of employee benefits professionals. At both the local and national levels, Corine is devoted to providing meaningful educational and networking opportunities to employee benefits professionals at all experience levels.

    Justin J. Eddy Counsel

    Justin Eddy counsels developers, investors, public and private companies, municipalities, townships, and individuals in matters involving property acquisition and assembly, financing, development, zoning and entitlements, divestiture, ownership and management, and real estate joint ventures.

    Justin has extensive experience advocating on behalf of developers before municipal, township, and county boards of zoning appeals, planning commissions, and city councils. He also has experience with issues involving environmental diligence and compliance, conservation easements, and title and survey matters and leasing, as well as real estate litigation experience in receivership matters, land use, and eminent domain.

    Away from work, Justin enjoys many non-traditional outdoor activities – including wakeboarding and snowboarding – and spending time with his family. He and his wife Jillian live in Bay Village, Ohio, with their three children, Jake, Nick, and Elle.

    Lex R. Ehrenschwender Associate

    Lex Ehrenschwender uses a collaborative approach to achieve positive outcomes for clients in his litigation and regulatory practice.

    Lex advises and guides consumer products clients through the complex regulatory schemes relevant to their industries, and he has acquired experience in pricing policy compliance and in preparing Minimum Advertised Price Policies and Unilateral Pricing Policies for retail manufacturer clients. Because a company’s longterm goals are critical in this type of counseling, Lex aims to always be a cooperative partner.

    In addition to his regulatory work, Lex is a member of a Tucker Ellis team that serves as national counsel in motor vehicle accident litigation to two Fortune 300 companies. In the course of this representation, he has achieved excellent results for clients by seeking common ground with opposing parties and demonstrating the benefits of consensus.

    Before joining Tucker Ellis, Lex worked in-house for a Fortune 200 international manufacturer and retailer of industrial and consumer products, where he gained diverse experience working on due diligence for commercial real estate transactions and advising on business litigation. In this role, Lex gained insight into the innerworkings of an in-house legal department, making him a more effective outside counselor.

    While in law school, Lex honed his dispute resolution skills in The Ohio State University’s Moritz Representation in Mediation Competition, where he placed first, and in the ABA Representation in Mediation Competition, where he earned the title of Regional Champion and National Semifinalist. These experiences gave Lex a unique perspective in managing typically adversarial circumstances and an ability to pursue consensus-building opportunities. He finds that this collaborative strategy often provides a pathway to the best negotiated resolution for clients.

    Lex enjoys both athletic and creative pastimes, having played football and acted in drama productions while an undergraduate at Centre College. Though his football days are behind him, he still fancies himself a renaissance man, playing lawyer league softball and having recently appeared in a virtual community theatre production of an original play. A Cincinnati native, Lex now lives in Lakewood and loves exploring the summer activities that Cleveland has to offer – including paddling on Lake Erie on a sunny day.

    Stephen C. Ellis Partner

    Steve Ellis is a business lawyer who provides a broad range of senior level business, financial, and transactional counseling to privately held companies.

    Industries served include medical imaging products and services, consumer products, metals, plastics, and automotive, as well as technology-based software and biotechnology companies. Steve has served as lead counsel in scores of acquisitions and financings with dollar values ranging from $500,000 to more than $500,000,000. His 35+ years as a “deal-making” business lawyer and 10 years as the CEO of a major national law firm have made Steve a valuable business counselor, as well as a highly respected lawyer. He has been named one of The Best Lawyers in America® for more than 20 years. In 2009, Steve was named “Cleveland Corporate Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers in America, as well as a Leading Lawyer (Mergers and Acquisitions) by Inside Business magazine.

    Steve served for 10 years as National Managing Partner for the national law firm of Arter & Hadden. An honors graduate of Case Western Reserve University School of Law, he was asked to deliver the law school’s commencement address in 2008, and in 2013 Steve received the school’s Centennial Award, the highest honor it awards to its alumni.

    Steve is a lifelong Cleveland resident and is a valued member of Cleveland’s civic and charitable community. Notwithstanding his numerous professional and civic accomplishments, Steve views his greatest achievements as his happy marriage to his high school sweetheart Jean, his five grandchildren, and a single-digit handicap (a handicap level that presently eludes him).

    Thomas R. Fawkes Partner

    Thomas Fawkes practices in the areas of bankruptcy, creditors' rights, and financial restructuring.

    Tom represents official committees, unsecured and secured creditors, debtors, financial institutions, post-confirmation trustees, and asset purchasers in chapter 11 and chapter 7 bankruptcy cases, out-of-court restructurings, and liquidation proceedings throughout the United States. He has represented clients in matters including plan confirmations, preference, fraudulent transfer and other bankruptcy litigation, cash collateral and debtor-in-possession financing, section 363 sale transactions, real estate and equipment leasing disputes, and claims reconciliation. Tom also assists clients in structuring their commercial transactions to mitigate the risk of future bankruptcy and insolvency issues.

    Tom has been recognized on a national scale for his professional accomplishments, particularly his representation of creditors' committees in chapter 11 cases, as well as creditors and other parties in notable bankruptcies. He is recognized by Chambers USA as one of the leading bankruptcy and restructuring attorneys in Illinois, with sources describing him as “really tenacious, thorough and knowledgeable.” One of only 12 attorneys selected nationwide, Tom was named an "Outstanding Young Restructuring Lawyer" by the editors of Turnarounds & Workouts in 2013.

    Tom is a native Chicagoan and, therefore, a long-suffering fan of the Chicago Bears, despite the fact that they have not won a Super Bowl since he was in grade school. He is happily married with a precocious 6-year-old son, and he enjoys world travel, cooking, playing golf poorly, and homebrewing in his spare time.

    Savannah M. Fox Associate

    Savannah Fox applies creative problem-solving skills in her diverse litigation practice counseling businesses of all sizes and types.

    Savannah works on state and federal litigations across the country involving employment law matters, shareholder disputes, class actions, and securities. Complimenting this work, Savannah also represents corporations and employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) trustees as trustee counsel. Throughout these cases, she has handled key aspects of pretrial litigation, including motion practice, discovery, and methods of early resolution.

    As a result of her experiences with a wide range of legal issues, Savannah believes that client success depends on one constant: mastering the story. By immersing herself in the client’s history, whether short or decades long, Savannah is able to derive tailored litigation and resolution strategies.

    Savannah lives in Lakewood with her fiancé Nick and her rescue dog Archie. If she is not behind her laptop, you will likely find her on the golf course or at a home improvement store, depending on the weather.

    Ashley E. Gault Counsel

    Ashley Gault is a dynamic corporate and real estate attorney who is keenly focused on clients' business objectives.

    Ashley's practice concentrates on all aspects of commercial real estate transactions, including the acquisition and disposition of real property assets, debt and equity financing, land use planning, joint ventures, and the formation and operation of ownership entities. She has extensive experience negotiating purchase and sale agreements, ground leases, development agreements, leases, and financing documents for commercial, residential, and government projects.

    Before joining Tucker Ellis, Ashley worked as a real estate attorney and lobbyist in Florida, where she focused on land use projects, hotels, resorts, and condominiums. In her Ohio real estate practice, she handles complex development projects and closes transactions for all classes of property. Ashley is licensed to practice law in Ohio and Florida.

    Ashley lives in Bay Village, Ohio, with her husband Doug and their sons Austin and Luke. She is a diehard Cleveland sports enthusiast and an avid bicyclist on the Ohio & Erie Towpath Trail in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

    Evelyn K. Holmer Counsel

    Evelyn Holmer represents clients in corporate law matters, including private placements, equity financing transactions, general corporate law, and mergers and acquisitions.

    Evelyn has significant experience in representing both investors and biotechnology growth entities in equity financings and dispositions, with particular expertise in the biopharma, technology, and medical device industries. Her experience includes joint ventures, private placements, securities offerings, and venture capital transactions. 

    In the area of private equity and venture capital funds, Evelyn advises clients on a gamut of issues, including organization and formation, the fundraising process, governance matters, and investments in portfolio companies.

    Evelyn has broad experience in structuring and closing a myriad of early-stage and growth-stage capital formation transactions, including technology transfer, seed investment, early-stage investment, and follow-on preferred investment transactions.

    Ranked in the "Up and Coming" category in Chambers USA 2019 in Ohio Corporate/M&A, Evelyn is described as "proactive, responsive and with great technical expertise."

    Evelyn lives in Cleveland with her husband. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling and managing her dogs' Instagram careers.

    Peter A. Igel Partner

    Peter Igel chairs the Tucker Ellis Tax Group. He teams up with our transactional lawyers to structure mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, investments, and other deals to remove obstacles standing between our clients and their goals.

    His approach is to look for creative yet practical solutions and explain them in plain English. Rather than saying “no,” Peter presents clients with creative options that will allow their plans to proceed.

    Given the broad reach of the tax laws, nearly all types of Tucker Ellis business clients call on Peter for his advice. He commonly serves publicly traded corporations, privately held businesses and their owners, investment funds, financial institutions, governmental entities issuing municipal bonds, high net worth individuals, non-profit organizations, and healthcare providers. Peter also serves as a member of the firm's Opinion and Audit Letter Committee.

    Peter enjoys kayaking, other outdoor sports, and genealogy.

    Peter E. Jones Counsel

    Peter Jones advises business owners, companies, and fiduciaries on employee stock ownership plans, transition strategies, corporate governance, employee benefits, executive compensation, and mergers and acquisitions.

    Pete’s significant experience includes representing companies and trustees in the formation of ESOPs, the sale of ESOP-owned companies, and acquisitions undertaken by ESOP-owned companies. He also advises clients on regulatory compliance and defends them in connection with audits and investigations by the Department of Labor and the Internal Revenue Service. Active in national and regional ESOP organizations, Pete is a frequent speaker on issues related to ESOPs.

    Before joining Tucker Ellis, Pete served as a trust officer and voting member of the fiduciary committee of an institutional ESOP trustee. Tasked with leading valuation reviews and ensuring that the institution met the highest standard of care under the law, he has a practical understanding of the ERISA prudence requirement and the processes necessary to avoid non-exempt prohibited transactions.

    When not assisting clients, Pete enjoys spending time with his sons and daughters.

    Melissa Z. Kelly Counsel

    Melissa Kelly draws on her years of experience as a federal clerk to provide clients realistic and practical advice on a variety of legal issues, particularly in the areas of labor and employment, business litigation, and appellate matters.

    Melissa regularly defends employers in a wide range of employment lawsuits. She has experience in FLSA collective actions and employment discrimination, wrongful discharge, and employee benefits cases. She has drafted briefs and motions addressing numerous issues, including collective action class certification, regulations implementing the FLSA, wage and hour claims, the fiduciary duty of ERISA trustees, personal jurisdiction over corporate defendants, the severance of existing bargaining units, the application of arbitration agreements, and court-imposed sanctions. Melissa also helps clients avoid litigation by advising them on numerous issues, including employment agreements, personnel policies, and severance agreements.

    Melissa also has represented clients in various environmental matters, including a CERCLA contribution and cost recovery action and a case arising under the Natural Gas Act. In each case, she took substantial responsibility for briefing at all levels, including the federal trial court and the state trial and appellate courts.

    Before joining Tucker Ellis, Melissa served as a judicial law clerk for Judge Peter W. Hall, Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and, later, for Magistrate Judge Nancy A. Vecchiarelli of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. She also served as a staff attorney and immigration staff attorney for the Second Circuit.

    In her spare time – when she’s not cheering on her beloved Cleveland Browns – Melissa enjoys music, all things Irish, and hiking with her husband, Michael, and two sons, Declan and Faustin.

    Joseph P. Koncelik Partner

    Joseph Koncelik, chair of the Tucker Ellis Environmental and Renewable Energy Group, has more than two decades of experience practicing in the areas of environmental law, property development and remediation, and oil and gas.

    Joe has 12 years of government regulatory experience gained as Ohio EPA director and chief legal counsel under Governor Taft’s administration and as an assistant attorney general in the Environmental Enforcement Section. Joe uses this unique background to help clients efficiently navigate complex issues and governmental agency administrative processes to cost-effectively reach their goals.

    Joe has significant experience in resolving a range of challenging and complex state and federal environmental issues. He has been involved in environmental due diligence associated with significant business transactions and more than 200 different properties. Joe is passionate about brownfield redevelopment and property remediation. He has advised clients on complex projects and helped to secure more than $15 million in brownfield grants and other financial assistance.

    Joe provides counsel, advice, and guidance to clients in all facets of Ohio and federal environmental law and related compliance issues. His areas of expertise include: air emissions, wastewater discharges, hazardous and solid waste management, construction and demolition debris, and wetlands. Joe has assisted clients in defending against U.S. EPA, Ohio EPA, and Ohio Department of Natural Resources enforcement actions, including defense of criminal investigations/actions. He has assisted clients in complex permitting issues and disputes, such as wetlands/stream impacts, air emissions, and NPDES discharge permits. Joe’s clients include manufacturers, construction companies, municipalities, real estate developers, and waste management companies.

    A board member of the Greater Ohio Policy Center (GOPC), Joe proposed the concept of sponsoring a bill through which the State of Ohio would adopt the federal Bona Fide Purchaser Defense (BFPD). After GOPC found a sponsor for the bill, Joe worked with the Legislative Service Commission to draft the language and worked with numerous stakeholders to resolve questions related to the bill. The passage of Ohio H.B. 168 in 2020 represents more than two years of work by Joe, GOPC, and the State legislature to fill the gap in Ohio law, resulting in a significant reduction in cost and time to clean up environmental contamination on commercial/industrial property.

    A native of Columbus, Ohio, Joe has been a resident of Northeast Ohio for the past 10 years. He lives in Westlake with his wife and three sons.

    Raymond Krncevic Counsel

    Raymond Krncevic brings two decades of rich in-house, governmental, and litigation experience to the Tucker Ellis Trial Department.

    Ray joined Tucker Ellis after running the litigation department at University Hospitals Health System, where he was responsible for managing a docket of over 100 cases annually, directing litigation defense and negotiation strategy, reporting to underwriters, advising board and C-suite members, and collaborating with quality and risk management leadership to devise proactive solutions to avoid future loss events. Before his 10 years as an in-house attorney, Ray engaged in a sophisticated litigation and regulatory practice in Cleveland, Ohio, and Washington, D.C., and served for four years as Legislative Director & Counsel to a United States Senator, working to shape legislation and policy at the highest levels of government.

    Ray draws upon this collective experience to serve clients in all strategic and tactical facets of litigation, to guide them through legal, regulatory, and legislative challenges, and to provide them with practical, effective solutions. For health care clients, Ray specializes not only in medical malpractice defense, but also in advising clients on regulatory and accreditation compliance (including HIPAA privacy rules, Joint Commission standards, and CMS Conditions of Participation); representing clients before governmental boards, agencies, and commissions; handling medical staff, peer review, corrective action, and bylaws matters; responding to adverse events and governmental investigations; and developing internal quality audits and improvement initiatives. More broadly, Ray serves clients in tort and business litigation, insurance matters (including claim evaluation, reserve management, and underwriter relations), and conducting internal investigations and risk assessments.

    Ray is a Cleveland native, although he spent nearly a decade practicing in Washington, D.C., before returning home. Along with his wife and three daughters, he enjoys traveling, the outdoors, cooking, anything history-related, and coaching his girls’ sports teams. An avid skier, his affinity for Northeast Ohio weather between the months of December and March places him in a distinct minority.

    Ludgy A. LaRochelle Counsel

    Ludgy LaRochelle is a results-oriented business transactional attorney.

    Ludgy counsels businesses of all sizes through all phases of the business life cycle: from initial formation through operations, acquisitions, and restructuring to maturity and succession planning. He provides tailor-made solutions to clients in the areas of mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures; real estate transactions; corporate governance; intellectual property; and regulatory compliance. Ludgy represents clients across a broad range of industries, including manufacturing, technology, professional and financial services, and non-profits.

    Ludgy also represents private and public companies in connection with securities and corporate compliance matters, including SEC reporting, corporate governance, securities offerings, proxy matters, and investor relations issues.

    Ludgy lives in Highland Heights, Ohio, with his wife Candace and their two children. He is a member of the historic Antioch Missionary Baptist Church where he serves on its Board of Trustees, and he serves on the executive board of the Norman S. Minor Bar Association.

    John Q. Lewis Partner

    John Q. Lewis is a lead trial lawyer and strategist responsible for achieving successful results for clients in high-stakes, complex disputes throughout the world. 

    John often works on high-profile and newsworthy matters, including cases implicating clients’ most significant business interests or, for some individual clients, involving life-altering or literally life-or-death scenarios. In John’s view, no client matter is too complex to take on or too difficult to solve.

    Whatever the legal dispute, John’s litigation philosophy begins first with fully understanding the client’s dilemma. Next, he works alongside the client to outline achievable goals and outcomes that consider both business and legal interests. Then John carefully designs and executes legal strategy to accomplish pre-defined success.

    John prepares for the possibility of trial from Day One and follows through to verdict when necessary. He has secured trial wins for public and private company clients against America’s top trial lawyers in jurisdictions as far west as California, as far south as Florida, as far east as Delaware, and as far north as his home state of Ohio. But trial wins are only a fraction of John’s courtroom success for clients, as he frequently has spearheaded innovative legal strategies that have led to early pre-trial exits for clients at the motion to dismiss or summary judgment stages of litigation. In many instances, clients have achieved early or impactful victories in broader industry-wide litigation resulting in savings of millions of dollars in litigation expenses and verdicts when compared to industry competitors represented by other law firms.

    While proud of these court wins, John realizes that the price for such outcomes may be cost-prohibitive to some clients who might be better served – and still achieve their business goals – with a favorable settlement or resolution. When called upon to do so, John has delivered uniquely creative resolutions to complex disputes, including large-scale business solutions, protective court-approved class action settlements, and global resolution of all or major parts of multidistrict litigation. On multiple occasions, John successfully defended against challenges to class settlements by objectors claiming the settlements were too favorable to clients, including the U.S. Department of Justice and state attorneys general.

    Clients engage John on both plaintiff-side and defense-side matters. On the defense side, John co-chairs the firm’s Class Action Litigation Group and often heads up trial teams and national coordinating counsel representations in product liability, class action, and contract-related lawsuits, including those involving FDA-regulated devices and medicines, consumer products, recurring contract and property-related claims, and environmental and toxic tort actions. He also leads defense-side legal teams in one-off sophisticated commercial disputes, including transaction-related shareholder derivative and class actions, employment litigation related to non-compete and trade secret matters, professional liability and ethics-related claims, and complex supply and distribution agreement disputes.

    On the plaintiff side, John is responsible for securing tens of millions of dollars for clients and their legal departments in various types of contract and business tort matters, including joint venture, LLC and corporate governance disputes, post-closing disputes involving commercial transactions, pre-closing private equity and sophisticated shareholder class actions, professional negligence claims, trade secret and intellectual property litigation, and vendor and customer supply disputes. John co-founded the Tucker Ellis Commercial Asset Recovery & Protection group and utilizes the firm's longstanding reputation for developing cutting-edge alternative fee arrangements to create win-win scenarios for clients and the firm.

    A champion of the justice system, John dedicates a significant amount of time to community and pro bono causes. He has served on several community non-profit boards and represented numerous indigent clients, including tenants in wrongful eviction disputes and wrongfully imprisoned capital defendants in post-conviction proceedings. He has been lead or co-lead counsel in three successful Ohio death penalty matters, including obtaining release and a complete bar of reprosecution through federal court proceedings for an Ohio Death Row inmate that has captured regional and national media attention throughout the past several years.

    John serves on the Northern District of Ohio’s Advisory Group, a court-appointed committee of attorneys charged with assisting the court with implementing court-adopted programs and bringing to the court’s attention matters of interest to the bar and the community. In that capacity, he co-chairs the Access to Justice Committee and is also a member of the Civil Rules Committee.

    Ranked in Chambers USA, John is described as a "very talented lawyer" who is "very insightful and has a lot of appeal with juries."

    The proud father of three and grandfather of two, John resides in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood.

    Seth J. Linnick Partner

    Seth Linnick combines forward-thinking litigation strategies with a strong business acumen to deliver a better experience and superior financial results for clients.

    As the co-founder and chair of the Tucker Ellis Commercial Asset Recovery & Protection Group, Seth primarily focuses his practice on plaintiff-side business disputes. He routinely leads teams prosecuting complex business cases arising from commercial contract disputes, such as those involving suppliers or vendors, and he has extensive experience in both prosecuting and defending post-transaction claims for breaches of representations and warranties, as well as fraud.

    Seth’s approach to commercial disputes sets him apart from many of his peers in large, defense-oriented law firms. First, Seth understands that businesses should be working to avoid litigation whenever possible. It can be costly, stressful, and divert valuable human resources away from their best and highest uses. Accordingly, Seth consistently positions clients to achieve their objectives without ever needing to file a lawsuit. This typically requires extensive pre-suit fact investigation and discovery, legal research and analysis, thorough exploration of potential business solutions, and, in many cases, the use of pre-suit alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, such as mediation. By working diligently to understand and develop the facts and legal underpinnings of matters at their inception, Seth often can force opposing parties to confront their exposure before lawsuits are filed, achieving quick, cost-effective results for clients.

    Second, if or when litigation arises, Seth manages cases like a CEO instead of a lawyer. His teams are lean, their actions are purposeful, and every strategic decision must pass a cost-benefit analysis. Rather than reflexively filing every motion, deposing every witness, and picking every fight, Seth’s teams are laser-focused on efficiently moving cases toward the client’s ultimate goals.

    Finally, in the courtroom, Seth is adept at putting clients in a position to succeed. He began his career at one of the world’s largest law firms and has spent nearly a decade at Tucker Ellis. Seth cultivated his oral advocacy skills under some of the premier trial lawyers in America, and he excels at turning complex fact patterns into cogent, relatable stories for judges and juries. He has prevailed for clients at trials in both state and federal courts across the United States.

    Seth’s unorthodox approach to litigation also influences his approach to client engagements. A longtime skeptic of the billable hour, Seth works to align financial incentives with client objectives. He is a firm believer that compensation is better measured by results achieved than time expended, and, as a result, he frequently works with clients under a variety of alternative fee arrangements, including flat fees, incentive fees, and contingency fees.

    Seth was born and raised in Northeast Ohio. He and his two children reside in Cleveland’s Duck Island neighborhood.

    Robert M. Loesch Partner

    Bob Loesch is a securities and corporate lawyer.

    He began his legal career as an attorney at the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement in New York City, where he prosecuted violations of the federal securities laws. Bob brings over two decades of experience counseling both public and private companies in connection with securities and corporate compliance matters, including mergers and acquisitions, SEC reporting, exchange listing rules, corporate governance, board and committee matters, securities offerings, proxy matters, investor relations, state corporate laws, executive compensation, and general commercial matters.

    Bob maintains longstanding client relationships and often works with clients in an outside general counsel capacity. Bob’s understanding of their business goals allows him to work as a valued partner in achieving their business objectives.

    Upon leaving the SEC in 1995, Bob joined Baker Hostetler in Cleveland where he was a securities and corporate lawyer and a partner for 10 years. Bob joined Tucker Ellis in 2011.

    Bob also serves a New York Stock Exchange-listed commercial vehicle and automotive parts supplier client as its Secretary.

    Bob is ranked in Chambers USA in the area of Corporate/M&A (Ohio: North), where one client remarks, "He is always responsive to any requests and always has a reasonable perspective. He is calm and levelheaded about various matters and reaches good outcomes on challenging issues."

    Bob and his wife are the proud parents of two sets of twins, ages 20 and 17. In his spare time, Bob is active in the community and enjoys playing golf and supporting Cleveland’s long-suffering sports teams.

    Joseph A. Manno Counsel

    Joe Manno is a member of Tucker Ellis’s national and local counsel teams that defend manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors in mass tort and product liability claims.

    Joe represents individuals, small businesses, and Fortune 50 companies in state and federal Courts in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and throughout the country. He is experienced in all aspects of litigation, including drafting pleadings, conducting and defending expert and lay witness depositions, drafting dispositive and evidentiary motions, and negotiating favorable settlements. Recently, Joe served as the lead associate or second chair in two product liability trials taken to verdict and knows the importance of maintaining a winning trial strategy throughout the case.

    While Joe focuses his practice on products liability and mass tort defense, he also has experience in maritime law. With offices on the Great Lakes, he has had the opportunity to represent vessel owners in Longshore and Jones Act claims.

    When not traveling on client matters, Joe and his wife Natalie have their hands full with their two rambunctious toddlers Luca and Talia.

    Arthur E. Mertes Partner

    Art Mertes provides high-caliber counsel to privately held middle-market and emerging growth companies, public companies, financial institutions, family offices/funds, investors, C-level executives, boards of directors, family-owned businesses, and entrepreneurs in a broad range of matters and industries.

    Art counsels growth-oriented companies of every size and often acts as their general counsel. He advises clients in matters involving business and capital structure, mergers and acquisitions, indemnification, private equity and venture capital, private placements and securities offerings, investor rights and preferences, commercial finance, IP commercialization, licensing and subscription agreements, intellectual property protection, customer agreements and T&Cs, joint ventures, distribution and supply, international transactions, executive employment, management equity and incentive compensation, corporate governance, and corporate contracts and agreements.

    Providing a business-focused perspective, Art carefully guides clients through the critical issues and unique elements involved in every issue or transaction, enabling them to execute efficient strategies and solutions that best meet their objectives. His industry experience includes software, health care, mobile, mobile telecom, data, IT, VAR eCommerce, trading technology, green/clean sector, waste, insurance, specialty consumer, real estate, manufacturing, distribution, and tech-enabled services.

    Before law school, he amassed real-world Fortune 500 sales, distribution, and technical experience for a major diversified industrial manufacturer, providing him a solid understanding of distribution models and manufacturing.

    A founding member of Synergy Law Group, Art joined Tucker Ellis to establish the firm's business and transactional law presence in Chicago and continue his commitment to delivering superior client service and value.

    Art holds an Illinois managing real estate broker license. He resides in Chicago where he enjoys spending time with his wife and two children, real estate investing and development, yoga, and supporting numerous charitable organizations.

    Daniel L. Messeloff Partner

    Daniel Messeloff works with companies ranging from multinational corporations to start-ups and small businesses to address, manage, and resolve their employment, labor, and other legal issues.

    With more than 15 years of experience, Dan knows when to settle claims and when to aggressively defend clients in court. He approaches each matter with the goal of minimizing clients’ potential legal liability and maximizing their overall business success. Whether drafting or revising corporate policies, leading employee training sessions, advising on compliance issues, or defending clients in trial, Dan works efficiently and effectively to resolve clients’ legal issues.

    An experienced litigator, Dan defends clients in disputes of all sizes arising under federal, state, and local laws prohibiting unlawful discrimination and harassment, as well as cases arising under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), data privacy laws, and general commercial matters. He has litigated many multimillion-dollar employment lawsuits, including class- and collective-action claims and single-plaintiff discrimination cases. In leading the litigation of class action lawsuits, Dan handles all substantive and procedural aspects, including the investigation of potential claims, responding to complaints, motion practice, discovery, and class certification issues. He also represents clients in labor arbitrations, NLRB proceedings, and before federal courts.

    A sought-after speaker, Dan has presented on the topics of employment law and wage and hour issues to hundreds of corporate professionals. He has been published in major publications, including The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Columbus Dispatch, and The New York Law Journal. He has also edited and contributed to both the Employment Class and Collective Actions blog and the Class Action Trends Report newsletter.

    While in law school, Dan clerked for Judge Michael Mukasey, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, who later served as Attorney General of the United States.

    Before law school, Dan was a sportswriter for the National Baseball Hall of Fame, ESPN Magazine, Bloomberg News, and other publications.

    In his spare time, Dan enjoys reading, baseball, and spending time with his family.

    Matthew P. Moriarty Partner

    Matthew Moriarty has had a wide variety of experience in the courtroom, including products liability, medical and legal malpractice, personal injury, securities, defamation, contracts, insurance coverage, general business litigation, and business and professional disciplinary cases.

    Matt's practice focuses on representing companies in products liability and pharmaceutical defense and hospitals in professional liability cases. He has tried over 50 jury cases to verdict in state and federal courts, and appeared before a number of state and federal appellate courts. Matt is also a trained mediator.

    Matt is board certified as a civil trial lawyer by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. He has published several articles in legal and medical journals, has taught at legal and medical seminars, and periodically taught trial advocacy at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. He volunteers his time as an arbitrator for the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association in lawyer-client fee disputes and is a member of the board of directors of an adoption agency. Matt is on the mediation rosters for the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.

    Glenn E. Morrical Partner

    Glenn Morrical helps companies and their owners start, grow, buy, finance, sell, and exit their businesses.

    Glenn has worked with businesses as diverse as financial services, manufacturing, retail, oil and gas, and software development companies. He guides public companies, broker-dealers, investment advisers, and private companies raising capital through the thickets of federal and state securities regulation. Glenn advises banks and their holding companies on transactional and regulatory matters, such as raising capital, buying and selling loan portfolios, branches, and whole banks and complying with supervisory requirements.

    Glenn often works with the boards of companies to make sure they are meeting their responsibilities and are positioned to defend themselves if challenged. With an M.B.A. in finance and years of counseling clients ranging from entrepreneurs to senior executives of public companies, Glenn brings clients an understanding of their business needs and realities, as well as an extensive knowledge of the law.

    Glenn is an avid scuba diver and, as a Master Scuba Diver Trainer, enjoys teaching new divers. Active in the Boy Scouts of America, he has attended Phimont Scout Ranch, Tinnerman Canoe Base, four National Jamborees, and two World Jamborees.

    Carl F. Muller Partner

    Carl Muller represents management in labor and employment law matters, general commercial litigation, and insurance defense.

    He appears across the state of Ohio in courts of common pleas, courts of appeals, and federal district courts. Over the course of his career, Carl has tried more than 75 jury and bench trials to verdict.

    Carl defends employers in litigation involving sexual harassment, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, non-compete and confidentiality covenants, quasi-contract/promissory estoppel claims, employee handbooks, substance abuse policies, employment-at-will, whistleblower claims, retaliation claims, public policy torts, employee intentional torts, employee privacy issues, and disciplinary actions. He also represents businesses with matters before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Ohio Civil Rights Commission. He has undertaken numerous EPLI defenses for major insurance carriers and reviewed and litigated both EPLI and other coverage issues.

    Carl is an experienced arbitrator with the American Arbitration Association’s National Panel of Employment Neutrals, Ashtabula County Court of Common Pleas, Lake County Court of Common Pleas, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Volunteer ADR Program. He has been involved in arbitrations of a variety of employment-related litigation with claims valued at more than $1,000,000, and has served as a privately retained mediator in significant employment matters.

    An active educational speaker and writer on employment law and litigation, Carl has presented programs to attorneys, human resources professionals, managers, and students. His many employment law articles appear in law reviews, textbooks, newsletters, and CLE publications.

    Tod Northman Partner

    Tod Northman has almost 25 years of broad business and corporate law experience in commercial law, business transactions, artificial intelligence technology, contract negotiation and dispute resolution, mergers and acquisitions, and real estate.

    With a skillful combination of negotiations and corporate counseling, Tod helps guide clients through difficult situations with pragmatic advice and a can-do attitude. Tod represents publicly traded and privately held companies in diverse industries across the country and has particular expertise in the aviation and autonomous vehicles industries.

    In his aviation practice, Tod represents cargo conversion companies, maintenance and repair organizations, financial institutions, high-net worth individuals, and middle-market corporations in connection with the acquisition and disposition of corporate and commercial aircraft portfolios and the related financing and/or leasing thereof. He also advises clients on conversion contracts, maintenance, service and supply contracts, leases, and FAA and DOT regulatory matters.

    In his autonomous vehicles practice, Tod focuses on advising businesses on acquisitions, contract negotiation, corporate structure, artificial intelligence technology, and regulatory compliance.

    Kelli R. Novak Counsel

    Kelli Novak focuses her practice on health care law and assists a variety of industry clients with their litigation, business, and regulatory needs.

    While in law school at The University of Toledo College of Law, Kelli was a summer associate with Cleveland Clinic’s Law Department and a legal extern for the University of Toledo Health Science Campus. Through these invaluable experiences, she developed a clear understanding of client expectations and applies this unique perspective to diverse issues faced by health care clients.

    Since her admission to the Ohio bar in 2013, Kelli has litigated cases on behalf of providers, primarily including the defense of actions for medical malpractice, nursing home negligence, personal injury, and medical privacy violations. Kelli’s litigation experience has spanned across many Ohio state court jurisdictions, as well as arbitration proceedings.

    Kelli also counsels clients when they are faced with important business decisions, such as drafting and negotiating contractual terms and performing due diligence and risk assessments related to transactions.

    In her practice, Kelli frequently helps clients navigate complex health care regulatory issues, including billing disputes with and audits by government and private payors, Medicare and Medicaid provider enrollment suspensions and revocations, state licensure and certification requirements, fraud and abuse assessments, and HIPAA and HITECH concerns.

    Born and raised in Michigan, Kelli is proud to now call northeast Ohio home. She lives in Avon Lake with her husband Brian and their beagle Bernie. In her free time, Kelli enjoys cooking, traveling, and following professional and college sports.

    Jon W. Oebker Counsel

    Jon Oebker primarily focuses on white collar criminal defense and corporate investigations.

    Jon began his legal career as a judicial law clerk for the Eighth District Court of Appeals and spent the next nine years representing the state of Ohio both as an Assistant Attorney General and an Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor. Jon has handled over 200 cases in both state and federal court and has argued 12 cases before the Ohio Supreme Court. As an Assistant Attorney General, Jon represented the State of Ohio in death penalty habeas corpus litigation in federal court. As an Assistant Prosecutor, Jon specialized in post-conviction litigation, including cases involving DNA evidence and newly discovered evidence.

    In private practice, the Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys asked Jon to write an Amicus brief in the Ohio Supreme Court. Jon was also appointed by the Ohio Supreme Court to represent a criminal defendant in a potential landmark case affecting criminal and appellate law in Ohio.

    Jon grew up on a farm in Avon, Ohio. His wife is an Assistant Medina County Prosecutor. They reside in Brecksville, Ohio, with their two children.

    Brian M. O'Neill Partner

    Brian O’Neill represents public and private companies, private equity funds, and family offices in structuring and negotiating corporate mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, management buyouts, investments, joint ventures, ESOPs, and going-private transactions and advises on corporate governance matters. He also has represented numerous clients in out-of-bankruptcy restructurings and the acquisition and divestiture of distressed assets.

    Brian’s experience includes transactions and client engagements across a broad range of industries, including technology and software (SaaS), TMT (technology, media, and telecom) services, general and high-tech manufacturing and distribution, metals processing, business services, transportation and logistics, professional services, wealth advisory and other financial services, insurance, environmental services, consumer products, and food and beverage, as well as real estate.

    Brian represents public and private companies on major real estate transactions. His work encompasses divestitures, exchanges, acquisitions, development, zoning and entitlements, construction, project financing, and equipment procurement and installation. He has handled a number of high-profile corporate headquarters projects. His national and local real estate developer clients rely on Brian’s counsel on the acquisition, development, construction, financing, and leasing of all types of commercial and residential real estate. 

    Brian also regularly represents financial institutions and corporate borrowers on asset-based, cash flow, acquisition, and other commercial transactions, including agent representation on syndicated loan transactions.

    A trusted advisor, Brian currently serves on numerous client boards and advisory boards where he has the opportunity to engage with executives, management teams, and ownership groups on financial, operational, and strategic priorities and initiatives.

    Brian joined Tucker Ellis in 2012 as Business Department Chair. For several years, Brian did double duty as chair of the firm's General Corporate/M&A/Securities group, which is part of the Business Department. Under Brian’s leadership, the quality and sophistication of the firm’s General Corporate/ M&A /Securities practice and other key Business Department practices saw significant growth and expansion. In 2019, he voluntarily stepped down as chair to open leadership opportunities for other business attorneys.

    Before joining Tucker Ellis, Brian chaired the business department at Ulmer & Berne LLP from 2000 to 2012 and served on the firm's management committee. Previously, he was a partner at McDonald Hopkins Burke & Haber Co., L.P.A. (1990-2000) where he served on the firm’s management committee and headed the firm’s banking practice.

    Brian is the current chair of the MetroHealth Foundation, and he is successfully leading the capital campaign for the construction of a new $1-billion hospital facility and the transformation of the public hospital system in Northeast Ohio.

    Thomas W. Ostrowski Partner

    Tom Ostrowski is the chair of the Tucker Ellis Finance Group.

    His practice focuses on all aspects of commercial banking, including commercial loans, letters of credit, loan restructuring, agented and syndicated loans, and secured lending; corporate finance; and real estate financing.

    He has significant experience in commercial real estate and corporate finance matters, asset-based finance, healthcare lending, workouts, and structured and secured finance. He has represented various private equity funds and subordinated debt lenders and their portfolio companies.

    Tom’s family consists of his wife Erika and five children. When he’s not chasing their many pets, he spends much of his non-work time at swim meets, soccer games, and concerts.

    Thomas R. Peppard, Jr. Partner

    Tom Peppard is a corporate and transactional business attorney.

    He advises public and privately held companies – with a particular focus on middle-market clients – in a variety of industries, including manufacturing and distributing, information technologies, marketing, consulting, industrial services, financial and professional services, construction and material-handling, transportation and logistics, healthcare, and consumer goods.

    Tom helps clients accelerate growth by counseling them on matters including formation, corporate governance, operations, mergers and acquisitions, corporate transactions, contracts, commercial real estate, and financing. He regularly represents clients in connection with the purchase and sale of their businesses, corporate restructuring and reorganization, shareholder disputes, asset-based and commercial loan transactions, debt-restructuring and modification, and the purchase, sale, and leasing of their commercial facilities. Tom understands that combining legal and business strategies helps clients meet and exceed their goals, and he works hard to be a valued and trusted advisor.

    Tom and his wife Kelly live in Shaker Heights with their three children.

    Susan L. Racey Partner

    Susan Racey focuses her practice in the areas of estate and business succession planning, probate and trust administration, charitable giving, taxation, guardianships, and equine law.

    In addition, Susan enjoys a reputation as a respected advocate in the specialized area of probate litigation.

    An OSBA Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law, Susan designs estate plans through the use of wills, trusts, limited liability companies, family limited partnerships, and other vehicles. She handles the administration of complex trusts and estates, as well as litigation involving contested matters in the probate courts. She frequently advises individuals and charities on the issues of charitable giving. She has lectured on a wide variety of estate planning and probate topics.

    Highly respected in the Cleveland market, Susan is ranked in Chambers USA's High Net Worth Guide 2021: Private Wealth Law (Ohio). Sources describe her as a "fierce advocate for her clients" and "very thorough, very careful and very nice to work with."

    Peter A. Rome Partner

    Peter Rome has a passion for helping clients achieve their goals.

    Peter is an enthusiastic dot-connector. He has more than 35 years of experience working with businesses of all sizes and stages, including emerging growth companies, entrepreneurs, family offices, business incubators and accelerators, venture capital and private equity firms, large middle-market businesses, and public companies. 

    Peter works with clients on strategic planning, debt and equity offerings, private equity and venture capital fund transactions, and securities offerings; executive leadership issues; board and governance counseling; executive and incentive compensation; corporate succession planning; business combinations, including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, and strategic alliances; and exit strategies.

    With a strong desire to make the world a better place, Peter devotes part of his practice to environmental, social and governance (ES&G) issues, where he works to create value for companies in connection with life sciences, agriculture, food and beverage, and sustainability, among others. Active in the community, Peter volunteers his time in furtherance of education, health care, families and children, and economic development.

    Peter is ranked in Chambers USA in the area of Corporate/M&A (Ohio: North). One client comments that he is "a personable practitioner who is realistic in getting solutions to problems that work for both sides." Another client describes him as "a business-savvy lawyer who provides practical advice."

    Peter and his wife have five children, and he loves spending time with his family. He is a "casual foodie" who enjoys golfing, skiing, exercising, and listening to music. In high school, Peter turned down an invitation to see Paul McCartney in concert, including dinner backstage with Paul, in favor of studying for a history exam the next day – a rueful decision that illustrates that nobody is perfect.

    Daniel L. Schiau II Associate

    Dan Schiau is a business attorney who focuses on the economics of each transaction.

    Dan’s practice spans a broad range of business areas, including mergers & acquisitions, corporate governance, private equity, real estate, and real estate & commercial finance. With a background in economics, Dan applies a practical, business-centric approach when counseling clients. His goal is to help clients see the “forest through the trees” in even the most unfamiliar transaction setting.

    Dan represents buyers and sellers of various sizes and sophistication in corporate transactions. He has counseled both institutional and individual employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) trustees from the corporate perspective. He has also advised clients regarding bank mergers, including the acquisition of a national bank by a state-chartered bank and the merger of two national banks and their holding companies, in each case with publicly traded stock as part of the merger consideration. Dan's experience includes reviewing, analyzing, and interpreting complex agency regulations at the federal, state, and local levels and preparing disclosure schedules and other documents related to a reorganization and merger.

    In addition to corporate purchase and sale transactions, Dan routinely counsels clients in a variety of secured financing transactions, including representing both lenders and borrowers in project-based financings, as well as real property acquisition, development, and sale transactions involving one or more parcels of land. The diversity in Dan’s practice makes him a critical resource in any transaction involving financing or real estate aspects as it allows him to efficiently bridge the information gap between each side of the transaction to meet the client’s needs.

    A Cleveland native, Dan enjoys spending his free time with his wife Katie on Lake Erie. During football season, Dan can be found cheering on the Clemson Tigers.

    Ronie M. Schmelz Counsel

    Ronie Schmelz is an experienced advertising and regulatory counselor and class action defense lawyer with a particular emphasis on working with clients in the consumer products industry.

    Ronie spent the first 25 years of her career at an international law firm defending clients in complex litigation, including consumer class actions and disputes involving general commercial, real estate, and health care-related matters. During the second half of her career, she has committed herself to advising clients on litigation-avoidance strategies, including implementing best practices for complying with regulations and standards enforced by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Federal Trade Commission (FTC), other federal and state regulatory agencies, as well as the National Advertising Division (NAD), and ways to reduce exposure to consumer class actions. Ronie advises clients on a myriad of topics – including the implementation of recall procedures and responding to FDA Warning Letters, Notices of Action, and MedWatch Adverse Event Reports – and she defends clients in nationwide consumer class actions.

    Ronie has extensive experience advising clients in the consumer product industry, including those that manufacture cosmetic, skin and hair care, dietary supplement, and household goods. Along with her experienced team of Tucker Ellis attorneys, Ronie counsels companies on compliance with the Federal Packaging and Labeling Act, California Proposition 65, the marketing of CBD and hemp products under the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (the Farm Bill), and other federal and state consumer protection, advertising, and unfair business practices laws. Ronie and her team also draft and negotiate vendor and corporate agreements and manage domestic and international intellectual property rights.

    A leader in the cosmetics industry, Ronie serves as legal counsel to the executive board of Beauty Industry West. She also frequently speaks at industry events, including Cosmoprof North America and Bologna, Natural Products Association (NPA), California and New York Society of Cosmetic Chemists Suppliers’ Day, and American Conference Institute, and she teaches at both UCLA Extension and the Fashion Institute of Design & Management (FIDM). Ronie also provides added value to client relationships by conducting educational in-house regulatory training sessions.

    In addition to her consumer products practice, Ronie has extensive experience litigating reinsurance disputes and insurance coverage matters.

    Thomas R. Simmons Partner

    Thomas R. Simmons chairs the Tucker Ellis Business Litigation Group and its Labor & Employment Group.

    His practice focuses on employment law and complex employment and commercial litigation. He has defended employers in a wide variety of employment lawsuits involving wrongful discharge, discrimination, workplace harassment, whistleblower, non-compete agreements, trade secrets, ERISA, FMLA, FLSA, and work-related tort claims. Tom has extensive experience with multi-plaintiff litigation and has defended numerous employment and commercial class actions. He has mediated and arbitrated dozens of matters before the AAA, JAMS, EEOC, and federal and state court systems, and has extensive trial experience.

    Tom also advises employers regarding employment contracts, severance agreements, internal investigations, arbitration programs, drug testing programs, background checks and investigations, employee handbooks, plant closings, reduction-in-force laws, and wage/hour and whistleblower law compliance. He is a regular speaker, trainer, and writer on employment law and litigation topics.

    Jeffrey C. Sindelar, Jr. Counsel

    Jeff Sindelar develops winning strategies for clients in high-stakes litigation in trial and appellate courts across the United States.

    In every matter, Jeff keeps an eye towards the most efficient, effective path to victory for clients. He leverages his background as an appellate lawyer to devise litigation strategies to achieve success on dispositive motions and preserve those wins before appellate courts. Jeff has successfully defended clients on matters involving antitrust, contract disputes, construction accidents, consumer class actions, copyrights, drug and medical device products liability, medical malpractice, and toxic torts. He devotes a significant portion of his practice to defending FDA-regulated medical devices and drugs in federal multidistrict and state court litigation and, as a result, has gained a thorough understanding of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and FDA regulations. He is frequently called upon to develop litigation strategy in high-profile, complex cases, including navigating contentious disputes regarding e-discovery.

    Jeff began his legal career as a law clerk to the Honorable Deborah L. Cook, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. He then worked on John McCain’s 2008 United States presidential campaign before entering private practice in Cleveland.

    Jeff lives in Broadview Heights with his wife and daughter. In his free time, he enjoys walking his dogs, running, and exploring the trails of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

    Christine M. Snyder Partner

    Christine Snyder assists public and private employers in navigating complex employment laws and regulations.

    She offers employers practical, preventive advice to help them avoid employment law claims and ensure that their policies and practices comply with ever-changing federal and state labor and employment laws. She also defends employers before administrative agencies and in state and federal courts.

    Christine defends employers in litigation matters including wage and hour class actions and discrimination, harassment, retaliation, FMLA, and wrongful discharge disputes. She also has extensive experience with non-compete and trade secret litigation and representing clients in ERISA disputes, including ERISA class action matters.

    Christine conducts investigations of employee complaints of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, and defends clients in employment discrimination and sexual harassment matters. She advises large and small public and private employers on employee and manager training, and prepares policies and procedures on topics including leave, separation and severance agreements, and releases of claims, as well as non-compete agreements, social media use, drug testing, and wage and hour matters. Christine defends private employers against employee charges filed with the EEOC and the OCRC and advises clients on compliance with FMLA and ADA rules and regulations.

    Christine and her husband Bill live in Shaker Heights with their extremely spoiled Labradors Chelsea and Gunner. In her free time, she enjoys painting, traveling, and renovating her century-old home.

    Ronald C. Stansbury Senior Counsel

    Ronald Stansbury practices in the area of employee benefits and executive compensation.

    Ron represents entities ranging from publicly and privately held corporations to tax-exempt entities – including their boards of directors and trustees and compensation committees – to individual executives and executive teams. He partners with clients to develop and revise executive compensation arrangements and employee benefit plans in multiple situations, including within the context of initial public offerings, mergers, and acquisitions.

    Ron has amassed a wealth of experience over his more-than-four-decade legal career, including having chaired the employee benefits committee of a major regional law firm for more than 20 years. In this role, Ron worked closely with senior human resources executives and other members of management to resolve compensation, employee benefits, and related issues from the employer perspective rather than merely as an outside consultant. Ron also has served in the employer role as board chair of a local private school. He currently serves on the board of the local chapter of a major charitable organization for which he previously served as chair during its merger with the national organization.

    Ron’s ESOP experience includes a billion-dollar private placement and a billion-dollar public offering for a large ESOP, ESOPs of public companies funded with defined benefit plan surplus, collectively bargained ESOPs with joint labor/management boards of trustees, establishing 100% S corporation ESOPs for closely held businesses, and analyzing alternative ESOP plan structures and defending sponsors of ESOPs in connection with IRS and Department of Labor audits and investigations.

    Ron’s experience in the health and welfare benefit area includes working with employers and others in the establishment and maintenance of individually designed self-insured major medical plans, PPOs, dental plans, cafeteria plans, and long-term disability plans. Ron also advises the employer sponsors of such plans regarding all manner of operational issues and legal compliance, including Affordable Care Act and HIPAA compliance, as well as the establishment and compliance of numerous voluntary employee beneficiary associations (VEBAs). In addition, Ron has assisted an employer coalition covering over two million individuals in negotiating pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) agreements with two national PBMs.

    Ron’s experience in the nonprofit area includes advising benefit plan fiduciaries and officers and directors of tax exempt entities concerning governance and fiduciary issues.

    Band 2-ranked in Chambers USA in the area of Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Ohio), Ron is praised as a "tremendous benefits lawyer, who advocates for his clients very well." Another client comments that Ron is "diligent, effective, thoughtful and great to work with."

    Christina Suh Counsel

    Christina Suh represents corporate borrowers, developers, and banks in a variety of complex financing transactions.

    Christina has extensive experience structuring, negotiating, and documenting a wide variety of secured and unsecured financing transactions, including agented, syndicated and single-lender loans, construction loans, permanent financings, subordinated debt, and real estate private equity financings across a range of industries, such as industrial, multifamily, office and retail. Christina thinks critically to help clients effectively navigate complex problems, risk management, and long-term strategy.

    Outside of professional activities, Christina enjoys cooking, yoga, and long-distance running. She is an avid runner and marathoner.

    John C. (Chaz) Weber Partner

    Chaz Weber represents regional and national banks and other capital providers in complex real estate financing transactions.

    Chaz has substantial experience representing lenders in documenting credit facilities in favor of developers, owners, real estate management and investment firms, REITs, and private equity real estate funds. He regularly serves as lead agent counsel on complex syndicated credit facilities with a variety of collateral structures, including subscription-secured credit facilities, traditional mortgage-secured single-asset financings, and REIT or private equity real estate fund credit facilities secured by an underlying pool of mortgaged or unencumbered real property. Chaz prides himself on being a trusted advisor to clients and a cooperative voice to resolve issues and move deals across the finish line.

    Outside of the office, Chaz enjoys hiking, golfing, cooking, and traveling with his family. He, his wife, Jessica, and their three children live in Olmsted Falls where Chaz is a member of the Olmsted Falls Planning and Zoning Commission.

Perspectives on employee benefits, executive compensation and ERISA litigation to help you attract and retain talent.
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