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John Slagter chairs the Tucker Ellis Business Department.

Passionate about real estate and development, John has dedicated his 30-year career to protecting clients’ property rights and achieving their goals. Practicing in all facets of real estate – including acquisition, disposition, leasing, finance, construction, eminent domain, and real property tax – John represents national and regional clients in industry sectors including commercial, office, retail, industrial, and residential.

Notably, John devotes a significant part of his practice to land use and zoning, where he delivers unparalleled solutions in protecting and advancing property rights. He represents clients on a daily basis in matters involving applications for site approvals, variances, conditional use approvals, rezonings, economic development incentives, and litigation related to these issues. He develops and implements strategies to overcome objections by governmental authorities and community activists to secure approvals for clients in some of the most controversial and difficult cases. John is actively involved in the real estate community on a local and national level, including his engagement as a frequent speaker, writer, and contributor on real estate and land use issues.

John also provides valuable insight to public companies, middle market businesses, and private equity and venture capital clients. He draws on his years of experience as a successful business manager and leader in providing strategic business advisory counsel. He skillfully identifies solutions to clients’ most difficult business issues and guides them through their toughest decisions. He takes the time to understand clients’ business objectives, as well as anticipate unforeseen issues that may negatively affect the health of a business.

John is ranked in Chambers USA in the area of Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use (Ohio), where one client remarks that he is “a superlative lawyer in every respect.” Another client notes that “John is an excellent attorney. He’s extremely intelligent and always aims to resolve disputes effectively for his clients.” Another source comments that “John is one of the leading zoning and entitlement lawyers in Ohio. He is a fantastic litigator who possesses a strong sense of commercial and practical awareness.”

Case Western Reserve University School of Law (J.D., 1991)
John Carroll University (B.A., 1988)
State Admissions
Ohio, 1991
Federal Admissions
United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
United States District Court, Northern District of Ohio

Speaking Engagements

  • “Changes and Appeals in Zoning,” 45th Annual Real Estate Institute, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association (November 2023)
  • Land Use Approvals” and “Hearing Best Practices and Appeals,” National Business Institute (NBI) (June 2023)
  • “Legal and Fiduciary Duties of Board Members,” Role of the Board, Business Volunteers Unlimited, Cleveland, Ohio (May 2023)
  • “Practical Guide to Zoning and Land Use Law in Ohio,” National Business Institute (November 2022)
  • “Tips from the Trenches: Strategies to Obtain Land Use and Zoning Approval,” 44th Annual Real Estate Law Institute, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association (November 2022)
  • “Beyond the Billable: Business Development and Pro Bono Work – Maximizing Your Meaning/Fulfillment,” New Lawyers Bootcamp, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association (January 2022)
  • “Land Use and Zoning Law,” 29th Annual Bradley J. Schaeffer Real Property Institute, Ohio State Bar Association (December 2021)
  • “Real Estate Tax Valuation Complaints and Procedures,” 43rd Annual Real Estate Law Institute, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association (November 2021)
  • “Your Paycheck Protection Program Forgiveness Was Denied – Now What?”, Panelist, 2020 In-House Counsel Summit Webinar, Tucker Ellis LLP (December 2020)
  • “Eminent Domain/Just Compensation Issues for Infrastructure Takings,” Moderator, 42nd Annual Real Estate Law Institute, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association (November 2020)
  • “The Art of Persuasion,” Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association (December 2019, December 2018)
  • “Tips from the Bench for Real Estate Lawyers,” Moderator, 41st Annual Real Estate Law Institute 2019, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association (November 2019)
  • “Fighting City Hall: Legal Strategies for Project Approval,” ICSC U.S. Law Conference, San Diego, California (October 2019)
  • “Land Use, Takings and Zoning Law,” Advanced Commercial Real Estate Seminar, Ohio State Bar Association, Columbus, Ohio (October 2019)
  • “Pay Less Taxes – Preserving Your Property Rights,” Tucker Ellis Commercial & Industrial Property Real Estate Forum, Cleveland, Ohio (September 2019)
  • “Leadership Development,” Moderator and Presenter, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association (2018)
  • “Land Use Law,” International Council of Shopping Centers National Law Conference, Orlando, Florida (2018)
  • “Law Firm Profitability,” panelist, Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute, Cleveland, Ohio (2017)
  • “World War Z: Surviving the Zoning Apocalypse,” Old Republic Land Title Seminar, Columbus, Ohio (2016)



  • Chambers USA
    • Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use (Ohio) (2021-2023)
  • Ohio Super Lawyers® (2004–2024)
    • Top 100 Ohio Super Lawyers (2012, 2015, 2016)
    • Top 50 Cleveland Super Lawyers (2012, 2015, 2016)
  • The Best Lawyers in America® (2007–2024)
    • 2020 Cleveland Lawyer of the Year (Land Use and Zoning Law)
    • 2017 Cleveland Lawyer of the Year (Land Use and Zoning Law)
    • 2016 Cleveland Lawyer of the Year (Litigation – Real Estate)
    • 2013 Cleveland Lawyer of the Year (Litigation – Real Estate)
  • Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent® Peer Rating
  • America’s Top 100 Attorneys® Lifetime Achievement
    • Land Use & Eminent Domain Litigation (Ohio)
    • Real Estate Law (Ohio)
  • International Council of Shopping Centers
  • Case Western Reserve University School of Law
    • Society of Benchers
    • Adjunct Faculty (2024)
  • Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association
    • Board of Directors
    • Real Estate and Litigation Sections
    • Legal Fee Dispute Committee
    • Real Estate Institute Planning Committee
  • American Bar Association
    • Litigation, Real Property, and Construction Law Sections
  • Ohio State Bar Association
    • Real Estate and Litigation Sections
    • Governmental Law Subcommittee, Past Chairman
    • Council of Delegates for Real Estate Law Committee
  • The William K. Thomas American Inn of Court (2017-present)
  • Akron Zoo, Co-Vice Chair, Board of Directors
    • Executive and Governance Committee
  • Akron Zoo Foundation, Chair
  • The 50 Club of Cleveland
  • YMCA of Greater Cleveland
    • Executive Board of Directors, Immediate Past Board Chair
    • Executive Committee
    • Governance Committee
    • HR Committee, Chair