Kevin Barnes, Dave Wallace, and Jill Helfman
Since its inception in 1885, Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP has become a powerful force in the Midwest, serving clients in virtually every area of law from its eight offices in five states.
In 2014 alone, the firm received Tier 1 rankings for 44 practice areas across five metropolitan locations from U.S. News – Best Lawyers
“Best Law Firms.” And of its 400 attorneys, 131 have been included in this year’s edition of The Best Lawyers in America
“For an older law firm, we’re not just resting on our laurels,” notes Kevin D. Barnes, the partner-in-charge of the firm’s Cleveland office. “We’ve continued to expand our resources, reach, and capabilities, and frankly, that’s my vision for our Cleveland location—to continue to grow here.”
And yet, while Taft has become one of the largest law firms in the region, its commitment to being a full-service firm hasn’t wavered. As Barnes explains, the firm still provides services that other large firms no longer offer, such as assisting individuals and families through its private client group.
“From the very beginning, the philosophy of the firm was to serve clients large and small; and because of that, in addition to handling typical areas like real estate, business, and finance, we handle a variety of matters that comparable firms of our size do not,” he says. “We just feel it’s the right thing to do for our clients.”
For example, in Cleveland the firm is known for its robust litigation, real estate, and venture capital and private equity practice groups; but it has also established a strong presence in the family law arena: The firm’s Cleveland-based family law attorneys, partners Jill Friedman Helfman and Carl A. Murway, are both fellows of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and have been board certified as specialists in family law by the Ohio State Bar Association. Moreover, in 2014 Helfman was selected by her peers as Best Lawyers’
Cleveland Lawyer of the Year for family law.
“I started my career at a much smaller firm, and when I moved to Taft I realized that having access to so many specialists within one firm meant I could offer my clients a broader range of expertise and experience,” Helfman says. “Whether it’s a tax, business, real estate, or retirement issue, I only have to make a phone call or walk down the hall to discuss the matter with a lawyer who focuses in the area, all while keeping the information about the client’s case confidential from the outside world.”
David H. Wallace, a partner in the Cleveland office who was named Best Lawyers’
2014 Cleveland Lawyer of the Year for intellectual property litigation, adds: “There’s no time of day or night when I can’t reach out to a partner in another office and get the help I need with a particular problem or in an area of expertise. We all work together as one team, and that ensures cases are worked up efficiently and with the highest quality of service.”
As co-chair of the firm’s litigation practice, Wallace oversees a group that handles all kinds of complex business litigation, as well as class action and white-collar criminal litigation defense. This group includes some of the most experienced trial lawyers in the region, and it is known for responding quickly and effectively to its clients’ litigation needs; indeed, the firm regularly invests in litigation technology to remain as efficient as possible.
“I take a lot of pride in the fact that we’re highly evolved in our litigation technology,” Wallace says. “By developing our electronic capabilities in-house, we have gained significant efficiencies that, in turn, have been passed on to our clients.”
Taft is above all focused on providing clients with service that meets the highest possible standards. Attorneys at the firm pride themselves on being accessible to their clients seven days a week, day and night. And they also make a point of approaching cases from their clients’ perspective, handling matters in a cost-effective, results-oriented way.
“Taft really brings something unique to the Cleveland area, in that we’re a large regional firm that offers the accessibility and commitment of a mid-size firm,” Helfman says. “We have counterparts in Cleveland that are large firms and feel like large firms, but when you come to Taft you get the best of both worlds—large firm resources with Midwestern rates and values.”