Spotlight Member Firm: Thacker Robinson Zinz LPA, Cleveland and Toledo, OH

By Susan Koval, Nemeth Law, P.C., Detroit, Michigan

With primary offices in Cleveland and Toledo, Ohio, Thacker Robinson Zinz LPA has a national practice in insurance coverage litigation, litigation/discovery management, corporate and commercial litigation including trade secret protection and litigation involving the ramifications of complicated historical transactions. The firm includes experienced litigators who love what they do and share a commitment to provide world-class advocacy, counseling and responsiveness to their clients.

1. When was the firm founded and who are the firm’s founders?

TRZ was founded in 2010 by seven shareholders, six women and one man.

2. Who are the firm’s current leaders and how would you describe the firm’s culture and personality?

As of January 2016, Marguerite Zinz is President of the firm and heads TRZ’s Litigation Management practice. For almost ten years, Marguerite has led a national discovery counsel team responsible for handling all aspects of discovery in a major American tire manufacturer’s tire defect cases nationwide. Marguerite is a resident in TRZ’s Toledo office. In 2013, Marguerite presented at the NAMWOLF Annual Meeting on Best Practices for Managing Discovery in National and Multi-Forum Parallel Litigation. TRZ prides itself on a culture of collaboration and congeniality. A lot of effort has gone into integrating our Cleveland and Toledo offices so that we truly function as one seamless firm. As a group, we focus on personal and professional growth with a goal of offering our clients the best representation and counsel available. But humor and the genuine enjoyment of what we do are also critical to TRZ’s DNA.

3. What makes the Thacker Robinson Zinz team so special?

Our lawyers have earned the respect of their peers and enjoy distinguished reputations in the community. But we have traveled different paths to excellence. We include former prosecutors, public defenders, and many who were trained at some of the nation’s largest law firms. In our younger days we waited tables, tended bar, worked on assembly lines, lifeguarded, and sold insurance. Among us are graduates of the most prestigious colleges and law schools in the country and others from places of lesser renown. Our diverse perspectives and extensive experience as advocates allow us to work effectively with clients to shape strategies and positions that make sense to real people in the real world. We apply our collective talents, experiences, and achievements to find practical solutions to our clients’ problems.

4. What are the firm’s significant areas of practice?

TRZ’s Insurance Recovery and Litigation Management practices are in court nationwide. In Insurance Recovery, we represent large policyholders who must fight to get the benefit of their bargain with their insurers. Three of our shareholders have been certified by the Ohio State Bar Association as insurance specialists. Collectively, TRZ’s lawyers have recovered over $1 billion in insurance proceeds for their clients. Litigation Management handles discovery and other complex document management issues for corporations around the country. Our business and commercial litigators handle a wide range of issues. Although we are experienced trial lawyers, we also have a successful track record with dispositive motions and in negotiations. We handle matters ranging from national class actions to basic contract disputes. TRZ also has significant experience in corporate investigations. Most recently, we reviewed and analyzed issues related to the tax treatment of $1.1 billion in complex stock transactions. Publicly held companies, private for profit and non-profit entities, governmental entities and individuals all rely on TRZ to resolve their problems in an efficient and appropriate manner.

5. How did your firm become interested/involved in NAMWOLF? Why did you join?

When we opened our doors, we had ten female and three male attorneys. We knew from day one that we wanted to be part of NAMWOLF’s mission and message because it reflected who we were and who we wanted to be. We knew that being a part of a team with other firms and companies committed to transforming the world through diversity and inclusion would enrich our mission and expand our reach.

6. Why is diversity important to your firm?

Diversity and inclusion are important to TRZ for the same reason they are or should be important to everyone else. Diversity and inclusion make us better. Our diverse backgrounds and life experiences give us many different prisms through which to view the issues our clients confront. Embracing and celebrating differences in experiences and perspective makes us much more effective advocates and counselors as well as materially better human beings. While we are certified majority-women owned, we also seek diversity in other ways. TRZ’s immediate past President and named shareholder is black. We have a number of openly gay employees and have hired veterans. We come from different parts of the country and from disparate backgrounds. We believe that an environment that respects and explores these differences makes us stronger.

7. The firm has made substantial contributions to NAMWOLF since joining the organization. Please share some highlights of your activities.

TRZ has benefited from attending the Annual Meetings and Business Meetings since we joined NAMWOLF. We have been involved in multiple CLE presentations and have taken that opportunity to try to expand NAMWOLF’s exposure to new corporations. In Atlanta, we helped to put together a program focused on the ethical issues which arise in corporations and particularly with regard to corporate governance and internal investigations. We invited in-house counsel from two of our corporate clients to be a part of the panel and so introduced two new companies to NAMWOLF. We have also played integral roles in panels on parallel multi-forum discovery issues and, most recently, the Financial Services PAC’s first CLE presentation. In the summer of 2014, Joel Stern traveled to Cleveland in an effort to strengthen ties with long-term and committed corporate partners as well as to spread NAMWOLF’s message and benefits to new potential partners. We facilitated introductions between Joel and a number of Cleveland’s largest corporations. Finally and most importantly, we have referred matters to other NAMWOLF firms here in Cleveland and around the country.