Niki Z. Schwartz, the firm’s senior partner, is a summa cum laude graduate of the Ohio State University College of Law. After beginning his career as a law professor at the University of Toledo College of Law (teaching criminal law, constitutional law, civil procedure and appellate advocacy), he moved to Cleveland to engage in the private practice of law. In two different boutique litigation firms, he was mentored by the leading trial and appellate lawyers of the day.
Niki’s practice has been distinguished by its versatility, having successfully litigated a multitude of civil and criminal cases. Accordingly, he is listed in The Best Lawyers in America in an unprecedented six different categories: Commercial Litigation, Bet-The-Company Litigation, Labor & Employment Litigation, Criminal Defense: White Collar, Criminal Defense: Non-White Collar, and Mediation, being named Cleveland Lawyer of the Year for Bet-the-Company Litigation in 2009 and 2013 and for Criminal Defense: White Collar in 2012. He has been recognized as an Ohio Super Lawyer every year since the inception of the program in 2004, and for five years running was rated as one of the top ten Super Lawyers in the state of Ohio.
Niki’s trial skills and professionalism have been recognized by his election to Fellowship in the American College of Trial Lawyers in 1995 and by the Cleveland Bar Association conferring its William K. Thomas Professionalism Award on him in 2004.
Niki’s civil litigation experience includes innumerable cases in the areas of commercial litigation, employment litigation, sex abuse, legal malpractice, professional discipline, first amendment, and administration of justice. His vast criminal experience includes cases in the areas of white collar crime, public corruption, mortgage fraud, fraud and embezzlement, sex offenses, arson, homicide and gambling.
Recognition by his peers has resulted in numerous engagements representing, lawyers, courts and judges. He has also been called upon to testify as an expert witness on diverse legal professional issues.
Niki’s extensive appellate experience includes four cases in the United States Supreme Court, more than two dozen cases in the Ohio Supreme Court, and numerous cases in state and federal intermediate courts of appeal. He was asked by the Ohio Supreme Court to serve on its Rules Advisory Committee, which he did from 1993 to 1998, serving as Vice Chair in the final year of his term.
In 1992, Niki was selected as one of the original members of the United States District Court’s mediation panel. Extraordinary success in settling cases resulted in heavy demand for his services as a private mediator, in which capacity he has mediated and settled hundreds of cases in the intervening years, including controversies involving hundreds of millions of dollars in dispute. His role in facilitating the settlement of the 1993 Lucasville Prison riot resulted in Commendation by the Governor of Ohio and the Ohio House of Representatives and Distinguished Service Awards from the Cuyahoga County Bar Association and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.