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2013 Cincy Leading Lawyers
 
 
Michael A. Hirschfeld
Corporate Law Specialty Is Just the Right Mix

As a young man Michael A. Hirschfeld couldn't decide whether to purse a career in business or law.

As it turned out, as a member of the Graydon Head & Ritchey law firm who has specialized in representing business owner-operators and entrepreneurs for 37 years, he has been able to do both.

"I've really have been able to live vicariously through my clients who are a heck of a lot of fun to work with," says Hirschfeld, who earned both a MBA and a law degree in a joint program at the University of Virginia.

Hirschfeld says he's come to appreciate the hard work and dedication of business owners and entrepreneurs.

"It's not just a job for them. It's a life commitment. It's how they'll pay for their kids' college and their own retirement. It's with them 24/7 and their work and their family lives are inextricably intertwined," he says.

Working with Entrepreneurs

As an outside counsel, he says, he can be a valuable sounding board and adviser for closely held businesses that usually don't have an in-house source for business expertise.

Hirschfeld has represented some of Cincinnati's best-known entrepreneurs. He helped former Procter & Gamble brand manager Dean Butler and his partner on the formation of LensCrafters more than two decades ago. And he worked with Tony Shipley, who left the former SDRC to launch his own software company, Entek IRD, and who later led formation of the Queen City Angels investment group.

Hirschfeld grew up appreciating the value of hard work in the small town of New Bremen, near Wapakoneta, Ohio. He started delivering newspapers and doing odd jobs around town as a 10-year-old.

He was a National Merit Scholar in high school and he put himself through Kenyon College with a combination of scholarships and college jobs.

In law school, Hirschfeld said many of his classmates talked about heading to Wall Street after graduation.

"They often said they'd work five years and then go do what they wanted to do," he says.

"I always thought why not do what you want to do first."

"Corporate Lawyer of Year"

He says he appreciates Cincinnati's combination of small-town feel and big-city amenities.

Hirschfeld gravitated to Graydon Head after working for a larger Cincinnati law firm while in college. He figured he'd get more opportunities with a smaller firm and while checking out an Enquirer article on influential lawyers in town, discovered Graydon had three on the list and no other firm had more than one.

In 2010, The Best Lawyers in America named him the "Cincinnati Corporate Lawyer of the Year."

A former chair of Graydon's executive committee, Hirschfeld represents domestic companies in their international expansion and foreign companies entering the United States.

Under his leadership, Graydon Head joined the Center for Quality of Management in 2003, took home the Ohio Governor's Excellence in Exporting Award in 2004 and, according to Corporate Board Member Magazine, was named by corporate directors of publicly traded U.S. corporations as one of Cincinnati's top five law firms three years in a row.

Hirschfeld and his wife Linda "” the two have known each other since kindergarten "” have three grown daughters.
 
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W.B. (Bill) Markovits
High-Stakes Litigator Loves to Investigate Different Hobbies

He's taken on Microsoft and Bill Gates, but he can also create a pretty wicked Halloween costume, if so desired.

W.B. (Bill) Markovits has become one of the country's leading antitrust, class-action litigators over a 30-year career based in Cincinnati. It has included stints with some of the city's most noted firms and a long association with class-action pioneer Stan Chesley.

After graduating from Harvard Law School, Markovits was accepted in a Department of Justice honors program where he sharpened his litigation skills and got a taste of being the people's lawyer working on antitrust litigation. It was a skill he has put to good use in private practice.

"I liked being on the plaintiffs' side at DOJ, being the crusader," Markovits says. "Now, I do work for both sides, because I think it's good to have both perspectives."

Markovits moved to Cincinnati in 1983 to be closer to the family of his wife, Nancy Greiwe, who is also an attorney involved in civil and business litigation. He landed at Taft, Stettinius & Hollister, later with Cummins & Brown. Markovits joined Chesley's firm in 2001.

Markovits says the case that was most satisfying is the Choice Care litigation in the late '80s that resulted in a $108 million jury verdict on behalf of a class of physicians. It was the first time antitrust and RICO statutes had been applied to an HMO.

"I came up with the antitrust and RICO theories and deposed most of the witnesses," he says. "I was a relatively young lawyer at the time. We had a very substantial jury verdict after a very long trial."

His antitrust skills resulted in other important cases such as a fraud/RICO case on behalf of Procter & Gamble that resulted in a settlement of $165 million, and an 11-year antitrust and RICO class-action case against Humana, including appeals that reached the U.S. Supreme Court before culminating in a multi-million dollar settlement.

Markovits also worked on the national class-action case against Microsoft and was chosen by the plaintiff's team to depose Gates. He admits the session was somewhat anti-climatic. Gates had already given a deposition a year earlier in which he was described as feisty and arrogant, prompting a judge to order him to do it again. Markovits says it was a kinder, gentler Gates he encountered.

"He had learned his lesson by the time I deposed him," Markovits says. "He was very pleasant and very well prepared. He was smiling a lot and careful in front of the camera."

Markovits and two former colleagues from Chesney's firm "” Christopher Stock and Paul DeMarco "” founded Markovits, Stock & DeMarco in September, specializing in complex business litigation and appellate work. The new firm immediately landed a high-profile case when the Ohio Attorney General appointed it lead attorney in a class-action suit representing Ohio's Public Employee Retirement System in securities fraud litigation against Freddie Mac for misleading investors regarding its exposure to toxic subprime mortgage loans.

But everything isn't high-stakes seriousness in the world of Markovits. When it comes times to get spooky on Halloween, who ya' gonna' call?

Markovits confesses he loved making elaborate costumes for his two children, and even though they are grown, his reputation lives. He recently crafted a creepy zombie-like papier mache mask after a neighbor requested he replicate ventriloquist Jeff Dunham's character, Achmed the Dead Terrorist.

But, Markovits laughs, his interests range wide. "My wife says I'm a serial hobbyist. In six months I'll learn magic, then take up chess, and switch to whatever."

"” RICK BIRD
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Brian Hurley
Litigation and Advocacy Help Commitment to Vulnerable

When he taught trial practice at the law schools of the University of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky University, Brian Hurley told students at the start of every course, "We're problem solvers, not problem makers.

"It's important to litigate, it's important to advocate, it's important to take your client's position and do it well.

"But at the same time you shouldn't exacerbate the problem; you should be trying to solve it," says Hurley, managing partner at Crabbe, Brown & James' Cincinnati office.

Solving problems is the theme Hurley, who specializes in litigation, returns to several times when talking about his career.

When he found he hated law school "with a passion," he earned a master's degree in Soviet history at the same time to keep it interesting.

When he wanted to explore work beyond the walls of a big firm, he joined the prosecutor's office.

When he needed what he calls his "coaching fix," he volunteered to teach basketball to inner-city kids.

When his sister Mary, a lay minister, brought home the stories of the tremendous need in Haiti, he raised money to build homes and a school. Then he traveled to the Caribbean country to help in an orphanage.

"To me, as a lawyer, the best job 

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