216.458.5880

vasvari@vasvarilaw.com

Small. Smart. Sophisticated.

Our partners have a rich history of complex practice.

Over nearly thirty years, we have represented judges, lawyers, elected officials, doctors, nurses, candidates for office, small businesses, non-profits, entrepreneurs, clergy, activists, entertainers, reporters, authors, employees, homeowners, teachers and more..

Along the way, we have helped to change the law for the better, setting significant precedents in federal and state court, all in service to our clients, one case at a time.

We are used to representing the underdog. It makes us creative, resourceful and determined. We may be small, but we punch above our weight.

We Can Help.


Who We Are

Case Western Reserve University School of Law  | J.D. 1991

Activities & Honors 

Distinguished Recent Graduate Award, 2001

Dean Dunmore Distinguished Advocate Award, 1991

A.E. Berstein Award for Oral Advocacy, 1991

Order of the Barristers, 1991

Chairman, Moot Court Board, 1989-90

 

Harvard College, Cambridge Massachusetts  | A.B. cum laude in Government, 1987

Activities & Honors 

Dean's List. 1985, 1986, 1987

National Vice President, American Parliamentary Debate Association, 1986-87

Vice President, Harvard Speech & Parliamentary Debate Society, 1985-86

Representative, Harvard Undergraduate Council, 1983-84

Greenman Debating Medal, 1985, 1986, 1987

Coolidge Debating Prize, 1986

National Debating Championship, 2d Place, 1987

National Speaker of the Year, 2d Place, 1986, 1987 

Vasvari & Zimmerman | Partner | 2014-Present

I engage in all aspects of litigation and appellate practice in state and federal courts. Represent authors in defamation defense cases and media access cases, candidates for public office in contested election matters, public officials in wrongful termination proceedings, professionals and judicial officers in disciplinary, licensure and employment matters, plaintiffs and defendants in commercial, tort and civil rights litigation, public and private sector employees in workplace disputes, property owners, in land use disputes students and teachers in education related disputes and litigants facing complex issues and seeking new counsel on appeal.

 

Law Offices of Raymond Vasvari | Attorney | 2014-15

As stated above.

 

Berkman, Gordon, Murray & DeVan | Partner • 2010-14 | Associate • 2003-10

Engaged in all aspects of a nationwide litigation practice at a small and well-respected law firm. Represented clients in First Amendment and other constitutional challenges to federal, state and local laws restricting expressive activity in a wide variety of contexts. Defended newspapers, bloggers and authors against claims of defamation. Litigated Section 1983 cases against municipalities and other state actors in cases involving land use, free expression, and excessive force. Represented political candidates, including sitting judges, in cases involving restrictions on campaign speech. Defended businesses sued for violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Drafted contracts for entertainment businesses with unique requirements. Litigated claims of sexual harassment. Negotiated industry-wide music licensing agreements with performance rights managements organizations, litigated wrongful death and other medical malpractice claims to successful settlements, and engaged in a variety of general litigation cases involving torts, workplace rights and commercial disputes.

 

American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio | State Legal Director | 1999- 2003

Directed the statewide legal program of the ACLU in Ohio. Recruited, trained and supervised volunteer attorneys, legal staff, and student interns. Selected cases for development and litigation. Developed and implemented case-specific and statewide legal strategies. Managed and actively participated in the litigation of every ACLU case filed in Ohio. Successfully litigated novel First Amendment, Ninth Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment, Prison Litigation Reform Act, Voting Rights Act, Family Educational Right to Privacy Act, and defamation defense cases throughout Ohio. Litigated landmark First Amendment challenge to restrictions on the publication and technical discussion of encryption software. Developed content for and delivered public education programs. Frequently represented the ACLU in the national and international media.

 

Law Offices of Raymond Vasvari | Attorney | 1993-98

Sole practitioner with a general litigation practice focused on civil rights and workplace discrimination cases in the state and federal courts. Won cases of first impression in the Ohio Supreme Court with unanimous panel decisions involving the rights of counter-demonstrators and of workplace discrimination plaintiffs.

 

VanTassel, Weller & Moran | Associate | 1992

Associate in short-lived boutique litigation firm focused on the defense of food processors against consumer liability claims.

 

Ulmer & Berne | Associate | 1991-92

Associate in the litigation department of a large law firm with a departmental practice focused on insurance defense and subrogation, and commercial disputes.

Notable Cases & Precedents 

 

Civil rights litigation is a field in which success is measured not only in the results obtained for individual clients, but in reported decisions that help to expand the legal protections we all enjoy. 

 

For over twenty-five years, Ray Vasvari has helped to push the envelope in a number of areas. The novelty and complexity of the decisions below speak both to his abilities and his lifelong commitment to civil rights.

 

Wilkinson v. Austin545 U.S. 209 (2005) (sustaining in part judgment finding a liberty interest in contesting the system by which a state maximum-security prison segregated inmates for long term isolation. On brief in the Supreme Court. Active in multi-week trial and in appellate briefing).

 

Lavin v. Husted, 689 F.3d 543 (6th Cir. 2012) (invalidated Ohio campaign contribution rules barring Medicaid providers from contributing to certain candidates for public office).

 

Abilene Retail No. 30, Inc. v. Dickinson County, Kansas, 492 F.3d 1164 (10th Cir. 2007) (one of a handful of cases invalidating a local adult-use ordinance based on flaws in its legislative record, affirmed en banc).

 

Conchatta v. Miller, 458 F.3d 258 (3d Cir. 2006) (invalidating Pennsylvania state liquor statute and regulation as unconstitutionally overbroad).

 

American Civil Liberties Union v. Taft, 385 F.3d 641 (6th Cir. 2004) (holding that governor violated Art. 1 §2 of U.S. Constitution by failing to call a special election after the expulsion of a Congressman).

 

United Church of Christ v. Gateway Economic Development Corp., 383 F.3d 449 (6th Cir. 2004) (holding that nominally private sidewalks surrounding a major-league baseball stadium were a public forum for First Amendment purposes).

 

Johnson v. Cincinnati, 310 F.3d 484 (6th Cir. 2002) (invalidating a municipal policy of banishing criminals from certain neighborhoods as violating the right to intra-state travel).

 

Junger v. Daley,209 F.3d 481 (6th Cir. 2000) (seminal case upholding right of professor to publish academic materials containing encryption source code, and holding that computer languages are forms of literary expression protected by the First Amendment).

 

Carolina Pride, Inc. v. McMaster, 654 F.Supp.2d 406 (D.S.C. 2009) (invalidating South Carolina restrictions on highway advertising as overbroad under the First Amendment).

 

Abilene Retail No. 30, Inc. v. Six, 641 F.Supp.2d 1186 (D.Kan. 2009) (invalidating Kansas highway advertising restrictions as overbroad under the First Amendment).

 

City of Cleveland v. Nation of Islam,922 F.Supp. 56 (N.D.Ohio 1995) (finding city violated First Amendment rights of Louis Farrakhan by refusing to let him lease a public auditorium).

 

State ex rel. Morris v. Stark Cty. Bd. of Elections, 143 Ohio St. 3d 507, 39 N.E.3d 1232 (2015) (successfully defended the right of former Democrat to run, successfully, as Independent for mayor of Canton, Ohio).

 

In re Judicial Campaign Complaint Against O'Toole, 141 Ohio St. 3d 355, 24 N.E.3d 1114 (2014) (invalidated portions of Ohio Code of Judicial Conduct limiting campaign speech).

 

Rice v. Certainteed Corp., 84 Ohio St.3d 417 (1999) (established the right to punitive damages under Ohio employment anti-discrimination statutes).

 

Seven Hills v. Aryan Nations, 76 Ohio St.3d 304 (1996) (established the First Amendment right of counter-demonstrators to appear in the same forum and at the same time as their adversaries).

 

State v. Dalton, 152 Ohio App.3d 266 (Franklin App. 2003)(reversed on ineffective assistance grounds the sentence of a sex offender convicted solely for writing fictional accounts of sexual abuse in a case which garnered global media coverage).

Teaching Experience

 

Case Western Reserve University School of Law | Adjunct Professor, 1996-2002

Taught Appellate Advocacy to second and third year students, and an Advanced First Amendment Seminar

to third year students, both in small group settings.

Cleveland Marshall College of Law | Lecturer, 1998

Taught First Amendment Law in a lecture setting.

 

Selected Publications

 

  • Kevin Francis O'Neill & Raymond Vasvari, Counter–Demonstration as Protected Speech: Finding the Right to Confrontation in Existing First Amendment Law, 23 HASTINGS CONST. L.Q. 77, 78 (1995)
  • Can You Carry a Gun Into a Polling Place? • Slate, October 21, 2016 (with Dahlia Lithwick)
  • The G.O.P.’s War Against Facts • Slate, July 23, 2012 (with Dahlia Lithwick)
  • Wait, Who Gets to Skip Airport Security? • Slate, July 12, 2012 (with Randy Cohen)
  • You Can’t Occupy This • Slate, March 19, 2012 (with Dahlia Lithwick)
  • Occupying the First Amendment • Slate, November 15, 2011

 

Recent Presentations

  • Street Demonstration from the Red Scare to the National Security State, John M. Manos
  • Inn of Court, Cleveland, October 18, 2016
  • Privacy and the Law in the Age of Mass Surveillance (3.0 Hour CLE, Presented by
  • Berkman, Gordon, Murray & DeVan, Cleveland, December 20, 2013)
  • Counseling Online Clients: An Overview for the General Practitioner (2.0 Hour CLE,
  • Presented for the Mahoning County Bar Association, Youngstown, July 19, 2013)

 

Noteworthy Media Appearances 

Coming Soon 

Memberships & Offices

Federal Bar Association | Member • 2017 – Present

John M. Manos Inn of Court | Member • 2106 – Present

Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association | Member • 1996 – Present

  • Chair, Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law | 1998
  • Vice Chair, Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law | 1997

First Amendment Lawyers Association | Member • 2003–2014

American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio | State Board of Directors | 1998–1999

Fairmount Presbyterian Church | Trustee • 1995–1997

My practice includes ethics, business and administrative law, transactional work, and litigation.  I have a special interest in professional license representation for Ohio based professionals. I frequently consult with lawyers regarding ethics, disciplinary and admissions questions.

Case Western Reserve University School of Law | J.D. 1992

Activities & Honors 

  • Order of the Barristers,
  • Moot Court Program, Executive Director and Competition Semifinalist;
  • Dean's (writing) Tutor;
  • Student Public Interest Law Fellowship Board,
  • Francis H. Beam Scholarship (nearly full tuition for 3 years).

 

Miami University | B.A. cum laude with University & Departmental Honors 1988

Activities & Honors 

  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • President's & Dean's Lists
  • University Honors Program,
  • Member of Faculty Advisory Committee (reviewing faculty proposals for honors courses),
  • Honors Student Board Member (programming), and
  • Senior Project Committee Chair (introducing honors students to new requirements for senior capstone project);
  • Undergraduate Fellowship (assisted Department Chairman with revamping requirements for major);
  • John D. Millet Scholarship; Center for Community Involvement (visited nursing home resident weekly);
  • Freshman Honors.

 

Glasgow University | 1986

Studied English Literature and Philosoophy as part of Semester Abroad

Cleveland Marshall College of Law | Adjunct Assistant Professor | 2003

Taught substantive three semester hour course on Professional Responsibility.

 

Case Western Reserve University School of Law | Adjunct Assistant Professor | 1998–2001

Taught substantive three semester hour course on Professional Responsibility. 

 

Professional Education  | 1995 - present

Dozens of Speaking Engagements and Presentations  on Attorney Ethics and Professional Responsibility

Vasvari & Zimmerman | Partner | 2015-Present

My practice includes ethics, business and administrative law, transactional work, and litigation.  I have a special interest in professional license representation for Ohio based professionals.  I frequently consult with lawyers on ethics questions and regarding disciplinary and admissions matters.

 

Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association | General Counsel | 1995-2015

General Counsel to a major metropolitan bar association with over 5,000 members.

 

Served as Legal Advisor working in conjunction with volunteers to serve the profession, courts, and community with primary work in the area of legal ethics and discipline.

 

Corporate responsibilities including compliance issues, insurance review, pension and labor work, contract review and negotiation as well as corporate work for 501(c)(6) Association, 501(c)(3) Foundation and captive for-profit insurance agency.   

 

Managerial responsibilities including supervising several employees and advising Executive Director and other department managers on labor questions and employee evaluations, including promotions and terminations. 

 

Financial responsibilities including departmental and program budgeting, supervising preparation of detailed requests to Supreme Court for ethics reimbursement, including costs for overhead, personnel, and direct expenses.

 

Committee responsibilities including working with volunteers on professionalism and disciplinary projects, counseling lawyers on ethics questions, and providing legal advice to volunteers regarding Supreme Court rules governing the practice of law.

 

Service included acting as General Counsel to the predecessor entity, the Cleveland Bar Association.

 

McDonald Hopkins Burke & Haber Co., L.P.A. | Attorney | 1992-95

 

Practice concentrated in health care law, representing providers in regulatory, managed care, and corporate matters. Experience includes: consulting on Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement questions, audit defense, fraud and abuse analyses, preparation and review of employment and managed care agreements, including credentialing statements, participating provider agreements, incorporation documents and state insurance filings, tax-exemption matters, and employee benefits.

 

Ohio Humanities Council | Trustee • Executive Committee • Committee Chair | 1997-2001

Gubernatorial appointee to re-grant agency for the National Endowment for the Humanities, including reviewing grant requests from Ohio nonprofit organizations and promoting quality humanities programs in Ohio libraries, schools and in other community venues and organizations.

 

Ohio Supreme Court Task Forces | Member | 1999

Ohio Lawyers Assistance Program Mental Health Task Force reviewing potential for the expansion of substance abuse assistance program for attorneys to include mental health services.

 

Unauthorized Practice of Law Task Force reviewing areas conducive to cooperative efforts with other counties and Ohio Attorney General’s office.

 

Fairmount Presbyterian Church | Trustee • Deacon • Teacher | 1996-Present

 

Served in various capacities including as a Trustee, Deacon, Church School Teacher and Youth Advisor on a Foreign Mission Trip to the Dominican Republic.

 

Greater Cleveland Community Shares | Trustee | 1994-97

 

Served on the Major Gifts Campaign and Development Committee of a local fund-raising coalition comprised of over twenty non-profit organizations.

 

Who We Are

We are a small Cleveland law firm whose partners have a long history of sophisticated practice. We offer business and individual clients the benefits of that experience together with the advantages of hiring a smaller firm. Scroll through the slides below to learn where we have been and what we have done, and how we can offer first rate work at competitive rates.

Raymond V. Vasvari, Jr.

My practice focuses on litigation, with a special emphasis on First Amendment and Constitutional cases, civil rights and defamation. I have handled a wide variety of complex cases for individuals, businesses and associations, including novel cases of first impression.

K. Ann Zimmerman

My practice includes ethics, business and administrative law, transactional work, and litigation.  I have a special interest in professional license representation for Ohio based professionals. I frequently consult with lawyers on ethics questions and regarding disciplinary and admissions matters.

Raymond V. Vasvari, Jr.

Vasvari & Zimmerman | Partner | 2014-Present

I engage in all aspects of litigation and appellate practice in state and federal courts. Represent authors in defamation defense cases and media access cases, candidates for public office in contested election matters, public officials in wrongful termination proceedings, professionals and judicial officers in disciplinary, licensure and employment matters, plaintiffs and defendants in commercial, tort and civil rights litigation, public and private sector employees in workplace disputes, property owners in land use matters, students and teachers in education related disputes and litigants facing complex issues and seeking new counsel on appeal.

 

Law Offices of Raymond Vasvari | Attorney | 2014-15

As stated above.

 

Berkman, Gordon, Murray & DeVan | Partner • 2010-14 | Associate • 2003-10

Engaged in all aspects of a nationwide litigation practice at a small and well-respected law firm. Represented clients in First Amendment and other constitutional challenges to federal, state and local laws restricting expressive activity in a wide variety of contexts. Defended newspapers, bloggers and authors against claims of defamation. Litigated Section 1983 cases against municipalities and other state actors in cases involving land use, free expression, and excessive force. Represented political candidates, including sitting judges, in cases involving restrictions on campaign speech. Defended businesses sued for violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Drafted contracts for entertainment businesses with unique requirements. Litigated claims of sexual harassment. Negotiated industry-wide licensing agreements with performance rights managements agencies, litigated wrongful death and other medical malpractice claims to successful settlements, and engaged in a variety of general litigation cases involving torts, workplace rights and commercial disputes.

 

American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio | State Legal Director | 1999- 2003

Directed the statewide legal program of the ACLU in Ohio. Recruited, trained and supervised volunteer attorneys, legal staff, and student interns. Selected cases for development and litigation. Developed and implemented case-specific and statewide legal strategies. Managed and actively participated in the litigation of every ACLU case filed in Ohio. Successfully litigated novel First Amendment, Ninth Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment, Prison Litigation Reform Act, Voting Rights Act, Family Educational Right to Privacy Act, and defamation defense cases throughout Ohio. Litigated landmark First Amendment challenge to restrictions on the publication and technical discussion of encryption software. Developed content for and delivered public education programs. Frequently represented the ACLU in the national and international media.

 

Law Offices of Raymond Vasvari | Attorney | 1993-98

Sole practitioner with a general litigation practice focused on civil rights and workplace discrimination cases in the state and federal courts. Won cases of first impression in the Ohio Supreme Court with unanimous panel decisions involving the rights of counter-demonstrators and of workplace discrimination plaintiffs.

 

VanTassel, Weller & Moran | Associate | 1992

Associate in short-lived boutique litigation firm focused on the defense of food processors against consumer liability claims.

 

Ulmer & Berne | Associate | 1991-92

Associate in the litigation department of a large law firm with a departmental practice focused on insurance defense and subrogation, and commercial disputes.

Case Western Reserve University School of Law  | J.D. 1991

Activities & Honors 

  • Distinguished Recent Graduate Award, 2001
  • Dean Dunmore Distinguished Advocate Award, 1991
  • A.E. Berstein Award for Oral Advocacy, 1991
  • Order of the Barristers, 1991
  • Chairman, Moot Court Board, 1989-90

 

Harvard College, Cambridge Massachusetts  | A.B. cum laude in Government, 1987

Activities & Honors 

  • Dean's List. 1985, 1986, 1987
  • National Vice President, American Parliamentary Debate Association, 1986-87
  • Vice President, Harvard Speech & Parliamentary Debate Society, 1985-86
  • Representative, Harvard Undergraduate Council, 1983-84
  • Greenman Debating Medal, 1985, 1986, 1987
  • Coolidge Debating Prize, 1986
  • National Debating Championship, 2d Place, 1987
  • National Speaker of the Year, 2d Place, 1986, 1987 

Notable Cases & Precedents 

 

Civil rights litigation is field in which success is measured not only in the results obtained for individual cleints, but in reported decisions that help to expand the legl protections we all enjoy. For over twenty-five years, Ray Vasvari has helped to push the envelope in a number of areas. The novelty and complexity of the decisions below speak both to his abilities and his lifelong commitmentto civil rights.

Wilkinson v. Austin545 U.S. 209 (2005) (sustaining in part judgment finding a liberty interest in contesting the system by which a state maximum-security prison segregated inmates for long term isolation. On brief in the Supreme Court. Active in multi-week trial and in appellate briefing).

 

Lavin v. Husted, 689 F.3d 543 (6th Cir. 2012) (invalidated Ohio campaign contribution rules barring Medicaid providers from contributing to certain candidates for public office).

 

Abilene Retail No. 30, Inc. v. Dickinson County, Kansas, 492 F.3d 1164 (10th Cir. 2007)(one of a handful of cases invalidating a local adult-use ordinance based on flaws in its legislative record).

 

Conchatta v. Miller, 458 F.3d 258 (3d Cir. 2006) (invalidating Pennsylvania state liquor statute and regulation as unconstitutionally overbroad).

 

American Civil Liberties Union v. Taft, 385 F.3d 641 (6th Cir. 2004) (holding that governor violated Art. 1 §2 of U.S. Constitution by failing to call a special election after the expulsion of a Congressman).

 

United Church of Christ v. Gateway Economic Development Corp., 383 F.3d 449 (6th Cir. 2004) (holding that nominally private sidewalks surrounding a major-league baseball stadium were public forum for First Amendment purposes).

 

Johnson v. Cincinnati, 310 F.3d 484 (6th Cir. 2002) (invalidating a municipal policy of banishing criminals from certain neighborhoods as violating the right to intra-state travel).

 

Junger v. Daley,209 F.3d 481 (6th Cir. 2000) (seminal case upholding right of professor to publish academic materials containing encryption source code, and holding that computer languages are forms of literary expression protected by the First Amendment).

 

Carolina Pride, Inc. v. McMaster, 654 F.Supp.2d 406 (D.S.C. 2009) (invalidating South Carolina restrictions on highway advertising as over broad under the First Amendment).

 

Abilene Retail No. 30, Inc. v. Six, 641 F.Supp.2d 1186 (D.Kan. 2009) (invalidating Kansas highway advertising restrictions as overbroad under the First Amendment).

 

City of Cleveland v. Nation of Islam,922 F.Supp. 56 (N.D.Ohio 1995) (finding city violated First Amendment rights of Louis Farrakhan by refusing to let him lease public auditorium).

 

State ex rel. Morris v. Stark Cty. Bd. of Elections, 143 Ohio St. 3d 507, 39 N.E.3d 1232 (2015) (successfully defended right of former Democrat to run, successfully, as Independent for mayor of Canton).

 

In re Judicial Campaign Complaint Against O'Toole, 141 Ohio St. 3d 355, 24 N.E.3d 1114 (2014) (invalidated portions of Ohio Code of Judicial Conduct limiting campaign speech).

 

Rice v. Certainteed Corp., 84 Ohio St.3d 417 (1999) (established the right to punitive damages under Ohio employment anti-discrimination statutes).

 

Seven Hills v. Aryan Nations, 76 Ohio St.3d 304 (1996) (established the First Amendment right of counter-demonstrators to appear in the same forum and at the same time as their adversaries).

 

State v. Dalton, 152 Ohio App.3d 266 (Franklin App. 2003)(reversed on ineffective assistance grounds the sentence of a sex offender convicted solely for writing fictional accounts of sexual abuse in a case which garnered global media coverage).

Memberships & Offices

Federal Bar Association | Member • 2017 – Present

 

John M. Manos Inn of Court | Member • 2106 – Present

 

Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association | Member • 1996 – Present

  • Chair, Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law | 1998
  • Vice Chair, Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law | 1997

 

First Amendment Lawyers Association | Member • 2003–2014

 

American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio | State Board of Directors | 1998–1999

 

Fairmount Presbyterian Church | Trustee • 1995–1997

Teaching Experience

 

Case Western Reserve University School of Law | Adjunct Professor, 1996-2002

 

Taught Appellate Advocacy to second and third year students, and an Advanced First Amendment Seminar

to third year students, both in small group settings.

 

Cleveland Marshall College of Law | Lecturer, 1998

 

Taught First Amendment Law in a lecture setting.

 

Selected Publications

 

  • Kevin Francis O'Neill & Raymond Vasvari, Counter–Demonstration as Protected Speech: Finding the Right to Confrontation in Existing First Amendment Law, 23 HASTINGS CONST. L.Q. 77, 78 (1995)

 

  • Can You Carry a Gun Into a Polling Place? • Slate, October 21, 2016 (with Dahlia Lithwick)

 

  • The G.O.P.’s War Against Facts • Slate, July 23, 2012 (with Dahlia Lithwick)

 

  • Wait, Who Gets to Skip Airport Security? • Slate, July 12, 2012 (with Randy Cohen)

 

  • You Can’t Occupy This • Slate, March 19, 2012 (with Dahlia Lithwick)

 

  • Occupying the First Amendment • Slate, November 15, 2011

 

Recent Presentations

  • Street Demonstration from the Red Scare to the National Security State, John M. Manos Inn of Court, Cleveland, October 18, 2016

 

  • Privacy and the Law in the Age of Mass Surveillance (3.0 Hour CLE, Presented by
  • Berkman, Gordon, Murray & DeVan, Cleveland, December 20, 2013)

 

  • Counseling Online Clients: An Overview for the General Practitioner (2.0 Hour CLE, Presented for the Mahoning County Bar Association, Youngstown, July 19, 2013)

 

Noteworthy Media Appearances 

Coming Soon 

K. Ann Zimmerman

Vasvari & Zimmerman | Partner | 2015-Present

My practice includes ethics, business and administrative law, transactional work, and litigation.  I have a special interest in professional license representation for Ohio based professionals.  I frequently consult with lawyers about ethics questions and disciplinary and admissions matters.

 

Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association | General Counsel | 1995-2015

General Counsel to a Major Metropoloitan Bar Association with Over 5,000 Members

Served as Legal Advisor working in conjunction with volunteers to serve the profession, courts, and community with primary work in the area of legal ethics and discipline.

 

Corporate responsibilities include compliance issues, insurance review, pension and labor work, contract review and negotiation as well as corporate work for 501(c)(6) Association, 501(c)(3) Foundation and captive for-profit insurance agency.   

 

Managerial responsibilities include supervising several employees and advising Executive Director and other department managers on labor questions and employee evaluations, including promotions and terminations. 

 

Financial responsibilities include departmental and program budgeting, supervising preparation of detailed requests to Supreme Court for ethics reimbursement, including costs for overhead, personnel, and direct expenses.

 

Committee responsibilities include working with volunteers on professionalism and disciplinary projects, counseling lawyers on ethics questions, and providing legal advice to volunteers regarding Supreme Court rules governing the practice of law.

 

Service includes acting as General Counsel to the predecessor entity, the Cleveland Bar Association.

 

McDonald Hopkins Burke & Haber Co., L.P.A. | Attorney | 1992-95

Practice concentrated in health care law, representing providers in regulatory, managed care, and corporate matters.  Experience includes: consulting on Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement questions, audit defense, fraud and abuse analyses, preparation and review of employment and managed care agreements, including credentialing statements, participating provider agreements, incorporation documents and state insurance filings, tax-exemption matters, and employee benefits.

 

Case Western Reserve University School of Law | J.D. 1992

Activities & Honors 

  • Order of the Barristers,
  • Moot Court Program, Executive Director and Competition Semifinalist;
  • Dean's (writing) Tutor;
  • Student Public Interest Law Fellowship Board,
  • Francis H. Beam Scholarship (nearly full tuition for 3 years).

 

Miami University | B.A. cum laude with University & Departmental Honors 1988

Activities & Honors 

  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • President's & Dean's Lists
  • University Honors Program,
  • Member of Faculty Advisory Committee (reviewing faculty proposals for honors courses),
  • Honors Student Board Member (programming), and
  • Senior Project Committee Chair (introducing honors students to new requirements for senior capstone project);
  • Undergraduate Fellowship (assisted Department Chairman with revamping requirements for major);
  • John D. Millet Scholarship; Center for Community Involvement (visited nursing home resident weekly);
  • Freshman Honors.

 

Glasgow University | 1986

Studied English Literature and Philosoophy as part of Semester Abroad

Cleveland Marshall College of Law | Adjunct Assistant Professor | 2003

Taught substantive three semester hour course on Professional Responsibility.

 

Case Western Reserve University School of Law | Adjunct Assistant Professor | 1998–2001

Taught substantive three semester hour course on Professional Responsibility. 

 

Professional Education  | 1995 - present

Taught Dozens of  Speaking Engagements and Presentations  on Attorney Ethics and Professional Respionsibility

Ohio Humanities Council | Trustee • Executive Committee • Committee Chair | 1997-2001

Gubernatorial appointee to re-grant agency for the National Endowment for the Humanities, including reviewing grant requests from Ohio nonprofit organizations and promoting quality humanities programs in Ohio libraries, schools and in other community venues and organizations.

 

Ohio Supreme Court Task Forces | Member | 1999

Ohio Lawyers Assistance Program Mental Health Task Force reviewing potential for the expansion of substance abuse assistance program for attorneys to include mental health services.

Unauthorized Practice of Law Task Force reviewing areas conducive to cooperative efforts with other counties and Ohio Attorney General’s office.

 

Fairmount Presbyterian Church | Trustee • Deacon • Teacher | 1996-Present

Served in various capacities including as a Trustee, Deacon, Church School Teacher and Youth Advisor on a Foreign Mission Trip to the Dominican Republic.

 

Greater Cleveland Community Shares | Trustee | 1994-97

Served on the Major Gifts Campaign and Development Committee of a local fund-raising coalition comprised of over twenty non-profit organizations.

 


What We Do

We don’t do everything. But we do quite a few things well. Listed below are some of the practice areas in which we have the most experience. If your matter involves litigation of any sort, call us. If we can’t help, we can recommend trusted colleagues who probably can.

  • Litigation    
  • Attorney Ethics
  • Free Expression    
  • Civil Rights
  • Licensing    
  • Defamation    
  • Non Profit
  • School Law    
  • Land Use
  • Public Offices
Litigation    

Litigation

Popular culture focuses on courtroom drama, but most lawsuits are resolved by research, analysis and brief writing well before trial.

Ray Vasvari has litigated cases ranging from minor contract disputes to precedent setting constitutional contests in state and federal courts across the country, and numerous state and federal appeals as well. He has won four unanimous victories in the Ohio Supreme Court.

Too many lawyers boast about aggression, a fine quality in a guard dog, but not the most effective skill in a game of wits. Experience, native intelligence, diligence and preparedness are the qualities on which we rely to put your case on its best footing. We have done some complicated work and achieved some impressive results. Call Us.

Attorney Ethics

Legal Ethics

Many lawyers will, in the course of a career, have their actions contested by a client or an opponent on ethical grounds, or find themselves in situations which present ethical dilemmas that call for seasoned, solid advice.

Ethical inquiries can affect your license and, just as important, your reputation.

With more than twenty years experience investigating, prosecuting and defending cases involving attorney misconduct and bar admissions, Ann Zimmerman has the insight to help you when it matters most.

Free Expression    

First Amendment

Few areas of the law engender the sort of passion and controversy that surround the First Amendment. Speech and religion are core liberties, and the law surrounding them is vast, subtle, and complex.

Ray Vasvari has litigated dozens of First Amendment cases, involving the speech and religion clauses, both as the Ohio Legal Director of the ACLU (1998-2003) and in private practice. He has the insight and experience to navigate the complexities of constitutional litigation.

Authors, bloggers, podcasters, political commentators, demonstrators, newspapers and others have relied on us to protect their right to freedom of expression, and religious liberty. We can help you too.

Civil Rights

Civil Rights

The rights enshrined in the Constitution and laws of the United States guarantee equality and dignity before the law to every person, regardless of age, race, gender, religion, disability, national origin or, increasingly, sexual orientation.

The fight for freedom has been long, and for many Americans, is far from over. Liberty and equality are just words unless government officials are compelled to abide by them. Too often, it takes the intervention of the courts to ensure fair play.

We have the experience in constitutional and civil rights cases to help defend your rights.

Licensing    

Professional Licensing

For twenty years, partner Ann Zimmerman was deeply engaged in the admission, discipline and disbarment of lawyers in Cleveland. She has an intuitive understanding of how licensing and regulatory boards work, and how professional admissions and discipline are handled by the many state agencies charged with their oversight.

We have helped attorneys, physicians, nurses, realtors and other professionals apply for, obtain, and defend their licenses before state boards and agencies. We can help you navigate the process of obtaining and defending your license.

Defamation    

Defamation

Defamation – libel and slander – is an increasingly common cause for litigation. The rise of the internet has multiplied exponentially the number of forums in which to criticize others, and leave an indelible record of having done so. Honest criticism and legitimate matters of opinion can today, more than ever, land you in court.

Ray Vasvari has represented print authors, bloggers, editorial writers and others in the media defend against defamation suits – a subject which draws heavily upon his decades of First Amendment experience.

If you have been sued for defamation, or if your own reputation has been injured by false statements, you need experienced counsel who understand the nuances and the constitutional questions that govern defamation suits in Ohio and nationwide.

Non Profit

Non Profit Law

Between them, our partners spent twenty-five years as in-house counsel to major non-profit associations. In addition, they have served on the boards of non-profit corporations, as trustees of their church, and as a gubernatorial appointed member of a state humanities agency.

Partner Ann Zimmerman gained a wealth of experience in twenty years as General Counsel to the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association & Foundation. She has extensive experience relating to non-profit board governance, staff and fiscal management, bylaws and policies, member and donor relations, and in the creation, and dissolution of non-profit corporations.

We understand the non-profit world because we have been an active part of it, and are likely to have the experience you need when your non-profit agency needs legal guidance.

School Law    

School Law

Disputes arising in an educational setting are almost always emotionally charged, and can quickly become complex. Students, parents, teachers, and administrators often have divergent interests, and their rights and obligations are governed by a wide range of local, state and federal rules.

State and federal laws, administrative regulations, Constitutional requirements, local rules, contracts and case law can combine –and not always clearly – to shape results in many cases. What is more, educational disputes often move on a fast procedural track.

We have represented students in cases involving discipline, civil rights, and disabilities, teachers and professors in employment disputes, citizens against school administrators in constitutional cases and school board members in various contexts.

Land Use

Zoning & Land Use

Real property, whether commercial or residential, can often be the largest asset that you own. Maximizing the enjoyment and use of your property, however, too frequently means dealing with obstacles – and lawyers.

Zoning and other land use restrictions, code violations, homeowners associations, and difficult neighbors can make property ownership a problem to be solved as much as an asset to be enjoyed.

We have helped clients – both homeowners and businesses – in these sorts of disputes, and chances are that we can help you too.

Public Offices

Elections & Public Officials

Legal disputes involving elected officials can start before they enter office and persist long after they are gone.

We have been involved in a variety of cases involving the election, recall or misconduct of public officials. We secured ballot access for the Independent mayor of a major Ohio city, sued to force the recall of a controversial school board president, challenged the governor when he refused to call a special election to replace an ousted congressman (the fourth such case in U.S. history – we won), assisted with voter protection efforts in the 2004 general election, defended elected officials in ethics inquiries, and more.

Eclectic and fact specific, these can be complex cases. Our skills in litigation and our deep familiarity with constitutional cases help us get up to speed fast in disputes which are often resolved on accelerated schedules.


From Our Colleagues

A very fine lawyer and a credit to our profession. Whether I am working with him or against him, I know they I will be dealing with an excellent lawyer with a strong sense of right and wrong and a great deal of professionalism.

Martindale Hubbell, Confidential Peer Review, 2014

From Our Colleagues

While I am proud to call Ray my friend, I am also proud of the outstanding legal representation that he provided to me and my family in recent complex real estate litigation.

Mark Kindt, Attorney • Lakewood, Ohio

From Our Colleagues

I have known Ann Zimmerman for years, since her days as bar counsel, and as a law-firm managing partner, have consulted with her on legal-professional matters including legal-ethics and attorney bar-admission issues. Her experience and knowledge positions her well to help resolve complex legal and ethical issues promptly and efficiently.

Subodh Chandra, Managing Partner, The Chandra Law Firm

From Our Colleagues

I’ve had the privilege of working and consulting with Ray Vasvari on various civil-rights matters over the years. He is a distinguished lawyer and first-rate legal writer who, as former legal director for the ACLU of Ohio, has the depth of experience and knowledge of civil-rights, First Amendment, constitutional, and defamation matters to be an effective and tenacious advocate for his clients. He has experience with difficult and complex cases—and the perseverance to win.

Subodh Chandra, Managing Partner, The Chandra Law Firm

From Our Colleagues

Ann has been my go-to expert and adviser on matters of professional ethics and licensure for more than twenty years. As volunteer trial counsel to the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, I worked with her on many grievance matters over the years and have always known her to be smart, focused, knowledgeable and well-prepared. Since she entered private practice, I routinely refer clients to her, confident that they will be in the hands of a skilled legal adviser and zealous but caring advocate. Ann is well-respected in the legal community, has excellent communication skills and is always a pleasure to work with. I highly recommend her. 

Cathleen Bolek, Partner, Bolek Besser & Glecius


What We Add

With more than 10,000 lawyers in Greater Cleveland, you will find good counsel, if you search carefully and well. In many cases we can offer exceptional value, delivering first quality representation with the sort of economy, agility and client service that only a small firm can offer. We are not right for everyone, but as you search for counsel, consider the benefits of hiring small, smart and sophisticated.

Small

There are no Fortune 500 CEOs in our waiting room. To us, every client is a major client, and can expect to be treated that way. When you hire us, you deal with us, one-on-one, without associates, paralegals or other gatekeepers running interference. Our model is a bit old-fashioned, but to us professional service means personal service, for every client, every day.

Smart

It may be immodest, but we are pretty smart. We have solid academic credentials, have taught in law schools, provided continuing education to colleagues and educated the public through media and other appearances. The best lawyers approach the law as scholars – diligent, well read, inquisitive, and with careful deliberation. That is what we strive to be.

Sophisticated

People hire law firms, but lawyers represent clients. How well they do turns on their experience. Our partners have deep experience in their respective practice areas, and can go toe-to-toe with anyone in the business. The representation you get comes down to the quality of lawyer by your side, not the name of the firm on their business card. We’ve been around the block. We can help.

Progressive

Our partners have spent nearly thirty years committed to advancing liberty and equality through the law. We have advocated for unpopular causes, represented the marginalized and disenfranchised, worked hard for inclusion and relentlessly championed free expression. Our clients have never been a monoculture of grey flannel suits. Our waiting room looks like America.

Articulate

“A word,” Justice Holmes taught “is the skin of a living idea.” The legal universe is governed by the laws of language, and no contract, argument, or brief is better than the words that frame it. A Phi Beta Kappa English major and a collegiate debating champion, we’ve been word geeks since we were kids. We are proud of the clarity, precision and persuasive power of our writing. It is a central part of who we are.

Economical

Sound legal advice and particularly litigation don’t come cheap. But when your rights, reputation and assets are on the line, you shouldn’t have to choose between price and quality. We offer exceptional value, with an hourly rate of $300.00 that is significantly below colleagues with similar experience. We run a lean operation, and limit overhead, which allows us to compete not just on quality but on price.


It’s Your Call

We would be happy to discuss your legal concerns and see what we can do to help. The first call is free, and everything we discuss remains strictly confidential, whether you hire us or not. Before you call or visit, please read the important information below about appointments, when representation begins and how to provide relevant information before we meet.


About Retaining Us

While we are happy to speak with you and consider your options, we are not your attorneys, and will not represent you in court or otherwise, until a formal retainer agreement as been signed and any agreed upon retainer has been paid. We take only a small percentage of the cases referred to us. Because the law imposes deadlines on legal actions don’t wait until the last minute to call us, and do not assume we will represent you.


Before You Call

It helps us to help you if you are well organized when you call. Please be sure to have any important documents at hand, to check the dates of important events and to have contact information for potential witnesses available. It will save us all time and help us assess your case more efficiently. Please do not send us documents through the mail or otherwise unless we have requested them.


About Appointments

Because we are a small firm and have busy schedules, all office visits are by appointment only. We will not meet with walk-ins. We can usually schedule an appointment within seventy-two hours of your call, and sooner in emergencies. Please be sure to bring important documents with you, and be prepared to spend between an hour and ninety minutes when we first meet.


Vasvari | Zimmerman

attorneys & counselors-at-law

1301 East Ninth Street

1100 Erieview Tower

Cleveland, Ohio 44114-1844

T 216.458.5880

F 216.302.3700

vasvari@vasvarilaw.com

zimmerman@vasvarilaw.com

Hours

Monday to Friday

9:30 am to 5:30 pm Eastern

Closed Legal Holidays