Type: News
Date: 01/20/2017

Taft Adds Three New Members to Executive Committee

Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP is pleased to announce that the firm has added three new members to its leadership team. The firm’s new executive committee members are Dayton Partner Jennifer Hann Harrison, Cincinnati Partner Tracey A. Puthoff and Cleveland Partner/Chief Diversity Officer Adrian D. Thompson.

According to Chairman and Managing Partner Robert J. Hicks, “many demographic factors influenced the decisions of the Nominating Committee and Managing Partner in this process, including geographic representation, practice group representation, years of service as a partner, gender and diversity.” Below is the full executive committee, followed by a short biography for each member.

  • Robert J. Hicks (Chair)
  • Thomas A. Barnard
  • Howard Bobrow
  • David J. Butler
  • Barbara A. Duncombe
  • Cezar “Cid” M. Froelich
  • Jennifer Hann Harrison
  • Margaret A. Lawson
  • Anthony R. Licata (Ex-Officio)
  • Tracey A. Puthoff
  • Michael J. Schaller
  • Adrian D. Thompson
  • James M. Zimmerman

Chairman and Managing Partner Robert J. Hicks focuses his practice on complex business and commercial transactions, private equity and venture capital transactions, mergers and acquisitions, structured financings, business advisory services and structural tax matters. He serves as outside counsel for the largest private equity fund in Indiana, along with several other substantial and successful businesses. Hicks took a hiatus from the private practice of law from 1996 through 2001. During that period, he served as executive vice president, strategic development for the CIT Group (and its predecessor, Newcourt Credit Group), president of its largest U.S. financing division, and CEO of RealMed Corporation, its largest portfolio company.

Indianapolis Partner Thomas A. Barnard has substantial personal experience in complex litigation, particularly involving environmental, insurance coverage, takings and securities issues. For over 30 years, he has represented clients in federal and state courts from Indiana to Washington, D.C. Barnard was the primary drafter of Indiana's Environmental Audit Privilege law, and when the bill passed in 1996, Indiana became only the second state in the country to provide litigation protection for companies conducting compliance audits.

Cleveland Partner Howard Bobrow counsels private equity and venture capital funds and other institutional investors, as well as angel investors, on all aspects of acquisitions, dispositions, capital formation and private placements. He has a wide range of experience with structuring and closing a myriad of early-stage and growth-stage capital formation transactions, including technology validation, technology transfer, technology licensing, seed investment, early-stage investment and follow-on investment transactions.

Columbus Partner David J. Butler is a business trial lawyer with experience representing companies in a wide range of complex, commercial legal matters, including class actions and multi-district litigation. He also represents plaintiffs in personal injury matters involving wrongful death or serious bodily harm.

Dayton Partner Barbara A. Duncombe practices in the area of government contracts law, representing clients regionally and nationally. For over 25 years, she has worked with clients to address questions or problems with public contract formation, performance, administration, payment and dispute resolution. She has represented prime contractors, subcontractors and public buyers. Her experience focuses on analysis of contract problems and their resolution through discussion, claims and other dispute forums/processes.

Chicago Chairman Cezar “Cid” M. Froelich concentrates his practice in corporate finance/securities, mergers and acquisitions and corporate governance. He advises a broad range of clients, including investment banking and brokerage firms, publicly-held entities, including boards of directors, audit and compensation committees, governmental entities and privately held entities.

Dayton Partner Jennifer Hann Harrison represents management in a variety of safety and employment-related matters, including workers' compensation claims, violations of specific safety requirements (VSSR's), employer intentional torts, OSHA complaints and charges involving disability, age, sex and race. In addition, she serves as outside general counsel to closely held corporations, partnerships and limited liability companies. An experienced litigator, Harrison has defended numerous cases to jury trial.

Cincinnati Partner Margaret A. Lawson represents clients ranging from start-up businesses, software developers, inventors and authors to established research institutions, banks and nationwide franchisors in IP protection, enforcement and transactions. She has extensive experience negotiating licenses and technology transfer agreements in areas that include biomedical technology, software, e-commerce, data storage and security, publishing and franchising. She oversees the registration and maintenance of IP portfolios in the United States and foreign countries and assists clients with cross-border transactions.

Chicago Partner Anthony R. Licata focuses his practice on major commercial real estate transactions and private equity venture capital matters. He entered the practice of law as an associate with Sidley & Austin in 1979, concentrating in real estate. In 1984, Licata became vice president and general counsel of real estate developer The Broadacre Companies, while remaining of counsel to Sidley & Austin with an active practice in real estate and venture capital matters. In 1989, he became president of Broadacre Partners, Inc., managing the North Pier Chicago mixed-use development. In 1992, Licata returned to Sidley & Austin as a partner before joining Shefsky & Froelich in 1995, where he was chief operating officer prior to the merger with Taft.

Cincinnati Partner Tracey A. Puthoff attended law school and became a transactional attorney after a career in engineering at GE Aviation and McDonnell Aircraft Company (now Boeing). Due to her background in engineering and involvement on community boards, Puthoff understands all aspects of an M&A or finance deal — from financing to intellectual property to addressing the interests of every stakeholder. Her extensive M&A and finance experience involves both publicly-traded corporations and privately-held companies in diverse industries.

Chicago Partner Michael J. Schaller has a wide-ranging corporate practice that emphasizes securities and corporate finance law. He primarily focuses in the areas of federal and state regulation of securities, public and private finance, corporation and partnership tax, gaming, hotel and resort development, real estate ventures and health care law.

Cleveland Partner Adrian D. Thompson provides counsel for private sector clients on issues including equal employment opportunity litigation, wage-hour problems, employment of the disabled, federal housing and other labor matters. He also represents school districts in contract negotiations, grievance arbitration, litigation, education of the disabled and employment discrimination matters. In addition, Thompson serves as Taft’s Chief Diversity Officer and helps to drive the firm’s commitment and strategy regarding diversity and inclusion across Taft’s offices and in the communities that Taft serves.

Cincinnati Partner James M. Zimmerman represents businesses, investors and entrepreneurs on a range of matters, including mergers and acquisitions, equity and debt financings, securities offerings and strategic partnering transactions. He also serves as outside counsel for numerous growth companies and represents private equity and venture capital firms in fund formation and portfolio company investments.

About Taft
At Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP, delivering outstanding legal performance to help clients succeed is what drives and motivates our more than 400 attorneys every day. Taft has offices in Ann Arbor, Mich.; Chicago, Ill.; Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and Dayton, Ohio; Indianapolis, Ind.; Covington, Ky.; and Phoenix, Ariz. The firm practices across a wide range of industries, in virtually every area of law, including Business and Finance; Litigation; Labor and Employment; Intellectual Property; Business Restructuring, Bankruptcy and Creditor Rights; Environmental; Health and Life Sciences; Private Client Services; Real Estate; and Tax. With a proven track record of experience since 1885, the firm offers breadth and depth of legal expertise coupled with a trusted business perspective to help our clients reach their goals.

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