Max W. Thomas
Attorney at Law
After a dozen years as a business litigation attorney, I formed my own holistic law practice, focused on advocacy - a devotion to client service with the flexibility to help clients plan for themselves, their businesses, and their families. So, I embarked on a practice focusing on trusts and estates planning, special needs planning, and education law. I received a "crash course" on these areas after my daughter was born with special needs and, as I help address her present and future blossoming, I want to offer those services to help others navigate the rocky world we inhabit, too.
My approach is to build an in-depth working relationship with each and every client, to thoroughly understand and analyze the nature of the legal issues and also the personal and emotional components that drive them. Together, then, we tailor a strategy, whether that means working to resolve a dispute (informally through negotiation or mediation, or through trial), or whether that means assessing the possibilities and contingencies of a personal or familial situation and creatively preparing a plan to address them.
In addition to my practice representing people and their business endeavors, I remain deeply and personally committed to advocating for the community, especially as a passionate supporter of the arts in Northeast Ohio, including significant leadership service on the boards of two noted arts organizations, and through my involvement with Down syndrome organizations to raise awareness and effect change.
Many cultures and philosophies emphasize that change, flux, and impermanence are the root of existence; I believe we can embrace that fluidity without losing ourselves to it, and that the legal profession is uniquely suited to do so, and in the process we can improve our lives, our communities, and even (as bold as it seems) and the world.
Oh - don't let me forget the obligatory lawyer credentials. I received my JD from Case Western Reserve University and have been practicing law since 2003. Before that, I taught English Literature at the University of Iowa after receiving a Ph.D. from Penn; I am admitted to the Ohio Bar, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Northern and Southern District Courts of Ohio. I'm a member of the Ohio, Akron and Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Associations, and the Wealth Counsel network of estate planning attorneys.
Supreme Court of Ohio, 2003
U.S. District Court for the Northern & Southern Districts of Ohio, 2003
U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals
U.S. Supreme Court
Juris Doctor: Case Western Reserve University School of Law, 2003 (magna cum laude)
Ph.D., English Literature: University of Pennsylvania, 1993
Bachelor's, English Literature: Case Western Reserve University, 1988 (summa cum laude)
Honors & Awards:
SuperLawyer Rising Star designation in 2010 and 2012.
Professional Affiliations and Activities
Akron Bar Association, member, 2015 - present.
Vice-Chair of Solo and Small FirmPractice Group.
Ohio Bar Association, member, 2004 - present.
Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, member, 2004- present.
Perspectives on Starting & Managing Your Own Law Office & Managing Your Daily Workflow, Dec. 6, 2018, New Lawyer Training, Akron Bar Association.
Starting and Managing Your Own Law Office: Practical Advice for New Attorneys, Dec. 15, 2017, New Lawyer Training, Akron Bar Association.
Best Practices for CyberSecurity at Work, Sept. 15, 2017, 2017 Small Firm/Solo Exposition, presented by Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association and Akron Bar Association.
Board of Directors, GroundWorks Dance Theater, 2011 - present.
Board of Directors, Beck Center for the Arts, 2008-2016.
National Down Syndrome Society, member, 2012 - present.
Stand Up for Downs D.A.D.S. Group, member, 2012 - 2018.
Experience and Representative Cases
Extricated investment entities from complex multi-entity health care joint venture involving multiple lawsuits through motion practice and dispute resolution, and drafted transactional documents following "business divorce."Achieved significant monetary settlement in favor of discharged executive who was the subject of regulatory investigation and extensive campaign of disparagement by former co-workers.
Negotiated multi-party settlement on the eve of 10-day trial (first-chair), avoiding the expense and potential liability for the client, after contentious two-year discovery process in a dispute involving cross-claims for defamation and invasion of privacy.
First-chaired multi-day administrative due process hearing and obtained ruling in school districts' favor; first-chaired subsequent discrimination lawsuit in federal court, managing all aspects of discovery, including depositions, summary judgment briefing, and trial preparation, to maximize the benefit of due process ruling.
Second-chaired two-week medical malpractice trial and obtained a complete defense verdict in favor of treating physicians in action with seven-figure exposure.
Successfully arbitrated a commercial non-competition dispute, achieving zero awards on behalf of a Defendant manufacturer in multi-day AAA Arbitration.
Served as a senior associate responsible for all aspects of discovery, summary judgment practice, and mediation briefing, achieving an exceptionally favorable settlement for major national banks facing multi-million-dollar securities fraud and unsuitability claims in relation to the defaulted commercial paper transaction.
Managed discovery and drafted key briefing in a case presenting "triple threat" legal issues (regulatory investigation, shareholder class action dispute, and securities fraud lawsuit), achieving "global" resolution to terminate all litigation; proceeded with a highly favorable class settlement, and avoided regulatory investigation.
Leveraged summary judgment briefing and decision involving complex issues of workers' compensation immunity into advantageous settlement on behalf of security services provider against the manufacturer.
Served as a key member of team obtaining complete victory for Ohio-based national manufacturer in non-competition litigation against former executives and competitors that hired them.
Successfully defended national bank against defamation claims brought by fixed income salespersons who misused corporate balance sheets in FINRA arbitration and through settlement and FINRA expungement proceedings.
Contracted with Thomson Reuters to help edit and prepare state-specific litigation materials for Practical Law resource (2017).