Shoveling Smoke - A Frantz Ward Lawcast

Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said that "lawyers spend a great deal of their time shoveling smoke." One interpretation of his remark is that lawyers take a vague concept or principle and give it shape, clearing away the smoke. Our podcast series will focus on current legal issues and news items that may affect your business, your community or you as an individual. Our attorneys – sometimes with a judge, client or other guest – will spend 15-20 minutes exploring an issue and, at the end, provide a few takeaways to assist you in making sense of the gray areas of law.





Episode 25 | Do You Hear That? Employers Facing Rise in OSHA section 11(c) Whistleblower Complaints
In recent years, the number of OSHA Whistleblower complaints has been steadily on the rise, but why? In the newest episode of Shoveling Smoke, Frantz Ward Partner Christina Niro joins host Chris Koehler as they discuss current trends, how an OSHA whistleblower complaint gets filed and investigated, and how to prepare for and defend against them. 

Guest : Christina Niro 
Host : Christopher C. Koehler


Episode 24 | Labor and Employment Updates in 2023 - A Preview of Frantz Ward's Annual Labor Seminar
The labor and employment fields seem like they’re in a constant state of change. If you’re looking for an update, why not learn from the best? Labor & Employment Practice Group Partner Christina Niro joins host Chris Koehler as she summarizes some of the recent labor and employment updates that will be covered during the firm’s upcoming annual L&E seminar, “Avoiding Panda-monium in the Workplace,” happening June 14, 2023. 

Guest : Christina Niro 
Host : Christopher C. Koehler


Episode 23 | Filling the Employment Gap: A Conversation with Team NEO's Jacob Duritsky
As businesses continue to face challenges in locating and retaining employees, it’s clear that a key to the growth and success of Northeast Ohio’s economy is the development of the workforce and talent to fill existing job opportunities and those on the horizon.  Team NEO’s Jacob Duritsky joins Frantz Ward’s Chris Koehler to discuss Team NEO’s 2022 Aligning Opportunities report, which provides data-driven insights into our region’s talent demand/supply gap.  We address the results of the research and how businesses and employees can capitalize on those insights to close the gap to make the region more competitive and ensure prosperity for all Northeast Ohioans.

Guest : Jacob Duritsky 
Host : Christopher C. Koehler


Episode 22 | HR Evolved: How Attorneys can Partner with HR Professionals in a Constantly Changing World
Human Resources is an ever-changing field and the Pandemic only seemed to demonstrate this further. From updating guidelines, to updating technology, the evolution of HR in the last few years alone is enough to put even the most ardent of HR professionals through the wringer. Now more than ever, HR professionals are relying on their attorneys, both in-house and outside counsel, to partner with them to navigate difficult issues. To help better make sense of it all, Chief People and Human Resources Officer for Equity Trust, Amy Hall, joins the podcast to discuss the change and development of HR functions in 2022 and beyond.

Guest : Amy Hall    
Host : Alanna C. Guy


Episode 21 | Where There's A Will, There's A Way
Will my family be taken care of when I am no longer around? Who will take care of me if I become incapacitated? Although these are questions we often don’t like to consider, the Covid-19 pandemic woke many people up to the need to have an estate plan in place. Frantz Ward attorney Rick Humiston joins the podcast to discuss the basic elements of Estate Planning as well as some additional planning suggestions for business owners.

Guest : Richard Humiston
Host : Alanna C. Guy


Episode 20 | Reading the Fine Print: Making Your Terms and Conditions Match Your Business Goals and Risks
As Pete Seeger said, "Education is when you read the fine print; experience is what you get when you don't." As world events continue to have lingering impacts on the transaction of business, some companies are learning the hard way that their contractual Terms and Conditions don't align with their current business risks and goals. Terms and Conditions are not "one size fits all," so it's important to evaluate them regularly and to tailor them to your company's current business needs. Frantz Ward attorney Alanna Guy joins the podcast to discuss the foundational elements of partnering with clients to evaluate and negotiate Terms and Conditions.

Guest : Alanna C. Guy 
Host : Christopher C. Koehler


Episode 19 | Business Law Update: A Primer on Ohio's Revised LLC Act
Ohio recently modernized its laws governing limited liability companies through the Revised Limited Liability Company Act. The revised regulations apply to all Ohio limited liability companies, regardless of when organized, making it crucial for Ohio LLCs to understand the changes and their potential impact. Frantz Ward attorney Michael Gibbons joins the podcast to highlight the key changes and the impact those can have on LLCs in Ohio.

Guest : Michael H. Gibbons
Host : Alanna C. Guy


Episode 18 | Unpacking the Packing: A Perspective on the Efforts to Expand the Supreme Court
Controversy regarding the claimed increased partisanship of the U.S. Supreme Court and efforts to change the Court's makeup by expanding its numbers continues to be in the headlines. So Shoveling Smoke thought it would be interesting to take a historical and constitutional look at how the Court's number was established, how it has been the subject of threatened changes in the past, and what the Committee established by President Biden had to say about the issue. Frantz Ward partner Greg Farkas joins the podcast to walk us through these issues and give us an idea of the practical pros and cons of what an expansion of the Court might mean.

Guest : Gregory R. Farkas    
Host : Michael E. Smith


Episode 17 | Public-Private Collaboration as a Means to Economic Development - A Blueprint from the Shaker Heights Development Fund
Great things can happen when government and the private sector combine forces to address a problem that neither can effectively address on its own. Nick Fedor, Executive Director of the Shaker Heights Development Corporation, joins the podcast to discuss how his organization is doing just that by sponsoring a real estate development fund allowing private investment in order to redevelop an emerging commercial district of Shaker Heights. Frantz Ward attorney Karl May also joins to explain how they were able to navigate the securities and regulatory issues posed by this innovative investment offering.

Guest : Nick Fedor, Executive Director - Shaker Heights Development Corporation    
Guest : Karl E. May
Host : Christopher C. Koehler



Episode 16 | The Basics for Building Your Workforce
As a business grows, a very exciting step is adding the company's first employees, but it is also one that should be very intentional and well-considered. Frantz Ward attorney Megan Bennett joins the podcast to discuss the importance of developing job descriptions, considering the terms "employee" and "independent contractor," and how to develop policies and procedures to ensure a legally compliant business.

Guest : Megan E. Bennett    
Host : Alanna C. Guy



Episode 15 | Hot! Hot! Hot! Don't get Burned by the Perils of Buying and Selling Residential Real Estate
The residential real estate market in Cleveland continues to boom, with home price values increasing by more than 10-20% in northeast Ohio over the past few years So Shoveling Smoke thought this would be a good time to review the nuts and bolts of the residential real estate transaction and to identify the possible pitfalls that come with buying in a hot market. To cover those topics, we invited Frantz Ward partner Mark Rodio to give us some valuable insight on these issues from both a buyer and seller perspective. Mark will also give us some commentary on how the COVID pandemic is impacting how residential real estate deals are getting done.

Guest : Mark L. Rodio    
Host : Michael E. Smith



Episode 14 | You Came Up With a Great Business Idea During the Pandemic - Now What?
A fledging business doesn't just need a solid business plan; it also needs a strong legal foundation. This foundation is not "one size fits all," so it's important to tailor your choices to your specific industry and your risk tolerance, long-term goals and budget. Frantz Ward attorney Alanna Guy joins the podcast to discuss the building blocks necessary to start a new business, from choosing and forming the appropriate legal entity, to preparing documents for managing the entity, to considering what other safeguards might be necessary to set your business up for long-term success.

Guest : Alanna C. Guy    
Host : Christopher C. Koehler


Episode 13 | Criminal Sentencing Reform: A Conversation with Supreme Court of Ohio Justice Michael Donnelly
In light of the wide disparity of sentences for felonies across Ohio, the Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission has developed and is implementing a Criminal Sentencing Database designed to provide judges with data to rely upon when crafting sentences. Supreme Court of Ohio Justice Michael Donnelly, one of the leading advocates of the program, joins the podcast to discuss the initiative’s importance to all Ohioans, not just for those involved in the criminal justice system, and explain how the program brings more fairness and transparency to sentencing. Frantz Ward’s Managing Partner, Chris Keim, also Co-Chair of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association’s Racial Equity And the Law work group on Criminal Justice Reform, joins in the conversation to discuss the value of the program and report on his group’s role in its adoption by the courts.

Guest : Supreme Court of Ohio Justice Michael Donnelly    
Guest : Christopher G. Keim
Host : Christopher C. Koehler


Episode 12 | Scoring Big for the CLE: A Conversation with David Gilbert, President and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission
Cleveland's profile as a destination city continues to grow and no entity is more responsible for that success than the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission. Shoveling Smoke welcomes guests David Gilbert, GCSC's and Destination Cleveland's President and CEO, and Christopher Keim, Frantz Ward's Managing Partner and member of the GCSC Board of Trustees. Together, we discuss the challenges and rewards of attracting sports events - like the NFL draft, NBA All-Star Game and NCAA basketball tournaments - to Cleveland, the economic and intangible impacts such events have on our city and how partnerships with the business community and other city constituents make it happen.

Guest : David Gilbert, President and CEO The Greater Cleveland Sports Commission and Destination Cleveland    
Guest : Christopher G. Keim
Host : Michael E. Smith


Episode 11 | Spurring Economic Growth in Northeast Ohio: A Conversation with Bill Koehler, CEO of Team NEO
Frantz Ward is proud to partner with Team NEO, the business and economic development organization focused on accelerating economic growth and job creation throughout the 18 counties of Northeast Ohio. Bill Koehler, the organization's CEO, joins the podcast to discuss the economic outlook for the region, how the public and private sectors are working together to both attract new businesses and help existing businesses, and the resources that are available to companies in their growth initiatives.

Guest : Bill Koehler, CEO - Team NEO    
Host : Christopher C. Koehler


Episode 10 | Looking From the Outside In: A Conversation with In-House Counsel Kelley Barnett
Former Frantz Ward partner Kelley Barnett has seen it all - from trying major felony cases as a Cuyahoga County Prosecutor to becoming a top commercial trial lawyer at Frantz Ward to serving in her current role as vice-president and corporate counsel for labor and employment at AmTrust Financial Services. In this episode, she sits down with her former colleagues to discuss the keys to success in her transitions to each role. She also provides insight as to how to build strong relationships between attorneys and their business clients.

Guest : Kelly J. Barnett - AmTrust Financial Services    
Hosts : Michael E. Smith and Christopher C. Koehler


Episode 9 | Don't Learn Safety by Accident: A Look at Worker Safety and OSHA Initiatives Under the Biden Administration
Continuing our discussions about what the legal landscape may look like under the Biden Administration, Frantz Ward Labor and Employment Partner Christina Niro joins us to discuss what we can expect in terms of workplace safety initiatives and the work of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. We will discuss anticipated increases in OSHA inspections, new rules and regulations that may arise and the potential expansion of workforce-related programs. We will also check in to see how the ongoing COVID pandemic may impact this arena.

Guest : Christina E. Niro
Host : Michael E. Smith


Episode 8  |  Breaking Up Is Hard To Do: Navigating the Domestic Relations Arena
Former Frantz Ward Domestic Relations Partner Katie Arthurs joins us to explain the divorce and dissolution process, to discuss the best strategies for navigating the difficult and often painful challenges that arise in a divorce, and to provide important insights on how you can best protect your businesses from being impacted by such events.

Guest : Katie Arthurs
Host : Michael E. Smith


Episode 7 | Order in the Court: A Conversation with Judge Brendan Sheehan of the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas
Shoveling Smoke is pleased to welcome The Honorable Brendan J. Sheehan, Administrative Judge of the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas and our first outside guest for the podcast. We look forward to Judge Sheehan's unique perspectives on several topics, including the judge's personal experiences, court operations and trials during COVID, the status of the new jail/justice center project, and other services provided by the court system.

Guest : The Honorable Brendan J. Sheehan    
Host : Christopher C. Koehler


​Episode 6  |  Changing of the Guard, Part 3:  Tax Law Outlook Under the Biden Administration
A new presidential administration and a shift in control of the Senate means changes in the legal landscape as well. In Part 3 of our series on the anticipated changes due to the new look in Washington, Frantz Ward Partner Matt Kadish provides a civics lesson and explains why it's particularly hard to read the tea leaves on tax issues this year. But he has some predictions on what changes we are likely to see, when they'll occur, and the variables that will affect the outcome.

Guest : Matthew F. Kadish    
Host : Christopher C. Koehler


​Episode 5  |  Changing of the Guard, Part 2:  Health Care Outlook Under the Biden Administration
In Part 2 of this three-part series discussing the anticipated changes in the laws and regulations we can expect during the Biden administration, Frantz Ward Partner Craig Haran provides insight on how things will progress on the health care front, discussing how the administration will handle implementation of policies and laws relating to the ACA, COVID relief, Medicare, Medicaid and other hot topic issues.

Guest : Craig T. Haran    
Host : Michael E. Smith


​Episode 4  |  Changing of the Guard, Part 1:  Employment Law Outlook Under the Biden Administration
A new presidential administration and a shift in control of the Senate mean changes in the legal landscape as well. This three-part series will address the anticipated changes in the laws and regulations related to employment, health care and tax issues, and at the agencies responsible for enforcement of those laws. In Part 1, Frantz Ward Partner Brian Kelly guides us through the outlook on the labor and employment law front.

Guest : Brian J. Kelly    
Host : Christopher C. Koehler


​Episode 3  |  Forgiveness is Divine: Looking at the 2021 PPP
Frantz Ward partner Melissa Jones provides insight on the new rules and regulations of the 2021 version of the PPP and gives some ideas as to how your company's participation in the PPP might help your bottom line.

Guest : Melissa A. Jones    
Host : Michael E. Smith



​Episode 2  |  A Dose of Prevention - COVID Vaccine Primer for Employers
Now that the COVID-19 vaccine is poised for a more widespread roll-out, employers are finally able to develop plans to get their employees back to the workplace. But the vaccine will present employment law issues: Can you mandate that your employees get vaccinated? What do you do if they refuse? Frantz Ward attorney Megan Bennett answers those questions and more to help employers navigate the reopening of their businesses.

Guest : Megan E. Bennett    
Host : Christopher C. Koehler


Episode 1  |  Where Have You Gone Mrs. Pfalsgraf?
Understanding Premises Liability in the COVID world. Frantz Ward Partner Pat Haggerty provides insights on protecting your business from potential liability for claims from people supposedly contracting COVID while on your property. We will discuss the types of claims you may face and the preventive strategies that will minimize your risks.

Guest : Patrick F. Haggerty    
Host : Michael E. Smith