Frederick R. Nance
Frederick R. Nance serves as Squire Sanders’ Regional Managing Partner, operating out of the Cleveland office. Squire Sanders, which was founded in Cleveland in 1890, now serves clients from 39 offices around the globe. Fred’s legal practice focuses on sports and entertainment law, commercial litigation, client counseling and public-private partnerships. Much of his practice in recent years has included high-stakes negotiations involving community interests. He is an experienced jury trial litigator in federal and state courts and a frequent participant in alternative dispute resolution proceedings. Fred also leads the firm’s Sports and Entertainment Group.
Fred began his career at Squire Sanders directly from law school. From 1991 through 2001, Fred served as the primary outside counsel to the City of Cleveland and former Cleveland Mayor Michael White in a variety of impactful initiatives and development projects including spearheading the battle to keep the Browns in Cleveland. He has also served two four year terms on Squire Sanders’ worldwide, seven-person Management Committee. In the summer of 2006, Fred was selected from among several hundred candidates as one of five finalists for the position of Commissioner of the National Football League. In December 2009, Cleveland Browns owner Randy Lerner asked Fred to join his team’s front office where Fred served for three years as the Browns General Counsel, while remaining a Squire Sanders partner. Fred’s current capacity with the Browns is as Senior Advisor and Special Counsel.
Fred is a member of the Executive Committees of the Greater Cleveland Partnership and the Ohio Business Roundtable, and is the most recent past Chairman of the Executive Committee of the 50 Club of Cleveland. He also served as the Chairman of the Board and Executive Committee of the Greater Cleveland Partnership, one of the nation’s largest Chambers of Commerce, with 16,000 plus members, from March 2006 until March 2008. In 2004-2005, he served as Chairman of the Cleveland Defense Industry Alliance, which successfully retained 1,100 Department of Defense jobs that had been targeted by the Pentagon for elimination.
In 2012, Fred was recognized by the seminal sports business publication Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal
as “certainly one of the top sports lawyers in the country.” In 2010, Fred was selected for the cover and feature story in Smart Business
magazine. In 2008, Fred was inducted as a Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, and was identified first in Cleveland Magazine
’s list of “Cleveland’s Most Influentials.” In 2007, he was featured on the cover of the February edition of Inside Business
magazine and identified as No. 1 on that publication's list of the 100 most powerful people in Northeast Ohio. He has subsequently been included in that listing every year. He has been listed in Best of the US
and included in The Best Lawyers in America
every year since 2001, including recognition for Sports Law in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013. In 2005, he was also selected for the cover and featured in the annual publication Ohio Super Lawyers
. Fred was selected as the first profiled among several hundred professionals in the inaugural edition of Who’s Who in Black Cleveland
. Fred is a life member of the U.S. Court of Appeals Sixth Circuit Judicial Conference. He was also a member of the Cleveland FBI Citizens' Academy for 2005.
Selected Board Experience
Fred currently serves on the Boards of the Cleveland Clinic (as a fiduciary director), The Cleveland Foundation, the Greater Cleveland Partnership and RPM International Inc. He was also recently appointed by Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson to two boards dedicated to downtown and lakefront development. His previous Board service includes the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland Foundation, and BioEnterprise, Inc. Fred also served as a co-chair of the Local Organizing Committee for the NCAA Women’s Final Four, which took place in Cleveland in 2007. Fred served for six years as an outside director to McDonald & Company Investments, Inc., where he was a member of the Audit and Compensation Committees. Fred also currently serves on the Advisory Board of the National Association of Black Sports Professionals.
Selected Community Recognition
- “Strong Men & Women - Excellence in Leadership” Award from the Dominion Companies, 2009.
- “Distinguished American” Award from the National Football Foundation, 2008. “Black Professional of the Year” Award from the Cleveland BPA Foundation, 2008.
- “In Tribute to the Public Service” Award from the Cleveland State University’s Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs, 2007.
- “Regional Vision” Award from the Northeast Ohio Regional Leadership Task Force, 2007.
- “Community Leaders of the Year” Award from the Northeast Ohio Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation, 2006.
- “Honoree” of the Ohio Cancer Research Associates, 2006.
- “Service to Mankind” Award from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, 2005.
- “Trailblazer” Award from the Norman S. Minor Bar Association, 2004.
- “Cardinal Robert Bellarmine Lawyer of the Year” Award from St. Ignatius High School, 1999.
- Serving as business counsel to NBA star LeBron James, comedian Dave Chappelle and other athletes and entertainers.
- Representing a major oil company in a class action seeking more than US$1 billion for alleged property damage.
- Representing a publicly held company in various matters related to the termination of its CEO.
- Defending a professional sports team in various grievance proceedings and other litigation.
- Providing Sarbanes-Oxley Act counsel to companies before the Securities & Exchange Commission.
- Negotiating and administering a series of agreements between the City of Cleveland and the National Football League guaranteeing the return of the Cleveland Browns.