Login | June 22, 2018

Roderick Linton Belfance hires associate, of counsel

Legal News Reporter

Published: September 6, 2017

Roderick Linton Belfance has expanded its legal team, adding two attorneys, including one with more than 30 years of experience.

John C. Fickes joined the firm as of counsel in May after leaving Blakemore, Meeker & Bowler Co., where he served as of counsel since June 2013.

 ”The staff and lawyers at Roderick Linton Belfance are terrific,” said Fickes. “They are a very positive group. Its size makes it possible to get to know everybody.

“The firm has a variety of practice areas, with plenty of opportunities for cross-referrals,” he said. “My hope is to focus more of my practice on litigation, which has always been my ‘sweet spot.’”

Born in Akron and raised in the Firestone Park area, Fickes graduated from St. Vincent-St. Mary High School. He received his bachelor’s degree in history from John Carroll University in 1977.

Prior to law school, he entered the Society of Jesus in Cleveland, a Roman Catholic religious order where he was a Jesuit seminarian for five years.

During that time, he obtained his master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Detroit (now University of Detroit Mercy) and went on to teach at St. John’s Jesuit High School in Toledo.

In 1982, he left the Society of Jesus and enrolled at Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

In law school, he served as a summer associate at Brouse McDowell, joining the law firm as an associate after he received his juris doctor in 1985 and passed the bar.

At Brouse he focused on business litigation and domestic relations. When he left in 2013, he was a shareholder/partner at the firm.

A longtime member of the Akron Bar Association, Fickes has chaired several committees, including the former Common Pleas Court Committee, the Professionalism Award Dinner Committee and the Investigative Subcommittee. He also actively participates in the Charles F. Scanlon-Samuel H. Bell Inn of Court.

In 1998, he was appointed to the board of trustees of the Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority and has served as its chair since 2003. He is also a former president of the board of directors of the Humane Society of Greater Akron and a current member of the Blossom board of the Cleveland Orchestra and the First Friday Club of Greater Akron.

In 2008, he was nominated and ran as a Democratic candidate for a seat on the Summit County Court of Common Pleas. He lost this bid, but later served as a part-time magistrate in the juvenile division of the court.

He made another try for the court in 2012, but did not win the seat.

In 2013, he became of counsel at Blakemore, Meeker, & Bowler, handling litigation, domestic relations and criminal defense work.

However, a fire last December at the Everett Building displaced the Blakemore firm’s offices. When the firm decided to relocate to the Portage Lakes area, Fickes began looking for other opportunities.

“I really wanted to continue to work in downtown Akron,” Fickes said. “I ran into an old friend and former client of mine, Kay Belfance, one of Roderick’s partners. She suggested that I consider joining them. I knew and respected many of the Roderick lawyers so it seemed like a good fit. It’s working out very nicely.”

He also serves as a part-time assistant prosecutor for the city of Cuyahoga Falls. 

Fickes, who has three adult daughters from his first marriage, expects to remarry at the end of August. He and his fiancé, Sue Keirns, will reside in West Akron.

“We’re always looking for experienced attorneys who are well known and well liked in the community,” said William Chris, managing partner at Roderick Linton Belfance. “John is a very good person to have around. He is adept in handling everything from small criminal cases to complex litigation.”

On July 10, associate Marc Chenowith also joined the firm.

An Akron native and graduate of Firestone High School, he received his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

After obtaining his juris doctor from The University of Akron School of Law in 2015, he took a job as an associate at Gabriel Partners in Cleveland, where he focused on regulatory compliance.

A member of the Akron Bar Association and the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, Chenowith also volunteers for the Akron Area YMCA and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Summit, Medina and Stark Counties.

“I’m very excited to be back and practicing in Akron,” said Chenowith. “Joining Roderick Linton Belfance was an excellent opportunity for me to do so, while learning from many highly experienced attorneys.

“The firm provides a diverse range of legal services, which has allowed me to expand my practice areas,” Chenowith said. “I hope to remain with the firm and grow my career.”

“Marc is an extremely smart attorney, who is very personable and courteous,” said Chris. “He also has experience handling regulatory matters, which was an area of need within the firm.”

With the addition of Chenowith and Fickes, the firm now has 26 attorneys, with offices in Akron and Medina.

 ”Expansion continues to be one of our goals,” said Chris. “We are considering hiring an attorney to staff the Medina office full time. Right now several of our attorneys spend some of their time in the office.”