Case School of Law: In Brief
“Plugged into Family, the Law, and Cleveland”
Spring 2005 | Download PDF of Article
Behind his self-admitted “high voltage personality,” Andrew Zashin ’93 is a serious, compassionate and devoted man with a deep connection to his family, his work and his city. While he could spend hours talking about his practice and the law or the unheralded appeal of the City of Cleveland, you will hear him talk just as much about his children and the legacy of Zashin & Rich Co., L.P.A., the firm his father co-founded and one he now runs with his brother Stephen S. Zashin ’95. To honor his father and strengthen his ties to the law school family, an endowment fund has been established in his father’s name to benefit future generations of Case law students.
There is no shortage of success that has come to Andrew Zashin. His list of honors and contributions continues to grow, but perhaps what he is most proud of is his family. He and his wife, Lisa, just had their fourth child, Tzali, on April 10 th . Andrew Zashin is clearly as excited to divulge the details of his son’s birth as he is to acknowledge that he was just elected a fellow of the prestigious American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. In addition to a busy and joyful family life, Andrew balances a successful and demanding career. He was a very young lawyer when he earned an “AV” rating by Martindale-Hubbell, a well-known national lawyer rating guide. That highest of ratings is reserved for lawyers who have “reached the heights of professional excellence” as determined by their peers. The Ohio State Bar Association has certified him as a specialist in Family Relations Law and he is now one of only eighty-eight such specialists in Ohio. For the last few years, he has also been included in both the Inside Business list of “Leading Lawyers” and the Cincinnati Magazine list of “Ohio Super Lawyers.”
While humbled by his success, Andrew recognizes the benefits of the honors he has received which further the legacy of his firm and build upon the stellar reputation of his father Robert I. Zashin. “Bob” Zashin, who is well-known throughout the city in and out of legal circles, made his name by representing clients in high profile divorce and child-custody cases. Through four decades of legal practice, he earned a measure of recognition that few could match in the field of domestic relations law, a discipline now frequently referred to as “family law.”
Bob Zashin’s legacy is sustained through the work of his sons, Andrew and Stephen Zashin, who co-manage the firm. Zashin & Rich Co., L.P.A., founded in 1981, has built a nationally-known domestic relations practice. Stephen has made an invaluable contribution to the firm’s evolution which has expanded its practice areas to include all aspects of employment and labor law. The growing firm has offices in Cleveland and Columbus, and now employs several lawyers boasting Case Western University School of Law degrees.
Andrew inherited his father’s keen appreciation for the emotionally exhaustive strains of family law. “It is a very tough area because both parties will always leave unhappy, no matter how much I can do for them. Divorce does that to people,” Andrew laments. But the challenge to do the best he can for his clients during one of the worst periods of their lives changes him. “A good day is when I can reach an agreement for my client without having to step into a court room,” he continues. “When I can do that, I know that I have spared my client, and in many cases innocent children, the agony of going through trial and a result that is forced upon them by a judge. Instead, I help my client achieve a result that he or she has a hand in crafting.” His experiences make Andrew feel fortunate about his own family.
When he is not doing the best job he can for his clients, writing an article about wine (he contributes a column on wine for the Cleveland Jewish News), or even something as simple as hauling one of his children to a friend’s house or one of their many activities, Andrew carves time out of his bustling schedule to share what he has learned. As an adjunct professor at the School of Law, he teaches an upper-level domestic relations course. Students attending the course are in for a surprise. Erin Reese ’05 was one of his students this past year. “Professor Zashin’s family law course was unlike any class offered at Case,” she says. “He took the pressure off grades and focused on learning practical lawyering skills that I know I will use for the rest of my life. He made a three-hour class fly by. His energy was contagious and his animated explanations and passion for his subject kept my attention every minute of class.”
Classmate and second-year student Amanda Clapp concurs, and feels lucky to have had the opportunity to learn from Professor Zashin. She took the class because its reputation as an engaging course has spread among students. “Professor Zashin used his professional experience and knowledge of the theoretical and technical practice of family law to provide all of us in the class with the opportunity to learn the intricacies of law,” she comments.
Andrew’s contributions to the University do not stop at the classroom door. He is also an active member of our alumni network. In 2003, he received the Distinguished Recent Graduate award from the Law Alumni Association. He is also in his third year of service on the board of the Law Alumni Association, where he has served as treasurer and is currently secretary.
His contribution to the School of Law is perhaps best recognized in the form of a recently established annual endowment in honor or his father. The Robert I. Zashin Family Law Achievement Prize will be awarded each year to one or more students who demonstrate outstanding performance in advanced domestic relations or in the field of family law. The chosen student will receive a cash prize and be recognized during Commencement. Andrew and Stephen wanted the prize to be in their father’s name because of the contributions he has made to this area of legal practice but more importantly because their father realizes the value that the University provides to the City of Cleveland and he always wanted to “give back” to the institution that kept his sons close to home. Although he came home to study law at his father’s urging “to attend law school in the city you want to live in.” At the School of Law, Andrew was an editor for the Case Western Reserve Law Review, and after graduation, he joined his father’s firm in 1993.
The Zashin family’s shared love for the city goes beyond their appreciation for their firm’s view of the downtown skyline. The city’s beautiful lakefront setting, vibrant arts community and rich cultural diversity all play a role in keeping the Zashins centered here. They know that Cleveland has been good to the family and allowed them to pursue the “American dream.” “Cleveland embraced my father from the moment he began his practice,” Andrew says, “and that kindness and opportunity have been extended to both me and my brother. We are very grateful to Cleveland and couldn’t imagine a better place to call home.”
A recent opening party for the firm’s beautiful and spacious new headquarters on Public Square ensured the Zashin name will remain in the forefront of Cleveland’s legal community for some time.
In the meantime, Andrew and Lisa are busy raising the next generation of the Zashin family, their children: Gabriela, age 8, Elan, age 5, Ariel, age 2, and Tzali, age 3 months. Perhaps one or more of them will someday carry on the Zashins’ family legacy. Gabriela will happily tell anyone who asks that she too plans on going to Case one day. “Having my own children has helped me understand my father’s desire to keep the firm in the family,” he says. Their father and grandfather have certainly given them all a strong head start.