One of Ours: Renacci Thriving as a First-Year Lawyer at Squire Sanders

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Less than a year removed from graduation day at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Andrew J. Renacci (’12) is working on things he never expected to be doing so quickly in his first full-time law position.  Renacci is employed at Squire Sanders (US) LLP as an Associate Attorney in Corporate Transactions, Finance & Governance and his current responsibilities include working on the reorganization of subsidiaries for a major international company.  He is also working with a publicly traded company on an international transaction.  Renacci’s responsibilities in that deal include coordinating efforts among several countries. 

Renacci also was not sure that he would be able to work on such major international transactions in the Cleveland area – suspecting that law firms handling such cases were only in the most major of cities such as New York and Los Angeles.  He was pleasantly surprised to find out that is not the case.

“Working in an international law practice is not necessarily something I thought you could do in Cleveland,” recalled Renacci. “You think of that type of working being in LA or New York but it’s also happening right down the street. Cleveland has a major legal practice and I can be proud of where I’m from and where I practice.”

The University of Michigan graduate credits Cleveland-Marshall with helping him find a position he loves.  It was through working with the C|M|LAW’s Career Services department that Renacci was put in touch with Squire Sanders.

It was also the contacts at Cleveland-Marshall which helped put him on track to his current position at Squire Sanders.  Renacci’s first work in law came after his first year in law school as a law clerk with The Sherwin-Williams Company, a Fortune 500 company based out of Cleveland, Ohio, most well-known for its painting division.  Several of the approximately 30 people working as in-house counsel for Sherwin-Williams were graduates of Cleveland-Marshall including the people in charge of hiring law clerks.

“Sherwin-Williams has an in-house counsel made up of transactional lawyers and litigators,” said Renacci.  “I did work for both and that’s what really set me down my track towards transactional work.  Cleveland-Marshall was a big reason why I landed that externship because of all the alumni in the company’s legal department.”

Going back to law school that fall, Renacci focused in on the area of transactional law and took classes such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Commercial Law and Corporations to pursue that discipline. While continuing law school, Renacci also worked local law clerk positions with Roetzel & Andress, L.P.A. and O’Rourke & Associates Co., L.P.A. At those positions he honed his craft, utilizing the skills he learned at Cleveland-Marshall.

“Those opportunities helped me learn how to interact with people and how to work together, because as a law clerk you have a lot of questions,” remaked Renacci.  “Those experiences taught me that there can be a lot of grey area in the law and it’s not just as simple as following statutes.  I took just as much from those experiences as being in the classroom and I would not be where I am today without either part of the education.”

Renacci had another major responsibility to draw from on top of school and work – he also served as Editor-in-Chief of the Cleveland State Law Review. 

“That was probably the most beneficial experience I’ve had, not just in law school but maybe life so far,” explained Renacci.  “We had a lot of very talented people in that organization and it really helped me to be able to have a leadership position.  It gave me the experience of truly running a small organization and all the tasks that come with that.”

While Renacci was the first in his family to go to law school, he does have someone close to him to go to for advice on leadership – his father.  Andrew’s father Jim Renacci is currently a member of the United State House of Representatives, serving Ohio’s 16th district since 2011.  Prior to that the elder Renacci was the Mayor of Wadsworth, Ohio and owned several business. 

For Andrew Renacci, following politics has always been a hobby but he does not currently have future intentions to run for office.  While leaving open the possibility depending on where life experiences take him, the first-year lawyer’s short and long-term plans revolve around continuing to grow as a lawyer at Squire Sanders. 

While Renacci is not following his father’s career path, his family did have a major impact on another major career decision – where he attended law school.  His parents being in the Northeast Ohio area was the overriding factor in his decision to come home from Michigan to attend Cleveland-Marshall and Renacci feels very fortunate that he decided to make the daily commute from Akron to Cleveland.

“I remember graduating (from Michigan) and saying ‘now what’,” recalled Renacci.  “Going to law school gave me direction because I had no idea what I wanted to do for years.  It wasn’t until I got into law school that I realized this is what I wanted to do.”

“Cleveland-Marshall is a great school at an affordable price and really gives you the tools to be successful in practice,” continued Renacci. “It has offered me opportunity after opportunity and has really given me a career.”

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