Giving Comes Naturally to John Landolfi '89
John Landolfi was home on break from Westminister College when the phone rang at his parents' home in Niles, Ohio. The caller was Chuck Richards, an attorney from the neighboring town of Warren, Ohio, asking if John wanted to work for him. Being an avid fan of John's high school sports teams, Mr. Richards learned of the star wide receiver's long professed desire to become a lawyer. He offered to be his first employer, and more importantly, his first mentor. John spent the next three summers working for Richards, Ambrosy and Fredericka before enrolling at the OSU Moritz College of Law.
John credits mentors such as Chuck Richards and those "too many to name" from Vorys Sater Seymour and Pease for helping to shape his career. John, who has practiced law for 16 years at Vorys in Columbus, Ohio and is a partner at the firm, serves as counsel for some of the nation's most recognized retailers, including Victoria's Secret, Bath & Body Works and Abercrombie & Fitch. "If you like to shop, you would like to do my job," he says.
|John, his wife Chrissie, and their three boys (left to right) Marco, Johnny and Dante, with Johnny Rainton, a soccer coach from London they hosted in Summer 2006|
John's representation of retail clients includes serving as trial counsel when they are sued or need to file a lawsuit, and providing daily advice to clients to help them remain in compliance with the myriad local, state and national consumer protection statutes and regulations. He especially enjoys the counseling aspect of his practice because it allows him to continually foster relationships with his clients and help them avoid costly lawsuits.
One of his more interesting cases involved a RICO lawsuit filed against Victoria's Secret. The plaintiff alleged that Victoria's Secret conspired to discriminate against women by marketing better promotions and deals to male customers than to its female customers. John found it "amusing" that the client was accused of discriminating against its target clientele — women. Apparently, the judge did too because the case was dismissed on the pleadings.
Although John's practice is specialized, the range of legal issues he handles is quite broad. A lawyer who advises retail clients might be reviewing advertisements or promotions for compliance with consumer protection laws one day, and negotiating a real estate deal the next.
When John is not working for his clients, he is working for a good cause. His volunteer activities include American Cancer Society, Children's Hospital, United Way, Lawyers for Justice and service on numerous for profit and non-profit boards. John is also active in the Columbus Bar Association and Ohio State Bar Association and was honored with The Ohio State University's William Oxley Thompson Alumni Award in 1998, which honors young alumni who have demonstrated distinctive achievement in a career, civic involvement, or both.
When asked how he manages to balance a large law firm practice, extensive community service, and raising three young boys, he attributes it to having a "high energy" personality. The why is another story. "I believe it is incumbent upon all of us to 'pay it forward,'" says John. "I feel lucky to be living and working in Columbus and want others in our community to have the opportunity to reach their potential."
|John (right) coached son Johnny's baseball team last summer|
His commitment to community naturally includes service to Moritz Law. As a mentor in the Mentoring and More @ Moritz program, he meets with students to give them honest answers to questions about the practice of law, career advice, and practical advice for avoiding ethical problems in representing clients.
First-year law student Jeff Dorocak, who entered the mentoring program this year, says, "he made it obvious that he believes the mentoring program allows Moritz students to get insight into the legal profession that can only come with interaction with practicing attorneys. In addition, he and our other mentor, Steve Fitch ['73, of Chester Willcox & Saxbe in Columbus], are working hard to allow our mentoring group to visit their law offices and see what actually happens inside a firm." Another participant, 2L Marek Pienkos comments, "From the moment you meet John, his commitment to the community and legal profession is both inspiring and astonishing. He is the kind of lawyer all of us aspire to be some day."
John's dedication to helping others reach their potential was learned from another person close to his heart. His father, who worked for 40 years in Youngstown's steel mills, spent each day of his vacation watching John's football practices, and instilled in him the drive to attend college. Now a father himself, John makes time to coach his sons' sports teams and attend their games. It's not easy for John to leave clients' problems behind at the office, and he admits that it can be a challenge to be a "hands on" dad. Luckily, John has "a great wife who is totally devoted to our family." He credits Chrissie, who is also a lawyer, with helping him keep everything in balance, allowing him to devote time to family, to work, and to his community.
Friends who want to get in touch with John can reach him by email at email@example.com.