Nance, Frederick R.

Frederick R. Nance


Frederick R. Nance serves as Squire Patton Boggs’ Regional Managing Partner, operating out of the Cleveland office.  Squire Patton Boggs, which was founded in Cleveland in 1890, now serves clients from 44 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 in the US.

Fred began his career at Squire Patton Boggs 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 Patton Boggs’ 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 Patton Boggs partner.


    • 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.


    • University of Michigan, J.D., 1978
    • Harvard University, B.A., 1975


    • Ohio, 1978


    • U.S. Dist. Ct., N. Dist. of Ohio
    • U.S. Ct. of App., Sixth Circuit

    Memberships and Affiliations

    Civic Leadership

    Fred is a standing member of the Executive Committees of the Greater Cleveland Partnership, Cleveland’s 14,000+ chamber of commerce, where he served as the Chairman of the Board from 2006 to 2008.  He is also a member of the Executive Committee and past President of The 50 Club of Cleveland.  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.

    Selected Board Experience

    Fred currently serves on the Boards of the Cleveland Clinic (as a fiduciary director), the Greater Cleveland Partnership and Team NEO. He has also been a Director since 2007 on the Board of the publicly traded company RPM International Inc.    His previous Board service includes 10 years with The Cleveland Foundation, 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 the publicly traded 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.

    Professional Recognition

    In 2015, Fred was inducted into the Northeast Ohio Business Hall of Fame in recognition of the leadership roles he has played in many high stakes community initiatives. He was the eighth lawyer in Cleveland’s history to receive such recognition.  In 2015, Fred was also profiled in Savoy Magazine as being among the “Most Influential Black Lawyers in America”, and was selected for the cover and feature article in the Cleveland edition of Attorney at Law Magazine.

    In 2014, Fred was honored with the “Managing Partner of the Year Pathfinder Award” at the Fourth Annual African-American Managing Partners and General Counsel Dinner during the National Bar Association’s 89th Annual Convention.  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. 

    Fred 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, 2013 and 2014. 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 Community Recognition
    • Selected to the 2015 Inductee Class for Inside Business Hall of Fame
    • “Who’s Who in Black Cleveland”, 2004-2015.
    • “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.
    • Selected for the cover and featured in the annual publication Ohio Super Lawyers, 2005.
    • “Service to Mankind” Award from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, 2005.
    • ORT American Jurisprudence Award, 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.

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