Frederick R. Nance is an Executive Group Member and Global DEI Counsel for the firm. Fred is a highly regarded legal and business counselor and a nationally recognized sports and entertainment lawyer. He is the US lead of the Sports & Entertainment Group. His high-profile practice ranges from involvement in high-impact regional economic development matters to serving as business counsel to NBA star LeBron James, comedian Dave Chappelle and other notable athletes and entertainers. He is also an experienced trial litigator in both federal and state courts.

Fred serves on the boards of the Cleveland Clinic (chairing the Governance Committee) and the publicly traded company RPM International Inc. He previously served for six years as an outside director to the publicly traded McDonald & Company Investments, Inc., His previous nonprofit board service includes 10 years on the board of The Cleveland Foundation (the nation’s oldest community foundation with US$100 million in annual grants awarded), as well as service on the boards of Team NEO, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland Foundation and BioEnterprise, Inc. He also served for three years on the Board of CCHISCo (Cleveland Clinic’s professional liability self-insurance entity).

He has a long track record of civic leadership at the highest levels in the Cleveland area, including having served for 15 years on the Executive Committee of the Greater Cleveland Partnership, Cleveland’s 14,000+ member chamber of commerce, where he served as the Chairman of the Board from 2006 to 2008. He is also a former member of the Executive Committee and past President of the 50 Club of Cleveland.

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 and leading the litigation and negotiation that returned the Browns franchise to the city when the former owner relocated the team.

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 only lawyer inducted in the previous 16 years and only the seventh lawyer in the history of Cleveland to receive such recognition.

His sports and entertainment experience is extensive, including being selected from among several hundred candidates as one of five finalists for the position of Commissioner of the National Football League. Later, Cleveland Browns owner Randy Lerner asked Fred to join his team’s front office where he served for three years as the Browns General Counsel, while remaining a partner in the firm. In 2012, he was recognized by the seminal sports business publication Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal as “certainly one of the top sports lawyers in the country.” He serves on the Advisory Board of the National Association of Black Sports Professionals and leads the firm’s US Sports and Entertainment practice. In addition to being the firm’s Global managing partner for its US LLP and serving on the firm’s Global Board, Fred’s prior leadership roles included serving two four-year terms on Squire Patton Boggs’ worldwide, seven-person Management Committee and as the firm’s Regional Managing Partner.

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Representative Clients and Projects

  • 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.
  • Serving as project counsel on various Cleveland economic development initiatives generally in the context of public-private partnerships.
  • 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.

Firm Capacities

  • 2021 to date – Global DEI Counsel
  • 2017 to date – Global Managing Partner, US LLP
  • 2006 to date – Head of US Sports & Entertainment Group
  • 2006-2016 – Regional Managing Partner
  • 2002-2006 – Cleveland Office Managing Partner
  • Elected to two four-year terms on Global Management Committee


  • Stanford University Directors’ College, June, 2019
  • Stanford University Directors’ College, June, 2017
  • 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

Representative Client Work, Public Service & Professional Recognition

  • Current since 2001 – The Best Lawyers in America
  • Current since 2003 – Personal and Business Counsel to NBA Star LeBron James
  • Current since 2005 – The Cleveland Clinic Board of Directors
  • Current since 2006 – Personal and Business Counsel to Comedian Dave Chappelle
  • Current since 2007 – Board of Directors RPM International, Inc. (a $5.5 billion multinational specialty coatings, sealants and building materials manufacturer)
  • Current since 2007 – Inside Business Magazine’s annual Power 100 listing
  • 2022 – Crain’s Cleveland Business: Notable Executives in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  • 2021-2004 – The Greater Cleveland Partnership (14,000-member Chamber of Commerce) Executive Committee (Chair 2006-2008)
  • 2021 – Savoy Magazine Most Influential Black Corporate Directors
  • 2021 Lawyer of the Year for Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships) in Cleveland – The Best Lawyers in America
  • 2021 – Recipient of The Cleveland Orchestra’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Award
  • 2020 – Lawyers of Color 5th Power List
  • 2020 – Recipient of Facing History and Ourselves Cleveland Upstander Award
  • 2020 – Recipient of Crain’s Cleveland Business 40th Anniversary Commemoration Newsmaker Award
  • 2019 Lawyer of the Year for Bet-the-Company Litigation in Cleveland – The Best Lawyers in America
  • 2018 and 2019 – Law360’s Sports Editorial Advisory Board
  • 2018 – Cover and feature article, Smart Business Magazine
  • 2018 – Savoy Magazine Most Influential Black Lawyers in America
  • 2017 – Recognized Practitioner for General Commercial Litigation in Ohio in Chambers USA
  • 2016 – Savoy Magazine’s 2016 Power 300: Most Influential Black Corporate Directors
  • 2015 – Inducted into Inside Business Magazine’s Northeast Ohio Business Hall of Fame
  • 2015-2005 – Board of Directors The Cleveland Foundation  (The nation’s oldest community foundation with US$100 million in annual grants awarded)
  • 2014 – Managing Partner of the Year Pathfinder Award at the Annual African-American Managing Partners and General Counsel Dinner, during the National Bar Association Convention 
  • 2012 – Designated by the Sports Business Journal as “One of the Top Sports Lawyers in the Country”
  • 2012-2009 – The Cleveland Browns General Counsel
  • 2008 – Inducted as Fellow to the International Academy of Trial Lawyers
  • 2007 – Cover and feature article, Inside Business Magazine ranked No. 1 on List of Most Powerful People in Northeast Ohio
  • 2006 – One of five finalists for the position of Commissioner of the National Football League

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  • Bloomberg Law, “How Big Law Aims to Make Good on ‘Meritocracy,’ Lessen Pay Gap,” June 2, 2022
    Fred discusses steps the firm has taken to ensure equitable staffing assignments within the firm by embedding it as part of partners’ annual review process and tracking utilization metrics to ensure partners are giving adequate opportunities to women and diverse associates. “If you have a status quo that’s not as inclusive as you’d want it to be, people have to be mindful and purposeful of stepping outside of their natural comfort zones,” Nance said.

  • Crain’s Cleveland, “Squire Patton Boggs Looks Beyond Box-Checking to Meet Rising Diversity Demands,” January 22, 2022
    Fred discusses diversity in law and the newly created Office of DEI, saying “So many of our clients have an intense social justice focus now.” He continues, “People are looking beyond diversity box-checking to advancements and who’s getting credit inside the law firm. It’s created an arms race among many large firms to improve their diversity performance.”

  • Law360, “Squire Patton's Global Leaders On DEI And Change,” September 24, 2021
    Fred and Michele Connell discuss Fred becoming head of the firm’s new Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and the importance of focusing efforts on diversity. The pair also discuss Michele’s appointment as the new global managing partner.

  • The American Lawyer, “Squire Patton Boggs Appoints New Global Managing Partner, Launches Diversity Office,” September 21, 2021
    Fred and Michele Connell discuss Fred becoming head of the firm’s new Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Michele’s appointment as the new global managing partner. The pair also discuss how the events of 2020 led to the creation of the Office of DEI, “Diversity has been a part of our culture forever but that’s not to say we’re perfect. In the summer of George Floyd, everything changed for us – like it did for everybody else.”

  • Reuters, “Squire leaders talk pandemic-era fortunes, race after George Floyd,” September 2021
    Fred and Michele Connell discuss the firm's fortunes this year and its challenges, and the goals of its new DEI office.

  • Bloomberg Law, “Black Law Firm Leaders Are Poised for Prodigious Change,” June 8, 2021
    Fred discusses how the firm is “redoubling” its efforts to hire, retain and promote diverse lawyers, “There are heartfelt desires to change things but you can’t flip a switch overnight.”

  • Bloomberg Law, “Will the Law Firm Diversity Push Falter as Protests Fade?,” February 8, 2021
    Fred discusses the firm’s affinity groups, which allow diverse lawyers to network and speak out about their concerns, He also discussed the importance of having more Black women in leadership roles, noting the recent appointments of Alethia N. Nancoo to the firm’s Global Board and Corrine A. Irish, named the firm’s Pro Bono Counsel serving clients across the country.

  • Law360, “Squire Patton Puts 1st Black Woman on Global Board,” January 11, 2021
    Fred discusses the appointment of Alethia Nancoo, the first African American woman to sit on the firm’s Global Board, coming at a time “when the politics of the US are recognizing the contribution that African-American women are making to, frankly, change our society.”

  • Law360, “Black Law Firm Leaders On Improving Diversity in BigLaw,” September 3, 2020
    Fred shares his thoughts on how to improve diversity in BigLaw.

  • Bloomberg Law, “Black Firm Leaders Drive Big Law Social Justice Efforts,” August 26, 2020
    Fred discusses the firm’s foundation, which provides fellowships for law students – most of whom are African American – with an interest in social justice and poverty law.

  • WKYC, “Local Companies Pledge to Donate Computers to Close the Digital Divide,” August 19, 2020.
    As global managing partner, Fred mentions the firm’s pledge to donate thousands of computers in the coming years to help students learning virtually due to the pandemic.

  • Smart Business, “Master Dealmaker – Fred Nance,” August 3, 2018
    Brokering some of Cleveland’s most noteworthy transactions, Smart Business explores Fred’s insights into the craft of dealmaking and shares the lessons he has learned to get things done under difficult circumstances.
  • Savoy, “Celebrity Clients, Global Responsibilities and Civic Leadership. Fred Nance’s Improbable Journey – A Quintessentially American Story,” July 10, 2018 
    40 years and many “adventures” later, Fred Nance, noted for his celebrity clientele and civic leadership, has been named Global Managing Partner of Squire Patton Boggs US LLP. 

  • Forbes, “Mark Ruehlmann And Fred Nance Of Squire Patton Boggs, On Mergers, Culture, Integration And The Media,” January 31, 2018
    Fred Nance and Mark Ruehlmann discuss the importance of diversity, cultural integration and what the road ahead looks like. 

  • The American Lawyer, "It's Lonely at the Top for Big Law's Few Black Leaders," November 2, 2017 (subscription required)
    In this article, Fred discusses how he beat the odds to become one of only a handful of African-American Big Law managing partners. Alongside other managing partners and chairs, Fred discusses why there aren’t more black lawyers at this level in Big Law, and provides advice for aspiring young African-American managing partners.

  • The American Lawyer, “Squire Patton Boggs Helps Chappelle Snag Netflix Deal,” November 22, 2016 (subscription required)
    Netflix’s  announcement that comedian Dave Chappelle will produce an original stand-up comedy special exclusively for the Internet TV network made national deadlines. Fred Nance represented long-time client Dave Chappelle in the deal.

  • Bloomberg, “Squire Patton Boggs Elects New Global M.P.” November 8, 2016    

  • The American Lawyer, “'Believeland' Becomes Reality for LeBron's Longtime Lawyer,” June 21, 2016
    The American Lawyer profiled Fred Nance, long-time lawyer for Cleveland Cavaliers player LeBron James, noting the Squire Patton Boggs Cleveland-based regional managing partner has advised LeBron “since he was a teenager, handling everything from lucrative endorsement deals to scuttling salacious paternity suits.”

  • Crain’s Cleveland Business, “'Believeland' is a compelling, and at times gut-wrenching, look at Cleveland sports,” March 2, 2016
    ESPN’s long-awaited “30 for 30” documentary “Believeland” spotlights the anguish and dedication of Cleveland sports fans. Fred Nance is featured in the documentary.

  • Inside Business, “Business Hall of Fame: Fred Nance,” November 2015
    In a profile about Fred Nance, Inside Business writes, “In his colorful life and career, the Squire Patton Boggs regional managing partner has steered clients and Cleveland toward victory.” Fred recently was inducted into Inside Business’ Business Hall of Fame.

  •, “Stokes' legacy includes helping minorities excel in law,” August 24, 2015
    On the passing of former Congressman Louis Stokes, Fred Nance praised his legacy, particularly in paving the path for African-American lawyers in Cleveland and throughout the country. Through scholarships and internships, his influence will continue. Fred commented, "When they see people who look like them, who have accomplished what they might want to do, it inspires them to try that much harder to know that there's a connection in the community. It'll help support them and pursue their dreams, and that's what the Stokes Scholarship Program is all about."

  • ABC News Dateline, “The Life and Business of Lebron James ,” June 15, 2015
    Between playing in the NBA finals and multimillion dollar endorsements, King James is living it up on and off the court. LeBron James lawyer Fred Nance appears in a segment where he discusses the economic impact of James’ return to Cleveland.

  • Savoy Magazine, “2015 Most Influential Black Lawyers,” Spring 2015
    Fred Nance has been named one of the most influential black lawyers in the US. He is profiled in the Savoy article “From LeBron to the National Football League: Fred Nance is having more fun than the law allows.” 

  • Panelist, “Leaders for Justice, Part 2: The Role DE&I Plays in Firm and Business Culture and Governance,” Law & Leadership Institute, October 4, 2021
  • Panelist, “Changing the Diversity Narrative – Making Diversity a Movement in the Legal Profession and Not a Moment,” National Bar Association’s 96th Annual Conference
  • Panelist, “Entertainment Law, Show Business: The Deals that Make it Happen,” Center Court Conference, Howard University School of Law, March 2021 
  • Panelist, Michigan Law’s African American Alumni Reunion, “De-mystifying Corporate Boards,” March 27 2021
  • Panelist, Leadership Cleveland, “Public Policy/Advocacy/Government Day,” February 4, 2021
  • Panelist, My Brother’s Keeper My Sister’s Keeper Fellowship Summit, “Leveling Up: Becoming the Best Version of Yourself,” November 13, 2020
  • Speaker, 6th Annual African American Managing Partner and General Counsel Dinner, NBA Annual Meeting
  • Panelist, College Athletics, CSU Entertainment and Sports Law Symposium

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