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.
Representative Clients and Projects
Representative Client Work, Public Service & Professional Recognition