Our Team

John W. McKenzie

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mckenzieJohn’s Northeast Ohio lawyering roots run deep – back three generations to his great grandfather who practiced law in Akron and became City Solicitor.  Like his great grandfather and grandfather, John has an enthusiastic desire to make a positive impact both for his clients and his community; he is dedicated to helping companies navigate the complexities of labor and employment law.  John uses his corporate human resources and banking background to understand his clients’ particular business needs and to develop practical solutions. 

John regularly advises clients on employment contracts, sexual harassment investigations, severance agreements, non-competition matters, and reductions in force.  He takes an active role assisting clients with leave management issues under the Americans With Disabilities Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act, including respective reasonable accommodations and interactive process considerations and obligations.  John places an emphasis on employment-related advice, employee handbook/policy drafting, litigation prevention and supervisor training.

John specializes in defending wrongful discharge, employment discrimination, wage and hour and other employment-related matters.  He additionally handles traditional labor law matters including contract negotiations, grievance arbitrations and defense of unfair labor practice charges.  His ability to assess people quickly lends itself to arriving at timely strategic solutions.  John represents employers before a variety of state and federal government agencies including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, the National Labor Relations Board, the State of Ohio Personnel Board of Review, the Ohio State Employment Relations Board, and the U.S. Department of Labor.

John is a frequent speaker in the business community, and has maintained the highest peer review rating (AV Preeminent) by Martindale Hubbell.

Other Personal Background Information And Interests

John is a true family man and an active community volunteer.  John and his wife Susan (a lawyer turned English teacher) are recent empty nesters and, while they miss attending their children's multiple sporting events, have relished returning to the runs, workouts and golf enjoyed during their 20's! The McKenzies love to travel, ski and take advantage of their local treasure, the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. John has served on the board of several Northeast Ohio non-profits, including over 15 years on behalf of the Park.


  • Wake Forest University, B.A., 1985
  • Case Western Reserve University School of Law, J.D., 1992


  • The United States Supreme Court
  • The Supreme Court of Ohio
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio


  • AV Preeminent peer review rating by Martindale-Hubbell legal directory
  • US News & World Report, "Best Law Firms" 2015, 2017
  • American Lawyer, "Cleveland's Top-Rated Lawyers of 2014"
  • Member, Akron Bar Association and its Labor & Employment Section
  • Past Chair, Akron Bar Association Labor & Employment Section
  • Member, Ohio State Bar Association and its Labor & Employment Section
  • Member, Society for Human Resource Management
  • Member, Leadership Akron Alumni Association
  • Graduate, Leadership Akron Class XIX


  • HR Workshop: How to Have Difficult Conversations with Employees, April 2016
  • FMLA Workshop: Dealing with Sticky Situations, June 2015
  • Managing Within the Law, Client Foundations of Leadership Program, November and December 2014
  • The NLRB's Expanding (and Anti-Employer) Agenda, Ohio State Bar Association, Corporate Counsel Section, November 2014
  • Harassment Prevention Training, Client Winter Conference, Supervisor Training, February 2014
  • "Defining the Line Between Drinks After Work and Workplace Harassment," Kastner Westman & Wilkins' Client Seminar, November, 2013 
  • Legal Basics for Small Business, “Screening Job Applicants’ Social Media Sites? Be Aware of Pitfalls,” Ohio State Bar Association, 2013
  • Law You Can Use, “Are Potential Employers Getting Too Much Personal Information from Social Media Sites?” Ohio State Bar Association, 2012
  • ADA and FMLA, Client Supervisor Training, November, 2012
  • Managing Leaves, Client Supervisor Training, May, 2012
  • Social Media Policy Guidance and Application, CLE Presentation, May, 2012
  • EEOC Compliance, Disability Discrimination and Medical Leave, CLE Presentation, February, 2012


  • Board of Directors, Past President, Leadership Akron Alumni Association
  • Past Trustee, Leadership Akron
  • Past Board Member, Dads’ Club, Western Reserve Academy
  • Member, Bluecoats Incorporated
  • Member, Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens
  • Member, Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park
  • Member, Country Club of Hudson
  • Past Vice President, Executive Committee, Old Trail School Board of Directors
  • Past Executive Committee Member, Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park
  • Past Board Member, Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center
  • Past Board Member, The Lawrence School
  • Past Board Member, Akron City Club
  • Past Board Member, Bath Township Park System
  • Past Baseball Coach, Bath Township
  • Past Volunteer, Akron Children’s Hospital Ronald McDonald House