John W. McKenzie

Managing Shareholder
John’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. His ability to assess people quickly lends itself to arriving at timely strategic 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. 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, 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 and his spouse Susan (a lawyer turned English teacher, and now aspiring writer) are empty nesters and love traveling (including visits with their kids in Boston and Charlotte), spending time boating and snow skiing in New Hampshire and hiking 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, Case Western Reserve University, J.D., 1992
Bar Admissions
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • 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
Professional Activities and Recognition
  • Crain’s Cleveland Business “Notable Leaders in Employment and Labor Law”, 2023
  • Rated by SuperLawyers, 2020-2024
  • Rated by Best Lawyers, 2022-2024
  • AV Preeminent peer review rating by Martindale-Hubbell legal directory
  • Member, Akron Bar Association and its Labor and Employment Law Section
  • Past Chair, Akron Bar Association and its Labor and Employment Law Section
  • Member, Ohio State Bar Association and its Labor and Employment Law Section
  • Member, Society for Human Resource Management
  • Member, Leadership Akron Alumni Association
  • Graduate and Vice President, Leadership Akron Class 2019
  • American Lawyer, “Cleveland’s Top-Rated Lawyers of 2014”
Publications and Presentations
  • Positive Employee Relations, June – July 2021
  • Union Prevent, June – July 2021
  • Thorny FMLA & ADA Issues, March 2020
  • Harassment in the Workplace, 28 Client Training Sessions, March 2018
  • HR Workshop: Effective Management of ADA and FMLA Leave Issues, February 2018
  • The First Year: The Trump Administration’s Impact on Federal Labor and Employment Laws, Regulations and Enforcement Policies, KWW Annual Client Seminar, November 2017
  • 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,” KWW Annual 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
Civic/Charitable Activities and Associations
  • Past President, Leadership Akron Alumni Association Board of Directors
  • Past Trustee, Leadership Akron
  • Past Board Executive Committee Member, Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park
  • Old Trail School Board of Directors
    • Past Vice President
    • Past Member, Executive Committee
  • Member, Portage Country Club
  • Member, Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park
  • Member, Bluecoats Incorporated
  • Past Board Member, Dads’ Club, Western Reserve Academy
  • 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
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