When I sat down with Bob Hager to interview him for the BMD Attorney Spotlight, it was quite fortuitous that it was almost 10 years to the day from when he joined BMD. And with any milestone, it’s human nature to stop and reflect upon how far you have come, where you have been, how did you get here and where are you heading?
Over the past 31 years, Bob has built a very successful career as a construction and business litigation trial attorney. He is also a professional mediator/arbitrator and member of the American Arbitration Association Roster of Neutrals. Bob contributes his success, in part, to setting his priorities and staying true to them - faith, family and then career. He is also celebrating 31 years of marriage to his wife and CEO of the Hager clan, Mary. They have 3 grown children – 2 daughters and 1 son. And, to add to his already full life, he is now known as, “Nonno”, to their first grandson, Xavier.
While Bob has been selected as an Ohio Super Lawyer for 17 years in a row and has received many accolades and awards in recognition of his distinguished career, what he enjoys most about being an attorney are the relationships with his clients. Bob is a servant leader – working hard for his clients, serving them at the highest level, providing leadership, building trust and accomplishing their objectives. Bob’s clients seek him out for counsel and guidance when they need help. According to Bob, it is the most rewarding aspect of being a trusted advisor. Bob’s track record of success speaks for itself and to the confidence and trust his clients have in him.
If you ask Bob about a particularly interesting case – and he has seen many over the course of his career – he said without a doubt the San Allen class action lawsuit. Our client was the State of Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. 270,000 employers in the State of Ohio were challenging the group rating program. Plaintiffs were seeking $2B in damages. BMD was hired after the original attorneys representing the State were unsuccessful (after 4 years) and the judge had ruled against the State. Over the course of the next 4 years, BMD’s team tried the case, successfully appealed certain issues and negotiated a favorable settlement that saved the State of Ohio $1.6B. Bob said it was a “once in a lifetime case.”
I asked Bob who had the biggest influence on his career. He said there were many, however, one person clearly stood out, Judge Sam Bell. During law school, Bob was an extern in the Judge’s court. “Judge Bell was a fine person and gentleman.” Bob said he learned a valuable lesson that still rings true for him today: How you conduct yourself and treat others really matters. Be professional, be respectful and have dignity. “Treat others as you would like them to treat you.”
So, where is Bob heading? Just so happens, Bob is heading to BMD’s Cleveland office in September. The only thing that will change is his address. Bob will continue to serve his clients and help lead BMD into the future as a member of our Executive Committee.
Honestly, it’s hard to sum up 31 years in a few paragraphs, however, to borrow a quote from Bob’s favorite movie, “You see, you really had(have) a wonderful life.”