CLEVELAND — One of the most prominent members of Cleveland's legal community has passed away, as 3News has confirmed Jeff Friedman has died at the age of 74.
A 1965 graduate of Cleveland Heights High School, Friedman is best known for his work as the managing partner of Friedman, Domiano & Smith, whose stated mission is to "serve injured clients with the highest level of expertise, professionalism and integrity." He also served as an advocate for the seriously injured and disadvantaged, having been a wheelchair user as the result of a car accident on the day after his 17th birthday in 1964.
"Jeff would tell me often, 'I don't fish, I don't golf, so this is what I do," FD&S partner Marco G. Bocciarelli said Tuesday. "I think 90 percent of his time went to helping other people."
Despite his injury, Friedman went on to graduate with a bachelor's degree from John Carroll University before graduating from the Case Western Reserve University School of Law in 1972. In 1988, he founded Friedman, Domiano & Smith alongside Joe Domiano and David Smith, with the firm having fought for clients in several major injury-related cases.
"It seems commonplace now, but Jeff was a huge advocate of ramps for people who were disabled in some way," Bocciarelli told 3News. "In the city of Cleveland, you couldn't get around."
In addition to his legal work, Friedman served on the City Council of University Heights for 29 years, including several terms that he spent as the council's vice mayor. He also worked as a part-time Assistant Attorney General of Ohio for nearly 27 years and was also appointed to numerous boards such as Easter Seals and the Spinal Cord Injury Foundation.
"There are people that are calling or writing, 'Jeff helped me, Jeff aided me, Jeff was a guide to me, Jeff helped me through this,' Bocciarelli said. "It's lawyers, it's clients, it's judges."
Friedman is survived by his wife Margaret, his sister Deborah, and two stepchildren. A funeral service will be held Thursday at 11 a.m. at Jewish Family Experience (JFX) at 2200 S Green Road, University Heights, OH 44118. In lieu of flowers, his family has suggested gifts to the Cleveland Kosher Food Pantry or Chabad at Case Western Reserve University.