Attorney at Law Magazine Cleveland publisher Jim Shultz sat down with Bart Leonardi of James Bart Leonardi LLC to discuss his career and his aspirations for the future.
AALM: How would you describe your practice?
Leonardi: My areas of practice are exclusively probate and estate planning. I am certified by the Ohio State Bar Association as a specialist in estate planning, trust and probate law. The cases I take run from basic probate administration thru complex probate litigation. As part of my practice, I also have a very active estate planning docket.
AALM: What drew you to want to practice in the areas of probate and estate planning?
Leonardi: Prior to entering law school, I studied finance at John Carroll and worked in the financial industry as a securities analyst. At one point, I even ran my own insurance practice. My first job as an attorney was as a trust attorney for a major bank in the south. After that, I defended physicians and health care providers in malpractice actions. Probate and Estate Planning has been the perfect way to blend my background in finance and litigation.
AALM: When did you first know you wanted to become an attorney?
Leonardi: I spent four years as a seminarian studying to be a priest. When I realized that wasn’t my calling, I was looking for a way to stay engaged intellectually and provide a service that really helped people. For me, the best way to do that was to become an attorney.
Often, people we meet are going through a challenging time in their life or that of their family …It is particularly rewarding to be able to help people through that.”
AALM: What do you find particularly rewarding about your practice?
Leonardi: Often, people we meet are going through a challenging time in their life or that of their family. The death of a loved one is difficult and made more stressful if litigation is involved. It is particularly rewarding to be able to help people through that.
AALM: What do you find most challenging about your practice?
Leonardi: We handle a lot of wrongful death and minor settlement cases. Seeing the anguish a parent goes through when a child passes away, or is severely injured, is never easy.
AALM: What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Leonardi: That is an easy one – being a father. I am blessed, along with my wife, to be able to raise our daughters and help encourage them to pursue their dreams.