Jeff practices corporate law with an emphasis on commercial lending structuring and documentation. He represents several regional and community banks in various financing matters, including commercial real estate, historic and new market tax credits, letters of credit, industrial revenue bonds, health care financings, ESOP transactions and specialized collateral. Based on his extensive expertise with commercial loan documentation, Jeff has assisted the Firm’s financial institutions with the establishment and updating of their standardized commercial loan documentation. Jeff has been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America for his work in Banking & Finance Law and Corporate Law from 2007-2020 probably update; and a Cincinnati Leading Lawyer in 2013 probably update. He is a past chair of the firm's Business & Finance Client Service Department. Based on the grading and comments of his peers, Jeff is recognized with an AV Rating, the highest rating given to lawyers by Martindale-Hubbell.
Jeff has a helpful attitude that spills over into his client relationships. “I always try to be upbeat and positive with my clients,” he says, adding that he wants clients to know that he appreciates the opportunity to assist them with their transactions. Whether it is facilitating the signing of documents at a closing with a long-standing relationship manager client or working through funding and logistical mechanics with a closing/funding specialist, Jeff welcomes the challenges of all aspects of getting the deal done.
Jeff lives with his wife, Amy Tolnitch, in Bluffton, South Carolina. Their daughter, Styrling, lives in Boston and works for a non-profit organization there focusing on facilitating language translation services for individuals (including many migrants) and governmental entities. Amy is an accomplished author of four published novels. Jeff is a fan of her work as well as sports of all kinds, especially auto and horse racing.
Industries & Practices
Miami University, B.S., magna cum laude, Business (1982)
Georgetown University Law Center, J.D., cum laude (1985)
Award, The Best Lawyers in America, 2007-2020
Award, Cincinnati Leading Lawyer, 2013 & 2018
Award, AV Preeminent® by Martindale-Hubbell
Outside The Office
Jeff grew up on a dairy farm in Stark County, Ohio. He learned to drive a tractor and was working by age 10. After an accident, his father sold the dairy herd and turned to corn and soybeans on almost 2,000 acres.
As a boy in a rural Ohio, Jeff learned how to entertain himself. He spent a good deal of time in the woods near his home with his dog and a BB gun. Growing up within the gravitational pull of Cleveland, he was an avid fan of the Indians and the Browns. His greatest influence on a day-to-day basis was his mother’s father, nicknamed “Nut.” He recalls Nut taking him to hunt for relics at nearby Gnadenhutten, where a Pennsylvania militia massacred 96 Christian Native Americans during the Revolutionary War.
At an early age, Jeff was intrigued by politics. He followed the Watergate story, the riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention and trial of the Chicago Seven and says he can remember them as if they happened yesterday.
“I knew politicians usually start with the law. I knew early on that I never wanted to be a courtroom attorney. That had way too much bravado, way too much confrontation for me. My practice is all about building relationships and working effectively with clients. This is a place that understands that value of that. I work with a lot of good, straightforward people.”
He and his wife Amy have one daughter, Styrling, who currently works in Boston for a local non-profit organization.
Here’s a story to illustrate his dedication: In 2001, he bent to pick up a file in his office and his back gave out. He was flat on the floor, barely able to move. It was lunch hour, and no one was around. Instead of simply lying there waiting for help, he pulled the phone off his desk, checked his voice mail and returned a few business calls.
“I’m hardworking, focused, affable and comfortable with myself. I take a huge interest in my clients’ concerns, I’m as responsive as I humanly can be and I hope that in the end they walk away satisfied with the product.”