Ira Kaplan, managing partner, Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan and Aronoff LLP

Ira Kaplan, managing partner, Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan and Aronoff LLP

By his own admission, every decision Ira Kaplan made during his first years at the helm of Benesch was a risk. The managing partner of the business law firm followed core values of honesty, excellence, innovation and collaboration, mutual respect, accountability and meaningful contributions as part of the company’s 2008 strategic plan to keep the business profitable.

Kaplan became managing partner in January 2008 and by October the U.S. economy had plummeted. The firm experienced a drop-off in business, and it was up to Kaplan to make a course correction. As many other firms held tight to ride out the recession, Kaplan had other ideas. He was determined that the firm would make a profit and grow through the recession.

Kaplan chose to sharply focus attention on the firm’s current clients through frequent face-to-face interaction. Benesch attorneys looked to help guide clients through the changes and challenges they were experiencing throughout the recession. Through this steadfast focus and the ability to anticipate needs rather than merely respond to them, Kaplan successfully navigated these uncertain times by leading the firm to growth.

One of the firm’s most critical steps during the economic upheaval was developing a strategic plan. Kaplan and the firm’s executive committee devised a strategy that was almost counterintuitive for the times. They took calculated risks and remained focused on increasing the number of attorneys to best serve their client base and launched new practice areas while other firms were hunkered down.

The firm has expanded into new markets in Indiana and New York, hired 26 lawyers, 17 staff and significantly bolstered its business development team.

Looking ahead, Kaplan is focusing Benesch to continue to take advantage of opportunistic growth and advance the firm’s core practice areas.

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