When Howard Bobrow was an undergraduate student at Miami University in Oxford, he decided to study abroad for a year at Tel Aviv University in Israel
Having grown up in a Jewish family in Cleveland, he always felt strong ties to Israel.
“It was like the best year ever,” he said.
At the time, Bobrow aspired to work in foreign service. His double major was political science, and diplomacy and foreign affairs.
When he was in law school, he received a paid internship at a law firm in Cleveland.
“I was doing legal research for motions and briefs, and pretty much doing what anybody asked,” he said of his work as an intern. “I enjoyed the law firm world and the law firm life, and basically stuck with it and never pursued a career in the foreign service.”
Bobrow, 48, said many paths exist to pursue a particular goal and picking the best path is his challenge as a lawyer.
“I view myself as an instrument by which clients can effectively achieve their goals,” he said. “I view my clients’ successes, and if they are successful, I consider myself to be successful.”
Today, as a partner at Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP in Cleveland, Bobrow continues to forge new ties to Israel and to help people he met in that year through the firm’s Israeli business practices section.
“We do represent several venture-backed Israeli companies,” he said. “Representing a company that goes from startup through an exit transaction is one of the most gratifying things I can do as a transactional lawyer. So, for example, when I represent a company that exits, gets sold, that is a very gratifying achievement from my perspective. We’ve had a few of those over the past few years. A couple of them have even been Israeli startups that have co-located here in Cleveland, raised venture capital here and then subsequently exited in a sale transaction.”
Born in New York City, a hotel fire prompted Bobrow’s family to move to Cleveland when he was 8 years old.
His father, Carl Bobrow, worked at a hotel which burned to the ground, suddenly leaving him jobless with a family to support. He decided to scout out a business opportunity, choosing Cleveland only because his sister’s husband was at Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine at the time.
He bought Odziemski Hardware Store at Harvard Road and East 131st Street, and the family relocated to Orange. Bobrow grew up attending B’nai Jeshurun Congregation in Pepper Pike and attended Beth Torah religious school. Bobrow spent time working at his father’s hardware store when he was a teenager and graduated from Orange High School in Pepper Pike.
Bobrow and his wife, Deb, are Solon residents and have three children, Aidan, Daniel and Lindy.
He said he is particularly proud of his work with Israeli companies.
“I certainly have a particular affection for the Israeli businesses we represent,” he said, “just because of the natural affinity for them and the connection I have for Israel.”