When Ian Friedman, founding partner of Friedman & Nemecek, L.L.C., in Cleveland, goes to work every day, he looks forward to what challenges his work will bring him. Friedman’s work as a criminal defense attorney specializing in criminal, white collar and cyber defense has brought him across the country and to Europe, Asia and South America. He has tried more than 200 defendant cases to verdict in municipal, state and federal courts, and the clients he serve stand at a range of legal points, requiring diverse representation.

“I think the most important skills to being a criminal defense lawyer are the ability to listen and to see three moves ahead,” Friedman said.

His love for his work is not just of this generation, because if Friedman had the ability to go back in time, he says he would still be a criminal defense lawyer in the 1920s and 1930s.

CJN: What did you want to be when you grew up and why?

Friedman: I recall being very young and wanting to be an astronomical engineer or truck driver. From the fourth grade on, however, I wanted to be a courtroom lawyer. I felt the law was where I could speak up against injustice. I was right and that is why I still do it today.

CJN: Why did you want to focus on criminal defense?

Friedman: My focus on criminal law just seemed natural. It was as if it chose me. It fulfills me as I get to give people a fair fight, help those at their lowest points and get to see the successes that are achieved after being given a chance. My favorite part of the work is formulating strategy. It feels like chess.

CJN: What Jewish values do you use in your work?

Friedman: The search for truth and justice is what drives me every day. The sense of fairness and need to protect the vulnerable is what I’ve been taught since my earliest age.

CJN: How do you work with your clients to assist them in the best way possible unique to them?

Friedman: We take a very comprehensive approach to assisting our clients. We do not handle too many cases at once so that we can hand-hold from beginning to end. We go beyond just trying to get the client through their cases. We want to make sure that their issues are addressed so that they can move ahead successfully after the case has concluded.

CJN: What kind of cases do you enjoy most and why?

Friedman: The type of case I enjoy most involves a young defendant who can still be rehabilitated if given the chance.

CJN: What do you do in your free time?

Friedman: My free time is scarce, but between my professional obligations and travel, when possible, I just spend time with my wife and kids. Since time passes so quickly, I take every minute I can with them.

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