Friedman & Rummell Law Firm Celebrates Centenary

CANFIELD, Ohio — At Friedman & Rummell Co. LPA, it’s all in the name.

Set to celebrate 100 years in Mahoning County, the business name has never changed, and for good reason, according to attorney James “Jamie” Dietz.

“Even though some faces have changed here over the years, we have never felt the need or want to change the name,” he said. “We are fortunate for the great influence of the firm’s founders, Joseph Friedman and Evan Rummell. And we continue to operate under their principles, reputation, and legacy of working in and giving back to the community.”

According to the firm’s history provided by Dietz, Friedman arrived in the United States from Central Europe in 1896 with his sister. Initially settling in New York City, he worked in New York sweatshops for five years earning $2 per week while attending night school to earn a high school diploma. He eventually headed west, but only as far as Cleveland, to further his education and pursue his ambition to be a lawyer. In 1908, he received a Bachelor of Laws from Baldwin-Wallace College, Dietz said.

Joseph Friedman

While in Columbus taking the bar examination, Friedman met a young lawyer, Clyde W. Osborne, who told him about Youngstown, saying he would find opportunity there. So, in August of 1908, and having never been to the Mahoning Valley, Friedman moved from Cleveland to Youngstown to start his permanent legal career, according to Dietz.

He spent four months in practice with Atty. Hiram G. Bye, but then started his own law office. After practicing alone for 10 years and having established a solid reputation, Friedman sought help from Atty. Evan Rummell, and in 1919, they formed the partnership of Friedman & Rummell.

Rummell served with the 332nd Infantry in World War I. He never married and had no children but was extremely close with his two brothers and sister, living in a large home on south side overlooking Lake Cohasset in Mill Creek Park, Dietz said. With a tremendous business client following, and in a short period of time, he established himself as an authority of corporate law in Youngstown. He represented numerous business clients and like Friedman, was very active in the community.

Evan Rummell

After several successful years in partnership and gaining the respect of the Youngstown community, Friedman and Rummell were relishing in their thriving law practice, Dietz said. Friedman represented many immigrants, as he spoke several languages fluently, while Rummell represented many large corporate clients.

In 1933, Robert B. Weimer joined Friedman & Rummell. A native of Czechoslovakia, Weimer graduated from Youngstown University Law School in 1933 and married Rheta Friedman, daughter of Joseph Friedman. After joining the firm, Weimer enlisted in the Air Force as a first lieutenant, and served in World War II. Afterwards, he returned to the firm to continue his law practice and was extremely active in veterans’ affairs.

Friedman & Rummell welcomed Joseph’s son, Arthur N. Friedman, in 1939 as a new associate of the firm. Arthur graduated the University of Illinois in 1935 and completed his law school education in 1939 at the University of Michigan, intending to return to Youngstown to practice law at the firm, Dietz said. Like many, Arthur also enlisted in the military after starting his legal career, serving the Coast Guard during World War II. He returned to his Friedman & Rummell family, where he practiced for nearly 65 years.

Dietz acknowledges that times have changed, but the legacy of the founders of the firm remains. “There is so much respect for those who practiced before us,” Dietz said. “Once you learn from people like our founders, it trickles down. That legacy, the high regard for our long history, gives people a lot of confidence in the firm.”

As managing partner of Friedman & Rummell for 15 years, Dietz is proud of the longevity of all its employees. According to the company website, his own time with the firm began when he served as an intern in 1989 under the firm’s leadership of Arthur Friedman, son of Joseph Friedman. After earning his license in 1991, Dietz joined the firm as an associate. Today he is a principal and its managing partner.

The eighth person was added last year because the firm needed more help. This longevity results from how the company treats its people, Dietz said. “We are a family here and provide a great atmosphere. We are ever mindful that we have a job to do, but loving the job we’re doing and enjoying where we work builds confidence among our clients and loyalty among our employees.”

The firm specializes in business law, real estate, estate planning, probate, trust and civil litigation. Of the eight paraprofessionals at Friedman & Rummell, seven have been with the firm 15 years or longer, some as many as 30 and 40 years.

In 2014, the firm moved from downtown Youngstown to 3801 Starrs Centre Drive here because of client needs and an opportunity to merge, but the move in no way affected its connection to Youngstown.

“We love downtown Youngstown,” Dietz said. “Our roots are there and we do a lot of business there.”

The new site allows for a “lifestyle office” on the lower level of the building, which Dietz described as a place where people can go to relax. It includes a kitchen, workout room and a television. There is also a patio with tables and chairs where people can spend some time outside.

“We feel we are the opposite of a stuffy law firm,” Dietz said. “We want people to have the impression they are at home here.”

Even as the firm evolved, much has remained constant. With nine lawyers at the firm, “We are busy,” Dietz said. “We offer capable, efficient legal counsel and think of every client we have. Every day, we talk to each other. Every client is important because whatever it is that brings them to us is the most important thing they have going on in their life.”

Dietz especially expressed his gratitude to the clients of the firm. “It’s because of them that we have been here for 100 years,” he said. “We believe the client does us a favor by bringing us their business.”

Friedman & Rummell will celebrate its centennial at a cocktail reception tonight at the DoubleTree by Hilton in downtown Youngstown. This location is significant because the hotel was formerly the Stambaugh Building where the firm had its first offices. The reception will include those people with a connection to the firm over the years.

“We are bringing together all those who have helped our firm succeed,” Dietz said. “It’s a really neat environment to celebrate.”

Pictured at top: Attorneys James “Jamie” Dietz (left), Leonard Schiavone and Tracie Schmidt preserve the legacy of the founders of Friedmann & Rummell Co. by maintaining their names for the business.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.