WORK HISTORY: Received a BA in political science from the University of Cincinnati in 1973 and a law degree from the University of Cincinnati in 1977; was admitted to the Bar in November of 1977 and began practice with Day, Ketterer, Raley, Wright & Rybolt in Canton, Ohio. Affiliated with Day, Ketterer first as an associate and then as a partner and member of the Executive Committee, for 21 years. Mike was a founding principal of Zollinger, Gruber, Thomas & Co. on January 1, 1998 and has been a principal and President of the firm since that time. The firm’s name was changed to Gruber Thomas & Company and, after a merger, is now Arnold, Gruber & Haren, Ltd., Mike was a founder of McKinley Title Agency, Inc. and Chief Operating Officer and title insurance agent for over 43 years.
EXPERIENCE: Practice includes mediation, arbitration and litigation before state and federal trial and appeal courts including federal district court and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals as well as arguing before the Ohio Supreme Court. Also represents clients at County Board of Revision hearings and Board of Tax Appeal hearings, and before the Ohio Real Estate Commission. Instructor of Real Estate Law, Malone College, 1985-1989. Practice includes substantial contract and document preparation and advising clients on commercial and residential construction contracts; purchase, sale and financing instruments; representation of borrowers and lenders in loan transactions; formation and creating instruments for both residential and commercial condominiums; created and represents Homeowners associations and other not-for-profit associations and charitable foundations; represented contractors and individuals in commercial and residential construction transactions, mechanic's lien disputes and in zoning, planning and other land development issues. Has practiced as both a court-appointed and private mediator, as well as being an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association.
AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell for over 25 years. Since 2008 has been Chairman of the Stark County Board of Building Appeals. Assisted the Ohio Homebuilders Association in drafting the standards for workmanlike construction services pursuant to the directive in Ohio Revised Code Section 4722.01(G). As a litigator has been involved in cases involving residential and commercial construction, in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, as well as disputes involving lending, mechanic's liens, business transactions, leases, easements and title encumbrances, Uniform Commercial Code, and listing, auction and sales disputes. Has represented an oil and gas producer as well as individuals in the leasing and development of oil and gas and in the negotiation and development of pipeline right-of-way agreements, water purchase and other related agreements.
Experience with title insurance spans over 43 years. Has training and experience as an abstractor searching/examining title in the various county recorders and other necessary governmental offices to prepare abstracts of title and to prepare and issue title guaranty policies and policies of title insurance. Has been a licensed title insurance agent for over 40 years and organized McKinley Title Agency, Inc. and has been its chief operating officer since 1980. Also organized and has been the chief operating principal for McKinley Title Agency Services since 2009. Has been licensed as a title insurance agent in Pennsylvania for approximately 3 years. Currently licensed to issue policies through Commonwealth and Title Insurance Company, First American Title Insurance, and Westcor Land Title. Previously was licensed to issue policies through Chicago Title Insurance Company and Stewart Title. Over the years have taught continuing education classes on title insurance and other real estate topics for attorneys, licensed real estate brokers and sales agents, and for licensed title insurance agents. Title insurance experience includes not only residential real estate but also numerous commercial and industrial transactions and both residential and commercial development projects.
For over 20 years served on the Board of Directors of The Twelve, Inc., a child care agency, served on the Board of Directors of the Stark County Association of Realtors and currently its legal counsel, serves on the Board of Directors and legal counsel to the Building Industry Association of Stark County and Northeast Ohio, served on the Board and Past President of the North Canton Chamber of Commerce, served on the Council for the North Canton YMCA Indian Guides program, on the Executive Committee and serves as counsel to the Buckeye Council, Boy Scouts of America, has been retained as an expert in real estate transaction cases and title insurance cases. Over 15 years of experience as the solicitor for the Village of Meyers Lake, Ohio. Represents numerous realtors, auctioneers, builders and developers and individuals and small businesses. He has provided advice and legal services regarding financial issues and account recovery/collections. He has been involved with oil and gas for over 35 years including oil and gas title interests in various counties, representing an oil and gas company, drafting various documents related to oil and gas leases and interests, and representing numerous land owners leasing both shallow and deep oil and gas bearing strata and in pipeline easement negotiations.
PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS: Stark County Bar Association; Ohio State Bar Association; American Bar Association; Building Industry Association of Stark County and Northeast Ohio; Ohio Homebuilders Association; National Association of Homebuilders; Stark County Association of Realtors; Ohio Association of Realtors; National Association of Realtors. Member of the Council for the Section on Real Property of the Ohio State Bar Association. Past Chairman of the Stark County Bar Association’s Real Estate Law Committee.
EDUCATION: University of Cincinnati, BA Political Sciences, 1973; University of Cincinnati, College of Law, Juris Doctorate, 1977.
PUBLICATIONS AND SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS: Has presented seminars for the Stark County Bar Association, the Ohio Legal Center Institute, the Stark County Bar Association of Realtors, the Ohio Association of Realtors and the Ohio Home Builders Association on building and construction legal issues, title insurance, real estate and oil and gas issues, and legal topics for private seminar companies. Mike was an instructor of real estate law for five years at Malone College and has been an instructor on various continuing education topics for Realtors, title insurance agents and attorneys. A few of the seminars are 2010 Legal Update, seminar presented for Stark County Association of Realtors; 2011 Legal Update, seminar presented for Stark County Association of Realtors; Construction Contract Issues Related to the Ohio Consumer Sales practices Act, seminar presented for the Building Industry Association of Stark County in 2011; Title Issues Related to Oil and Gas Leasing seminar presented for Stark County Bar Association 2012; Issues with Oil and Gas Leases, Continuing Education Program, for the Ohio Association of Realtors presented in 15 Ohio counties during 2012 and 2013; Oil and Gas Leasing seminar presented at Howard Hanna convention in 2013; Receiver Law Issues, seminar presented for the Stark County Bar Association in 2013; Top Rated Lawyers, American Lawyer, November 2015 issue.