Harry Cappel is third-generation Price Hill – that’s how he puts it. As a second grader at St. William, he had a hard time reading. His parents told him it was because he was so busy with sports. Still, he was embarrassed. In the third grade, the school had a year-long contest to see who could read the most books. He tore into it, read 278 and won.
The experience awakened a curiosity. He talks about driving the school librarian crazy. When a subject would catch his attention – like, say, werewolves or geography or the U.S. presidents – he would want every book ever written on the subject. Nowadays, he usually has three books going at any given time.
He was catcher for, and eventually captain of, the University of Cincinnati Bearcats baseball team. One of his big influences was his senior year coach, Bruce Gordon, a lawyer and former FBI agent. “He had one simple rule: ‘Do Right.’ I thought that was great. When you’re a student-athlete, you have so many different things coming at you. ‘Do right’ works with any situation.”
Harry’s father took a job at St. Rita School for the Deaf in 1967 to pay his way through college. He enjoyed it so much that he decided to teach deaf children. He was the first in his family to go to college. Harry’s mother’s family moved to Cincinnati from Michigan because she had four brothers and three sisters who were deaf. Her parents wanted them to attend St. Rita, one of the few Catholic schools in the world for kids with hearing issues. That’s how Harry’s parents met.
You don’t get much more west side Cincinnati than Harry. He graduated from Elder, and his wife, Nikki, went next door to Seton. They have four children. He likes being outside, coaching baseball, spending time with his family. The biggest fish he ever caught was a 5.1-lb. largemouth bass on a six-inch purple rubber worm at Hidden Valley Lake.
He worked his way through college and law school. “My parents appreciated the fact that I understood they didn’t have a pile of money. So while I was working for myself, I felt like I was making their life together easier. Dad’s great – he was an institution at St. Rita. Mom is, too. Everyone is her friend. She’s a giver. Hopefully, I’m a giver, too.”
His speech to his kids is, “Be good, have fun, work hard.” His speech to the Firm’s associates is, “You can’t control whether someone likes your writing or your ability to argue. But you can control being dependable, doing what you say you will. You have to control what you can control – and if it’s under your control, do it right.”
The appeal for Harry is not the law, per se. It’s about helping people resolve problems. “You can resolve a case if you can make both sides feel like they’ve won. In order to get what your client wants, you better know what the other side wants, what’s driving them. That’s what I look for.
“If you were to ask my clients, why call Harry? They’ll tell you I’m a problem solver. They’ll also tell you I answer my own emails, my phone isn’t routed through my secretary and if I say I’ll do something, I do it.”
Harry is a commercial litigator, and chair of the Firm’s Litigation Group. While Harry has handled a wide variety of high stakes commercial cases, his primary focus is on representing financial institutions, mortgage servicers and credit card companies in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.
Harry has significant experience handling lender liability defense cases, contested foreclosures, contested bankruptcy and adversary proceedings, defending individual consumer claims and class actions, prosecuting and defending title insurance and real estate related claims, and managing commercial workouts. He has also conducted a number of employee training sessions for financial institutions and mortgage servicers.
Above all, Harry is renowned for his client focus.
Harry grew up on the West Side of Cincinnati and attended the University of Cincinnati, where he was a member of the varsity baseball team and team captain in 1993. He received the Award of Excellence from the Great Midwest League in 1993, which was given to the top male and female student–athlete in the league. Harry attended the University of Cincinnati’s College of Law, where he was an active member of the Moot Court Board.
Harry continues to live on the West Side of Cincinnati with his wife and four children. Harry is active in the community and is on a number of charitable boards, including the Literacy Network of Greater Cincinnati. Every Tuesday during the school year, Harry tutors 3rd graders at Oyler Elementary School, an inner city public school located in Cincinnati’s Lower Price Hill. In his free time, Harry enjoys boating, hiking, and fishing with his kids. Harry and his wife are both avid Cincinnati Reds fans and, having appropriately indoctrinated their children, the family enjoys spending a night at the ballpark cheering on the Reds.