Jim Ludwig told himself he’d never work downtown again. It’s too buttoned up, he said, and more suit-and-tie than he’d been used to. It’s not that Jim doesn’t like the downtown area because he does. He loves exploring the restaurants, bars, and shops downtown has to offer. He also loves the different types of people. He doesn’t even mind the parking, but downtown law was something Jim wanted to leave behind.
Jim considers himself more of a community-based lawyer these days. The kind of lawyer who can walk to work, which is precisely what Jim did for the last nine years. Every morning, Jim would walk from his Hyde Park home to his office one block from the Square. Depending on how much time he had, he might stop into Echo restaurant to chat with Sean, the manager, or he might say hello to Heidi at Carl’s Deli. The only traffic jam Jim had to worry about was in the line for coffee at Awakenings. Jim had indeed escaped the rat race.
But life is funny, and a need for change can call at any hour. And so, when Jim found himself downtown in a suit and a tie on an elevator heading up 18 floors for a job interview at Graydon, he was a bit skeptical to say the least. He hardly recognized himself as he straightened his tie. He said he’d never go back, but there he was.
Being downtown again was a hard pill to swallow for Jim. He’s not your typical corporate attorney. In fact, Jim considers himself to be the most non-corporate, corporate attorney you’ll ever meet, and he’s probably right. This is the same guy who loves moshing at Riot Fest in Chicago. Jim admits he tends to hang around the outer edge of the pit these days, but it’s still revealing. Ask Jim about his favorite punk bands, and he’ll rattle off names you’ve never heard of, proving he’s somewhat deep into the counter-culture.
Jim’s not all rebel, though. Perhaps as a yin to the yang of moshing, Jim is also a yoga practitioner and a weekly volunteer at Madisonville Food Pantry. It’s all about balance, after all. Jim is most comfortable when he is embedded in a community. He’s a boots on the ground kind of guy. He wants to know people, interact with them, and maybe even buy them a beer over at Streetside Brewery, his go-to spot on the east side.
Yet, there he was ascending in that elevator. Just another suit in a tower, he thought, until the elevator door opened. The beer fridge in Graydon’s open concept lobby was the first clue that Graydon was different. Clue number two dawned on Jim when he realized how overdressed he was for the interview. None of the interviewers were in suits, and some of their questions were as casual as their laid-back attire.
“One of the questions they asked me was what my favorite movie was. The whole interview blew away my perception. I didn’t feel like I was being cross-examined for once.”
Jim was impressed with Graydon’s culture. “It’s a very collaborative environment here,” Jim said. “It’s very team-based, and they have a very good work/life balance.”
The answer to that interview question - Molly’s Game. That was Jim’s favorite movie. It’s an adrenaline packed story about underground poker, which Jim finds fascinating. Jim is a betting man himself, mostly sports betting these days although he does make his way out to Vegas to hit the tables from time to time. If you had asked Jim the odds that he would have found a community 18 floors into the sky, he would have told you they were slim, but dark horses like Graydon come through from time to time. As for Jim, he hasn’t learned the barista’s name from the coffee shop in the tower lobby yet, but you can bet he will. He is still a community-based lawyer, after all, just one with a better view.
Jim is a member of Graydon’s Corporate Counsel Practice Group, where he serves as general counsel for many small closely held businesses with an additional focus on real estate and construction. Jim provides the necessary legal support to his clients in all stages of the business cycle, from formation to dissolution and everything in between. At formation, Jim counsels his client regarding the appropriate corporate structure and then customizes the applicable corporate documents to fit the client’s specific governing needs of its business. During the growth cycle, Jim will utilize his skills as a contract lawyer to manage the relationships with landlords, tenants, contractors, customers, and the like through the negotiation and enforcement of the contracts which govern those relationships. When a business looks to sell its assets or interests, or acquire the assets or interests of others, Jim can utilize his merger and acquisition experience to negotiate, review and draft the necessary transfer documents. Finally, if a dispute arises, Jim will assist his clients in resolving that dispute by whatever means necessary. By way of example, Jim successfully navigated a small Ohio contractor through an OSHA investigation and complaint with the US Department of Labor, a corresponding safety investigation and hearing with the Ohio Industrial Commission, and a wrongful death lawsuit in Warren County, Ohio.
Prior to joining Graydon, Jim was in-house counsel for a nationally renowned commercial construction company before moving back to private practice. As in-house counsel, Jim negotiated and enforced hundreds of contracts and helped the company maintain compliance with numerous state statutes and federal regulations. While there, he expanded his practice by litigating various types of construction, insurance, and employment matters throughout the country. Jim moved back to private practice in 2014 and continued to represent construction contractors but also expanded his practice to include the general corporate and business needs of clients across various industries.
Jim enjoys spending time with his beautiful wife Mina and their daughters Sabrina and Safia. They love to travel together, having gone as far east as Japan and as far west as Hawaii. Having grown up in New Jersey with a Mom whose maiden name is Dimaggio, Jim’s favorite food to eat and therefore favorite place to travel is Italy. When not hanging with his family, Jim loves hanging with his friends whether it be at the local brewery, a sporting event, or a music festival. He’s also an avid fitness buff, and has participated in multiple adventure style challenges such as Tough Mudder.