Zack Hohl is calm, unguarded and comfortable with himself. At ease inside and out. His humor is directed almost entirely at himself. Here’s an example -- he happens to be six-seven and is, in his words, “laughably uncoordinated.”
If there were a book of 100 stories illustrating how he developed the ability to laugh at himself -- formative stories of how he came to be who he is -- the following story would be one of them:
It was Zack’s sophomore year at St. Francis de Sales High in Toledo. In those days, he was about six-four, 140 pounds. “I can see where someone might say, ‘Look at that kid – there must be something wrong with him.’” St. Francis was playing Northview High in a JV game. The former was up 30-some points in the third quarter. The coach decided it would be OK to put Zack in the game.
“I made a basket, and all the St. Francis parents cheered big time. They liked me because I was an old-fashioned kid. Polite. Anyway, a few minutes later, I made another basket. And the home stands just went crazy. Really, they overdid it, to where it was a little embarrassing.” Then Zack scored a third basket. Six points. The St. Francis spectators lost it.
Two months later, a kid from Northview transferred to St. Francis. “He was sitting next to me in English class, and I noticed he kept looking at me. Finally, he said, ‘I think I know you from somewhere.’ I said, ‘I don’t think so.’ Then it was like a light went on in the kid’s head. Turned out he’d played basketball for Northview. He said, ‘Yeah, I do know you. You're the kid everyone felt sorry for at that basketball game.’”
Zack was momentarily horrified, but the humor of it struck him almost immediately. He passed the story along to all his friends. And he learned from it.
“I’m who I am today because of moments like that. If I’d been really good at sports, I probably would’ve been someone very different. It doesn’t make sense to be embarrassed of the past if you’re comfortable with who you are today.”
His maternal grandfather was a major influence; a blue-collar Polish guy who came up through the Depression. “I remember helping him move, from seven miles away to a ranch house closer to my parents. We came on a room in the basement that was filled with packages of toilet paper. There was a great sale on toilet paper, so he bought as much as he could; more toilet paper than he can use in his life. He doesn’t waste anything. He taught me the importance of humility.”
Zack wanted to be an attorney as long as he can remember. “The better lawyers I know have experience in their field and have focused on it for a long time. You want to do a great job for your client, but you want to do it efficiently. And that efficiency comes with experience, so you’re not just racking up billable hours. You’re doing a great job and doing it efficiently. That’s my goal.”
Zack practices in the areas of environmental and real estate law and is a member of Graydon’s Commercial Real Estate Group. He primarily assists clients with office and retail leasing, commercial and industrial acquisitions and dispositions, due diligence work, title and zoning disputes, CERCLA enforcement actions, environmental remediation of commercial and industrial properties, underground storage tank issues, and issues related to riparian rights and water pollution. Zack has had an active role in the Diamond Alkali Superfund site, one of the largest Superfund sites in the country, since 2012.
Prior to joining Graydon, Zack spent time working with the Ohio Environmental Counsel. He also worked for three years at the Douglas Company, a construction management firm based out of Holland, Ohio. He is a 2012 graduate of the University of Toledo College of Law, where he earned his J.D. and Environmental Law Certificate, and 2008 graduate of The University of Michigan College of Engineering where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering.
Zack is the recipient of the 2012 Ohio State Bar Association Environmental Law Award and the 2012 ALI-ABA Scholarship & Leadership Award. He has two published articles in the field of environmental law, Legal Tools for Reducing Harmful Algal Blooms in Lake Erie and The Great Lakes Compact: States Suffering From Withdrawal.
Zack and his wife, Carolyn Kelly Hohl, live in Mariemont.