From the time he was small, Dick Schmalzl was a saver. He had his first passbook account at age 4.
All four of his grandparents had come over from Austria, through Ellis Island. His father was a milkman, back when milk came in glass bottles. The family lived in a Pittsburgh suburb he describes as lower middle class. The family vacations were visits to relatives on the other side of Pennsylvania, although they did go to the New York World’s Fair in 1965 and once to Washington, D.C., for three days.
At the age of 14, Dick got his first job as a pin boy at the Knights of Columbus bowling alley. He was a good worker, good enough that whenever the manager took a day off, he would ask Dick to take his place. And whatever Dick could save, he did.
The summer after his high school graduation, his father had a stroke. He never was able to work again. He had saved for Dick’s college – it’s not that his parents weren’t willing to pay. But Dick figured they could use that money. He’d saved what he needed. So he took responsibility; he stepped up. He lived at home while attending the University of Pittsburgh. He worked as a cook at a Ponderosa Steakhouse, and he saved.
Three years later, the summer before his senior year, his father took a turn for the worse. He had a series of small strokes. It became clear he needed around-the-clock care. Dick and his mother began looking around at nursing homes. He remembered thinking they were awfully expensive. By that time, he’d decided he wanted to go to law school and had saved $14,000 to pay for it. “The whopping sum,” he calls it, in a way that gently suggests he’s making fun of himself. But once again, he stepped up.
“That night, back at home, I told Mom she could have the money. She told me, ‘Dick, you’ve been saving that money for law school.’ But it was the right thing to do. And she took me up on it. She didn’t really have any choice. I was it.
“The next morning at 5 a.m., Mom gets a call from the hospital saying Dad wouldn’t last another few days. So it turned out she didn’t need the money, and I was able to use it for law school. It made me feel good that I’d done the right thing. But it also made me determined to do something worthwhile with that money.”
He describes himself this way: “I’m pretty much a family man. When I’m not working, most of what I do is with my family, going to my kids soccer and baseball games.”
He’s happy with the choices he has made, especially in his career choice. Throughout high school and college, his friends saw him as someone they could talk to about ideas and ask for advice. He seemed to have a gift for it. He has always drawn satisfaction from helping people solve problems.
“I like being in a people-oriented profession and working as a team. I like being in competitive, complex situations and finding practical solutions that pave a winning path for my clients."
Dick practices exclusively in the Business Services department with an emphasis on securities law, mergers and acquisitions, private equity, venture capital, corporate finance and corporate governance. He has also served as lead issuer’s counsel in various public securities offerings in which Graydon clients obtained more than $15 billion in proceeds. He has negotiated and closed numerous acquisitions, mergers and/or sales of public and closely held companies. In addition, Dick routinely counsels boards of directors and executive management on a variety of corporate governance and securities law issues.
Dick’s favorite thing about practicing law is, “being part of the client’s team and being a valued counselor.” His proudest professional accomplishment was when he led the securities work for Jacor Communications and helped them grow rapidly into a multi-billion dollar company before eventually being acquired by Clear Channel. His dedication to his clients and the service he provides them shows in the accomplishments he has received.
In both 2001 and 2002, Dick was one of less than 100 U.S. attorneys recognized as a "Client Service All Star" for delivering “truly outstanding client service” based on client nominations in a survey of Fortune 1000 companies, conducted by The BTI Consulting Group. Dick was one of only 21 lawyers to receive this distinction in two consecutive years. He has also been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America for his work in Corporate Law, Mergers and Acquisitions Law, Securities/ Capital Markets Law and Securities Regulation from 2005 to 2016. Dick has also been selected as The Best Lawyers in America “Lawyer of the Year” for his work in Securities Regulation in 2013; an Ohio Super Lawyer from 2005-2016, and is recognized with an AV Rating, the highest rating given to lawyers by Martindale-Hubbell.
Outside of the office, Dick enjoys spending time with his family. He coached his son’s Odyssey of the Mind team to four consecutive Kentucky State Championships from 2002 thru 2005.