A History of Service
Hickman & Lowder Co., L.P.A., has evolved by bringing together a group of lawyers impassioned by personal and professional experience to create a meaningful way to advocate for clients whose lives are complicated by special concerns.
Franklin Hickman and Janet Lowder have been working together since 1984. By the turn of the century, several more attorneys had joined their unusual firm. Elena Lidrbauch, Judith Saltzman, and Mary McKee brought nearly 50 years of experience in public interest law and social work to a firm that valued their past career choices and experience. As the firm’s momentum grew, four more attorneys followed in the next decade: Amanda Buzo, Lisa Montoni Garvin, Andrea Aycinena, and a merger with the law office of David Myers, who brought his long-established Lorain County Elder Law practice into step with Hickman & Lowder’s Cleveland office, expanding access and spreading the benefits of the firm across northeast Ohio.
All the attorneys brought with them a back-story and a commitment to the disadvantaged to build on the firm’s history of service. Frank, who as a teenager had worked for years at one of Eunice Shriver’s camps for children with developmental disabilities, began his career at the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland where he advocated for the rights of those with mental disabilities. To this day, through his representation of public boards and agencies, he reaches through impact litigation into the daily lives of children and adults with disabilities. Janet, who had begun working with Frank as a paralegal, emerged from law school already equipped to champion the rights of children and adults with special needs and to counsel older adults in the fast-growing new field of Elder Law. Dave had gradually honed his own general practice into a specialty dedicated to meeting the long-term care and estate planning needs of mature adults. Both Dave and Janet are Certified Elder Law Attorneys (CELA), two of only 18 in the state.
Elena’s first career in the mental health field primed her for her place in our firm where she advocates on behalf of older adults and clients with disabilities, including work-related injuries and illnesses. Judy’s long Legal Aid and public health law background settled into a focus on the most vulnerable: school-age children with disabilities, out of which she has grown her Special Education practice. Mary’s years in the private sector and government agencies on behalf of workers and their families in need of health insurance, job-site safety, and financial support led to the Social Security and Veterans disability benefits practice she has now. Amanda’s early interest in Family Financial Management lent itself to her current concentration in Special Needs Planning, including lawyer-to-lawyer advice in the medical malpractice and personal injury fields. Lisa turned to law from a first career in human resources in order to serve among the lawyers striving to meet the growing legal needs of our aging population and those with disabilities competing for the same scarce public resources. Andrea's litigation experience and renewed interest in protecting the rights of individuals with disabilities and their families rounded out our firm's ability to help our clients, both in and out of court.
Many of us are related to children and adults with disabilities, or know what it means to be a caregiver for an older relative or friend. Today, while we all deliberately narrow our practices to represent certain types of clients, it is the collective knowledge that we gain from working with each other that sets our firm apart.
Paralegals and secretaries work together with these attorneys to counsel and represent individuals and families touched—and challenged—by disability, special needs, and the physical and mental changes that old age sometimes brings. Today the firm is nearly 30 strong: six shareholders, three associates, and a veteran staff of professionals (including two OSBA Certified Paralegals and a Care Coordinator) who spend all day every day strengthening our firm in order to empower our clients.
When you choose to work with Hickman & Lowder—whether you are young, old, or in between, living with disabilities or caring for someone who is—you get a team of people who have devoted their entire legal careers to guiding and fighting for individuals just like you.
Explore further information about your Hickman & Lowder team to get to know each of us a little better.