Our Firm History

It started with a chance meeting at the corner of East 18th and Euclid Avenue. I just finished class at Cleveland Marshall School of Law and was waiting for a bus.  At the corner another law student asked where I was going; he introduced himself as Henry Hilow. That was our first of many meetings to come in the future. In 1980, I became an Assistant County Prosecutor in Cuyahoga County. It wasn't long after that that Henry became a member of that office and our friendship strengthened.

My name is Bill McGinty and I am going to tell you a short story about the creation of McGinty, Hilow and Spellacy Co., L.P.A. I have been an attorney in Ohio office under the leadership of John T Corrigan from the fall of 1980 to the fall of 1982.  I left the prosecutor's office in the fall of 1982 and began my practice of criminal defense. But my relationship with Henry remained strong. As I was developing my skills as a criminal defense lawyer, Henry was sharpening his skills as a trial attorney moving up the ranks in the prosecutor's office.

In 1992 Henry and I formed the law firm McGinty and Hilow. We opened offices in One Cleveland Center at the corner of East Ninth and St. Clair. Our philosophy at that time was to provide each and every one of our clients with the best possible criminal defense representation that we could. With that premise we started and still have the philosophy that “two sets of eyes are better than one” on every case. Our ability to evaluate a case strengthened as our years in practice together continued.

As our practice grew and developed, it became necessary to bring in another trial attorney. Kevin Spellacy joined our firm and brought with him an enthusiasm and exuberance that served us well. Though relatively young, he had become a seasoned trial attorney while in the office of the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor.

When the new federal courthouse was built, our firm made the decision to move to a central location to provide us with easy access to the Federal Court as well as to the Common Pleas Court – so in 1999 we moved to the Rockefeller Building located at the corner of Superior and West 6th Street.  However, our practice has taken us to many different courts all over the state of Ohio. Though our practice is primarily concentrated in the northern Ohio area, we have been to Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, Toledo and Youngstown on numerous occasions.

Our motto “two sets of eyes are better than one” continues to this day. Henry, Kevin and I are constantly counseling, reading and revising case strategies for every client. Our collaborative approach provides our clients with the best representation in the criminal law arena. Combined we have 86 years of experience in criminal law.  That is what we bring to each and every client.

Criminal law spans all segments of our society. We have successfully represented elected officials, police officers, union officials, business professionals, doctors, dentists, lawyers, firemen, electricians, plumbers, carpenters, professional athletes, professional musicians and hundreds of other people with different occupations. As criminal defense attorneys, we know that each person charged with a crime believes his or her case  is the most important case.  We strive to evaluate each case that comes into our firm based upon that premise.

Our expertise in the criminal law field has allowed us to develop a cadre of professionals that are called upon from time to time to render investigation and opinion on certain aspects of cases. These experts are brought in on a case-by-case basis to meet with the client, investigate a particular issue and report back to the firm and client with their findings.

In reviewing our files over the years, it is readily apparent that often times substance abuse is an underlying, determinative issue involved in the criminal case. The firm feels that “winning the battle and the war” is a good strategy. That is why, as part of our representation, clients may be referred for substance abuse assessments and ultimately substance abuse treatment during the course of our representation. It is our strong belief that resolving a criminal or serious traffic offense, without reviewing the underlying problem, does not truly benefit the client after the primary criminal or traffic matter is resolved.

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