Attending grade school at Saint Patrick’s in West Park, Kevin Hinkel ’73 wavered over his high school choice, and credits his father’s strong input to choose Saint Ignatius High School -- a decision leading to a career in law. A classmate’s father, later to become Judge Michael A. Sweeney, drove Kevin and others to Lorain Avenue and West 30th
. A consummate gentlemen, exuding integrity and high moral convictions, he was the only attorney Kevin knew, and Judge Sweeney’s example sparked Kevin’s interest in law.
At Saint Ignatius, Kevin was impressed by the quality of the teachers and pleased to see many Jesuits in the classroom. Continuing his Jesuit education on an academic scholarship at John Carroll University, Kevin was an All-American wrestler on their 1975 Division III national championship team. He attended Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, graduating magna cum laude in 1980.
For 40 years Kevin worked with the Cleveland law firm of Kadish, Hinkel & Weibel and was managing partner for the past 25 years. Looking to expand the depth and breadth of their legal services, the firm joined Frantz Ward LLP in 2019, where Kevin is Chair of the Business Law Practice Group. He continues to practice in closely held business, real estate, and tax law. “I’ve enjoyed an area of law that’s less emotional, with much of it bringing people together in a win-win situation. Representing the underdog in difficult business separations brings back the adrenaline rush of my long past athletic competition.”
Often working with family businesses, Kevin feels called to a higher standard when entrusted to work through personal or family differences or document business relationships. “If you help them to do it right, you protect both their business and family relationships.” He credits 40-year mentor Steve Kadish with teaching him how to practice law in a gentlemanly and professional manner.
Recognizing a Jesuit influence in his approach, Kevin likes bringing a service to a client, rather than a product. “When the phone rings, they call with an opportunity or problem and need legal help. I’ve been blessed to stay close to the Jesuits, observing them face hard decisions and make good judgements. They’ve not stopped teaching me the importance of spirituality in every aspect of life.”
In the past 15 years Kevin has been consistently named among Ohio’s “Super Lawyers.” He’s been selected by his peers for inclusion in Ohio’s “Best Lawyers” annually since 2008 and was awarded its “2020 Lawyer of the Year” among Closely Held Companies and Family Business Law for northeastern Ohio. He’s a long-time member of the Supreme Court of Ohio’s Commission on Professionalism Lawyer-to-Lawyer Mentoring and served on the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association’s Real Estate Institute Planning Committee for the past 25 years.
As a Saint Ignatius alumnus, Kevin’s involvement dates back to phone-a-thons in the early 80s and serving on the Alumni Executive Council where he was president in 2001. He was a member and past Chairman of the Board of Regents from 2004-2010 and Chairman of the Presidential Search Committee that hired Fr. Bill Murphy, S.J. He received the Seal of Loyola Award and in 2015 was given the school’s Founders’ Award. “My continued service has been in gratitude for a special place of Jesuit formation for me and my family.”
Kevin and wife LuAnn live in Westlake. Their family includes Dan ’03 (an attorney with Frantz Ward LLP), Bill ’04, Annie, Pat ’09, and two grandchildren.
Kevin M. Hinkel '73 will receive The Honorable Leo M. Spellacy '52 Bellarmine Award formerly known as the St. Robert Bellarmine Award. The award will be presented to Hinkel at the 42nd Annual Bellarmine Award Luncheon previously scheduled for April 2, 2020. The event will be held on Friday, September 17, 2021.
The award has been renamed in honor of the first Bellarmine Award recipient, the Honorable Leo M. Spellacy '52. Judge Spellacy was a judge on the 8th District Court of Appeals and received the award in 1983 for excellence in the legal field. Judge Spellacy passed away on May 28, 2021.