is a full-service law firm that has represented businesses and individuals in Northeastern Ohio for more than 50 years. From its founding in a small office in Cleveland’s Standard Building, Dworken & Bernstein Co., L.P.A. has expanded steadily to become the largest law firm in the Lake, Geauga, and Ashtabula County area.
David M. Dworken and Howard W. Bernstein officially opened the law firm of Dworken & Bernstein in the Standard Building in Cleveland, Ohio on September 1, 1959. The firm prospered, and in 1960, opened an office over Brown’s Furniture Store on State Street in Painesville. The Painesville office was initially a satellite office and was not staffed on a full-time basis.
In 1961, David M. Dworken’s brother, Marvin P. Dworken, joined the firm. In 1966, Melvyn E. Resnick joined the firm and in 1971, David J. Richards, Jr. became the fifth member of the team.
The original two-attorney association has increased considerably with the addition of respected professionals who are meeting the needs of clients for more diverse and sophisticated legal services. The days when a single lawyer was able to skillfully provide legal representation in all areas of law have long since passed.
The business boom in Lake County, and especially Mentor, continued during the following 30 years, during which time the firm’s Painesville office eclipsed its Cleveland office in terms of revenues and support staff. During this period, new partners Patrick J. Perotti, Irving Rosner, Alec Berezin, Gary S. Okin, Patrick T. Murphy, Howard S. Rabb, and Keith Kraus joined the firm. In 2000, Dworken & Bernstein relocated to new offices in the newly renovated former Carlisle-Allen building located at 60 South Park Place, Painesville, Ohio, where the firm continues to maintain its principal office.
Dworken & Bernstein now employs 32 attorneys. The Painesville office is the center of the firm’s operations, which converted from a partnership to a corporation in 1972, has been an active member of the business community of Lake County for over 50 years. They still continue to maintain their offices in downtown Cleveland, which are currently located on West 9th Street.
The original founders of the firm, David M. Dworken and Howard W. Bernstein retired in 1995 and 1999 respectively. David Dworken passed away in 2011 and David Richards passed away in 2013.
Dworken & Bernstein is also the founder of Ohio Lawyers Give Back to promote the use of cy pres in class action settlements. When a class action is settled, plaintiff and defendant agree to a fund amount to pay all class members. Since many class members have moved, passed-away, or can’t be found, millions of settlement dollars go unclaimed. That settlement money is intended to benefit the class—rather than revert to the wrongdoing defendant—so the ancient doctrine is now being used to distribute the unclaimed money to charities and nonprofits.
Over $32 million dollars has already been distributed, just by the sponsors, a single law firm. If cy pres were used more broadly, hundreds of millions of dollars each year would be available to help charities, non-profits, and the communities where we live.