Sara is an attorney with Walter | Haverfield LLP and a member of the Firm's Municipal Law, Public Law, and Litigation practice groups. She has considerable experience representing public entities in northeast Ohio, including several cities, villages and governmental agencies.
At present, Sara serves as the Director of Law for the City of Fairview Park, Ohio and as Assistant Law Director for both Orange Village, Ohio and the City of Richmond Heights, Ohio. She previously served as Director of Law for the City of Lakewood and, in addition, was an Assistant to the Law Director and Prosecutor for several other municipalities. Sara was an Assistant General Counsel for the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District and is an experienced trial lawyer for both public sector and private clients.
Sara has provided legal advice to various municipal boards and commissions, including Boards of Zoning Appeals, Planning and Design Commissions, Architectural Review Boards and Civil Service Commissions. For more than ten years, Sara shared her expertise with the students at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, where she taught Legal Writing, Advanced Brief Writing and Civil Procedure.
Over the course of her career, Sara's wide range of experience included federal and state court litigation and appellate practice in the areas of construction, competitive bidding, easement acquisition, eminent domain, employment labor negotiations, grievance and arbitration, contract drafting, employee benefits, finance, insurance, environmental enforcement, unemployment, workers' compensation defense and administrative appeals. She has also been responsible for in-house accident investigation, management of outside counsel in certain litigation matters and involvement in economic development matters for municipal clients.
- May 28, 2015 - "The Injury, the Leave, the Pay: Navigating Employee and Employer Rights and Responsibilities under Workers' Compensation, FMLA, ADA, Collective Bargaining Agreements and Other Federal, State and Local Laws," Educational Service Center (ESC) of Cuyahoga County, Independence, OH
- "Seminar for Elected Local Government Officials," program presented by Walter | Haverfield LLP's Public Law Group, Independence, Ohio, October 18, 2014.
"Labor Law Update & First Amendment Speech of Public Employees," Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association and Northeast Ohio Law Directors Association, Cleveland, Ohio, February 13, 2014.
"Ohio Municipal Case Law Update," Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association and Northeast Ohio Law Directors Association, Cleveland, Ohio, February 14, 2013.
"Communicating with Social Media: Legal Issues for Political Subdivisions," Ohio Municipal League 61st Annual Conference, Columbus, Ohio, November 1, 2012.
- "Public Sector Labor Law Negotiations," program sponsored by Faulkner, Hoffman & Phillips, Ohio Fraternal Order of Police 8th District, Teamsters Joint Council No. 41, Cuyahoga Heights, Ohio, October 19, 2012.
- "Communicating with Social Media - Legal Issues for Political Subdivisions," Ohio Association of Public Treasurers, Public Finance Officers Training Institute, Sandusky, Ohio, June 14, 2012.
- "Public Sector Ethics Basics," Ohio Association of Public Treasurers, Public Finance Officers Training Institute, Sandusky, Ohio, June 11, 2012.
- "Social Media: Legal Issues for Municipalities," Ohio Municipal Attorneys Association, Cleveland, Ohio, April 27, 2012
- "Mayor's Court Etiquette & Professional Responsibility," Association of Mayor's Court Clerks of Ohio, Beachwood, Ohio, April 26, 2012
- "E-Discovery," presented as guest lecturer for Professor Stephen Werber's Ohio Civil Procedure class at the Cleveland Marshall College of Law, March 27, 2012, Cleveland, Ohio.
- "Social Media: Legal Issues for Municipalities," Ohio Municipal Attorneys Association, Columbus, Ohio, March 2, 2012.
- "Social Media: Legal Issues for Municipalities," Ohio Municipal Attorneys Association, Columbus, Ohio, December 2, 2011
- "Internet Sweepstakes Cafes," NE Ohio Planning & Zoning Workshop, The Conference Center at Geneva State Park, Geneva-on-the-Lake, Ohio, June 24, 2011
- "Ohio Senate Bill 5: Public Management Perspectives," Hillcrest Council of Councils, Mayfield Village, Ohio, May 21, 2011
Professional & Community Associations
Ohio State Bar Association
Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association
Northeast Ohio Law Directors Association (President, 1999-2000)
Member, St. Luke's Parish
Lakewood Charter Review Commission (Chair, 1995)
- Lakewood Citizens Advisory Commission, Community Development Block Grant Program (1993-1995)
Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, J.D., 1985
Hiram College, B.A., 1982
Licensed to Practice
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
"The Italian Americans," a two-party documentary series produced by PBS member television station WETA in Washington, D.C., first aired on television on February 17th & 24th, 2015. As part of a promotional effort in conjunction with this series, Civic Commons ideastream of Cleveland, Ohio produced online profiles of local Italian-Americans in order to chronicle their lives and recognize their contributions to the northeast Ohio community. Among those interviewed for this effort was attorney Sara J. Fagnilli. (To view Sara's profile, along with a second video documenting her family's history, please click here)
Articles by Sara J. Fagnilli
January/February 2013 - "Communicating with Social Media: Legal Issues for Political Subdivisions," Cities & Villages
January 2013 - "How Should You Deal With Anger in the Workplace? Very Carefully," TLNT.com
November 21, 2012 - "Temper, temper! Anger management issues in the workplace," Crain's Cleveland Business (Legal Guest Blog)
April 17, 2012 - "The firing squad: preparing the best line of defense in employee termination proceedings," Crain's Cleveland Business (Legal Guest Blog)
April 2012 - "DO NOT POST THE NLRB NOTICE!"
April 2011 - "Navigating the Treacherous Waters of Employee Termination," TLNT.com