OUR FIRM AND WHAT WE DO:
Elfvin & Besser is located on the eastside of Cleveland, only twenty minutes from downtown. The partnership was founded in January, 1990, and has a trial and appellate litigation practice. Elfvin & Besser represents a mix of individuals, private companies, and governmental entities in areas related to employment and civil rights, including statutory claims based on state law (Ohio Revised Code, Chapter 4112.), the ADA, Title VII, ADEA, and IDEA. The Firm's litigation docket is pending in many forums, including both federal and state trial and appellate courts, as well as related administrative agencies. In addition, attorneys from Elfvin & Besser are regularly called upon by the court and other attorneys to serve as mediators.
The Firm's primary area of emphasis is the counseling of clients and litigation of employment related matters. We manage our litigation docket using cost-effective means and the latest technology.
The Firm was founded by Bruce B. Elfvin after leaving the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission [EEOC], where he was serving as an Assistant General Counsel. While at the EEOC, Mr. Elfvin received two group performance awards for multi-district litigation from now Justice Clarence Thomas.
Shortly thereafter, Barbara Kaye Besser, formerly the Director of Litigation for the Women's Law Fund and EEOC trial attorney joined the Firm. As Director of Litigation for the Law Fund, Ms. Besser consulted regularly with now Justice Ruth Ginsberg who was a member of the Fund's litigation committee.
Our representation is varied. A small sample of issues we have addressed include defense of a:
- Multi-national uranium mining company against a claim of age discrimination by its subsidiary's former CEO;
- law firm charged with gender discrimination in promotions to partner;
- law firm charged with sexual harassment;
- corporate Vice President and manager against charges of sexual harassment;
- police chief demoted in retaliation for alleged harassment;
- fire chief charged with disability discrimination;
- Hispanic teacher from work related tort claims made by co-workers; and
- a county court system against charges of disability discrimination.
On the Plaintiff's side, we have pursued claims on behalf of:
- an employee of a brokerage firm alleging age discrimination;
- a law enforcement officer whose employer was unlawfully wiretapping his phones;
- classes seeking reformation of apprenticeship selection other relief;
- women employed in a poultry processing plant alleging sexual harassment;
- racial minorities wrongfully disciplined;
- college professors denied tenure;
- an applicant for a position at a community college claiming gender discrimination shareholder employees seeking redress for breach of fiduciary duties in "squeeze out" cases;
- doctors asked to leave their practices or hospital positions;
- firefighters trying to enforce a city's civil service rules;
- a radio DJ seeking overtime pay;
- a psychological consulting firm enforcing a non-compete agreement; and
- shareholder employees in closely held businesses seeking to preserve the value of their interests.
We have conducted independent investigations of allegations of harassment for school districts, township law enforcement, and private companies. And, we have mediated employment disputes, both privately and as part of the federal court mediation program.
WHO WE ARE:
Bruce B. Elfvin is a 1972 cum laude graduate of Cleveland State University's Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. He received his undergraduate degree from Northwestern University [B.A.] in 1969.
He has been an active litigator in the area of employment discrimination for over thirty years and is a respected and sought after lecturer for continuing legal education seminars. He is a member of the bars of: United States Supreme Court ; Supreme Court of Ohio ; Supreme Court of Illinois ; Northern District of Ohio ; Southern District of Ohio ; Northern District of Illinois (and experimental Trial Bar) ; Northern District of Indiana ; Eastern District of Michigan ; and, United States Courts of Appeals for the Fifth , Sixth , Seventh , Ninth  and Federal  Circuits.
His prior public service with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission [EEOC], 1972-1985, where he was a Senior Trial Attorney Chicago, Illinois; Regional Attorney Cleveland District Cleveland, Ohio 1979-83; and Assistant General Counsel 1983-85, provided a strong background in employment litigation for both class and individual suits. He is a member of American Bar Association, Labor and Employment and Litigation Sections; American Trial Lawyers Association; Federal Bar Association, Board of Directors Cleveland Chapter 1990-95; and the National Employment Lawyers Association. Mediator/Evaluator, ADR Panel Northern District of Ohio.
Rated "AV" individually by Martindale-Hubbell; listed in Best Trial Lawyers in America editions since 1989. Mr. Elfvin was certified, 2001, as one of the original 50 specialists in Ohio in Labor and Employment Law. He has been recognized an Ohio Super Lawyer three times: 2004, 2005 and 2006.
Barbara Kaye Besser graduated magna cum laude from Cleveland State University's Cleveland-Marshall College of Law (1973); Hofstra University (New York) B.A., political science (1970).
An active litigator in the area of employment discrimination and civil rights since 1973, she served as the Director of Litigation for the Women's Law Fund from 1973-1983 and six years with the EEOC (1983 - 1989) as a Senior Trial Attorney.
She is a lecturer for continuing legal education seminars on EEO law and trial practice. She is a member of the bars of: Supreme Court of Ohio ; Northern District of Ohio ; United States Supreme Court ; Southern District of Ohio ; and, the United States Courts of Appeals for the District of Columbia , Sixth , Ninth , and Federal  Circuits.
She is a member of the Cuyahoga County and Ohio State Bar Associations; Immediate past Chair of the OSBA's Labor and Employment Council and a member of the Specialty Certification Committee; an OSBF Fellow - class of 2005; a member of the Governance Committee of the ACS; and a Master Bencher in the Cleveland Employment Inn of Court.
Rated "AV" individually by Martindale-Hubbell. She has twice been named one of Ohio's Super Lawyers (2005 and 2006).
In 2001 Stuart Torch received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania, majoring in economics and American History. A native Clevelander, he began as a law clerk for Elfvin & Besser, quickly developing an interest and proficiency in employment law. Stuart honed his skills and understanding of the various firm practice areas while working under the tutelage of the partners. A cum laude graduate of Case Western Reserve University's School of Law in 2005, Stuart now practices as a Partner with Elfvin & Besser. Stuart was certified by the OSBA as a specialist in Labor & Employment law in 2012.
Pamela G. Richards, Director of Technology/Paralegal, is a graduate of the University of Miami, (Florida) M.Ed., Deaf Education (1976) and B.S., Speech and Hearing Sciences (1974), and received her Certificate in Educational Administration from the University of Tennessee (1988).
A long-time child advocate, she began her teaching career in Brevard County Florida (1976-1979) as the Speech and Language teacher in the State's model classroom for the Deaf, and served the Knox County, Tennessee public school system for twenty years (1979-1999) in various teaching and supervisory capacities in Special Education, and as the school district's Program Coordinator for Section 504.
A native of Cleveland, she was a leader in Knoxville, Tennessee's fight again Drugs and Violence in the community, and created the school system's Drug and Violence Prevention Office, guiding the schools to state and national recognition for its programming, before returning to Cleveland.
She conducted training and workshops for the Tennessee Governor's Office for Drug-Free Alliance, the Southeast Regional Center for Drug-Free Schools and Communities, the Tennessee and Ohio D.A.R.E. Officer's School and the Southeast Regional Center for Drug-Free Schools and Communities.
Her leadership spread to the national level, serving as the Educational Advisor to the Tennessee D.A.R.E. Officer's Association and subsequently to the National D.A..R.E. Officer's Association. She was the first non-police officer elected to the Board. (Sergeant-at-Arms 2000).
In 2001, Pam authored a book entitled Alcohol, for Heinemann Library Publishers. The book provides information on alcohol and alcoholism and presents the real facts about the difficult choices that teenagers face.
Taking her teaching and training background into the corporate realm, Pam was the Manager of Technical Training and Development for a major downtown law firm in Cleveland before joining Elfvin & Besser in 2004.
She is a member of the Ohio State Bar Association, and a member of the Paralegal/Legal Assistants committee.
Elfvin & Besser maintains skilled support staff of law clerks, legal interns, and financial consultants which enables them to operate efficiently. We value communication between client and attorney, placing great importance on returning phone calls and other forms of client inquiries. Our staff is expected to assist the attorneys in making sure that the client remains informed.