A revered figure in the credit world, Bob pioneered many of the processes and procedures still used in collections to this day.
In 1962, Robert “Bob” began his career when he joined his father, Maurice, at the law firm then known as Gardner, Spilka and Weltman. Instead of relying on the family name, however, Bob got right to work. He took charge of the firm’s small collection department and worked diligently to create and grow what was at that time an entirely new concept: a collection agency operating within a creditors’ rights law firm. By the late 1970’s - under Bob’s leadership - the firm had become one of the most well-known creditors’ rights firms in the country.
For more than 56 years, Bob has arrived to the very same office in downtown Cleveland by 6:30 a.m. and left in the afternoon with a carload full of files to work on at home that evening. It’s been the same routine for decades, and Bob shows no sign of slowing down. As he says, “I intend to keep working until I get it right!” Many in the creditors’ rights industry would argue that he’s already done just that.
Early on in his career, Bob drove the firm to be among the first in the country to embrace computerization. This bold implementation, many years ahead of the competition, allowed the firm to handle an extensive volume of business and become an industry leader. Today, Bob remains well-known in the Northeast Ohio legal community. He has hired and trained hundreds of attorneys currently practicing in creditors’ rights law, and still volunteers as a mentor for the Ohio State Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Program.
If you strike up a conversation with Bob, you’re more than likely to spend time talking about Cleveland sports than just about anything else. As a Cleveland native and die-hard fan, Bob has attended, watched, or listened to the vast majority of the 17,000+ games played among our three major sports teams in his lifetime – despite their combined overall losing record (0.44925). Perhaps that’s due to another favorite quote of Bob’s – “Success is never final; failure is never fatal.”
Honors & Distinctions
Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Service Industry Category (2003)
Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated Attorney
Ohio Super Lawyers List (2004-06)
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio
U.S. Supreme Court
J.D., Case Western Reserve University School of Law (1965)
B.B.A., The Ohio State University (1959)
Continued Studies pursuing M.A. in Finance, The Ohio State University
American Bar Association: Member
Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association: Member
National Association of Retail Collection Attorneys: Member
Northern Ohio Credit Association: Member
Ohio State Bar Association: Member; Young Lawyers Program Volunteer
Menorah Federal Credit Union: President (1985); Treasurer (1965-85)