Photo of Joseph Saponaro

Joseph M. Saponaro


Chair, Real Estate


Joseph M. Saponaro is a trusted leader and accomplished attorney with more than 20 years of experience in complex real estate transactions, including acquiring, selling, leasing, financing, and developing commercial real estate, on a regional and national basis. Prior to practicing law, Joe served as Chief Administrative Officer for a private national company for over 10 years. His vast business experience and diverse education, coupled with his natural skills as a dynamic communicator, have enhanced and advanced his legal practice.

Representative Matters

  • Represented restaurant franchisees in leasing 50 in-line and out-parcel locations nationwide
  • Represented client in sale of $300-million office building
  • Represented client in sale of $60-million industrial portfolio
  • Represented major tenant in a 65,000 SF office lease
  • Represented modal transportation company in obtaining $5-million grant from Ohio Department of Transportation
  • Represented client in obtaining over $500,000 in appropriation matter regarding the I-90 Inner Belt Bridge project
  • Represented commercial landlords in 100+ leasing transactions with national and regional tenants
  • Represented clients with respect to multiple joint venture development of 80/20 residential projects

Civic and Professional Involvement

  • Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, Real Estate Law Section; Chair, 2006 2007, 2015-2017.
  • Real Estate Institute Planning Committee, 2004-present.
  • American Bar Association; Vice Chairman of the Retail Leasing Committee for the Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section
  • Justinian Forum
  • Lawyer’s Guild
  • Ohio State Bar Association
  • Cleveland-Marshall Law Alumni Association
  • Acting judge, Rocky River Municipal Court
  • Mayfield Village Council President (past) and Council Member for over 15 years, completing his last term in 2019 before retiring from public service.


  • Ohio Super Lawyer, Real Estate Law, 2017-2023
  • Martindale-Hubbard – AV Preeminent rating
  • Outstanding Fellow – Leadership Academy of Cleveland State University-Levin College of Urban Studies, 2005
  • Established Leader – Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association Inaugural Leadership Academy, 2018


  •  Properties Magazine, Feb. 2022 issue, “Examining Access Agreements”
  • American Bar Association (ABA), “Estoppels and SNDAs–Understanding and Negotiating the Landlord’s Lender Lease Documents,” Sept/Oct 2021 issue of Probate and Property
  • Bar Journal of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, “The Public Trust Doctrine and Submerged Lake Erie Lands in Ohio”
  • Builders Exchange Magazine, “Choosing the Right Entity for Your Business”
  • Clev. St. L. Rev., 115, “Determining the Immunity ‘Measuring Stick:’ The Impact of the Health Care Quality Improvement Act and Antitrust Laws on Immunity Aspects of Granting Privileges to Physician Assistants”

Bar Admissions

  • Northern District of Ohio
  • US Court of Appeals, 4th Circuit
  • All Ohio State Courts
  • District of Columbia


  • Bowling Green State University, BS in Business Administration, 1986
  • Cleveland State University, MA in Economics, 1996
  • Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, J.D., 1999