A former federal prosecutor, law director for the City of Cleveland, and large-firm litigator, Subodh Chandra is The Chandra Law Firm LLC's founding and managing partner. His practice focuses on high-profile civil-rights litigation, along with white-collar-criminal defense and internal investigations.
Chandra is engaged for high-stakes litigation when reputations are on the line. His matters often have a crisis-communications, public-policy dimension. Examples include the police-shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice by Cleveland police—a key moment in the Black Lives Matter movement nationally resulting in a $6,000,000 settlement, the nearly $1,000,000 in settlements for 2016 Republican National Convention protestors, voting-rights litigation against various voter-suppression schemes by the Ohio Secretary of State, and the retaliation suit over sexual-harassment allegations that resulted in the resignation of Case Western Reserve University's law-school dean.
Before founding the firm, Chandra served as director of law for the city of Cleveland, a billion-dollar corporation. Chandra led the work of an 82-lawyer department with both criminal and civil divisions. He also sometimes served as Cleveland's acting mayor.
As Cleveland's general counsel, Chandra handled legal work in-house and slashed by nearly 90% spending on outside counsel, saving millions; moved vigorously through in-house investigations to clean up internal corruption; restored the department's reputation; and attracted top performers who helped make it Ohio's most diverse law firm. And his tough-minded, preventive approach reduced Cleveland's liability exposure and payments significantly.
Previously, as federal prosecutor, Chandra successfully prosecuted healthcare fraud and corruption—winning a commendation from FBI director Robert Mueller for "demonstrated excellence" as well as from the special agent in charge of the FBI's Cleveland office. Chandra also prosecuted tax fraud, bank fraud, and other economic crimes.
Before that, Chandra served as a litigator in large law firms in both Cleveland and Los Angeles. Chandra defended the cities of Los Angeles and Beverly Hills against high-profile allegations of police misconduct, and represented large media companies and motion-picture studios. Some of his more memorable work included defending the television show "Hard Copy" against libel charges by the singer Michael Jackson.
Chandra began his legal career as special presidential counsel at the American Bar Association.
Chandra is a graduate of the Yale Law School, where he was executive editor of the Yale Law & Policy Review. He also graduated with honors and distinction from Stanford University, which awarded him the John Gardner Fellowship to work as a protégé of Ohio Governor Richard F. Celeste.
Chandra has served as Distinguished Practitioner in Residence at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, teaching appellate practice and legal ethics. He has also served as a legal-ethics and attorneys' fees expert in litigation.
Long active in assisting people who aspire to public service, Chandra was also a 2006 candidate for Ohio Attorney General, winning most newspaper endorsements. The Cincinnati Enquirer called Chandra "the best candidate Ohio Democrats have produced in years." Chandra was also one of the earliest supporters of President Barack H. Obama, serving on his National Finance Committee, on the national Asian-American advisory committee, and as an Obama delegate to and deputy whip of the Ohio delegation at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
Chandra presently serves on the Special Ohio Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
Chandra is admitted to practice law in Ohio, California, and New Mexico (inactive), and in federal courts around the country.
Based on the review of his peers, he has been included in Best Lawyers® in America for civil rights and Ohio Super Lawyers®. Under his leadership, Chandra Law has been peer-review included in U.S. News and World Reports's Best Law Firms in America for Civil Rights. And in 2021, he was named Lawyer of the Year in civil rights by Best Lawyers® in America.
Chandra's work is featured in the documentaries Free for All! (2008), PAY 2 PLAY: Democracy's High Stakes (2014), and 137 Shots (Netflix 2021).
Chandra and his wife are the proud parents of triplet sons.