Who We Are

Joyce Goldstein

Joyce Goldstein has been a labor and employee benefits lawyer representing unions and employee benefit funds in Cleveland for over 30 years. In 1986, she founded Joyce Goldstein & Associates which merged into Goldstein Gragel LLC in 2008. She was the first woman in the United States to start her own law firm dedicated to the representation of unions and workers.

Within the legal community, Joyce served as President of the William K. Thomas Inn of Court as well as the Labor and Employment Relations Association (“LERA”). She is a life member of the Judicial Conferences of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and the Ohio Eighth District Court of Appeals, an emeritus member of the Advisory Board of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, a member of the Advisory Board of the American Constitution Society (Northeast Ohio Chapter), and a former board member of the Ohio State Bar Association Labor and Employment Law Section, the American Arbitration Association’s Labor Advisory Board, and the Public Sector Labor Relations Association, among other honors. In 2010, Joyce was recognized by her peers throughout the country when she was inducted as a Fellow into the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. She has also served on the faculty of the Cleveland Marshall College of Law as an Adjunct Professor of Labor Law.

In 2017 Joyce was appointed by U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman to the Bipartisan Judiciary Advisory Commission to assist in filling judicial vacancies on the U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of Ohio. She previously served three times on the Merit Selection Panel for the appointment or reappointment of a United States Magistrate Judge and on the Ohio Governor’s merit selection panel leading to the appointment of a new domestic relations court judge. Senator Brown appointed her to the United States Marshal Selection Commission for the Southern District of Ohio. In addition, she was awarded the highest “AV Peer Review” rating by Martindale Hubbell and has been listed in the Best Lawyers in America, the Ohio Super Lawyers and Northern Ohio Live Top Lawyers for over ten years. She was named by Best Lawyers in America in 2012, 2014 and 2018 as the “Lawyer of the Year” in Labor & Employment Law.

Within the general community, Joyce, a 2006 graduate of Leadership Cleveland, has served as a founding board member and Board Chair of Policy Matters Ohio, a board member of Hard Hatted Women, a member of the Anti-Defamation League’s Civil Rights Committee and a member of both the Community and Government Relations Committees of the Cleveland Jewish Federation. She currently sits on the Board of the United Labor Agency, chairs the Cleveland Jewish Labor Committee and serves as a national board member of the Jewish Labor Committee. In 2007, Joyce was selected by the State of Israel Bonds to receive their Labor Tribute Award.

A frequent lecturer and writer, Joyce is an honors graduate of Vassar College. She has served as one of the editors of the Campaign Guide published annually by North America’s Building Trades Unions. She received her law degree from West Virginia University, where she was a member of the Order of the Coif and an editor of the West Virginia College of Law Review, and then served a judicial clerkship for the West Virginia Supreme Court.

Joyce lives in Shaker Heights and has two children.

Joyce Goldstein - Best Lawyers Award

Susan L. Gragel

Sue Gragel has focused on labor, employment and civil litigation, along with family law since 1980. She was co-founder of Goldstein Gragel LLC in 2008, after serving as a principal in two boutique firms focusing on the litigation of civil, criminal and labor law cases. She focuses her practice on the workplace, dealing with employment discrimination, healthcare, ERISA, and training/apprenticeship issues. Sue is experienced with today’s alternatives to mediate and arbitrate disputes. She has successfully transferred these problem-solving skills to the field of domestic relations and civil litigation.

Sue is “AV Peer Review rated” by Martindale Hubbell, their highest ranking, and was named an “Ohio Super Lawyer” from 2010 to the present. She is admitted to practice in all Ohio state and federal courts, the United States Supreme Court, and the U.S. Tax Court. She belongs to the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, and has served as Trustee, Grievance Committee Chair, and as member of its Labor Law Section, Women in the Law Section, Nominating Committee and Judicial Selection Committee. Sue graduated, cum laude, from Cleveland State University and from the Cleveland Marshall College of Law. She is Past President, Honorary Trustee and Life Member of the Cleveland Marshall Law Alumni Association. She is a Life Member of the Eighth District Judicial Conference and is a member of the Education Law Association. With concern for the devastating effects of drug and alcohol addiction in this community, she has volunteered as a director of Stella Maris, Inc. for over 25 years. She currently serves on the Executive Committee as Board Secretary and also works as a Director of the Westlake Chinese Cultural Association.

Sue lives in Rocky River with her husband Tom Goecke. They have four children.

Teresa R. Pofok

Since 1994, Teresa Pofok’s practice has been devoted to the representation of multiemployer benefit plans jointly sponsored by unions and management. After starting her legal career with a union labor law firm, she served as an in-house compliance consultant with The Segal Company, a national multiemployer actuarial and consulting firm. This background provides her with a detailed understanding of the critical funding issues confronting most pension and health funds today.

Teresa’s practice is concentrated in the area of employee benefits. She works with multiemployer benefit plans and employees on health and welfare and retirement benefit issues. She advises clients concerning legislative compliance issues, including retirement plan qualification, Affordable Care Act, continuation coverage under COBRA, and Health Insurance portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPPA) and ERISA claims procedures.

Teresa represents clients with respect to employee plan investigations and routine audits before various governmental agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Department of Labor and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporations. These matters also include obtaining IRS determination letters, prohibited transaction exemptions, private letter rulings and opinion letters along with utilizing the IRS Employee Plan Compliance resolution System.

Teresa graduated, cum laude, from Kent State University and earned her Juris Doctorate from Rutgers University College of Law at Camden. She is a member of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, Ohio State Bar Association and American Bar Association. She was recognized in the 2006 edition of Ohio Rising Stars magazine.

Teresa lives in Fairview Park with her husband George Pofok and their three children.

Richard L. Stoper, Jr.

Since 1984, Rick Stoper has handled a broad range of legal matters, including business and commercial cases, labor and employment, anti-trust, contracts, collections, product liability and white-collar criminal defense.

Rick now focuses his practice on workplace issues such as ERISA, employment discrimination, and issues vital to unions, handling such cases in state and federal trial and appellate courts, as well as in mediations and arbitrations.

He began his legal career as a law clerk for Judge Leroy J. Contie, Jr., U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, following graduation from Cleveland Marshall Law School, magna cum laude. He earned his undergraduate degree at The Ohio State University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. He was a founder of the firm of Rotatori, Gragel & Stoper.

Rick is admitted to practice in all Ohio state and federal courts, and the Supreme Court of the United States. He belongs to the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association and the Ohio State Bar Association.

Rick lives in Medina with his wife Debbie and two children.

Brian P. Downey

Brian Downey’s practice focuses on labor and employment, civil litigation, criminal defense and investigations, and professional negligence and discipline. Brian began his legal career in 1989, and has broad-based experience with criminal, civil, arbitration and administrative proceedings, including the NLRB, AAA arbitrations, and numerous state licensing boards. He has argued appellate matters before several Ohio courts and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. In addition to handling investigations and cases involving virtually every type of white-collar crime and complex civil and commercial litigation, Brian currently serves as a part-time magistrate in Bedford Municipal Court where he adjudicates a variety of cases, and handles all manner of civil and criminal matters in municipal courts. His experience as a municipal court magistrate in Bedford guides him when he works as a zealous advocate on behalf of clients in other municipal courts throughout northeast Ohio.

Brian is “AV Peer Review rated” by Martindale Hubbell, their highest ranking, and has been named an Ohio Super Lawyer (2013-2017). Brian is admitted to practice in all Ohio state courts, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. Brian belongs to the Ohio State and Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Associations, and is a member of the litigation and labor and employment law sections.

Brian graduated from the University of Dayton, cum laude, and from the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, magna cum laude. He is a Life Member of the Eighth District Judicial Conference, and serves as an arbitrator for the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.

Brian lives in Bay Village and has three children.

Andrew Crampton

Andrew Crampton joined Goldstein Gragel in 2010 after graduating magna cum laude from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University.

Andrew focuses his practice on representing employees, labor unions, and their affiliated fringe benefit funds in a variety matters, such as the collection of delinquent fringe benefit contributions and withdrawal liability against employers under ERISA, employment discrimination, wage disputes, and collective bargaining issues. He is admitted to practice in all Ohio state and federal courts.

At Cleveland Marshall, Andrew was a member of the Law Review where his note was selected for publication. While in law school, he clerked for Friedman & Gilbert, focusing on civil rights litigation. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Loyola University Maryland, where he was captain of the school’s swim team.

Andrew serves as a Big Brother mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cleveland and is a member of Bike Cleveland, the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, the Ohio State Bar Association and the American Bar Association.

Andrew lives in Cleveland’s Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood with his wife, Jane Gimbel, and their daughter.