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Mechelle Zarou

Partner, Immigration and Labor & Employment Practice Co-Administrator
1000 Jackson Street
Toledo, OH 43604


Sharon Bernthisel

Focusing her practice in the areas of labor and employment, immigration, and sports and entertainment, Mechelle is known for immersing herself in her clients’ businesses and industries. Dedicated to providing excellent service to clients, she recognizes the importance of having a real understanding of her clients’ business, allowing her to give practical and actionable legal advice.

Mechelle has extensive experience representing companies in all areas of labor and employment law, including:

  • Wrongful discharge
  • Discrimination
  • Workers' compensation
  • Unemployment compensation
  • Business immigration
  • Labor negotiations and arbitrations
  • Unfair labor practice charges

She regularly advises employer clients on a variety of workers compensation and unemployment compensation issues, and represents employers at all levels of the administrative hearing process for such claims. In addition, Mechelle handles workers' compensation and unemployment compensation court appeals, as well as intentional tort lawsuits due to workplace injuries.

Seen as a go-to-consultant by her clients, Mechelle’s labor and employment practice includes regularly advising clients regarding state and federal employment law claims, with particular emphasis on the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Title VII and related state statutes. She routinely defends employers who face administrative charges before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), as well as court actions relating to employment discrimination or retaliation. Mechelle also frequently defends employee grievances in arbitration.

On the immigration side of Mechelle’s practice, she assists employers with obtaining temporary and permanent visas for skilled foreign workers, including coaches, athletes and physicians. She has extensive experience in obtaining L-1, H-1B, TN, O-1 and E visas on behalf of foreign workers, as well as permanent residency based on employment and extraordinary ability in athletics, the arts, business or science. Health care clients turn to her for her vast experience with their specialized immigration needs, including obtaining H-1B cap exemptions and J-1 visa waivers.

Coaches, athletes, and administrators draw on Mechelle’s broad ranging experience, including policy review, investigations, training initiatives, and negotiating and drafting contracts. Mechelle regularly represents coaches who face disciplinary investigations, and also serves as a neutral third party investigator on behalf of educational institutions. Given her extensive first-hand experience in both conducting and defending clients during investigations, she offers training sessions to human resources professionals, Title IX officers, and other higher educational employees on how to conduct prompt, thorough and fair investigations.

Mechelle is not only involved with clients, but she is also heavily involved in the Toledo community. Mechelle uses her experienced voice to welcome and advocate for immigrants who enhance Toledo’s economy and help create a vibrant Toledo. She is also an avid supporter of the Arts, as she sits on multiple boards to keep Toledo artistic.

Representative Matters

  • Mechelle has successfully briefed and argued American Interstate Insurance Co. v. G&H Service Center, 112 Ohio St. 3d 521 (2007), a workers' compensation subrogation case, before the Ohio Supreme Court, resulting in a unanimous decision in favor of Mechelle's client.


  • 2010 Ohio State Bar Foundation's Community Service Award for Attorneys 40 and Under.  The Community Service Award recognizes attorneys aged 40 or younger who contribute substantial time and effort to a local social service or a local civic, artistic or cultural organization.  The service must be outside the recipient's practice of law and must be given without compensation.  Recipients should represent the ideals of the legal profession, be a credit to the profession and enjoy a fine professional reputation.
  • 2008 Trustees Award presented by the Toledo Bar Association.  The Trustees Award is given by the Toledo Bar Association Board of Trustees to a young member of the Association who exemplifies professionalism in the practice of law and who has demonstrated a commitment to improving the legal profession through active involvement in the Toledo Bar Association.
  • 20 Under 40 Leadership Award recipient.  The 20 Under 40 Leadership Program focuses on individuals under the age of 40 who have distinguished themselves in their careers and/or in the community.
  • Best Lawyers in America, 2009 - 2019
  • Best Lawyers, "Toledo Immigration Law Lawyer of the Year," 2018
  • Ohio Rising Star by Super Lawyers magazine, 2007, 2009 - 2014
  • Ohio State Bar Foundation, Fellow
  • Toledo Business Journal, "Who's Who in Toledo Area Law"

Professional and Community Affiliations

  • Toledo Bar Association, Board of Directors; Member; Long Range Planning Committee Co-Chair
  • Toledo Women's Bar Association
  • Ohio State Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Junior Bar Association, Executive Committee
  • American Immigration Lawyers Association
  • Legal Aid of Northwestern Ohio (“LAWO”) and Advocates for Basic Legal Equality (“ABLE”), Board of Trustees
  • The Arts Commission of Greater Toledo, Board of Trustees
  • Toledo School for the Arts, Board Member, Personnel Committee
  • Toledo legal community's biennial Habitat For Humanity build, Chair of the Steering Committee
  • Welcome Toledo-Lucas County, Steering Committee
  • Master in The Morrison R. Waite American Inn of Court of Toledo

News Releases

09.21.2018Mechelle Zarou Spoke at TEDxToledo Annual Conference
09.10.2018Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP Attorneys Selected for Inclusion in Toledo Business Journal’s "Who’s Who In Toledo Area Law"
08.15.2018Shumaker Lawyers Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® 2019
08.17.2017Shumaker Lawyers Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® 2018
11.28.2016Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick Adds New Practice Group to its Roster
08.16.2016Shumaker Lawyers Recognized in The Best Lawyers In America® 2017
06.07.2016Mechelle Zarou Inducted as Fellow of Ohio State Bar Foundation
06.03.2016Mechelle Zarou Joins Welcome Toledo-Lucas County Steering Committee and Boards of LAWO/ABLE, and Arts Commission of Greater Toledo
08.19.2015Shumaker Lawyers Recognized in The Best Lawyers In America® 2016
04.27.2015Mechelle Zarou Presented to American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Texas Chapter
10.01.2014Shumaker Unveils Blog Focused on Immigration Law
09.02.2014Shumaker Launches Law Blog to Highlight Social Media Developments
08.21.201483 Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP Lawyers Selected for Inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2015
12.05.2013Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP Attorneys Named to 2014 Ohio Super Lawyers® and Ohio Rising Stars
08.15.201383 Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP Lawyers Selected for Inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2014
12.21.2012Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP Attorneys Named to 2013 Ohio Super Lawyers and Ohio Rising Stars
08.28.201281 Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP Lawyers Selected for Inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2013
09.07.201170 Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP Attorneys Selected for Inclusion in The Best Lawyers In America® 2012
12.20.2010Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP Attorneys Named to 2011 Ohio Super Lawyers and Ohio Rising Stars
10.27.2010Mechelle Zarou Recognized by Ohio State Bar Foundation for Community Service
08.12.201070 Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP Attorneys Selected for Inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2011


08.21.2017The U.S. State Department Announces Suspension of Non-Immigrant Visa Operations Across Russia
06.27.2017USCIS Resumes H-1B Premium Processing for Conrad Waiver Program Physicians
03.03.2017Breaking News: USCIS will Temporarily Suspend Premium Processing of H-1B Petitions
02.03.2017Breaking News: USCIS continues to adjudicate cases
04.25.2016Alert: Premium Processing for FY 2017 H-1B Cap Petitions to Begin May 12
10.26.2015New System, Same Result
09.03.2015Payment Process for Immigrant Fees Simplified
08.31.2015NVC Errors Continue
08.05.2015Deadline for Nationals of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone to Register for TPS is August 18, 2015
07.13.2015USCIS Resumes Premium Processing Service for H-1B Extensions
07.13.2015Executive Action Update: 3 Year EADs Issued After 2/16/15 Injunction Must Be Returned by 7/17/15
07.10.2015DOS Alert: U.S. Embassy in Mexico City Will No Longer Process E Visas
06.25.2015Update on Temporary Protected Status
06.18.2015Client Alert: Visa and Passport Delays Expected to Continue Through Next Week
04.28.2015Mechelle Zarou Presented to the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Texas Chapter
04.17.2015Stay on Order Affecting H-2B Program is Extended by One Month
04.16.2015EB-5 Retrogresses By Two Years in May 2015 for Nationals of China
03.25.2015April Visa Bulletin Released
03.24.2015L-1B Policy Development: USCIS Issues L-1B Adjudications Policy for Comment
03.24.2015L-1B Policy Development: USCIS Issues L-1B Adjudications Memo for Comment
02.21.2015USCIS Updates EB-5 Processing Time Information
02.09.2015National Visa Center Experiencing Glitch in Processing of Chinese EB-5 Immigrant Visa Applications
01.20.2015Administrative Changes To Take Effect Soon
01.16.2015Top Twelve EB-5 Countries by US Immigrant Visa Issuance
01.15.2015Temporary Protected Status Extended for El Salvador
01.07.2015Five Things Employers Should Consider When Conducting an I-9 Self-Audit
12.29.2014Form I-9 Verification Process Update
10.29.2014USCIS Expands Definition of "Mother" and "Parent" Under the INA
10.28.2014Social Media Policies Revisited: The Facebook "Like" As Protected Activity
10.20.2014Temporary Protected Status Extended for Honduras and Nicaragua
10.14.2014New USCIS System Dedicated to Employee I-9 Needs
09.23.2014USCIS Now Using New Ink Color for Certain Documents Which May be Used for Form I-9
09.15.2014Immigrant Visas for EB-5 China Depleted



Events and Presentations

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Alternate biographies




  • J.D., Duke University School of Law, 2000
  • M.A., English, Duke University, 2000
  • B.A., with honors, University of Michigan, 1996

Bar and Court Admissions

  • Ohio, 2000
  • Michigan, 2001