2017 Hall of Fame Honorees
The following inductees all graduated from or made significant contributions to Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and/or Cleveland-Marshall Law School after 1946 and continue to contribute to the esteemed reputation of C|M|LAW today.
Judge Ronald B. Adrine, Class of 1973
Ronald Adrine is a member of a proud C|M|LAW legacy family. His uncle Herbert (1953) and father Russell (1954) (also a Hall of Fame Inductee) were Cleveland-Marshall graduates. Adrine practiced law with his legendary father before being appointed senior staff counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations, chaired by fellow Hall of Fame honoree Congressman Louis Stokes (1953). He joined the Cleveland Municipal Court bench in 1981, was reelected five times, and has served as Administrative and Presiding Judge since 2008. He spearheaded the successful merger of four African-American legal organizations to form the Norman S. Minor Bar Association in 1980 and led the creation of the Cleveland Bar Association Minority Clerkship Program. Adrine is the past recipient of the Cleveland-Marshall Law Alumni Association Alumni of the Year and Cleveland State University Distinguished Alumni Award for Civic Achievement. He is the co-author of Ohio Domestic Violence Law and is a nationally-recognized expert on domestic violence issues. He will retire from the Court at the end of 2017.
Sheryl King Benford, Class of 1979
Sheryl King Benford was a teacher and principal for the East Cleveland City Schools before graduating from Cleveland-Marshall, where she later served as assistant dean of admissions and student affairs from 1979-1981 and as adjunct professor from 1980-1981. In addition to having a private practice, she worked as Cleveland’s assistant law director from 1981-1984 and 1988-1991 and as Shaker Heights Law Director from 1992-2000. In 2000, she became the Deputy General Manager of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) and currently serves as RTA’s Chief Legal Officer. She served Cleveland-Marshall as president of the Alumni Association and as a member of both the National Advisory Council and Visiting Committee. Benford has received many honors in her career including Cleveland State University’s 2006 George B. Davis Award for Service, which recognizes a graduate’s generous dedication to the growth and advancement of the university, and the 2014 YWCA Women of Achievement Award. She is a member of the C|M|LAW Board of Visitors Executive Committee.
Judge Patricia A. Blackmon, Class of 1975
Patricia Blackmon, a magna cum laude graduate of Tougaloo College, was born in Oxford, Mississippi. During the 1970s, in an effort to increase its African-American student population, Cleveland-Marshall sent then-Professor and fellow Hall of Fame honoree Ann Aldrich south to recruit promising students studying at historically Black colleges. Blackmon, with majors in African-American Studies, Political Science, and History, was such a student, bound to excel. And she has: both in law school and, notably, as Chief Prosecutor for the City of Cleveland and as Assistant Director of the Victim/Witness Assistance Program. She was elected to a Judgeship on the Ohio Eighth District Court of Appeals in 1991, the first African-American woman in Ohio to serve on any of the state’s appeals courts, and is now serving her third term with distinction. Blackmon was inducted into the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame and received the Law Alumni Association’s 1996 Recognition Award.
Louise P. Dempsey, Class of 1981
Louise Dempsey began her distinguished career at Cleveland-Marshall in 1984, three years after graduating from the law school, as director of development and alumni affairs. She went on to serve as assistant dean for external affairs from 1988 until she retired in 2011. Dempsey was instrumental in Cleveland-Marshall’s involvement in the Law and Leadership Institute pipeline and Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association's 3Rs pipeline, two programs that connect high school students to law schools and to the greater legal community. Her leadership in these pipeline programs was recognized by the Wingspread Group, a national pipeline initiative, which gave her its National Award for Leadership in 2008. She sits on many educational and community boards, including the Cleveland Municipal School District, where she has served since 1993.
José C. Feliciano, Sr., Class of 1975
José Feliciano was born in Puerto Rico before his family moved to Cleveland in 1952. He originally planned to become a social worker but was inspired by work with the Spanish American Committee to study law. He worked at the Cleveland Legal Aid Society where he had interned with C. Lyonel Jones (1963) during law school, taught at John Carroll University while working as a public defender and then became prosecutor for Cuyahoga County and the city of Cleveland, respectively, from 1978-1984. Feliciano was named one of 12 White House Fellows in 1984. He joined the firm of BakerHostetler in 1985 and became a partner in the firm’s Litigation Group in 1987. Feliciano was elected to the American College of Trial Lawyers in 1995, served on several American Bar Association (ABA) committees, and was a Cleveland Bar Association president. He is the founder and has served as chair of numerous Hispanic and immigration programs and committees. Feliciano was recognized by the Cleveland-Marshall Law Alumni Association as Alumnus of the Year in 1998.
Hon. George L. Forbes, Class of 1962
George Forbes is the founder of Forbes, Fields & Associates Co., LPA. From 1963-1989, he was a Cleveland City Councilman and the council’s first African-American president, serving in that role from 1972 until his retirement. As Council President, he worked with mayors Dennis Kucinich and George Voinovich to address the many complicated issues then facing Cleveland—including race relations, the city's default on debt obligations to local banks and the revitalization of downtown. He also served for many years as Cleveland’s NAACP President, receiving that organization's highest award for meritorious service in 2009. Forbes has served on many other civic organization boards including the Urban League, Council of Economic Opportunity, Businessmen's Interracial Committee on Community Affairs, John Harlan Law Club, Freedom to Marry, and the National Association of Defense Lawyers for Criminal Cases. He received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Cleveland-Marshall in 1998.
Avery S. Friedman, Class of 1972
Avery Friedman, described as a “walking reference source” on civil rights by The Wall Street Journal, is a nationally recognized civil rights lawyer and law professor. A weekend legal analyst for CNN since 2001, Friedman reaches a weekly audience of over 3,000,000 viewers. He has lectured on federal civil rights law at more than three dozen law schools, including Stanford, Duke, Berkeley, Michigan, and Tulane, and has appeared as an expert on civil and constitutional rights before both the United States Senate and House of Representatives. Friedman received the Legendary Champion of Civil Rights Award by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the NAACP’s Freedom Award, and the Dr. Martin Luther King Memorial Human Rights Award. The Avery Friedman Human Rights Scholarship at Ursuline College was recently named in his honor, and he was inducted into the Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame in 2010. He is a member of the C|M|LAW Board of Visitors.
Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge, Class of 1983
Marcia Fudge has represented the people of the 11th Congressional District of Ohio since 2008. She currently serves on the House Committee on Agriculture and the Committee on Education and the Workforce, and is the Ranking Member on the Committee on Agriculture’s Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry. Past Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, she is a consistent voice for voter protection and campaign finance reform and remains a steadfast advocate to strengthen and preserve Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Fudge has served the people of Ohio for more than two decades, beginning her public service career in the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office. She was the first African-American and first female mayor of Warrensville Heights, a position she held from 2000-2008. She received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Cleveland-Marshall in 2014.
Michael E. Gibbons, Class of 1982
Michael Gibbons is founder of Brown Gibbons Lang & Company (BGL), a middle market investment bank with offices around the globe. Prior to forming BGL, he was a Senior Vice President of McDonald & Company Securities and President and CEO of Underwood, Neuhaus & Company. In 2015, Gibbons co-founded Luna Living, a startup that provides treatment and recovery options for opioid addiction. He currently is a candidate for the U.S. Senate. He is an active member of the Executive Committee of the C|M|LAW Board of Visitors.
Karen L. Giffen, Class of 1989
Karen Giffen co-founded the women-owned firm Giffen & Kaminski in 2004 with fellow Hall of Fame honoree Kerin Lyn Kaminski (1985). She serves as Treasurer of the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, and is a former Board Member of the National Association of Minority & Women Owned Law Firms. Giffen has assisted first-year Cleveland-Marshall students with Moot Court and is a member of the C|M|LAW Board of Visitors.
James L. Hardiman, Class of 1968
James Hardiman fought racial injustice as an attorney in private practice and as an assistant city prosecutor before becoming legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Ohio, a position he has held until 2014. In private practice, his career is celebrated for his successful advocacy and defense of the rights of minorities and the city’s neediest citizens. During the city’s violent 1970s struggle for equal educational opportunities for African-American children, Hardiman was one of the attorneys who argued Reed v. Rhodes before the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, which involved the desegregation of Cleveland Public Schools. As recently as the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, he represented protestors executing their First Amendment Rights to Assembly and Freedom of Expression. He has held a leadership role in Citizens for a Safe and Fair Cleveland and currently serves as the president of the Cleveland branch of the NAACP. In addition to his legal career, Hardiman serves as an adjunct Professor in the Department of Political Science at Baldwin-Wallace University.
Mayor Frank G. Jackson, Class of 1983
Frank Jackson, the 57th Mayor of Cleveland, grew up in the city’s Kinsman and Central neighborhoods and attended local schools. Following his high school graduation he served in the U.S. Navy. Returning home, he earned an associate’s degree from Cuyahoga Community College and an undergraduate degree and master’s degree from Cleveland State University before obtaining his law degree from Cleveland-Marshall in 1983. Jackson was elected to City Council in 1989 and won his first mayoral election in 2005. Currently seeking a third term in office, he has been proven an able and conscientious steward of the public trust, fighting for safer neighborhoods, economic stability, police reform, educational opportunity, and a revitalized downtown Cleveland.
Kerin Lyn Kaminski, Class of 1985
Kerin Lyn Kaminski co-founded the women-owned firm Giffen & Kaminski in 2004 with fellow Hall of Fame honoree Karen Giffen (1989). Kaminski has served as president of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association and currently is a board member of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Foundation. She is a founding member of the Ohio Women’s Bar Association. Giffen & Kaminski received the Diversity and Inclusion Trailblazer Award from the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association.
Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, Class of 1980
Maureen O'Connor is the 10th Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court and the first woman to lead the Ohio judicial branch. Justice O'Connor's distinguished career in public service and the law includes service as a private lawyer, Magistrate, Common Pleas Court Judge, County Prosecutor, and Ohio Lt. Governor. She serves as president of the Conference of Chief Justices and chair of the National Center for State Courts. She is a member of the C|M|LAW Board of Visitors.
Judge Solomon Oliver, Jr.
Solomon Oliver served as professor and associate dean at Cleveland-Marshall, where he taught and published in the areas of civil procedure, federal jurisdiction, and trial advocacy. Oliver had been a lawyer for 19 years, clerked for the late Judge William H. Hastie for the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals, worked as an attorney and supervisor with the U.S. Justice Department, and was a member of the Cleveland-Marshall law faculty for nine years before being appointed to the College’s Associate Deanship for Faculty and Administration in 1991. Oliver previously served as Chair of the American Bar Association’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar. He was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio in 1994 by President William J. Clinton and served as the court’s chief judge from 2010-2017.
David M. Paris, Class of 1978
David Paris is Managing Partner of Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy, starting with the firm as a law clerk in the mid-1970s while attending Cleveland-Marshall. He is a fellow in the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, an exclusive group limited to only 500 American lawyers. His wife, Bedford Municipal Court Judge Michelle L. Paris (1984) and daughter Dana M. Paris (2013), attorney at Nurenberg Paris, are also Cleveland-Marshall graduates. He was the 2011 C|M|LAW Alumni Association Alumnus of the Year and serves on the Executive Committee of the Cleveland-Marshall Board of Visitors. Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy generously established an Endowed Scholarship Fund.
Judge Benita Y. Pearson, Class of 1995
Benita Pearson of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio is the first African-American woman to hold a seat on a federal court in Ohio. Born and raised in Cleveland and a graduate of Georgetown University, she worked as an accountant before becoming a lawyer. From 1996-1998, Pearson served as a law clerk for venerated U.S. District Court Judge John Michael Manos (1950). Subsequently, she was associated with two Cleveland law firms before being appointed as an Assistant United States Attorney. In 2008, she was appointed a U.S. Magistrate Judge for the U.S. District Court, and in 2009, Senators George Voinovich and Sherrod Brown nominated her for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. She was confirmed by the Senate and appointed by President Barack Obama in 2010.
Steven W. Percy, Class of 1979
Steven Percy spent 23 years with BP America Inc. (previously Standard Oil Company) in various capacities before retiring as chairman and CEO in 1999. He served on President Clinton's Council on Sustainable Development. He is a past chair of the CSU Foundation Board of Directors and served as interim dean of CSU’s Monte Ahuja College of Business. Percy is a member of the Executive Committee of the C|M|LAW Board of Visitors and is the law school’s first Leader-in-Residence. In 2014 he generously established the Steven W. Percy Endowed Professorship to recognize exceptional work in environmental or energy law. He received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Cleveland-Marshall in 2017.
Jane Picker joined the Cleveland-Marshall faculty in 1972 and almost immediately began to make the working world a better place for both men and women. She joined forces with fellow Yale alumna professor Lizabeth Moody in founding the Women’s Law Fund, the first law firm in America to specialize in sex-discrimination cases, and then successfully upheld the employment rights of women to compete for jobs in traditionally male professions. The law school’s Employment Law Clinic emerged from the Women’s Law Fund with an expanded focus on teaching and preparing law students to represent employees from discriminatory practices in a variety of settings. Picker and her husband, CWRU emeritus professor Sydney Picker Jr., are the recipients of honorary degrees from St. Petersburg University (Russia) in appreciation of their work creating educational exchanges between American and Russian law students, which includes establishing The Russian United States Legal Education Foundation (RUSLEF).
Dan Aaron Polster of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio was nominated by President Bill Clinton in 1997 and received commission in 1998. Prior to serving as judge, he worked as a federal prosecutor in Cleveland for 22 years, first as a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division, and then for 16 years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, handling fraud and corruption cases. In addition to regular speaking engagements, Polster has taught at Cleveland-Marshall since 2002, currently co-teaching a mediation course with Matthew T. Fitzsimmons. He has received many honors throughout his distinguished career, including Special Achievement Awards from the U.S. Department of Justice and a Special Commendation from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General. He actively serves a member of the C|M|LAW Board of Visitors.
Steven Potash, Class of 1978
Steven Potash, President and CEO of OverDrive, formed the idea for his company while attending C|M|LAW. OverDrive is now the leading worldwide digital platform for eBooks, audiobooks, and other digital media for libraries, schools, government agencies, corporate learning centers, and colleges and universities. In 2016, he was honored by the UJA-Federation of New York Publishing Division and in 2011 he received the first Ambassador Award from the publishing industry at BookExpo America. His wife Loree Potash (1979), daughter Erica Potash (2004) and son-in-law Anthony Lazzaro (2004) are graduates of C|M|LAW. Potash serves on the C|M|LAW Board of Visitors and in 2017, was honored with CSU’s Distinguished Alumni Award.
Elizabeth Pugh, Class of 1978
Elizabeth Pugh has served for the past 19 years as General Counsel for the Library of Congress, the world’s largest library and the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. Pugh began her legal career as an attorney with the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Education. She continued with the executive branch as a litigator and manager with the Department of Justice. Later, she served as general counsel to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), where she played a key role in the resolution of the case that resulted in the opening of tape recordings made by former President Richard Nixon. Pugh received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Cleveland-Marshall in 2008 and serves on the C|M|LAW Board of Visitors.
Robert Rawson attended Princeton University, was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University and earned his J.D. from Harvard Law School. He started practice in the Washington, D.C. office of Jones Day and returned to Cleveland in 1973 as a partner, serving as Partner-in-Charge for 15 years. He has served on Princeton’s Board of Trustees for 20 years and on the Cleveland State University Board for 10 years, including five years as chair. Rawson was interim dean of Case Western Reserve University School of Law from 2008-11 and was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws by Princeton in 2011 and by Cleveland-Marshall in 2016.
Judy Rawson attended Mount Holyoke College and earned her law degree from CWRU School of Law. She served the City of Shaker Heights for 21 years, first as a City Council member, then as a two-term mayor.
The Rawsons were honored by CSU’s Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs as the recipients of the In Tribute to the Public Service Award in 2009. In 2016, they expressed their ongoing commitment to CSU and its academic mission with a $500,000 gift to C|M|LAW, which funded the construction of the Rawson Learning Commons in the Law Library.
Thomas J. Scanlon, Class of 1963
Thomas Scanlon worked full-time at a manufacturing plant while attending C|M|LAW, also working at the law library and serving as Law Review editor. In 1979, he joined forces with Charles Donahue II (1967) to form Donahue & Scanlon; when Donahue retired, Scanlon partnered with Tim Collins (1985) to form Collins & Scanlon. Scanlon was appointed by the Ohio Supreme Court as a Bar Examiner. He is a past honoree of the C|M|LAW Alumni Association and serves as a Life Member. He serves as a member of the C|M|LAW Board of Visitors, and he and Collins generously established the Collins & Scanlon Enrichment Fund at C|M|LAW to provide funds for the enrichment of the law school’s curriculum and programs.
Mark A. Smolik, Class of 1987
Mark Smolik is general counsel and chief compliance officer of DHL's supply chain operations throughout the Americas. He also serves as global chair of DHL’s supply chain legal practice group and is responsible for leading the legal, commercial contract management, government incentives, and compliance teams throughout the Americas. Smolik serves as the chairman and founder of Qualmet LLC, a platform for in-house counsel and legal operations professionals to measure the value of services provided by external counsel and other legal service providers. Before DHL, Smolik was senior vice president, general counsel, and chief ethics officer of Safelite Group, Inc. Before Safelite, he served as Sherwin-Williams' senior corporate counsel. He serves on the C|M|LAW Board of Visitors and has lectured twice in the past two years at the law school about the rapidly changing legal market and its implications for legal education.
Stephen G. Sozio, Class of 1983
Stephen Sozio is a Jones Day partner who serves as both co-leader of the firm's global health care practice and head of litigation for the Cleveland office. Prior to joining Jones Day, he worked as a prosecutor for the Organized Crime Strike Force Unit of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Ohio. He has taught as a C|M|LAW adjunct professor, and serves on the law school’s Health Law Advisory Council and the C|M|LAW Board of Visitors.
Carl L. Stern, Class of 1966
Carl Stern is professor emeritus of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University and former Office of Public Affairs director for the Department of Justice under Attorney General Janet Reno. Prior to his career at the DOJ, he was NBC News law correspondent for 26 years. A member of the Ohio and Washington, D.C. bars for almost 50 years, Stern was a founding member of the Forum Committee on Communications Law of the American Bar Association. In 1975, the ABA honored him as the first full-time broadcast network reporter covering legal affairs. He is the recipient of the Justice Department’s highest honor, the Edmund J. Randolph Award, and broadcasting’s Peabody Award for his Watergate coverage. In 2014, the American University Washington College of Law’s Collaboration on Government Secrecy presented him with its Freedom of Information Act Legends Award. Stern received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Cleveland-Marshall in 1995 and serves on the C|M|LAW Board of Visitors.
Judge Melody J. Stewart, Class of 1988
Melody Stewart is distinguished for both her career in academia and in law. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and as a law student, she was awarded a prestigious Patricia Roberts Harris Fellowship. Following graduation, she served as an assistant law director for the cities of Cleveland and East Cleveland, eventually returning to the law school in various capacities—as a lecturer, adjunct instructor, assistant dean and full-time faculty member. She also taught at the University of Toledo College of Law and Ursuline College and was director of student services at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. She earned her doctorate as a Mandel Leadership Fellow at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at CWRU. She was elected to the Eighth District Court of Appeals in 2006 and has been re-elected twice.
Richard P. Stovsky, Class of 1983
Richard Stovsky is PricewaterhouseCooper’s vice chairman for the Midwest region, where he oversees all services to clients in the region. He has served as co-chair of Cleveland-Marshall’s Annual Fund several times, and he currently serves on the C|M|LAW Executive Committee of the Board of Visitors. In 2011, he received CSU’s George B. Davis Award for Service, which recognizes a graduate’s generous dedication to the growth and advancement of the University. Stovsky previously served as chair of C|M|LAW's National Advisory Committee.
P. Kelly Tompkins, Class of 1981
Kelly Tompkins serves as executive vice president and chief operating officer for Cleveland-Cliffs. Previously, he served as chief counsel and later chief financial officer at RPM International Inc. Kelly has served on the board of directors of the CSU Foundation, the CSU External Engagement Committee, and is a past recipient of the CSU George B. Davis Award for Distinguished Service to the University. He chaired the C|M|LAW Visiting Committee for six years and co-launched the law school’s Fund for Excellence in 2009. He delivered the law school’s commencement address in 2005 and received the C|M|LAW Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Award in 2008. He currently serves as vice-chair of the C|M|LAW Board of Visitors with current Board Chair Brent Buckley (1982).
The following inductees all graduated from or made significant contributions to Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and/or Cleveland-Marshall Law School after 1946 and are recognized for their lasting legacies in memoriam.
Russell T. Adrine, Class of 1954 (1917-2011)
Russell Adrine was an influential presence during Cleveland's turbulent 1960s, when African-American citizens and lawyers were fighting for equality in public education and government. A World War II veteran, he followed his brother Herbert Adrine (1953) to Cleveland-Marshall; after graduation, the brothers set up a practice in the neighborhood where they were raised. In 1977, Governor James Rhodes appointed Adrine to serve on the Board of Tax Appeals, and in 1984, he was named General Counsel of the Regional Transit Authority. Always politically active, he chaired every one of Louis Stokes’ Congressional campaigns. He served on the boards of the ACLU, the Legal Aid Society, and the law school’s Visiting Committee. He was also president of the Greater Cleveland Urban League and the local chapter of the NAACP.
Judge Ann Aldrich (1927-2010)
Ann Aldrich joined the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law faculty in 1968, where she became the school's first female tenured professor, taught a pioneering clinical environmental law class, and recruited minority students and professors. One of her many mentees was fellow Hall of Fame Honoree Judge Patricia Blackmon (1975). In 1980 she became the first woman nominated to the federal bench in Ohio when President Jimmy Carter appointed her to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. She retired in 1995 but continued working as a senior federal judge until her passing.
Judge Francis M. Allegra, Class of 1981 (1957-2015)
Francis Allegra became an associate at the Cleveland law firm of Squire, Sanders, and Dempsey, where he specialized in tax and bond work. From 1984-1994, he served the Tax Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in several capacities, handling many of the division’s most complex cases. In 1994, he was appointed Deputy Associate Attorney General, working with the Tax and Antitrust Divisions as well as with the National Economic and Domestic Policy Councils at the White House. In 1998, he was appointed judge on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims by President Bill Clinton. Over his career, he issued more than 250 published opinions on topics including tax, government contracts, intellectual property, and military and civilian employment. He was considered an expert on issues involving electronic discovery and was a member of the Information Technology Committee of the Judicial Conference from 2003-2010.
Mary Ann Bagus, Class of 1982 (1944-1987)
Mary Ann Bagus overcame physical difficulties resulting from childhood polio to graduate cum laude from Cleveland-Marshall where she also served as editor of the Cleveland State Law Review. Specializing in probate law, Bagus practiced for almost five years until she died tragically in an auto accident while on vacation in California. Her legacy lives on in a scholarship fund to benefit disabled students who demonstrate both financial need and academic excellence at the University of Buffalo, where she obtained her master’s degree in modern languages, and in The Mary Ann Bagus Memorial Fund at Cleveland-Marshall.
Magistrate Judge Joseph W. Bartunek III, Class of 1955 (1924-2003)
Joseph W. Bartunek, a World War II veteran, was serving his first term in the Ohio Senate when he decided to study law at his father’s alma mater. Otto J. Bartunek (1916) and his son were members of a family of Bohemian extraction who had been involved in state politics for decades. Joseph Bartunek was elected to the Ohio Senate first in 1949 and again in 1960. He resigned from the Senate in 1964 to run successfully for the Cuyahoga County Probate Court—but not before he had authored the bill that proposed the creation of Cleveland State University. Bartunek was one of the first members appointed to the CSU board and, along with U.S. District Court Judge Alvin Krenzler, was a principal advocate of the law school’s 1969 merger with the city’s new public university: Cleveland-Marshall College of Law of Cleveland State University. In 1986, Bartunek was appointed United States District Court Magistrate Judge, Northern District of Ohio; he retired in 1998.
Robert T. Bennett, Class of 1967 (1939-2014)
Longtime chairman of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, Robert ‘Bob’ Bennett served as chair of the Ohio Republican Party from 1988-2009 and 2012-2013 and was instrumental in bringing the 2016 Republican National Convention to Cleveland. During his leadership, the party went from holding no statewide offices to controlling all three branches of the Ohio government. Bennett was a certified public accountant, former finance director for the city of Strongsville, and author of several publications on tax law. Additionally, he served on the Cleveland Civil Service Commission and the boards of directors of University Hospitals of Cleveland and Southwest General Health Center.
Elizabeth M. Boyer, Class of 1947 (1913-2002)
Elizabeth Boyer was a staunch advocate for women’s rights. As a lobbyist for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), she was frequently invited to appear before committees of the United States Senate and House of Representatives. She was the founding president of the Women's Equity Action League, a national women’s rights organization that was integral in the outlawing of gender discrimination in education. The group established the Elizabeth Boyer Award, a national achievement award for women who support issues of importance to women. The award has been bestowed upon such notable women as former first lady Betty Ford.
Professor J. Patrick Browne (1935-1993)
J. Patrick Browne was a formidable presence in the classroom and in the courtroom. He was the undisputed authority on Ohio civil procedure, the author of books, articles, treatises, and the editor-in-chief of the Ohio Civil Practice Journal and Ohio Sanctions Reporter. He was a magna cum laude graduate of both John Carroll University and the Detroit Law School, and a graduate of the Judge Advocate General's School and the Case Western Reserve School of Library Science. He came to Cleveland-Marshall in 1969 as a librarian but transitioned to the classroom, teaching Civil Procedure, Motion and Discovery Practice, Appellate Procedure, Sanctions, Equity, Insurance Law, Brief-Writing and Advocacy. Browne was admired by faculty and students and remembered by all for his drollery, mischief, high spirits, and wholehearted dedication to educating a generation of lawyers.
Judge Lillian W. Burke, Class of 1951 (1918-2012)
Lillian Burke, the granddaughter of a slave, was the first African-American woman to serve on the Ohio judiciary. Following her graduation from Cleveland-Marshall, she sought employment as a law clerk in the city courts and was handed an application for a secretarial job. Undaunted, she practiced successfully, and later was appointed to the Ohio Industrial Commission, the highest state government position ever held by a black woman in Ohio. In 1969, she was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Cleveland Municipal Court, a bench on which she served with distinction for 18 years. In 2012, C|M|LAW awarded her an Honorary Doctor of Law.
Nona M. Burney, Ph.D., Class of 1981 (1950-2014)
Nona Burney had a passion for education. She was the first in her family to attend college and went on to earn a J.D., master’s degree, and Ph.D. Burney taught social studies and black history at Cleveland's Collinwood High School during the 1970s, when Cleveland was struggling with busing and other issues of school integration. Shortly after, she helped start Cleveland's Martin Luther King Law and Public Service Magnet High School, eventually serving as principal. She became a professor at Roosevelt University in Chicago, where she was named director of the Center for Teaching and Learning and helped to establish service learning as a key feature of a Roosevelt education. She worked diligently to prevent the closure of neighborhood schools in Chicago.
Attorney General Anthony J. Celebrezze, Jr. , Class of 1973 (1941-2003)
Anthony ‘Tony’ Celebrezze served in Ohio’s state government for 16 years as a senator, secretary of state, and attorney general. As attorney general, Celebrezze emphasized consumer and environmental protection and is credited with developing Ohio’s "Lemon Law," which protects auto buyers. Celebrezze, son of former Cleveland mayor and judge Anthony Joseph Celebrezze Sr., also sat on Cleveland-Marshall’s National Advisory Council, providing advice to the law school. A member of the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame, he served in the United States Navy for five years and was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal.
Chief Justice Frank D. Celebrezze, Jr. , Class of 1956 (1928-2010)
Frank Celebrezze won a six-year term on the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas in 1964 and reelection followed. From 1972-1986, he served on the Supreme Court of Ohio, where he sought to push beyond the Court’s traditional interpretation of Ohio’s Constitution. Under Celebrezze, the Supreme Court expanded workers’ ability to seek compensation under Ohio’s system by allowing them to seek benefits for emotional injury or injuries due to performing repetitive tasks over time. During his tenure as Chief Justice, the Supreme Court also limited the principle that local governments had sovereign immunity that protected them from civil lawsuits by injured constituents. Two majority opinions written by Celebrezze concern the 1981 enactment of the Ohio death penalty statutes; the opinions cover the first two death penalty cases brought on appeal to the Supreme Court.
John Deaver Drinko (1921-2008)
John Drinko was the 23rd lawyer hired by Joseph Hostetler at BakerHostetler. He served as the firm's Managing Partner from 1969-1975 and 1978-1985. He endowed 15 faculty chairs at a number of schools and, because of his generosity, his name appears on several college buildings, including Drinko Recital Hall in CSU’s Music and Communication Building. In 1989, John Drinko generously established the first endowed chaired professorship at C|M|LAW to support the Joseph C. Hostetler-BakerHostetler Chair in Law, to be held by the law school's Dean.
Charles R. Emrick, Jr. , Class of 1958 (1929-2015)
Charles Emrick joined Calfee Halter & Griswold in 1965, where he completed over 100 corporate financings and 200 business acquisitions and divestitures for clients during his 35 years of practice. Emrick served on the board of directors of more than thirty-five private companies and received the Lifetime Achievement Deal Maker Award from the Association for Corporate Growth (Northeast Ohio Chapter). He retired as Senior Vice President and Director of The TransAction Group, a Cleveland-based investment banking firm. He received the Outstanding Alumnus Award from the C|M|LAW Alumni Association and generously endowed the Charles R. Emrick-Calfee Halter & Griswold Professorship.
Professor James T. Flaherty (1928-2012)
James Flaherty joined the faculty of Cleveland-Marshall in 1966, during a time when the school was private and affiliated with Baldwin-Wallace College. Cleveland-Marshall Law School's existence was put in jeopardy when this relationship was terminated, and he was appointed bursar and assistant dean. During a two-year period, he managed to make the law school financially solvent and assisted with merging the law school with Cleveland State University. He initiated several programs during his tenure, including the country’s first minority and women's affirmative-action admissions programs and the first use of the Federal Work Study Program for a law school. He was the director of Cleveland-Marshall's CLE program for several years, played a significant role on key Grievance and Ethics committees of the local bar, and served on county arbitration panels.
Judge Charles W. Fleming, Class of 1955 (1928-1994)
Charles Fleming entered the legal profession at a time when Cleveland's major law firms would not hire black attorneys. However, his outstanding litigation skills became widely recognized when, as an assistant county prosecutor in the 1960s, he was among those assigned by then County Prosecutor John T. Corrigan to handle the most difficult high-profile cases. Fleming gained litigation experience while defending local civil rights activists—often black nationalists—in front of all-white juries. He was a senior partner at the firm of Fleming, Hubbard, and Davis from 1968-1976. Fleming was elected Cleveland Municipal Court Judge in 1976 and served on the court for 19 years, including acting as Presiding and Administrative Judge from 1981-1984.
Dr. Samuel R. Gerber, Class of 1949 (1898-1987)
Samuel Gerber, a pioneer in forensic medicine, is perhaps best known for his work on the Sam Sheppard murder case and the Cleveland Torso murders. A founding member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, he modernized the Cuyahoga County Coroner’s office during his 50-year tenure as coroner. Gerber, also an assistant clinical professor of legal medicine at Case Western Reserve University, presided over the investigation into the tragic 1944 East Ohio Gas explosion, did extensive research on sudden infant death syndrome, and was the first coroner to examine the relationship between alcohol consumption and traffic accidents. A prolific author on forensic matters, Gerber frequently presented papers at national and international conferences and was even summoned to assist Scotland Yard.
Professor David B. Goshien (1937-2010)
David Goshien began his legal career as an attorney in Charlotte, North Carolina. He was briefly a professor at Oklahoma University before teaching tax law and contracts at Cleveland-Marshall from 1968-2008. He frequently served as a government consultant with agencies including the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). He made many contributions to Cleveland-Marshall, including the establishment of the Cleveland-Marshall Fund Enrichment Program, also known as the Visiting Scholar Program. Under his direction, the program attracted over 70 accomplished scholars to the law school.
Deborah Lewis Hiller, Class of 1975 (1947-2014)
Deborah Hiller, a past president of the Cleveland-Marshall Law Alumni Association, made a lasting impact on the aging services industry through her work as president and CEO of Eliza Jennings, a nonprofit organization providing a range of services to older adults. Under her leadership, Eliza Jennings was among the first organizations in Northeast Ohio to offer specialized memory support services and establish clinics in HUD-affordable housing communities. In 2015, Eliza Jennings dedicated the Deborah Lewis Hiller SAIDO Learning® Institute at its Cleveland Health Campus, a national center for training and operations for SAIDO Learning®, a noninvasive, non-pharmacological treatment for dementia.
Aaron Jacobson, Class of 1959 (1922-2010)
Aaron Jacobson earned a purple heart for his service as an Army combat medic in World War II before pursuing a career in journalism, covering legal news—including the early parts of the Sam Sheppard trial—for The Cleveland News. As a result, he developed an interest in law, joining Abe H. Dudnik’s (1927) law firm soon after graduating from night school at Cleveland-Marshall. A leader in malpractice law, Jacobson cofounded one of the nation's largest malpractice insurance carriers in 1975, first called Physicians Insuring Exchange, then PIE Mutual Insurance Co. In 1984 he founded the law firm of Jacobson, Maynard, Tuschman & Kalur, a firm that mainly defended PIE clients. Jacobson served as a Cleveland-Marshall Law Alumni Association president and was named its outstanding alumnus in 1992.
Professor Sidney B. Jacoby (1908-1990)
Professor Sidney Jacoby joined the faculty of Cleveland-Marshall after teaching at Georgetown and Case Western Reserve Law Schools. Prior to teaching, he served as an attorney with the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board and with the U.S. Department of Interior in Washington, D.C., during which time he was an assistant to Justice Robert Jackson, the chief prosecutor of the Nuremberg war crimes trial. He was also a prolific author whose published works include Ohio Civil Practice, Litigation with the Federal Government, and parts of West's Federal Practice Manual. Upon his retirement in 1981, U.S. Court of Claims judge Oscar H. Davis wrote that Jacoby “is truly one of the founders and creators of this new legal specialty [federal government litigation] in our nation.”
Clarence L. James, Jr. , Class of 1962 (1934-2012)
Clarence ‘Buddy’ James worked as an investigator for the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court while attending Cleveland-Marshall’s night program. He started his career at Legal Aid of Cleveland, first running its west side office before becoming chief of the civil division. In 1967, Mayor Carl Stokes asked him to become the city's law director. After serving as law director for four years, he practiced law privately in Cleveland until 1976 when he returned to his home state of California to serve as deputy campaign manager for presidential candidate Jimmy Carter. He later joined Keefe Co., an international firm for public and governmental relations in Washington, D.C. and finished his legal career working with his son’s securities company in Florida.
C. Lyonel Jones, Class of 1963 (1933-2006)
C. Lyonel Jones, the Executive Director of the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, dedicated his life to assuring that no resident of the city would be denied the right to legal protection, no matter the financial circumstances. Following his graduation from Baldwin-Wallace College, Jones worked as a probation officer in the Cleveland Municipal Court, an experience that would lead him to study law at Cleveland-Marshall Law School. In 1966, Jones was hired by the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland as attorney-in-charge of the Society’s office in Hough. In 1968, he was named the Society’s Executive Director, a job he held until his retirement in 2005. During his 39 years of service, he guided Legal Aid through racial turbulence, rising crime rates, and declining sources of revenue—yet the organization survived, expanded, and remained steadfast in its dedication to the city’s most vulnerable citizens.
Michael V. Kelley, Class of 1981 (1951-2006)
Michael Kelley, passionate advocate for blue-collar workers, met his wife, former Cleveland Heights Municipal Court Judge Lynn Arko Kelley (1980), while attending night classes at Cleveland-Marshall. Kelley, nicknamed “Cleveland’s King of Torts” by Inside Business magazine, was a founding partner of the Cleveland-based firm Kelley & Ferraro, LLP, one of the largest plaintiffs' firms in the country. Specializing in civil cases involving asbestos and other workplace health hazards, he took many personal injury and wrongful death cases to verdict and also negotiated generous settlements for workers against large corporations such as Honeywell Corp. and Halliburton. Passing away at 54 years of age, the program at his funeral service included a quote he used as his life mantra: "It’s important that we don’t lose sight of where we came from and the people who gave us that opportunity."
Betty Klaric, Class of 1984 (1931-2011)
Betty Klaric was one of the first women to enter the predominantly all-male field of investigative environmental reporting. A graduate of Ohio State University, she joined the staff of the Cleveland Press as a ‘copy boy’ in 1955. By the early 1960s, she was a full-fledged reporter focusing on the environment. Her nationally-reported coverage of a fire that erupted on the Cuyahoga River in 1969 is generally credited with alerting the nation to the environmental dangers of chemical waste products polluting the air and water. When the Press closed in 1982, she reinvented herself as a lawyer working for the State Employment Relations Board and as a trial lawyer in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of the Solicitor. The Audubon Society, the EPA, Governor Rhodes, and President Richard Nixon commended her contributions. She was elected to the Press Club Hall of Fame and was the first female president of the Cleveland Newspaper Guild.
Congressman Steven C. LaTourette, Class of 1979 (1954-2016)
Steve LaTourette began his career as a public defender before becoming Lake County Prosecutor in 1989, where he made his name prosecuting the Kirtland mass murders that were organized by self-proclaimed prophet Jeffrey Lundgren. He then served as a U.S. Representative for Ohio's 19th (and then 14th) congressional district from 1995 to 2013. He was on several subcommittees under the Committee on Appropriations and used his committee seats to: channel highway dollars to Northeast Ohio and protect the interests of credit unions, help establish an arbitration process that saved hundreds of auto dealers that were scheduled to close after the federal government bailed out several large auto companies, and fight PNC Bank's takeover of National City Corporation during the bank bailout in 2008. He was called a ‘skilled parliamentarian’ who was often sent to arbitrate contentious debates.
Judge John M. Manos, Class of 1950 (1922-2006)
John Manos served in the U.S. Navy from 1943-1945 before returning to Cleveland and attending Cleveland Law School. He spent several years in private practice before becoming law director for the city of Bay Village in 1954. From 1956-1959, he served as an Industries Representative for the Cleveland Regional Board of Review. He was a judge in the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court and then Cuyahoga County Court of Appeals from 1963-1976. He was appointed Federal Judge on the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio in 1976 by President Gerald Ford, where he achieved senior status in 1991 and served until his death in 2006. During his tenure, he made several landmark rulings. Robert Ducatman, Jones Day attorney and former Manos clerk said, “He demonstrated the most remarkable pursuit of excellence by a jurist that I’ve ever seen. He is what every judge should aspire to be.”
Daniel R. McCarthy, Sr., Class of 1954 (1924-2011)
Dan McCarthy's journey traces a path taken by so many C|M|LAW graduates: emergence from a working-class background to a life of great accomplishment. His father was an electrician with an 8th grade education; his mother, an immigrant, was a secretary. WWII dramatically interrupted his undergraduate education. He received the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star, the Combat Infantrymen’s badge, two battle stars for the European Theater, and the Victory Medal. He was wounded in the Battle of the Bulge and, following hospitalization, he returned to combat. While attending C|M|LAW, he served as Class President and inaugurated and edited the Cleveland-Marshall Law Review. His entry into the practice of law is a familiar C|M|LAW narrative of generational bonding: an older alumnus hiring a newer one. William Minshall (1938) hired McCarthy. When Minshall was elected to the U.S. Congress, McCarthy acquired his practice in 1959, which grew into the firm of McCarthy, Lebit, Crystal & Haiman (now Liffman). Kenneth Liffman (1979) is Managing Principal of the firm. McCarthy was also a certified public accountant and used his legal and financial skills in the desegregation of Cleveland schools as the first Special Master of School Desegregation in 1976. He received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor after being nominated by his friend and client, George Steinbrenner, the principal owner of the New York Yankees, of which McCarthy was a part owner. McCarthy, Lebit, Crystal & Liffman generously established an Endowed Scholarship Fund at C|M|LAW, which has helped law school students for nearly 20 years.
Judge Joseph F. McManamon, Class of 1950 (1919-2014)
Joseph 'Joe' McManamon served as a lieutenant in the Navy in the South Pacific during World War II and after returning from deployment, worked for the Cleveland Police Department as a homicide detective and an instructor at the Police Academy while also attending Cleveland-Marshall Law School. He worked in private practice with his wife, the Honorable Ann McManamon (1950), for almost 20 years before serving as the civilian head of the police and fire departments as Cleveland’s safety director from 1968-1970. He was active in the civil rights movement during the 1960s and worked to elect Carl Stokes as Mayor of Cleveland in the face of extreme bigotry, including death threats. He began his career on the bench in 1977, serving first on the Cleveland Municipal Court and then on the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas until retiring in 1993.
Dr. Bernice G. Miller, Class of 1951 (1917-2015)
Bernice Miller was one of the first women to be a member of the Ohio Bar Association and the first woman to be elected to public office in Seven Hills. She earned an LL.M. in 1963 and an LL.D., Doctor of Legal Letters, in 1968. In 1969, first lady Pat Nixon invited her to an event at the White House marking the centennial of women in law practice in the United States. She was instrumental as the first female attorney to initiate spousal abuse laws in Ohio, practicing law out of her Seven Hills office into her mid-80s. When she passed away, donations in her memory were made to the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law Annual Fund.
Dean Howard L. Oleck (1911-1995)
Howard Oleck served as a widely respected professor of law, assistant dean, and twice as interim dean at Cleveland-Marshall from 1956-1974. During his tenure, he was faculty advisor for the Cleveland-Marshall Law Review, chair of the ABA Legal Education Standards Committee, and president of the League of Ohio Law Schools. He was a prolific writer and scholar, authoring 21 nonprofit treatises and several law books. He drafted several state nonprofit statutes while serving as a member of the Legislative Commission on Nonprofit Corporations. He also authored three published novels, one of which became the basis for a television miniseries. He taught at Wake Forest and Stetson before retiring in 1981; the title of Distinguished Professor Emeritus was bestowed upon him at both Cleveland-Marshall and Stetson.
Reuben M. Payne, Class of 1953 (1922-2013)
Reuben ‘Bear’ Payne worked as a Cuyahoga County prosecutor from 1953-1959 and 1961-1969 and is best known for serving as lead prosecutor in the 1968 U.S. Supreme Court case Terry v. Ohio, the landmark Fourth Amendment case that established the “stop and frisk” doctrine. Opposing Payne was defense attorney and future Congressman Louis Stokes (1953). With Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall on the bench, it was the first time in U.S. history African-Americans both argued and heard a case at the Supreme Court before the Court's first African-American justice. After leaving the Prosecutor's Office, Payne was a defense attorney in Cleveland until he moved to Arizona where he retired from the Arizona Corporation Commission in 1987.
Judge Raymond L. Pianka, Class of 1977 (1951-2017)
Raymond Pianka was first elected to the Cleveland Housing Court in 1995. While on the bench, he implemented several innovative programs to achieve compliance with the city of Cleveland's building, housing, and health codes. The programs included requiring negligent landowners to pay neighbors for the blight their properties cause and imposing fines on landowners who did not appear in his courtroom for housing code violations. Before serving as Housing Court judge, Pianka served for 10 years in Ward 17 on the Cleveland City Council. While on City Council, he was chairman of the Community and Economic Development Committee. A friend and former Cleveland city councilman said that Pianka was "amazingly creative" in the solutions he formed to deal with housing issues throughout the city and was widely viewed as one of the best housing court judges in the country.
Leon M. Plevin, Class of 1957 (1932-2008)
Leon Plevin worked with legendary personal injury attorney and fellow Hall of Fame inductee Abe H. Dudnik (1927) as a law student at Cleveland-Marshall. Following graduation he joined the Dudnik firm, which was the predecessor of Nurenberg, Plevin (now Paris), Heller & McCarthy. In 2005, he joined with Frank L. Gallucci III (2000) to form the Plevin & Gallucci firm. He and his wife Gloria built one of the city’s finest private collections of local artists. Much of Gloria Plevin’s acclaimed artwork is exhibited throughout our law school. He served as president of the Cleveland-Marshall Alumni Association, and the Plevins generously endowed the Leon M. and Gloria Plevin Professorship.
Timothy J. Russert, Class of 1976 (1950-2008)
Tim Russert was a television journalist who moderated NBC's Meet the Press for more than 16 years, the longest-running stint in the show’s history. He was a senior vice president at NBC News, served as the Washington bureau chief, and hosted a CNBC/MSNBC weekend interview program. His coverage of the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections was well respected, as he correctly predicted that the Electoral College outcome would hinge on the states of Florida and Ohio, respectively. Prior to hosting Meet the Press, he worked as special counsel and chief of staff to U.S. Senator Daniel Moynihan from New York and later became the counsel to New York Governor Mario Cuomo. Time magazine included Russert in its list of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2008.
Edna C. Shalala, Class of 1952 (1911-2014)
Edna Shalala was the first woman of Syrian-Lebanese descent to practice law in Cleveland. She was a nationally-ranked tennis player in the 1930s and ‘40s who competed on the senior circuit into her 80s, a teacher who pioneered in creating the first physical education program for disabled children, and a mother raising twin daughters when she graduated from Cleveland-Marshall in 1952. Downtown law firms were not hiring women at the time, so she established a small but successful probate practice on Cleveland's west side. She obtained an LLM degree in 1960 and later partnered with her niece Susan Batal (1983), specializing in estate and probate law. She practiced law for over 50 years—until the age of 90—and was inducted into the Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame in 1980. She also received an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from Cleveland-Marshall in 2011.
Associate Dean Carroll H. Sierk (1931-2007)
Carroll Sierk began his professional career as a CPA. He earned an LLB from St. Mary’s University School of Law and a Master of Laws Degree from Southern Methodist University. He was a faculty member—and briefly Acting Dean—at St. Mary’s and taught at Mercer College of Law before joining the faculty of Cleveland-Marshall Law School in 1968. Sierk was instrumental in the successful merger of the law school with Cleveland State University in 1969. Specializing in tax law, he was appointed assistant dean in 1972 and associate dean in 1988, holding the latter position until his retirement in 1996.
Dean Wilson G. Stapleton, Class of 1934 (1901-1979)
Wilson Stapleton was born in Maine, grew up in Nova Scotia, and served in both the Royal Canadian Army and the U.S. Army during World War I. In 1929 he moved to Cleveland, where he earned a law degree from the Cleveland Law School and an M.A. from Western Reserve University. He joined the law school faculty shortly after his graduation. Appointed dean of the newly merged Cleveland-Marshall Law School in 1946, he proved an exceptional administrator: increasing the school’s financial resources, enlarging its faculty, and expanding its library. He was instrumental in obtaining vital AALS accreditation. While simultaneously serving as teacher and dean, he was elected to three separate terms as Mayor of Shaker Heights. But it is not for his skills as administrator and politician that he is best remembered: those who studied law during the Stapleton years remember him as a big-hearted man, always ready to dispatch kindnesses and encouragement and, quite often, to bend the rules. After his retirement in 1967, he moved to Florida, passed the Florida bar, opened a law office, and stayed close to his former students until his death.
Mayor Carl B. Stokes, Class of 1956 (1927-1996)
Carl Stokes was the first African-American member of the Democratic Party elected to the Ohio House. In 1967, Stokes was elected Mayor of Cleveland, the first African-American mayor of a major U.S. city. He was reelected in 1969. Stokes later became the first African-American television news anchor in New York City. From 1983-1984, he served as a Cleveland Municipal Court Judge. President Bill Clinton appointed him U.S. Ambassador to the Seychelles.
Congressman Louis Stokes, Class of 1953 (1925-2015)
Louis Stokes began practicing law in Cleveland in 1953 and argued the "stop and frisk" case of Terry v. Ohio before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1968 against fellow Hall of Fame honoree Reuben M. Payne (1953). He was the first African-American in Ohio elected to the U.S. House, where he served 15 terms. While in Congress, he was Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, headed the Congressional Black Caucus, and was the first African-American on the House Appropriations Committee. Stokes retired as senior counsel from Squire, Sanders & Dempsey (now Squire Patton Boggs) in 2012.
Mary Strassmeyer, Class of 1981 (1929-1988)
Mary Strassmeyer was an award-winning journalist before pursuing her law degree and entering private practice,. She wrote an internationally-syndicated cartoon before finding fame with her coverage of Cleveland’s high society in her Plain Dealer column ‘Today,’ later called ‘Mary, Mary,’ which was praised by The New York Times and Town & Country. In 1976, she was honored by The Intown Club of Cleveland for her contribution to civic and cultural projects and in 1979, she started a weekly radio show that ran for 10 years. WomenSpace, a local nonprofit coalition that addressed "issues affecting women and families," honored her in 1986, making her the first recipient of the WomenSpace media award for her support of women's issues and organizations. In 1994 she was posthumously inducted into the Cleveland Journalism Hall of Fame.
Justice Francis E. Sweeney, Sr., Class of 1963 (1934-2011)
Francis Sweeney fought for injured workers, underprivileged students and other disenfranchised citizens. After graduating from Cleveland-Marshall, he served as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Cuyahoga County. From 1970-1988, he was a judge on the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas. He moved to the Eighth Appellate District Court of Appeals where he served until 1992. He was then appointed to the Supreme Court of Ohio, where he remained until his retirement in 2004. Prior to his judicial career, he played professional football for the Ottawa Rough Riders and served in the Army at Fort Knox. He received numerous awards throughout his career, including 14 Outstanding Judicial Service Awards from the Ohio Supreme Court.
Stanley E. Tolliver, Sr., Class of 1953 (1926-2011)
Stanley Tolliver was involved in numerous significant social reform campaigns from the middle of the 20th century until his death. In 1965, he traveled to Mississippi to represent civil rights protestors. Locally, he accused police and prosecutors of misconduct while representing the Glenville riot defendants, college students involved in the fatal 1970 Kent State demonstration, and the organizers of a McDonalds boycott protesting the absence of black franchise owners. A member of the Cleveland Board of Education for 12 years, he participated in efforts to desegregate the schools and introduce Black Studies into the curriculum. Tolliver was a trustee of the Antioch Baptist Church, president of the Norman Minor Bar Association, president of the local chapter of the National Council of Black Lawyers and a recipient of the Cleveland NAACP’s Freedom Award.
Judge George W. White, Class of 1955 (1911-2011)
George White was the first African-American appointed to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. A graduate of Baldwin-Wallace College, he worked his way through law school on the G.I. Bill. Following graduation, he went into practice with Charles W. Fleming (1955). In the 1960s, he served as a referee and investigator in Domestic Relations Court and for five years on one of Cleveland’s most contentious City Councils. He was elected to the Court of Common Pleas in 1968 and in 1980, President Jimmy Carter appointed him to the District Court. In 1995, he was named the District Court’s Chief Judge, making him the district’s first African-American Chief Judge. Among many acclaimed judgments, he is credited with ending Cleveland’s 25-year desegregation case. After his 1999 retirement, he headed the Cleveland Browns Foundation and helped create the United Black Fund of Cleveland.
Bertram L. Wolstein, Class of 1953 (1927-2004)
Bert Wolstein was a real estate developer, sports team owner and philanthropist who supported numerous charities and nonprofit organizations throughout greater Cleveland over the course of his life. He founded Heritage Development Company and Developers Diversified Realty Corporation, the latter of which became one of the largest developers of shopping centers in the United States. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, he was majority owner of the Cleveland Force, a Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) team. Along with his wife Iris, he made several extraordinary donations to Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, whose building bears the Wolstein name as Bert L. Wolstein Hall. The Iris S. and Bert L. Wolstein Endowed Scholarship Fund continues to help Cleveland-Marshall students in perpetuity.
The following inductees all graduated from or made significant contributions to Cleveland Law School and/or John Marshall School of Law in our first 50 years, prior to the merger of the two law schools in 1946.
Judge Joseph A. Artl, Class of 1922 (1893-1970)
Joseph Artl served the citizens of Cuyahoga County for over four decades and was one of its most respected public officials. Elected to Cleveland City Council in 1932, he served as Democratic minority leader and briefly, in 1936, as Council President. He was appointed to the Cleveland Municipal Court in 1936, where he presided for a decade. In 1947 he was elected to the Common Pleas Court. Among his many adjudications was the 1949 order enjoining employees of the Cleveland Transit System to cease a work stoppage. In 1963, Artl was elected to the first of two terms on the Ohio Court of Appeals for the Eight District. Honored by his peers, he was named the county's Outstanding Democrat by the 33rd Ward Democratic Club in 1961.
Mayor Newton D. Baker (1871-1937)
Newton Baker was one of our most prominent trustees when Cleveland Law School opened its doors in 1897. He received his bachelor’s degree from Johns Hopkins University before moving to Cleveland to practice law. Baker was appointed assistant law director in 1902 and city solicitor in 1903. He went on to serve as Mayor of Cleveland from 1912-1915, during which time he actively promoted municipal Home Rule, helped to write the 1912 Ohio constitutional amendment on the subject, and campaigned for the 1913 passage of Cleveland’s Home Rule Charter. Baker was a founder of the law firm of Baker, Hostetler & Sidlo (now BakerHostetler) in 1916, and that same year President Wilson appointed him Secretary of War. In 1921, he returned to private practice in Cleveland, where he was active on many charitable and corporate boards and advocated for American participation in the League of Nations.
Alfred A. Benesch (1879-1973)
Alfred Benesch was one of the three principal founders of John Marshall School of Law, where he taught Municipal Law, as well as a founding member of the Cleveland firm Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff. His undergraduate and law degrees were from Harvard University. As a young lawyer, he defended the rights of the Peddlers’ Self-Defense Association to police protection and in 1922, in a series of letters to the President of Harvard subsequently published in The New York Times, he successfully challenged a proposal to establish quotas on Jewish people admitted to the school. He was elected to the Cleveland City Council in 1912, and in 1914, Mayor Newton D. Baker appointed him the city’s public safety director. He served on the Cleveland Board of Education for 37 years, one of the numerous boards he served on throughout the city.
Dean Charles S. Bentley (1846-1929)
Charles Bentley was a founder and the first dean of Cleveland Law School at its inception in 1897. Born in Chagrin Falls, he earned both a B.A. and an M.A. from Hillsdale College. Bentley studied law in the offices of attorneys in Michigan and Cleveland before his election in 1887 to the Sixth District Court of Appeals, where he remained until his retirement from the bench in 1895. Some of the cases that Bentley handled as a judge established important precedents and principles in the law dealing with the public utilities of petroleum, natural gas and electricity as a motive power. Bentley continued as dean and professor at Cleveland Law School until his retirement in 1914.
Judge Jean Murrell Capers, Class of 1945 (1913-2017)
Jean Murrell Capers’ family moved from Kentucky to Cleveland in 1919 because her parents, both teachers, wanted their children to receive the benefits of an integrated education. She earned an education degree from Western Reserve University in 1932 and taught for several years. Wanting to do more to serve her community, she enrolled at Cleveland Law School. In addition to her private practice, Capers was appointed an assistant police prosecutor in 1946, was the first African-American woman elected to Cleveland City Council in 1949 (serving the 11th Ward over nine years), was appointed an Assistant State Attorney General in 1959, and served as special counsel to the Ohio Attorney General from 1964-1966. She was appointed to the Cleveland Municipal Court bench in 1977, then was elected and re-elected until Ohio’s 70-year-old age limit for judges required her retirement in 1985. She continued to practice law until 2011 and received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in 2009.
Charles V. Carr, Class of 1926 (1903-1987)
Charles Carr, the grandson of a slave and a powerhouse in the fight for equal rights for African-Americans, earned his undergraduate degree at Fisk University in Nashville before graduating from John Marshall School of Law in 1926. As a new attorney, he helped form the Future Outlook League, an organization active in promoting black ownership of businesses and equal employment opportunity through boycotts, marches, and legal action. He established the firm of Carr, Jackson & Payne in 1954. As a 30-year veteran of the Cleveland City Council for Ward 17, Carr advanced legislation supporting fair housing, integration of city parks, and cancellation of the licenses of public employers refusing to hire African-Americans. He was elected Democratic majority leader of City Council in 1959, serving in that role for 13 years. After his stint on City Council, he sat on the Regional Transit Authority's Board of Trustees until his death.
State Representative William H. Clifford, Class of 1902 (1862-1929)
William Clifford worked for several years at the Woodruff Palace Car Company before obtaining a job in the Cuyahoga County Clerk’s Office in 1888. At that time, he was the highest-ever paid African-American man in local, county, or state government. He was married to Carrie Williams, a noted African-American author and orator who founded the Ohio State Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs and was a member of the Niagara Movement, a predecessor of the NAACP. Clifford held several clerk positions at the Federal Building in Cleveland and also within the Republican Party, casting the deciding vote electing Marcus A. Hanna to the U.S. Senate in 1888. He was twice elected to the Ohio House of Representatives, serving from 1894-1895 and 1898-1899. He graduated from Cleveland Law School in 1902 and is believed to be the school’s first African-American male alumnus. Clifford was appointed to a position in the Auditor’s Office in the U.S. War Department in 1908, where he served until his death.
Judge Genevieve Cline, Class of 1921 (1877-1959)
Like most of the early women graduates of the law school, Genevieve Cline was active in local and national suffrage organizations. “There is no gender in the law,” she once declared. Shortly after her graduation from law school in 1921, President Warren G. Harding named her U.S. Appraiser of Merchandise to the Port of Cleveland, the first woman in America to serve as a federal appraiser. In 1928 President Calvin Coolidge nominated her to the United States Customs Court in New York, an appointment that enraged the New York Customs Bar. Judge Cline was a member of the Women’s Suffrage Party, President of the Women’s Republican League, President of the Cleveland Federation of Women’s Clubs, and a member of the National Association of Women Lawyers.
Chief Judge James C. Connell, Class of 1918 (1897-1973)
James Connell worked for two decades in both private practice and as a city and county prosecutor before being named to the Common Pleas Bench in 1941 by Governor John Bricker. After being re-elected three times without opposition, in 1954 he was appointed by President Eisenhower to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, serving as Chief Judge from 1960-1967. He remained on the court until his death. Connell was named Cleveland-Marshall Outstanding Alumnus of the Year in 1966. He also served on the school’s Board of Trustees and Alumni Association. Several students have been recipients of the James C. Connell Award for Outstanding Student in Criminal Law.
William J. Corrigan, Class of 1915 (1886-1961)
William Corrigan graduated from Cleveland Law School in 1915 and became an assistant prosecutor for Cuyahoga County the same year. In 1920 he decided to go into private practice. After initially working at another firm, he later assisted in forming the firm of Corrigan, McMahon, and Corrigan with his nephew Timothy McMahon and Joseph Corrigan (no known relation). Corrigan was a prominent defense and labor lawyer in Cleveland from the 1920s until his death. He is most widely known as the defense attorney for Dr. Samuel H. Sheppard in the Marilyn Sheppard murder case. While the murder cases he worked gained the most attention, he spent more time as a lawyer for labor unions—he was even named an honorary member of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union after serving those workers for many years. Other unions that frequently employed him as counsel include the Cleveland Federation of Labor and Building Trades Council.
Frank T. Cullitan, Class of 1906 (1880-1957)
Frank Cullitan, a 1906 magna cum laude graduate of Cleveland Law School, was one of the founders of John Marshall School of Law in 1916 along with David C. Meck Sr. (1913) and Alfred Benesch. He was in private practice for 25 years before being named Assistant Prosecutor in 1931. The following year, he ran for and was elected to the office of County Prosecutor, where he remained for the next 23 years, bringing to justice some of the county's most notorious criminals. During his career he prosecuted murderers, bootleggers, racketeers, gunmen of the Murray Hill gang, and embezzlers—and along with Elliot Ness he closed down the Harvard Club, which was one of the largest gambling operations between New York and Chicago in the 1930s.
Abe H. Dudnik, Class of 1927 (1906-1963)
Abe Dudnik worked three sales jobs while attending night school at John Marshall School of Law. Known as a fearsome trial lawyer, he specialized in personal injury cases and founded the A.H. Dudnik Law Firm, which later became Nurenberg, Plevin (now Paris), Heller & McCarthy. He was regarded as a pioneer in jury trial techniques and specialized in representing injured railroad workers when Northeast Ohio was a hub for the movement of cargo by train—successfully carrying the “Bug Bite” verdict up to the Supreme Court. A 1956 issue of the Cleveland-Marshall Law Review includes a dedication to Dudnik that notes that of the many high legal honors he had achieved, the one that pleased him most was his appointment as a member of the faculty of his law school.
Judge Eleanor Farina, Class of 1925 (1896-1989)
Eleanor Farina was the first female deputy sheriff in Cuyahoga County and quite possibly in the state of Ohio. In the 1930s, she worked in the office of the Cleveland Police Prosecutor during prohibition, issuing warrants for bootleg raids. She was appointed special attorney general of Ohio in 1934, handling bank liquidation cases. Farina and her family left Cleveland for Bernadillo County, New Mexico around 1950, where she served as a county probate judge before becoming a small claims court judge in 1957. In total, she sat on the bench for 44 years. She became active with the Albuquerque USO and served as president of the Albuquerque Lawyers' Club.
Isadore Fred Freiberger, Class of 1904 (1879-1969)
Isadore Freiberger was a banker who served as chairman of the board of the Cleveland Trust Co., president and board chairman of Forest City Publishing Company which published The Plain Dealer and The Cleveland News. He also served as director of the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce in 1927 and trustee of many charitable and civic organizations, including the Playhouse Foundation and Cleveland-Marshall Law School. The Case Western Reserve University library was named in his honor and he received many other distinctions in his lifetime, including the Charles Eisenman Award—the Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s highest civic honor for outstanding community service—the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce medal for public service, and the American Heart Association’s Award of Merit for Distinguished Service.
Bell Greve, Class of 1918 (1894-1957)
Bell Greve, an international pioneer in rehabilitative and reform services, left behind a legacy of compassionate concern for disabled children and adults and zealous advocacy for those whose lives were devastated by war or natural disasters. Following the carnage of World War I, the Red Cross sent Greve to Czechoslovakia to establish child health agencies and to Armenia to lead an orphanage sheltering 2,000 homeless children. During the Great Depression, she headed Cleveland’s Rehabilitative Center, where she initiated a workshop for disabled citizens, the Curative Playroom for disabled children, and the city’s first nursing home for the elderly. Later, she helped establish rehabilitative and relief agencies in Mexico, Greece and the West Indies.
Judge Mary Grossman, Class of 1912 (1879-1977)
Mary Grossman left her job as a stenographer to study law at Cleveland Law School, graduating in 1912. She maintained a private Cleveland practice from 1912-1923. An ardent member of the League of Women’s Suffrage, in 1918 she became one of only two women admitted to membership in the ABA. Three years after the passage of the Twentieth Amendment, she was determined to exercise her right to vote and in 1923 voted for herself as she became the first woman in America elected to a municipal court bench. Criminals and critics called her “Hardboiled Mary,” but voters called her “Your Honor,” electing her for the next 41 years. She also served as a leader in numerous social welfare organizations.
Joseph C. Hostetler (1885-1958)
Joseph Hostetler, a founding member of the BakerHostetler firm, was an enthusiastic supporter of Cleveland Law School, where he taught for many years. Born near Canal Fulton, Hostetler worked at various jobs—including police beat reporter—to afford his undergraduate and law degrees at Western Reserve University. As a new lawyer, he worked in private practice and as assistant city law director under Mayor Newton D. Baker. In 1916, he joined with Baker and Thomas L. Sidlo to form Baker, Hosteler & Sidlo (now BakerHostetler), a multi-disciplinary law firm with offices throughout America. All three founding partners taught at Cleveland-Marshall’s predecessor schools. In 1938 he succeeded Baker as director of Cleveland Trust Co. He was elected president of the Cleveland Bar Association in 1947, and Cleveland-Marshall Law School awarded him an Honorary Master of Law degree in 1948.
Jane Edna Hunter, Class of 1925 (1882-1971)
Jane Edna Hunter established the Phyllis Wheatley Association of Cleveland, which provided safe living quarters and educational support for African-American girls and women. Beginning as a rented home that accommodated 22 women, the Association eventually became a nine-story building with 135 rooms. Hunter founded the Women's Civic League, was a member of the NAACP and served as vice-president and executive committee member of the National Association of Colored Women. The principal building of the Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Services Agency is named for Jane Edna Harris Hunter in honor of her work with children and families.
Ferdinand Jirsa, Class of 1921 (1893-1971)
Ferdinand Jirsa was awarded the Order of the White Lion, the highest order of the Czech Republic, for his contributions to Czechoslovakia and the promotion of its cultural ties to the United States. After graduating from John Marshall School of Law, he began private practice in both law and real estate. In 1946, he joined the Cleveland Law Department where he battled slum landlords over building code violations. He served as assistant police prosecutor and assistant law director for over 20 years. He was active in the Sokol movement, a form of gymnastics that includes components of physical, moral, and intellectual training, once serving as president of the Northeast District of the American Sokol Organization.
U.S. Senator Frank J. Lausche, Class of 1921 (1895-1990)
Frank Lausche played amateur baseball and served in the U.S. Army during World War I before earning his law degree, graduating second in his class from John Marshall School of Law in 1921. After several years in private practice, he was appointed a judge on Cleveland Municipal Court in 1932 and re-elected through 1937. He served as a Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court judge from 1936-1941, when he was elected Mayor of Cleveland. Lausche was elected Governor of Ohio in 1944, lost the 1946 election, but was elected again in 1948 where he served until 1956. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1956, serving until 1968, before returning to the practice of law in Washington, D.C. Throughout his career, Lausche had a bipartisan political approach and is credited with paving the way for ethnic Democratic political leaders in Cuyahoga County.
State Senator Margaret A. Mahoney, Class of 1929 (1895-1981)
Margaret Mahoney repeatedly broke through gender barriers to establish herself as an exceptional legislator and community leader. During her lifetime, she served in both chambers of the Ohio General Assembly. She was the first woman Democrat elected to the Ohio Senate, the first female chair of the Senate Rules Committee, and the first female majority leader, president pro tem, of the Senate. During her legislative career, she focused on education, health, welfare, and industrial and community programs. She was a presidential elector in 1948 and delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in 1956, 1960 and 1964. She was the only woman on the State Council of Defense during World War II and was selected by Governor Frank Lausche to be the State Securities Chief in 1951, the first woman to hold this position. In 1983, she was named the first female director of the State Department of Industrial Relations.
Grace Doering McCord, Class of 1925 (1890-1983)
Grace Doering McCord, a Phi Beta Kappa alumna of Western Reserve University, graduated from Cleveland Law School with the highest GPA ever achieved in the school’s history at the time and two years later earned an LL.M. from John Marshall School of Law. In 1933 she joined the faculty of her law alma mater, becoming the first female professor of law in Ohio. She worked as a City of Cleveland assistant law director and served as a regional attorney for the Price Administration during World War II. Eventually she joined her brothers Roy Doering (1918) and Milan Doering (1925) as a member of Doering, Doering and Doering. She was the first woman elected to the ABA’s House of Delegates and President of the National Association of Women Lawyers.
Judge George J. McMonagle, Class of 1930 (1906-2002)
George McMonagle served the judiciary of Ohio for over 30 years as an elected and visiting Common Pleas Court Judge. He graduated from Cathedral Latin High School and worked in his uncle’s construction company before entering law school. In 1964, Governor Rhodes appointed him to the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas. In 1966 he won his first election, and the citizens of Cuyahoga County returned the revered jurist to the bench repeatedly until his retirement in 1985. McMonagle was the head of a family of judges that included his brother, the late Richard J. McMonagle (1938), his sons Richard J. McMonagle and James J. McMonagle (1969), and his nephew Timothy McMonagle (1974), all former Common Pleas Court Judges. In the Plain Dealer, Brent Larkin (1987) hailed George McMonagle as “one of the greatest judges ever to serve in the county court system—perhaps the greatest.”
Dean David C. Meck, Sr., Class of 1913 (1863-1939)
In 1916, David Meck Sr., along with several other attorneys, founded John Marshall School of Law. He served as a member of the faculty, teaching Contracts and Bailments & Carriers, and as dean, until his death in 1939 when he was succeeded by his son, David Meck, Jr. He was known as a leader who understood and supported his students’ endeavors to obtain a professional education. In 1924, the Governor of Ohio appointed him to the Municipal Bench of Cleveland. He was elected to a six-year term in 1925 and retired from the bench in 1931. During his tenure, he took a firm stand against admitting evidence that had been illegally obtained, as demonstrated when he punished two officers who had testified that they had search warrants when evidence showed that they had not.
Dean David C. Meck, Jr. (1906-1955)
David Meck Jr. began practicing law in 1935, embarking upon an outstanding record of public service. He served as assistant police prosecutor for the city of Cleveland from 1935-1938, assistant city law director from 1938-1941, and regional supervisor of the Federal Security Agency from 1942-1944. He was elected to the Municipal Court of Cleveland in 1943. During his early tenure as a municipal judge, he was called to service and performed as a consultant to the American Economic Mission in the Middle East. After performing his mission, he returned to the court and was reelected to another six-year term. Meck served on the faculty of John Marshall School of Law from 1930-1939, when he became dean, guiding the growth and progress of the school until it merged with Cleveland Law School in 1946. His longtime involvement with the law school included serving as director of education, a member of the executive committee, and a trustee of the successor school.
Norman S. Minor, Class of 1927 (1901-1968)
Norman Minor was a legendary African-American trial lawyer whose mentoring of a generation of black civil rights attorneys helped transform the justice system. As a member of the firm Payne, Green, Minor & Perry, he won the acclaim of his peers for his successful defense of the rights of impoverished clients accused of criminal activity. The state took note, and in 1930, he was appointed Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor, the first African-American to be accorded that honor. Over the years, he prosecuted 5,000 felony cases and won convictions in 13 capital murder cases. He returned to private practice in 1948, specializing in criminal defense. In 1980, in celebration of his contributions to the bench and bar, local lawyers formed the Norman S. Minor Bar Association, the Cleveland affiliate of the National Bar Association.
Congressman William Edwin Minshall, Jr., Class of 1938 (1911-1990)
William Minshall served two years in the Ohio Legislature prior to World War II. He enlisted in 1940, where he rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel and received a Bronze Star and four battle stars for his service in Europe. After graduating from returning from the war, the Cleveland Law School graduate began practicing law in Cleveland. He was an assistant state attorney general and general counsel for the Federal Maritime Administration before being elected to the U.S. Congress as a representative of the former 23rd District. After serving 20 years in Congress, Minshall maintained a law office in Cleveland and operated a lobbying firm in Washington, D.C.
Lawrence O. Payne, Class of 1923 (1892-1956)
Lawrence Payne left an indelible mark on the city of Cleveland and the struggle for equal rights for all Americans. Born in Columbus, Payne came to Cleveland after serving in France during World War I and enrolled in John Marshall School of Law. Shortly after graduation, he was named the city’s first African-American assistant police prosecutor. In 1929 he was elected to the Cleveland City Council, where he was successful in maneuvering African-Americans into the School of Nursing, internships in the City Hospital and offices of local governments. Payne is credited with reforms in the police force and corrections system. In 1949 he joined with William Otis Walker in forming the city’s most influential African-American newspaper, the Call and Post. From 1938-1945 he served as a member of the State Parole Board.
Franklin A. Polk, Class of 1939 (1911-1991)
Franklin Polk was the youngest member elected to the Cleveland School Board, the youngest president of the Cuyahoga County Bar Association, and the latter’s first delegate to the American Bar Association House of Delegates, where he served for 12 years. He held the longest tenure in the history of the Ohio Bar House of Delegates, serving 20 two-year terms. He founded and presided over the Cleveland Academy of Trial Attorneys and issued a standing invitation to new attorneys to get experience in his office rent-free; these lawyers formed an ‘alumni association’ with 116 members. Each year, the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Foundation bestows the Franklin A. Polk Public Servants Merit Award to honor outstanding service to the legal profession, general public and justice system.
Louise Johnson Pridgeon, Class of 1922 (1891-1932)
Louise Pridgeon, one of Cleveland’s first African-American woman lawyers, studied social science at Western Reserve University, Northwestern University and Ohio University. In Cleveland, she worked for two community organizations: the Goodrich-Gannett Settlement and Karamu House. During World War I, she served as a field worker on the U.S. Interdepartmental Social Hygiene Board. Following her graduation from Cleveland Law School, she joined civil rights activist Thomas Frey in a federal practice that became the law firm of Frey and Pridgeon. According to one writer, Pridgeon always “stood high in the respect of the Bench and Bar.” She was president of the Harlan Law Club—the predecessor of the Norman Minor Bar Association—a member of the Cleveland Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs, and a supporter of the Phyllis Wheatley Association.
Max Ratner, Class of 1929 (1907-1995)
Max Ratner was a legendary businessman and community leader whose family emigrated from Poland in 1920 and settled in Cleveland. He went to law school at night and worked in the family lumber business during the day. He practiced law briefly and then decided to focus on his family's lumber business, which grew into Forest City Enterprises (now Forest City), where he served as president and later as chairman of the Board. In service to Cleveland, he was president of Park Synagogue, president of the Greater Cleveland Growth Association, and generous donor to many local organizations, including Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, where one of its largest scholarship funds bears his name.
Edwin C. Reminger, Class of 1922 (1895-1977)
Edwin Reminger was a World War I veteran, transportation law expert, and senior member of the Reminger & Reminger law firm. During World War II, Reminger was office manager of the joint information office of common, contract, and private carriers and served on a Selective Services Advisory Committee. During his career, he served as president of the Motor Carrier Lawyers Association, Delta Nu Alpha transportation fraternity, the local chapter of the Association of Interstate Commerce Practitioners, and the Transportation Lawyers Association. He was a founding member of the American Society of Traffic and Transportation.
Judge Samuel H. Silbert, Class of 1907 (1884-1976)
Samuel Silbert was appointed assistant police prosecutor by Mayor Newton D. Baker in 1911, four years after graduating with honors from night school at Cleveland Law School. Silbert then served 54 years on the bench in Cleveland: 10 years as a municipal judge and 44 in Common Pleas Court, where he was Chief Justice from 1955-63. Specializing in domestic relations law, he taught for 35 years at Cleveland Law School and its successor, Cleveland-Marshall Law School. He also served as a trustee of the school and received an honorary Master of Laws degree from John Marshall Law School as well as a Doctor of Laws from Cleveland-Marshall.
Dean Lee E. Skeel, Class of 1912 (1888-1968)
Lee Skeel immediately began practicing law upon his graduation from Cleveland Law School in 1912, but his practice was interrupted by a period of service with the 322nd Machine Gun Battalion in France during World War I. Upon his return, he served successively as chief police prosecutor of the City of Cleveland, Judge of the Municipal Court of Cleveland, Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Cuyahoga County and Judge of the Ohio Eighth District Court of Appeals. He taught at Cleveland-Marshall Law School and its predecessor, Cleveland Law School, beginning in 1926. Skeel served as dean of Cleveland Law School for nearly a decade before taking on the role of president for almost 20 years after the school merged. Following his tenure as president, he served as chief administrative officer and as a trustee for several more years prior to his death. Skeel authored, edited and revised several volumes on criminal and appellate law.
J. Helen Slough, Class of 1929 (1908-1999)
J. Helen Slough, one of the first women to join the Cleveland Bar Association, was an international patent lawyer who served as president of the National Association of Woman Lawyers and Cleveland Patent Lawyers Association. Graduating from law school at a young age, she was the only female patent attorney in Cleveland for a time, practicing for many years with her father Frank M. Slough (1930), who had followed her path to law school. She moved to Squire, Sanders & Dempsey when Slough & Slough was absorbed by the firm in its patent department. Slough received CSU’s International Women's Year Distinguished Service Award in 1975 and practiced law in most U.S. appellate courts, as well as at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, the King's Court in Sweden, and the federal courts in Germany and South Africa.
Justice Leonard Stern, Class of 1926 (1904-1988)
Leonard Stern managed his father’s grocery store as he attended Cleveland Law School. He graduated in 1926 and went into private practice before serving as a bailiff for the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas. He moved to Columbus in 1939 and was appointed corporate counsel in the Ohio Secretary of State’s office, then later served as executive secretary to the Ohio Board of Public Works from 1940-1946. He was appointed Judge to the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas in 1965, and appointed Judge to the Ohio 10th District Court of Appeals in 1969. He was appointed a Justice to the Ohio Supreme Court in 1970, serving until 1977 when Ohio’s 70-year old age limit for judges required his retirement. Stern served as the first Disciplinary Counsel to the Ohio Supreme Court from 1977-1982 and consultant to the Disciplinary Counsel from 1982-1984. He was a visiting Judge to the Ohio 10th District Court of Appeals in 1985.
The Tarcai sisters were the daughters of Hungarian immigrants who met on a citizens’ rights protest line in their native country. Settling in Cleveland, the Tarcais embraced the ideals of their new homeland and instilled in their daughters an abiding respect for the rule of law. Elsie and Violet both attended Ohio State University and both worked factory jobs to afford law school and, later, to support their new careers. The women hoped to practice criminal law but were discouraged by the courts, which deemed women unsuited for the more unsavory aspects of criminal law. Graduating in 1942, Elsie was an early female attorney practicing in Cleveland and became the second woman ever to argue a case in the state Court of Appeals. Violet, a union advocate, practiced labor law. The sisters shared an office and a home until their deaths.
Frances Tetlak, Class of 1921 (1895-1976)
Frances Tetlak, the daughter of Polish immigrants, lived her entire life in the Tremont area of Cleveland. Ambitious for a woman in her time and inspired by her father’s embrace of his new country, she worked with him in helping other Polish families immigrate to Cleveland. Before earning her law degree, she earned a degree in library science from the Flora Stone Mather College and opened the Frances Tetlak Insurance Company. As a young woman, she worked in the Scranton-Clark Branch of the Cleveland Public Library and practiced law in an office on Tremont’s Professor Street. Though born in America, she was fluent in Polish and much of her law practice was concerned with the business and legal challenges confronting immigrants. Eventually, she concentrated her practice on wills and estates. She left an estate of $240,000 to Marymount Hospital, which was operated by a Polish order of nuns.
Dean Willis Vickery (1857-1932)
Willis Vickery was influential in the founding of Cleveland Law School and became dean upon Charles Bentley’s passing in 1914. He practiced law with his brother in Bellevue, Ohio, before moving to Cleveland in 1896, where he was associated with two local law firms. In 1909, he was elected to the bench of the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas of the fourth subdivision of the third judicial district, and in 1918 he won a seat on the Ohio Court of Appeals, where he rendered decisions in many important cases that affected the welfare of the city of Cleveland. He remained on the court and served as dean until his death in 1932; his son Melville Willis Vickery became dean.
Hazel Mountain Walker, Class of 1919 (1889-1980)
Hazel Mountain Walker was Cleveland’s first African-American female school principal and one of the first black women admitted to the bar. She pursued her law degree not, she said, to practice law, but to “prove that black women could earn law degrees.” She later earned a teacher’s certificate and bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Western Reserve University. Her true calling was in education, especially teaching the children of non-English-speaking parents and African-American children newly arrived from the South. In 1936, she was appointed principal of the Rutherford B. Hayes School and in 1954, she was chosen to head the George Washington Carver School. Active in the Cuyahoga County Republican Party and a member of its executive committee, she was one of the first black women admitted into the Women’s City Club.
Maurice M. Weltman, Class of 1926 (1905-1992)
Maurice Weltman was a key partner in the firm now known as Weltman, Weinberg & Reis (WWR). WWR is a nationally-recognized, full-service collections firm with more than 65 attorneys and 650 total employees representing nearly every type of creditor, including some of the largest financial institutions in the U.S., in bankruptcy, consumer and commercial collections, litigation, and real estate default matters. Weltman joined the firm of Gardner & Spilka and became a partner in the mid-1950s. His son Robert joined the growing practice in the mid-1960s and his grandson, Scott, currently serves as the firm's Managing Partner. Weltman served as an officer for both the Commercial Law League of America and Cleveland Retail Credit Stores Association, and was a founding member of the Menorah Federal Credit Union. In 2005, Robert Weltman established the WWR Endowed Scholarship Fund at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in honor of his father.
Judge Lillian M. Westropp, Class of 1915 (1884-1968)
Lillian Westropp, together with her sister Clara, founded this country’s first savings bank run by and for women in 1922, which was later reorganized as the Women’s Federal Savings and Loan Association. She served as its president and board chairman until her death. As a lawyer, she specialized in real estate and finance law. In 1931, she accepted an appointment to fill a seat on the Cleveland Municipal Court. Subsequently elected and reelected, she retired from the bench in 1957. She was one of the early female members of the Cleveland Bar Association and the first woman to serve on its executive committee. She helped organize the Women’s Lawyers Club of Cleveland, the League of Women Voters, the Women’s City Club, and many other political, business, and charitable organizations active in the cause of women’s rights.
Elizabeth Williams, Class of 1908 (1871-1920)
Elizabeth Williams graduated from Cleveland Law School in 1908 and is believed to be the school's first female graduate. She was admitted to the bar in the state of Ohio that same year, first practicing with the firm of Lozier & Lozier. In 1913, along with Mary Grossman (1912), Williams applied for membership in the Cleveland Bar Association; both were elected members at a 1914 meeting. She was also a member of the Ohio State Bar Association. She joined the firm of Smith, Taft, and Arter, and in 1915 married John A. Smith, the firm’s senior partner. Active in the women’s suffrage movement, she served as a delegate on behalf of the Woman’s (City) Club of Cleveland at its national convention in Atlantic City in 1916.
Marie Remington Wing, Class of 1926 (1885-1982)
Marie Remington Wing, the daughter of Cleveland Law School founding faculty member Judge F.J. Wing of the District Court, Northern District of Ohio, was involved in fighting for gender equality all of her adult life, first in her work for the Cleveland YWCA and then as director of all branches of New York’s YWCA. Returning to Cleveland in 1922, she enrolled in Cleveland Law School and, while still a student, became the second woman ever elected to the Cleveland City Council. Following her graduation, she continued her advocacy for women and children as Executive Secretary of the Consumers' League of Ohio, an organization promoting minimum wage guarantees and workplace rights of women and children in industry. From 1937-1953, she served as the first regional attorney for the Cleveland Social Security office and maintained a private practice until 1956.