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Lee Fisher

Dean and Joseph C. Hostetler-BakerHostetler Chair in Law

Primary Information


Lee Fisher is the Dean and Joseph C. Hostetler-BakerHostetler Chair in Law at Cleveland State University College of Law (CSU|LAW). 

Lee’s diverse career has spanned the private, public, nonprofit, and academic sectors with a focus on law, public policy, economic development, and leadership education. 

Legal Sector Leadership

Lee has served as Dean of CSU|LAW since 2017. One of his signature initiatives was creating a Leadership and Law Program and a Leadership Certificate, and he teaches a law school course, Leadership Lessons of Highly Effective Lawyer-Leaders. He is the Chair of the American Association of Law Schools (AALS) Leadership Section. 

He earned his law degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Law. He was the first recipient of Case Law School’s Distinguished Recent Graduate Award, and was inducted into its Society of Benchers. After graduating, Lee clerked for Judge Paul C. Weick of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

Lee has decades of experience in legal practice, most extensively with Cleveland-based Hahn Loeser as Of Counsel from 1978-1990 and Partner from 1995-1999. He practiced in the areas of antitrust, business litigation, and legislative/government regulation. He is a Life member of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit Judicial Conference and the Ohio Court of Appeals for the Eighth District Judicial Conference. 

He served as Ohio Attorney General and was the first Ohio AG to personally argue cases before the Ohio Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit. In 1992, he defended the constitutionality of Ohio’s Hate Crime Law in the Ohio Supreme Court, the law that he authored years earlier as a State Senator. As General Counsel for the State of Ohio, he managed the largest law firm in Ohio - a team of 1200 professionals including 350 lawyers, 23 legal divisions, a $50 million budget, and an average daily caseload of 40,000 pending cases. He supervised the writing of over 300 formal legal opinions. 

Lee is a recipient of the American Constitution Society’s Stephanie Tubbs Jones Community Service Award, and the Anti-Defamation League’s Jurisprudence Award. In 2021, Lee and his wife Peggy (President/CEO of the Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio) received the highest award from the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Foundation, the Richard Pogue Award for Excellence in Community Leadership and Engagement, the first couple to receive the award.

He serves on the Board of the Ohio Access to Justice Foundation and is a past Board member of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association and Cleveland Legal Aid Society. He is a regular legal commentator for WKYC-TV3, the Cleveland NBC affiliate, and is a regular columnist for Community Leader, a publication of Cleveland Magazine

Public Sector Leadership

Lee served as Ohio Attorney General; Ohio Lt. Governor; Director, Ohio Department of Development; Chair, Ohio Third Frontier Commission; Chair, Ohio Economic Growth Council; State Senator; and State Representative.

In 2022, Lee was inducted in the Cleveland Magazine Business Hall of Fame for his decades-long work on state, regional, and local economic development. 

Lee is the author of ten Ohio laws, including Ohio’s Hate Crime, Crime Victims Assistance, and Missing Children laws. After his first term, Lee was voted Outstanding Freshman Legislator by the members of the Ohio House and Senate. During the decade he served in the Ohio Legislature, he served as Chair of the Cuyahoga County Legislative Delegation.

President Bill Clinton appointed Lee as Chair of the National Commission on Crime Control and Prevention. Lee was a charter member of the Cleveland Community Police Commission and he served as Special Transition Advisor on Ethics to Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb.

Nonprofit Sector Leadership

Lee served as President and CEO of the Center for Families and Children in Cleveland from 1999-2006, one of the largest nonprofit organizations in the Midwest. During that time, he received the Smart Business Magazine’s Nonprofit Executive of the Year and the Visionary in Business Award. He also received the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King 50th Anniversary Fair Housing Leadership in Higher Education Award, and the Nonprofit Leadership Award from the Case Western Reserve University Mandel School for Applied Social Sciences. 

Lee also served as President and CEO of CEOs for Cities, a national network of mid-sized U.S. cities focused on innovation and economic growth, from 2011-2016. As President, Lee developed a strategic framework for revitalizing cities known as City Vitals. He is a former Senior Fellow at Cleveland State University’s Levin College of Urban Affairs, and a former Urban Scholar at the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs and the Great Cities Institute, University of Illinois at Chicago.

Leadership Training & Education

Lee is a graduate of a number of leadership education programs including Leadership Cleveland, the Center for Creative Leadership’s Leadership at the Peak Program; the Arbinger Institute Outward Mindset Workshop; the Case Western Reserve University Weatherhead School of Management’s Professional Fellows Program, and Harvard University’s Program on Negotiation. He was selected a Chase Public Leadership Fellow at Harvard’s Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government, and a Case Western Reserve University Presidential Fellow, teaching two undergraduate seminars on leadership, innovation, and collaboration. 


Lee is a graduate of Shaker High School and an inaugural member of its Hall of Fame. He is a graduate of Oberlin College and served on the Oberlin College Board of Trustees for 12 years. He earned his law degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Law and he earned his Master of Nonprofit Organization (MNO) from the CWRU Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations.


Lee is married to Peggy Zone Fisher, President and CEO of the Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio, the largest diversity, equity, and inclusion education and training organization in Ohio. They have two children, Jason, an actor, host, and brand spokesman in Los Angeles, and Jessica, a graduate of the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work and a licensed social worker in Cleveland. They have a 5-year old granddaughter, Violet Stanley Fisher, who lives with her parents Jason and Katelyn Fisher in LA.  


  • BA
    Oberlin College
  • JD
    Case Western Reserve University School of Law
  • MNO
    Case Western Reserve University