Alumni Profile: Joseph Nelson ’20 Looks Forward to Federal Clerkship

Posted 2021-09-07 4:46pm

Joseph Nelson ’20, an associate with Fisher Phillips, is looking forward to starting a year-long federal clerkship with Judge J. Philip Calabrese at the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio in January 2022.

“Serving as a law clerk provides attorneys with an invaluable opportunity to hone your research and writing skills while being exposed to a wide range of legal issues,” Nelson explained. “In addition, you learn how to think from the perspective of the judge – a skill that is only learned by being part of the decision-making process.”

During his clerkship, Joseph’s responsibilities will include being responsible for conducting legal research, drafting orders and opinions, communicating with attorneys regarding case management, conducting settlement conferences with attorneys, and assisting the court during trials. 

Joseph already has experience in the courthouse, having served as a legal extern for United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio Judge and CSU C|M|LAW Hall of Fame Member Solomon Oliver Jr. in the spring semester of his second year.  That experience convinced Joseph to pursue this federal clerkship and is one of many ways CSU C|M|LAW helped prepare him for the opportunity. 

“At Cleveland-Marshall, there are a variety of opportunities to hone the skills that will not only make you a great candidate for federal clerkship, but also make you a great lawyer in general,” Nelson said.  “During my time at Cleveland-Marshall, I sought opportunities that would improve my research, writing, and oral advocacy skills – skills that are critical for attorneys.”

Joseph was an active member of the CSU Cleveland-Marshall community during his time in law school as a J.D/M.B.A. dual degree recipient. He was a member of the National Black Law Students Association where he participated on the Thurgood Marshall Moot Court Team a served as Midwest Regional Director of Moot Court.  Joseph also served as Editor-in-Chief of the Global Business Law Review, a Fellow in the Academic Excellence Program, a Senator in the Student Bar Association and a Research Assistant for Professor Heidi Gorovitz Robertson

During law school, Joseph served as a law clerk with the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office and a law clerk with the United States Attorney’s Office in addition to his legal externship with Judge Oliver.  He also participated in a pop-up practicum on bail reform with Professor Jonathan Witmer-Rich and worked as a law clerk at Fisher Phillips, which led to his current position at Fisher Phillips’ Cleveland office.

As an associate at Fisher Phillips, Joseph represents a broad range of employers, from small businesses to national companies. His practice focuses on defending and counseling employers in all areas of labor and employment law. Joseph, who is currently training to participate in the Cleveland Half Marathon, is also a member of the firm’s Labor Relations Practice Group, representing employers in traditional labor law throughout the United States in both state and federal courts, as well as before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). 

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