Without Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, CMLAA Alumni of the Year recipient Teresa Metcalf Beasley ’92 would not have been able to attend law school. The University of Alabama graduate and East Cleveland native had returned to her hometown to work but was looking for a profession that would challenge her.
Having just started in an administrative position at Lincoln Electric, she needed to work full-time and attend law school in the evenings. Beasley enrolled in the part-time program at Cleveland-Marshall and is thankful for the incredible foundation her legal education provided.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without Cleveland-Marshall,” says Beasley, who was inducted as a member of the C|M|LAW Hall of Fame in 2018.
Where Beasley is today is in a recently accepted position as a member and chair of the Public Law Practice Group at McDonald Hopkins LLC. She brings to the firm an established reputation as a real estate development and public finance attorney in the public and private sectors.
Her practice focuses on real estate transactions and public finance work, including real estate development and financing, historic and new markets tax credits, economic development incentives and public-private partnerships. Beasley went to law school with the goal of finding a position where she helped small business owners. Now she does just that and more, as there is oftentimes a job creation component and community development aspect to her real estate work. More than anything about her career, she enjoys making a difference for her clients.
“The relationships you have with your clients make a huge difference. (Lawyers) are all very smart people, but when you build trust and personal relationships, it makes a difference in the type of lawyer you can be,” explains Beasley.
Beasley’s public sector work includes serving as the current law director for the City of Warrensville Heights. She is also former chief counsel and law director for the City of Cleveland and is extremely proud of her work in those positions because of how many people’s lives she was able to touch.
In addition to her recent recognition from CMLAA and C|M|LAW, Beasley has received both local and national honors for her work. She was recognized in 2018 among Savoy Magazine's Most Influential Black Leaders, a list of the top black lawyers within national law firms, as well as corporate counsel from Fortune 1000 corporations, who are widely recognized for their professional accomplishments, protection of rights and community service. She was also recognized by the National Diversity Counsel as one of Ohio's Top 15 in Business in 2018.
During law school, Beasley was not able to get very involved in the C|M|LAW community beyond classes due to her busy work schedule. She fondly remembers not knowing about Becky’s, a near-campus bar popular among law students, until her final year of school and always wondering after Thursday evening classes ”who is this popular Becky that everyone is going to visit and how does she have such a big house?“. She is now making up for lost time with increased involvement at C|M|LAW under current Dean Lee Fisher, including serving on the Dean’s Leadership Advisory Committee.
Beasley is also very involved in the Cleveland community, in part thanks to the civic engagement her practice fosters. She is currently on the board of directors and chair of the Social Impact Investment Committee for The Cleveland Foundation, on the board of directors and chair of the Governance Committee for Karamu House and on the board of directors and executive committee of the Downtown Cleveland Alliance.
What does being named CMLAA Alumni of the Year mean to you?
“Growing up in East Cleveland and at various times growing up, I was told that I would never be a lawyer. This recognition means so much more than just being recognized by my peers. Rather, it is a testament to believing that through God all things are possible and to never give up on your dreams even though you may toss them on a shelf for a few years. Hard work, perseverance, tenacity and old-fashioned stubbornness will get you there.Without C|M|LAW allowing me to work full-time and participate in the part-time evening program, I would not have been able to fulfill my dreams. I am incredibly honored and humbled to be recognized alongside all the truly distinguished C|M|LAW alumni who have won this award before me.”