After graduating from Bowling Green State University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, Jeffery Carr spent three years working for a Fortune 500 company as a procurement specialist. During that time, he realized he wanted to do more with his life than a desk job and sought to pursue a career where he could affect people’s lives every day.
Carr chose to pursue that ideal by enrolling at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and immediately immersing himself in many of the programs the law school offers to the community. He became so ingrained in the C|M|LAW community and committed to using his legal education as a force for good that he was recently selected as the recipient of this year’s Dean’s Learn Law. Live Justice Award.
Each year, a graduating student receives the Dean’s Learn Law. Live Justice Award. by not only achieving academic success, but also by demonstrating what it means to live justice ─ being committed to making clients’ lives better and the community stronger. Carr was nominated for the award by members of the C|M|LAW faculty and staff, and as this year’s recipient, he will address his fellow graduates at C|M|LAW’s 2019 Commencement Ceremony.
“I am honored to be selected for this award because of what it represents and knowing that many of the past recipients have gone on to do some truly remarkable things with their law degree,” Carr said.
Carr is a past president of Black Law Students Association and has devoted many hours to 1L students as a Legal Writing Research Assistant, student tutor and as an Academic Excellence Fellow for Contracts. He participated in two successful Moot Court Competitions: one in fall 2018 when the team placed third in the national competition, as well as the Thurgood Marshall national competition.
Throughout law school, Carr volunteered monthly with the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association’s 3Rs Program, which connects lawyers, judges, law students and paralegals with high school students in Cleveland and East Cleveland schools to help foster an understanding and appreciation of the U.S. Constitution and share important information about how students can achieve their goals beyond high school. This program was particularly meaningful to Carr because he struggled during his primary schooling, barely graduating high school. Having now gone on to graduate in the top 15 percent of his law school class, he appreciates the impact the right message and guidance can have on high school students.
“As a student-led (3Rs) team, we feel like we can relate to where the students are in their lives, and we try to use the 3Rs lessons (rights, responsibilities and realities) as an opportunity to reinforce the importance of education and what it has done for us in our lives,” Carr said. “I believe in speaking things into existence, and I think a group of black law students telling high school students that they can be whatever they want to be is powerful.”
Carr also experienced community activism having externed two semesters with the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio. As part of the legal team with the ACLU, he worked on issues ranging from police misconduct, prisoner’s rights, and reproductive rights to gerrymandering litigation focused on preserving the power of every person’s vote.
“Externing for the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio gave me the opportunity to work on cases intended to bring societal change,” Carr explained. “The ACLU has taught me that a legal education can give you the power to do something about the civil rights injustices in our society.”
After graduation, Carr will join Tucker Ellis LLP, where he has already spent two years as a summer associate. In the fall of 2020, he will clerk for C|M|LAW Hall of Fame Member, the Honorable Judge Solomon Oliver of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.
Carr is excited to join a firm that is highly regarded for their work in the community and to work on complex litigation in our federal court system. He is dedicated to serving the community through his work and in other capabilities, and his time in law school only furthered that commitment.
“Cleveland-Marshall is in the heart of the city, and right outside of our front doors are countless reasons why we should get involved in our community,” Carr said. “I think every student leaves this law school with an understanding that we have a responsibility to do more (for the community) than just our billable hours.”