Graduate Profile: 2021 Class Valedictorian Caitlin Steiner

Posted 2021-05-25 11:45am

Caitlin Steiner’s only goal entering law school at CSU Cleveland-Marshall College of Law was to do the best she could academically in order to give herself the best possible start to her legal career.  The best she could do resulted in Caitlin graduating from CSU C|M|LAW as valedictorian of the Class of 2021, an honor she considers a “happy surprise.”

“Going into law school I never would have thought (being class valedictorian) was a possibility, so it’s a really special way to end my law school career,” Steiner said.

This was not the first time Caitlin is leaving the downtown Cleveland campus with honors. She graduated from Cleveland State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Sociology in 2012, where she was a member of the Alpha Kappa Delta sociology honors society and was awarded the Department of Sociology and Criminology Distinguished Student Award. 

The past year and a half has been a unique time to be a law student for Caitlin and her classmates. Caitlin experienced some hardships due to the pandemic and is thankful that several fellow CSU C|MLAW students reached out to offer help or support. She is also grateful support from Assistant Dean of Student and Career Services Sarah Beznoska.

“I feel that all of us missed out on a lot of major social experiences (during the pandemic), but this would have been a much more isolating experience if not for the efforts of students and the law school to keep us all connected,” said Steiner.

The hardships created by the pandemic was one motivating factor that led Caitlin to team with SBA President Hannah Kraus ’21 to launch a textbook exchange for law students to defray the cost of textbooks.

“Textbooks can be really expensive, and the pandemic and other situations have made it difficult for some students to afford the materials they need,” explained Steiner. “I know it's a really small thing, but I received a lot of help from the CSU C|M|LAW communities during the pandemic and it was something I was able to do to give back.”

Throughout her law school career, Caitlin has been active in the CSU C|M|LAW community. She was a participant in the Dean’s Leadership Fellows Program and a member of the Black Law Students Association’s Constance Baker Motley Mock Trial Team.  Caitlin also served as an Associate and the Online Articles Editor for the Cleveland State Law Review.

During law school, Caitlin externed at QDRO Consultants and served as a law clerk at Grady & Associates.  She was also a law clerk at QDRO Group, a company that provides consulting services to domestic relations attorneys looking to divide their retirement assets pursuant to divorce or dissolution, typically by way of a Qualified Domestic Relations Order.  QDRO Group is where Caitlin worked prior to law school, after starting her post-college career in the banking industry and professional sales with a tire manufacturer. Her time working at QDRO Group not only motivated her to attend law school but got her interested in the area of employee benefits.

Caitlin’s engaged learning opportunities during law school only strengthened that interest and she will be joining Squire Patton Boggs as an Associate after passing the bar examination, with hopes of continuing to work with employee benefits. 

After spending the last year couped up due to the pandemic and focused on her final year of law school, Caitlin does want to take trip after taking the bar exam.  She is a vintage roller coaster enthusiast – considering Conneaut Lake Park’s Blue Streak her favorite coaster ridden thus far – and is planning to take a road trip to several different parks to experience several vintage coasters for the first time.

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