“Some of us may go on to become judges, or to practice civil rights law, or – hopefully all of us – to incorporate pro bono work into our practices. But living justice should not be limited to our legal work. Having a law degree gives us a powerful tool to live justice, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t live justice outside of law.”
Speaking to her fellow CSU Cleveland-Marshall College of Law Class of 2022 graduates, class valedictorian Lucy Richman noted that there are many different ways to follow through on the second half of the law school’s “Learn Law. Live Justice.” motto.
For Lucy, the example that stands out to her is on a personal level – her grandmother Ellen Richman, a 1990 CSU C|M|LAW graduate. Ellen practiced estate planning where she worked toward justice for her clients by making sure they knew their loved ones would be taken care of. Later in life when Lucy’s grandfather became ill, Ellen became his caregiver and she showed Lucy what it can look like to live justice for our loved ones.
“My grandma is a lawyer, but she has shown me that living justice goes far beyond that,” said Lucy. “It isn’t limited to practicing law, and you don’t even need a law degree to do it. We all do it, often unconsciously, when we take care of ourselves and our loved ones and advocate for what we believe in.”
Ellen had a unique path to law school, enrolling at Cleveland-Marshall in her late 40s after raising three kids and working as a schoolteacher. Lucy’s route has been more transitional, working two years after graduating from Dickinson College. She also has a background in education, having worked in Community Outreach and Student Services for AmeriCorps. She had always wanted to work in education but was struggling to find a career path in that sector that was a good fit, leading her to law school.
“I chose to attend Cleveland-Marshall because I knew I wanted to settle in Cleveland, and when I compared it to other options, it was the clear winner in terms of location, finances and academic programming for me,” explained Lucy.
At CSU C|M|LAW, Lucy served as an Academic Excellence Program Fellow. She considers that the highlight of her law school experience as it gave her the chance to stay connected to working in education.
Lucy was also a Dean’s Leadership Fellow and a member of the Cleveland State Law Review. Her law review note, Equal Access to Donate: Plasma Donation Centers and the ADA, will be published in a forthcoming issue.
Earning the honor of class valedictorian was not a goal of Lucy’s when entering CSU C|M|LAW, but she used the challenge as an opportunity to push herself.
“Valedictorian was not my goal until around halfway through school—I ended up at the top of the class for a few semesters and realized we weren’t that far from graduation anymore, so I decided to try to stay there until the end,” explained Lucy. “I am not always very competitive with others, but I am with myself, and knowing that I pushed myself for this and achieved it feels very gratifying.”
During law school, Lucy had the opportunity to work as a Law Clerk with Zukowsky Law LLC, a Legal Extern at the Cuyahoga County Probate Court, a Legal Extern with Medical Mutual, and a Summer Associate with Tucker Ellis LLP. After the bar examination, she will begin work as an Associate at Tucker Ellis.