Keith D. Bevan Scholarship to Support Students Seeking Second Career in Law

Posted 2023-01-11 2:20pm

Tom and Carrie Bevan honored the distinguished legal career of their father/father-in-law, Keith Bevan, with the creation of the Keith D. Bevan Scholarship at the Cleveland State University College of Law. The scholarship is intended to go to students entering law school as a second career just as Keith, a 1972 CSU|LAW graduate, did more than a half century ago.

After serving in the United States Army and then attending Kent State University for undergraduate studies, Keith went to work for the Ford Motor Company. At the age of 33, while working for Ford and with three young children, he enrolled at CSU|LAW as a night student. After graduating from CSU|LAW, he spent five more years at Ford in personnel and labor relations. In the fall of 1977, leaning on his experience with labor relations, Keith went into private practice and began a successful career as a workers' compensation and asbestos attorney, representing workers in the auto, steel and rubber industries for nearly 30 years before retiring in 2004. 

“Keith's story is a wonderful example of a hardworking and dedicated family man who pursued a legal education at CSU|LAW to make a better life for his family,” explained CSU|LAW Assistant Dean and Senior Director of Advancement Ellen Grevey.

Today, Bevan & Associates LPA, Inc. has grown to 50 employees and is led by Keith’s son Tom and his son-in-law Patrick Walsh. Keith’s daughter Sherri Bevan Walsh also worked as a partner at the law firm for a decade before now serving as the Summit County Prosecutor for the past 22 years.

“It is certainly a source of pride for me, and I feel our entire family, to continue on the legacy in law my father started,” said Tom Bevan. “We still represent some of the same people my father represented 45 years ago.”

Tom decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and enter legal practice during his undergraduate studies, having been exposed to the practice firsthand. Tom started working with his father in high school, cleaning out the law office.  He then worked as a law clerk with the firm while attending the University of Akron School of Law and joined the practice as an attorney after passing the bar more than 30 years ago. Tom felt that establishing a scholarship at Keith’s alma mater was the perfect way to recognize his father and the distinguished legal career he has strived to emulate.

“Our motivation for creating this scholarship was two-fold,” said Tom. “There is a desire for my wife and me to assist others pursuing a career in the law and at the same time honoring my father and the impact he’s had on me, my family and the people he worked with and worked for.”

As for earmarking the scholarship for those pursuing the law as a second career, Tom recognizes that it can be particularly difficult for someone in the workforce to make the sacrifices necessary to go back to school.  Tom was just a small child when his father attended CSU|LAW, but distinctly remembers Keith wearing earmuffs at home to attempt to block out the noise while studying for the bar exam—one of the many challenges of going to law school while raising a family.

Keith was fortunate that Ford provided financial assistance for his legal studies but that is not the case for many who consider law school.  Tom hopes to help ease the burden of one of the hurdles to pursuing the law as a second career.

“The financial aspect can be particularly tough for those with families pursuing their dream of going to law school”, explained Tom. “Hopefully this scholarship can help open doors for people who might not otherwise have the opportunity to go to law school”

In retirement, Keith has enjoyed boating throughout the Great Lakes and spending time with his family and friends. Reflecting on his father’s career, Tom can't help but exult about the impact Keith had on so many.

“My father is someone that truly enjoyed practicing law and made a significant impact on people’s lives.”


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