Monday Morning Message 3.29.21 You're One Decision Away From a Completely Different Life

Posted 2021-03-29 10:14am

All law schools have distinctive qualities and characteristics.  Cleveland-Marshall's are the connected learning processes that go on throughout your law school years and continue beyond those years, in addition to the faculty and staff's commitment to the details of what it takes for student success.  - Ohio Supreme Court Justice Melody J. Stewart ‘88


“I love C|M|LAW because of the people: the professors are consistently phenomenal, the administration and library staff are so supportive, and my fellow classmates have become my family. In speaking with students from other schools, I can proudly say that C|M|LAW offers us so much in preparation for our future professions. I am so grateful for this experience.”Mary Walsh ‘21


“I came to learn that CM had the perfect balance of the characteristics I wanted in a law school: challenging academics, affordability, excellent local reputation, opportunities for real-world experiences, and faculty members who are down to earth and genuinely care about your education.” - Katie McLaughlin’21


“Ask yourself, am I looking for a law school that connects me to an immense network of legal professionals? Am I looking for a law school that encourages relationship building among myself and lifelong peers? Am I looking for a law school with supportive faculty and staff members to help guide me throughout my rigorous academics? If you’ve answered yes to all three questions, then Cleveland-Marshall sounds like your perfect fit.” – Samia Shaheen’22



Recruiting talented students for our Fall 2021 class is our highest priority over the next 30 days. The competition between law schools for the most talented students has never been more intense and competitive.


When a student is admitted to CSU Cleveland-Marshall, they have been chosen from a large, highly competitive pool of applicants because of their unique combination of achievement and potential for success. We don’t take their enrollment for granted. We know that they likely have choices between us and other fine law schools.


So why choose us?


As our prospective and admitted students consider where they will attend law school this coming fall, they will look at all the assets that a law school has to offer. Some can be measured by national rankings, but even more  cannot. As Albert Einstein noted, “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.


So I say to our prospective and admitted students, take your own measurements.  There is not one path. There is not even the right path. There is only your path. As you consider your decision, please look at the big picture because you are making a long-term decision that affects the rest of your life- not just the next few months or years. You’re one decision away from a completely different life.


Choose the law school that offers you the most short-term and long-term learning, leadership, externship, and employment options and that offers you the friendliest and most supportive and collaborative culture.  We stand out for our outstanding faculty, ethos of social justice, affordable tuition, state-of-the art facilities, thriving downtown university campus a short walk away from most of Cleveland’s legal employers, practical hands-on experiential opportunities, and groundbreaking, cutting-edge programs.


I urge each prospective and admitted student to ask the following questions before they make one of the most important decisions of their life.


  • Is the law school student-centered?


We study together, laugh together, and lift each other up. Here, we do not hide notes from each other or try and set others up for failure, so we can rise in rank. Here, we work together to lift us all up and make sure we all succeed in this…Going to Cleveland-Marshall was the best decision of my life.” -MaKenna Daus- ‘22 


There is no ranking of law schools that measures how much your law school cares about you personally and professionally and supports your success, yet that may be the single most important measure. No matter how bright and talented you are, your success will be determined not only by your hard work but also by the support you receive from faculty, staff, fellow students, friends, and family. At CSU Cleveland–Marshall, students will find open doors and open minds and a level of accessibility, support, encouragement, and interaction that many law schools don’t offer.  Our faculty take the time to get to know their students and provide individualized attention and support.  Our faculty, staff, and alumni have an open door for every student, as do I.


  • Are the faculty members open, accessible, supportive, and engaged?


“I chose Cleveland Marshall because I felt the support and dedication to students even before I walked into the building….During my initial visit, every faculty member had a smile on their face and their passion spread like wildfire….After leaving my tour and orientation, I felt like I would have the ability and the support to change the world." – Courtney Parson ‘22


Our faculty has a national reputation not only for scholarship and teaching but also for leadership on important legal and social justice issues. Our faculty members have excellent academic credentials, are regularly called upon by the media for expert legal analysis, and the ways in which our faculty support and guide our students is truly exceptional. Our faculty members not only have real-world experience that is unusual among law faculty, but their ties in the legal community provide impactful benefits for our students.


  • Are staff members open, accessible, supportive, and engaged?


“I just want you to know that you had it in you all the time. You were always this smart.  You were always this capable.  Sometimes it just takes someone else to believe in you to help you see what you are capable of. “Nick De Santis, Director of Academic Support, to one of our students.

We provide academic and career support and advising and bar preparation to all our students in all phases of their legal education, whether it’s before they matriculate, during their law school career, or while they study to tackle the bar exam. Whether you are at the top of your class or struggling academically and/or personally, our staff is here for you. We are there for you from Jump Start, a four-week summer program offered to all admitted students prior to the fall semester, to the Academic Excellence Program, an academic support program conducted by high achieving upper-level students, to the Peer Tutoring Program, where successful upper-level students provide one-on-one tutoring to any student seeking assistance, to individual counseling where our staff is available to students for individual counseling by appointment or during their weekend office hours.


  • Are alumni open, accessible, supportive, and engaged?


“I am glad I chose Cleveland-Marshall because of its outstanding commitment to its community. As a student, I was assigned a professional mentor. As someone who knew nothing about the legal world until law school, my mentor has helped me tremendously in attempting to figure out my personal goals. At the class level, the entire student body has a wonderful school spirit that makes you want to succeed not just for yourself, but for your school. We help each other and cheer on each other in a way that I think is unique to the school.” - AnnaMaria Jadue’22


Your connection to our incredible alumni network starts with the first day of Orientation, when every 1L is matched with an alum who is a resource to them throughout their time in law school and beyond. We don’t know of another law alumni association in the nation, including law schools that enroll more students, that attracts up to 1,000 people every year to their annual alumni luncheon. Why are our alumni so loyal? There’s only one reason. Because they had a phenomenal experience as a student at Cleveland-Marshall. 


Our exceptionally wide, strong, loyal alumni network and strong community partnerships provide exceptional opportunities for our legal clinics, symposia, and guest lectures, and our students’ externships, jobs, and careers. Our alumni go out of their way to help the law school and our students succeed. When our students graduate, they already have a professional network of alumni who can support and guide them.


  • How has the law school responded to the Covid-19 Pandemic?


“I have just been amazed at how wonderful Cleveland-Marshall's faculty has been throughout this entire process. It was evident to every student that the faculty was doing their best and were doing everything they could to make this situation better. Our professors were always reachable by email. Some provided their phone numbers and Zoom meetings to help answer questions. I never once thought that I was alone or abandoned… I have actually reflected on this last week and thought to myself, ‘If I had to be in law school during COVID-19, I am glad it is at Cleveland-Marshall.’ " 1L Student


In the midst of the anxiety and uncertainty of this past year, we saw courage, empathy, resilience, grace, support, and constant communication from every corner of our CSU Cleveland-Marshall community.


  • Does the law school have an ethos of social and racial justice?


“I am glad I chose Cleveland-Marshall College of Law because of the culture of teamwork and mutual care and respect the school has cultivated. In addition to the numerous resources for academic and personal support offered by CM|LAW, the students here are always ready and willing to help one another to make sure that we succeed together. As a whole, I have found that there is a true dedication to the motto of "Learn Law. Live Justice." that is demonstrated every single day.” Melissa S. Obodzinski ’22


We are a law school committed to the principle of “Learn Law. Live Justice.” That’s our mission. Every day we educate and train the future custodians of democracy and guardians of justice. It’s a sacred trust we take very seriously. Our C|M|LAW Hall of Fame roster of judges, lawyers, business and nonprofit leaders, and public servants reads like a Who’s Who of lawyer/leaders. We consistently have been the law school for many women and men who have broken gender, race, ethnic, economic, and generational barriers to make change and advance progress in social justice and public service. If there was ever a time to ensure that an ethos of social justice permeates a law school’s culture, it’s now when our country is torn by the anguish and pain of racism and political divisiveness. See the following links:

No Room for Silence

We Stand in Solidarity

Social Justice and Antiracism Resources Guide


  • Does the law school know the difference between great lawyers and great lawyer-leaders?


“Lawyers often follow a career trajectory that propels them into positions of leadership but ironically there is a lack of leadership training offered by most law schools. Through our Leadership and Law Program, we equip students with the strategies and skills necessary to answer the inevitable call to leadership.” – P. Kelly Tompkins’81

We are a law school that not only educates great lawyers, we educate great leaders. We not only teach substantive law but also focus on skills such as critical thinking, practical problem solving, initiative, creativity, optimism, empathy, teamwork, client relations, project management, and the ability to listen. See our C|M|LAW P. Kelly Tompkins Leadership and Law Program, C|M|LAW Dean's Leadership Fellows Program, and our CMLAW Leader-in- Residence Program.


  • Does the law school have a cutting-edge curriculum?  


“Professor Brian Ray and his team outdid themselves….  this two day event is a hidden gem to anyone interested in or practicing cyber and privacy law…”Kirk Herath, Chief Privacy Officer, Nationwide Insurance

We anticipate where the world is going and do our best to get there early. Emerging and fast-evolving technologies, such as blockchain, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity, have companies and law firms scrambling for legal talent that understands technology. We are educating that talent.

See our C|M|LAW Tech Lab, C|M|LAW Center for Cybersecurity and Privacy Protection, C|M|LAW Criminal Justice Center, C|MLAW Health Law and Policy Center, C|M|LAW Global Space Law Center, C|M|LAW Solo Practice Incubator, technologically advanced Trial Courtroom and Rawson Learning Commons, and the region’s first C|MLAW Master of Legal Studies Program and online Master of Legal Studies in Cybersecurity and Data Privacy .


  • Is the law school engaged with the city that surrounds it?


“We are more than a law school, we’re a community that cares about each other and what we have built here extends beyond these walls.”  -Jeffrey Carr’19


We are a law school without walls. We use the city and the world as our classroom. Every week throughout the academic year, we facilitate free expression and foster a culture where our students learn not only in the classroom but through a wide variety of forums with experts and thought leaders throughout the world about the issues that shape our future. We have a strong partnership with the community and employers that creates great opportunities for externships, jobs, and careers.

When there are important legal issues that need to be addressed in our community, our community comes to us seeking assistance. We have an Appellate Advocacy Clinic, Civil Litigation Clinic, Community Advocacy Clinic, Transactional Law Clinic, and Pop-Up Practicums on breaking current issues such as police reform, mental health and substance abuse jail diversion, post-conviction relief, restorative justice, bail reform, employment leave for survivors of domestic abuse, and offshore wind energy on Lake Erie.

  • Is the law school engaged with the city that surrounds it?


“Words cannot express the gratitude I have for the scholarship you decided to offer me…You have given me the opportunity to fulfill my destiny…my son will one day be able to say that his mother was given a chance despite financial hardship….” - 3L student


In Prelaw Magazine’s Best Value Law Schools magazine, C|M|LAW earned an A- for Best Value based on an analysis of schools “where graduates have excellent chances of passing the bar and getting a legal job without taking on a ton of debt.” In addition, the average salary for our graduates places us in the top three among Ohio law schools. Did you know that your tuition at C|M|LAW includes the cost of your bar preparation course? Typically when students graduate from law school, they need to purchase a bar exam preparation course. At C|M|LAW, your tuition includes the BarBri exam course, which, out-of-pocket, costs around $3,800. 


  • Is the law school committed to your lifelong success?


“I was torn between my alma mater CWRU and Cleveland-Marshall. What it really came down to for me was the connections and feeling I got when I visited Cleveland Marshall…..Cleveland-Marshall is honestly on the rise and I firmly believe that something special is brewing here. We have faculty and staff that truly care about the success of you as a student. I can't tell you the amount of times I've gone to office hours for professors and almost invariably, the first thing they ask is how I'm personally doing….In my opinion, the connections you'll make here are unrivaled for schools in this area. I can't tell you how many meetings, interviews, and opportunities I've gotten simply by telling people I go to Cleveland-Marshall.  -Dustin Likens’18


We are your law school for life. Our message to our students is ‘hello’ not only when they enter C|M|LAW, but also when they graduate. At graduation, we don’t say ‘goodbye.’ We are committed to their lifelong success.

Choose C|M|LAW. We are here for you. We care. We’re your law school for life.


Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay Committed to Living Justice.

Have a great day. Have a great week.


For copies of past messages, please go to this link: Monday Morning Messages

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My best,



Lee Fisher

Dean, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law |Cleveland State University

Joseph C. Hostetler-BakerHostetler Chair in Law

1801 Euclid Avenue, LB 138 |Cleveland, Ohio 44115 -2214
216-687-2300 |


No Room for Silence

We Stand in Solidarity

Social Justice and Antiracism Resources Guide


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