Monday Morning Message 5.11.20 Above and Beyond

Posted 2020-05-11 12:22pm

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

As we near the end of this historic semester, I’m overwhelmed by the daily messages of support and appreciation from and about our students, faculty, staff, and alumni. I have enough to fill five Monday Messages! I will continue to share them in the coming weeks.

This morning, I want to focus on some of the messages of gratitude from our students about our extraordinary faculty who have gone above and beyond. Warning: this morning’s message is long because I’ve received so many emails. 

Messages About Our Faculty

Watch: Message of Support for our Students 

Watch: Message of Support for our Students Part 2: Final Exams

“I just finished watching the messages of support from the faculty and staff that was sent out today. It moved me to tears. I miss our school and all of you so much, but my gratitude for C|M| LAW is constantly increasing throughout this time. I cannot begin to explain the appreciation I have for each of you, and I am patiently awaiting the day I get to walk back into our building bright and early at 7 AM again. I hope all of you are finding time to take a breath in the midst of all the hard work you are doing for us students. It does not go unnoticed.”  -1L Student

“I just finished watching the faculty/ staff video messages, and let me just say, I had to grab a tissue box to wipe the happy tears after the first 14 seconds. These have been very challenging days for all of us, but despite it all, every single one of you has demonstrated unequivocal compassion, understanding, and selflessness to my classmates and I. You are all perfect examples of educators who place student success at the forefront of everything they do. We are immensely grateful. I hope you're all staying safe and healthy, and I can't wait until we can all be together again. Times like this remind us why we chose Cleveland-Marshall. Thank you for keeping us learning, laughing, and engaged. #WeAreInThisTogether    -1L Student

The faculty/staff videos made me cry!! Thanks so much for all you have done for 1Ls during this challenging time. To know that our professors, Dean, and administration is thinking of us as we head into finals is amazing. I have studied hard and am hoping to take my letter grades! On my next study break, my daughter and I are going to rank the “uplifting songs” you sent us- another bonding moment attributable to C|M|LAW! I know I don’t say it enough (usually because I’m studying!), but thank you - you truly make the difference!” – 1L Student

Associate Deans Carolyn Broering-Jacobs and Jonathan Witmer-Rich

“As a collective unit, Dean Fisher, Associate Dean Broering-Jacobs, and Associate Dean Witmer-Rich, and Assistant Dean Sarah Beznoska have exhibited exemplary leadership under adverse conditions. I believe that this is shown through their constant (over) communication and commitment to support us as individuals and provide for our every need. 

Examples of communication and support: 

  • Weekly town halls began at the beginning of the crisis to allow for a real time Q&A between the administration and the students
  • Additional town halls were created broken down by class to provide more customized and specific Q&A time
  • Zoom sessions held to help walk us through how exams will be administered
  • Daily updates giving us information as it pertains to the law school
  • Every single question, big and small, that was asked was diligently researched and answered, questions including: 
  • "I don’t' have a printer, how can I print things?"
  • "How will we find summer employment"
  • "Can you change the university policy to allow us to use scholarship money for the summer semester?”
  • Openness to comments, not just questions, and feedback at any point
  •  Never sleeping and responding to emails at any time day or night (probably not healthy, but still commendable for going above and beyond)
  • Flexibility when policies are implemented which might not be perfect and finding better solutions instead of being rigid
  • Willingness to work with faculty to ensure that we are getting the best possible opportunities to learn in this trying time

Overall I feel like each and every one of them has been here for me as an individual, and all of us, as the Cleveland-Marshall College of law.”  -1L student

“Associate Deans Jonathan Witmer-Rich and Carolyn Broering-Jacobs were instrumental in facilitating the sudden transition from in-person teaching to remote teaching necessitated by the pandemic. In my own case, as I was utterly unfamiliar with the technology needed to teach remotely (Zoom), it would have been impossible for me to figure out how to do this without the assistance of both Associate Deans. Associate Dean Witmer-Rich, in particular, spent hours setting up my Zoom classes and teaching me how to navigate this mode of instruction. Associate Dean Broering-Jacobs answered many questions concerning communication with students resulting from this transition. She has worked tirelessly to keep students and faculty informed about the process involved in taking exams remotely, while also establishing the schedule for courses for fall semester and brainstorming with faculty about whether courses in the fall will be taught in-person or remotely. – Professor Peter Garlock

“I won't be the first or last to say it, but I would like to express my gratitude for Jonathan and Carolyn in the midst of this, as they appear not only to be working all the time, but keeping good spirits while doing it.” – Professor Chris Sagers

“Dean Witmer-Rich, thank you for your leadership during these uncertain times. I am so pleased with the professionalism, transparency, and compassion you, Dean Broering-Jacobs, Dean Fisher and the rest of the faculty and staff have provided. I know we are in great hands.” – 3L Student

“Associate Dean Carolyn Broering-Jacobs’ tireless efforts speak for themselves.” – Professor John Plecnik

“Associate Dean Carolyn Broering-Jacobs’ responsiveness during this crisis has certainly been exemplary.” – 1L Student

“I had an issue in taking my final exams, because exam 4 software is not compatible with chromebook which is the laptop I have. Associate Dean Carolyn Broering-Jacobs in one day resolved my issue ….The team at C|M|LAW had one week to transition to remote learning, and did a magnificent job….I am so glad I am part of this organization, thank you for allowing me to be.” – Masters of Legal Studies student

Professor Michael Borden

“Dear Professor Borden, Thank You!!!  I passed!  You helped me achieve something that my first-year professors likely never thought I could do! This is a very happy day for me, and I want to express my gratitude to you again.  By taking the time to explain, clarify, and teach me contracts concepts, it not only made them concrete and accessible, but it was also a gesture of your support.  The exam is so psychological, and having those sessions with you made it less intimidating.  I actually looked FORWARD to the contracts essays!”  - Mary Grace Tokmenko’19 

Professor April Cherry

“Dear Professor Cherry, I know this is a very busy time of year for you, but I need to drop a quick THANK YOU! for being such an incredibly positive influence in my life and time at C|M|LAW!  I passed the bar, and further, received a 7 on my wills essay (and a 6 on my property essay)!” - Mary Grace Tokmenko ‘19 

Adjunct Professor Debora Lasch

“Professor Debora Lasch has done a wonderful job in the last 6 weeks, going above and beyond for the students in her Real Estate course. She is always there for us with any questions about the subject, and truly cares about us getting the most out of our education. She hasn't skipped a beat in the physically isolated environment we find ourselves, and she keeps us promptly up to date on all facets affecting the course. The school has done a superb job keeping our education rolling along despite the rocky terrain created by the pandemic.” – 4LE Student (Evening Student)

Professor Sandra Kerber

"Professor Kerber, I just wanted to reach out and say thank you for a great first year of law school. With all the craziness surrounding 1L fall and now this covid-19 stuff in the spring, legal writing and your class was always a calming and enjoyable force that we could return to week after week. The way you taught legal writing allowed me to get better and better with each assignment and because of it, I am confident that I will be able to go into a summer job and do the work that they ask of me and do it well. I look forward to being able to see you throughout the rest of my law school career assuming we are allowed back into the building at some point. Again, thank you so much for a great year!" – 1L Student

Professor Steve Lazarus

“Professor Stephen Lazarus is a legendary professor here at Cleveland-Marshall. He is truly a mastermind in many areas of law, including constitutional law, property, torts, and civil procedure (just to name a few). His extensive knowledge continues to amaze me each and every day. Professor Lazarus truly is an amazing professor who always goes above and beyond for his students. He never lets an obstacle get in his way….Once we went completely virtual, Professor Lazarus did not let the world of technology stop him from teaching his students. He took the time to type out mock transcripts of how each class dialogue would go had instruction been in-person...  I have had the pleasure of spending me entire first year of law school with Professor Lazarus, and I have learned so much from him. I can honestly say that Professor Lazarus has been monumental in my success here at Cleveland-Marshall. His warm nature, positive spirit, and wide array of knowledge have all shaped me into the law student that I am today, and for that, I am forever grateful. Professor Lazarus, thank you for always putting your students first and never letting obstacles get in the way of that. Your dedication and hard work are truly remarkable and inspiring. I cannot wait to take more classes with you in the coming semesters!”  - 1L Student

Professor Claire May

“Recently, I accepted a position with a law firm in Rocky River, and they informed me that the primary reason I even got an interview with them is because they were impressed with my writing sample. This writing sample was my Memorandum from your Legal Writing class last semester, and I just wanted to say thank you! I would not have been able to produce this piece without your guidance and help. I edited my memorandum after receiving the final grade and comments on it, and this definitely helped to secure my interview and job.” – Kailey Leary’19

Professor Reggie Oh

“Dear Professor Oh, I really enjoyed, respected, and benefited from your teaching style.  I was a part-time, non-traditional student with a full-time job and I struggled when I began at CM…. you were engaging, organized, and passionate.  I absolutely loved your Legal Profession class…. I just wanted to tell you that I passed the bar on the first try.  You deserve credit as one of the professors who helped get me there…Thank you for bringing the material to life. I've been a police officer in an inner-ring suburb for 8 years and the bar was more stressful than any of it.  However, you helped train me how to analyze and discuss, and my essay scores were really quite good.  Your efforts are appreciated.” -Mary Grace Tokmenko’19

Professor Heidi Robertson

“Professor Robertson, I just wanted to let you know that I saw your letter to the editor regarding the bar exam options for the 3Ls. Thank you for using your voice to advocate for C|M|LAW students and Ohio law students in general. It doesn't go unnoticed and is appreciated by even little 1Ls like me. It's nice to know that a professor will always have our backs in trying times.” – 1L Student

Stay safe. Stay healthy.

If you missed CSU President Harlan Sands’ virtual Town Hall on Wednesday, May 6, you can see it here

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 views in all my Monday Morning Messages are my personal views alone and do not reflect the views of our law school or our university.

My best,


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