Monday Morning Message 5.20.19 The One Thing That Binds Us.

Posted 2019-05-20 9:51am

“Know that, regardless of who your clients are…. your job will never be to win at all costs. Your job is to zealously and competently represent those clients’ interests within the confines of the law.” – 2019 Cleveland-Marshall Commencement Speaker, Ohio Supreme Court Justice Melody Stewart ‘88

“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.”  - Jeffery Carr ‘19, Learn Law. Live Justice. Award Winner

“ We all will go in many different directions. But there will always be one thing that binds us together. This school.” – Matthew Mahoney, ’19, Valedictorian

“I have had the privilege to see my classmates at their best – when they see a challenge and they run towards it, despite knowing that they might fail over and over in the process… the thing that impresses me most about this class is the tenacity, the perseverance, and the gut instinct to run towards adversity.”  - Frank Triozzi ’19, Student Bar Association President

Our Commencement on Saturday was the culmination of a year of teaching, studying, inquiring, debating, volunteering, leading, and learning as our Class of 2019 graduated.

Our 101 graduates came to us from more than 39 colleges and universities across the country and around the world. 88 graduated with a JD degree, 3 with a LLM degree, 9 with a Master of Legal Studies degree, and 3 with joint degrees.

We heard from CSU President Harlan Sands, CSU Board Chair David Gunning ‘94, Frank Triozzi ’19, President, Student Bar Association, Matthew Mahoney ’19, Valedictorian, Jeffery Carr ’19, Dean’s Learn Law. Live Justice. Award Recipient, and our Commencement Speaker, Ohio Supreme Court Justice Melody Stewart ’88.  Excerpts from some of their remarks are below.

We were joined by our outstanding faculty, staff, our students’ families and friends, our Leaders-in-Residence, adjunct faculty, and a number of alumni, including many distinguished members of the federal, state and local judiciary.

Professor Sandra Kerber, the Student Bar Association Faculty Member of the Year, led the student procession. Professor Kerber teaches Legal Writing and Research, and she is our longest serving faculty member with almost 48 years of service. We also honored Collette Emerson, the Student Bar Association Staff Member of the Year. Collette is the administrative assistant to our Legal Writing faculty as well as to our student publications and Moot Court Board of Governors. 

Joyce Barrett ‘71 received the Judge Richard M. Markus Adjunct Faculty Member of the Year Award. She has been an adjunct professor since 1991 teaching Family Law.

Brent Buckley ‘82, Chair of our Board of Visitors, and John Calabrese ’12, President-Elect of our Alumni Association, presented our new “Live Justice” pin to each graduate.

Associate Deans Michael Borden and Milena Sterio read the names of each graduate. Jill Natran and Holli Goodman led a team of staff and student volunteers who superbly organized the event at the Wolstein Center.

CSU President Harlan Sands was unable to attend because he was attending his son’s high school graduation, but he sent an inspiring video message in which he shared his experience attending law school at night while he served in the military. Board Chair David Gunning ’94 reminisced fondly about his graduation from Cleveland-Marshall 25 years ago. (Fun fact: When I served as Ohio Attorney General (1991-95), I hired some of the best and brightest graduates from Cleveland-Marshall, and one of them was David Gunning. David decided to work elsewhere, but I still claim to have offered him his first job after law school! Little did I know that 25 years later he would be one of my bosses!)

“Never, repeat – never - stop learning…. Understand and appreciate the role that things like implicit bias and confirmation bias play in our lives and cloud our judgment at times…. Don’t accept everything at face value…. sometimes what we see as rejection can simply be redirection: a way of letting you know that what you’ve applied to do is not where you’re supposed to be …… at least not at that particular time. And sometimes incredible opportunities are behind doors that cannot be open until others close….. Some things that are complicated at first blush become simple in hindsight. And sometimes just sitting still for a moment brings about a sense of clarity.”  - Ohio Supreme Court Justice Melody Stewart ‘88

Today is special for me and for my family because my great grandfather graduated from this institution 100 years ago and was admitted to the Ohio Bar in 1919. He supported his family through the depression and for years to follow with his career as a court stenographer – a career that was made possible by this degree…”  -Frank Triozzi,’19, Student Bar Association President

“Think of this feeling of accomplishment right now. Whenever you are faced with a challenge in the future, remember this feeling. Use this feeling to propel you to take on that next challenge. To push yourself a little harder….It is often said that law school is a competitive environment, and so it is. But this class, time and time again, supported each other rather than jumped over each other…. Living justice means to me that we live our own justice, whatever and where ever that justice might be. It instructs us not to forget our passions in life, no matter where our careers take us.”  – Matthew Mahoney,’19, Valedictorian

“To the class of 2019, in the words of the young king Nipsey Hussle, let’s celebrate this moment as a reminder of what’s possible when dedication meets hard work plus patience.. As graduates of this law school, we will all leave today with a renewed commitment to not just identify problems in the world - but to be a part of the solution…. The lack of diversity in this profession compels us to come together and fight for the issues we believe in.”  - Jeffery Carr ’19, Learn Law. Live Justice. Award Winner

This Week’s Monday Moment:  12 Pieces of Advice for the Class of 2019

Have a great day. Have a great week.

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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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