Monday Morning Message 5.23.22 Changing of the Guard

Posted 2022-05-23 9:38am

“When one door closes, another door opens.” –  Helen Keller

"Often when you think you're at the end of something, you're at the beginning of something else." –Fred Rogers

“ …your hearts must have the courage for the changing of the guards.” – Bob Dylan

Now that the spring 2022 semester has been completed, I want to thank all the members of our extraordinary faculty for their dedication to our mission.

Learn Law. Live Justice. Through their tireless service to our law school, to the university, and to the community, they also serve as role models for our students.

I especially want to thank our eight faculty members who are retiring at the end of this academic year. Collectively, they have taught a total of 309 years!

Each of them has devoted their long, distinguished career to educating and training successive generations of lawyer-leaders who have gone on to make a meaningful difference in the world. Please join me in wishing the following faculty well on their retirement.

  • Professor Michael Borden -18 years
  • Professor Patricia Falk – 32 years
  • Professor David Forte – 46 years
  • Professor Peter Garlock -47 years
  • Professor Deborah Geier – 33 years
  • Professor Sandra Kerber – 51 years
  • Professor Kenneth Kowalski – 33 years
  • Professor Stephen Lazarus  - 49 years

The good news is that all our retiring faculty intend to continue teaching, but with a significantly reduced teaching load, so our students will continue to benefit from their deep knowledge, extraordinary experience, and continuing dedication and devotion to our students.

Nonetheless, it’s not an exaggeration to say that this is a seminal moment in our 125-year history. We have more faculty members retiring this year than any other time in our law school history.

In a sense, it is a changing of the guard.

American history is the story of the changing of the guard, a passing of the torch, from one generation to another. In 1980, Washington Post columnist David Broder wrote one of my favorite books, Changing of the Guard: Power and Leadership in America, portending the shift in power from the generation of leaders molded by the Great Depression and World War II to the Baby Boomers whose shaping experiences were the Vietnam War, the 1960’s civil rights marches, and Watergate.

This is a sobering and exciting time for our law school. It is sobering because with the retirement of these legendary faculty we are losing full-time faculty with extraordinary talent and teaching experience that cannot be replaced easily or quickly.

But it’s also exciting because we have hired some new faculty who bring a keen understanding of how the law and legal education is changing.

We have four new full-time professors joining us this fall.

Professor Shih-Chun (Steven) Chien holds a JSD (Doctor of the Science of Law) degree from Stanford Law School and an LL.M. degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law.  His scholarship focuses on the exercise and control of prosecutorial and police discretion and diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. His teaching interests are Criminal Law, Legal Profession, Evidence, and Torts.

Professor Jennifer Harrell joins us as a Legal Writing Professor after visiting this past spring to teach first-year legal writing. Prior to her time at Cleveland-Marshall, Professor Harrell served as a visiting legal writing and torts professor at The University of Akron School of Law. Before joining academia, she was a litigator at Tucker Ellis focusing on product liability and toxic tort cases. While a student, she served as Editor-in-Chief of the Akron Law Review and was a judicial extern to judges in both the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio and the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Professor Abby Moncrieff is an honors graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, was a Fulbright Scholar, and recently earned her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Texas at Austin. She spent seven years as a professor at Boston University School of Law. She is currently writing a book, Constitutional Technocracy. Her teaching interests are Constitutional Law, Health Law, Legislation and Regulation, Administrative Law, Torts, and Contracts.

Professor Robert Triozzi joins us as a Clinical Professor. He is a graduate of Cornell University and Case Western Reserve School of Law. He formerly served as the Director of Law and Chief Prosecutor for the City of Cleveland and the Director of Law for Cuyahoga County. He served for ten years as a Judge of the Cleveland Municipal Court. At Cleveland-Marshall, he has been the Director of the grant-funded Day One Project where he created the Pretrial Justice Clinic and taught experiential law courses and practicums related to the project. 

I am very pleased that the Visiting Professorships of Professor Matthew Ahn and Professor Laura Hoffman have been extended another year.

Professor Ahn came to us from the office of the Federal Public Defender of the Northern District of Ohio  and Professor Hoffman came to us from the Solomon Center for Health Law & Policy at Yale Law School where she was a health law scholar.

I’ve never been more optimistic about our law school’s future.

The world is volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous, and the law schools that will succeed and thrive in this new era are those that will best leverage the healthy diversity of talent and experience of their long-serving faculty and new faculty with fresh perspectives and new ideas.

None of us is as smart as all of us.

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

Have a great day. Have a great week.

My best,


Lee Fisher
Dean, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law
| Cleveland State University
Joseph C. Hostetler-BakerHostetler Chair in Law

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