Monday Morning Message 7.31.2017

Posted 2017-07-31 12:11pm

“ I have been a door-opener, because some Americans did not believe fundamentally in the respect of the individual as our Constitution enunciates.” – Judge Jean Murrell Capers ’45

Cleveland Law School, the predecessor to Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, was the first law school in Ohio to admit women and celebrated Elizabeth Williams as its first female graduate in 1908.  Ever since, we have been a “door-opener” law school not only for women but also for many women and men who have broken gender, race, ethnic, and generational barriers to achieve great success. 

This past month, we lost a legendary door-opener, Judge Jean Murrell Capers, a 1945 graduate of Cleveland Law School. She passed away at age 104.  She said that she wanted to be a lawyer because "the only way people could help themselves was through the laws they passed. I wanted to be part of the profession where the laws were made." Three years later she was the first black woman elected to Cleveland City Council. She also served as an assistant state attorney general and a Cleveland Municipal Court Judge (1977-86).

As her friend, Plain Dealer columnist Phillip Morris, wrote, “To call her a role model is to understate her profound influence on multiple generations of leaders and everyday people who became part of the fabric of Cleveland political and civic life over the past 75 years. (Judge Jean Murrell Capers, thank you for 104 glorious years: Phillip Morris)

Judge Capers' role model was another one of our graduates, Judge Mary Grossman’12, who in 1923 became not only the first woman elected to Cleveland Municipal Court, but also the first woman in America elected to a municipal court. Judge Capers loved to tell the story that Judge Grossman was treated by many fellow male judges and attorneys with derision and contempt only because she was a woman. She proved them wrong by serving 36 distinguished years on the bench.

Thanks to pioneers like Judge Capers and Judge Grossman, women now make up over 50% of all law students in the country for the first time in American history. On October 19, we will launch our C|M|Law Inaugural Hall of Fame CelebrationThe first two individuals who have been selected to be inducted are Judge Jean Murrel Capers’45 and Judge Mary Grossman’12.

Please join us at our C|M|Law Inaugural Hall of Fame Celebration on October 19, 2017, 5:30-8pm, and please invest in our 120 Scholarship Campaign by August 15 Please consider a contribution or pledge today ranging from $120 to $12,000 to $120,000.  Please give here: Believe in C|M|LAW. Give Now. or send me an email with your pledge at: Your groundbreaking contribution will be the foundation of our campaign. It would mean a lot to us.                                                                                                                                          .

Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. We open doors.

My best,



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

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