“I’m about to give you all of my money,
And all I’m askin’ in return…
Find out what it means to me.”
-Aretha Franklin, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T”
Last week, we welcomed our first-year class. Although we do our best to provide scholarships to as many students as we can and appreciate the support we receive from donors to make that possible, many have had to take out loans to attend our law school. We owe them, and they owe each other, respect and admiration for their willingness to pursue their dream by living, working, and studying a few years of their life like most people won’t, so they can spend the rest of their life like most people can’t.
Our 2018 first-year class size goal was a 6% increase –i.e., a class of 115, without lowering our high academic standards of admission. Thanks to the very hard work of our faculty, alumni, students, and admissions staff, and the generosity of our scholarship donors, we had a 30% increase! This is our largest first-year class in four years – 140 J.D. students (71 women and 69 men)! We accomplished this despite the fact that applications were up only 4%, and we actually increased our academic standards of admission. In addition, we welcomed 15 new Master of Legal Studies students and 3 new LL.M. students.
Our first-year J.D. class is not only a very talented class but also one of the most diverse classes in many years.
Our 140 J.D. students are from 62 different colleges and universities, 15 states, and 9 countries, with undergraduate majors as varied as space studies, Talmudic law, environmental science, and music. We have 24 non-Ohio residents.
Many had jobs prior to law school with jobs as varied as fly-fishing guide, mortgage underwriter, recording artist, supply chain analyst, and wedding officiant. They include a black belt in martial arts, former professional boxer, former professional wrestler, a juggler, a calligrapher, and a number of musicians.
18% are part-time students. 13 are married and they have 20 children among them.
Orientation included an actual oral argument before the 8th District Ohio Court of Appeals and a mock trial presented by our talented C|M|LAW Trial team, with Judge Ronald Adrine ‘73 presiding.
Our students heard from new Cleveland State University President Harlan Sands who recounted his career as a young lawyer. President Sands noted that everywhere he goes in Cleveland he meets a graduate of Cleveland-Marshall College of Law!
Our students also heard from many noted alumni including Judge Melody Stewart ‘88, 8th District Ohio Court of Appeals; Judge Sean Gallagher ’89, 8th District Ohio Court of Appeals; Judge Anita Laster Mays ‘92, 8th District Ohio Court of Appeals; Judge Ronald Adrine ’73, former Presiding Judge of the Cleveland Municipal Court and C|M|LAW Jurist-in-Residence; Sunny Nixon ’11; Miles Welo,’14 Theophilus Hudson ‘12 , and Allison Terry ’15.My thanks to the many 2L, 3L, and 4LE (part-time students), faculty, and staff who participated throughout the week.
On Friday evening I told the story of Emily Pomeranz ‘95 and the Milkshake Mission Impossible story. Emily passed away last year after a long battle against cancer. Just prior to her death, her friend Sam Klein visited Emily in hospice, and asked her if she needed anything. She said that she wished she could have one more mocha milkshake from the iconic restaurant, Tommy's, on Coventry Rd. in Cleveland Hts. Knowing that she couldn’t travel to Cleveland, Sam sent a message to the general information email address on Tommy’s website, asking if there was a way to get a milkshake from Cleveland Heights to Arlington, Virginia.
A few days later, Sam got a call from Tommy Fello, the owner of Tommy’s. “Yes. We will figure out a way to do this,”he said. Tommy Fello shipped a carefully packed Tommy’s mocha milkshake to Emily. Emily was surprised and thrilled. She talked about it for days and days to friends and family. Emily’s story went viral on social media and touched the hearts of millions.
Thanks to the generosity of Tommy Fello, I gave each first-year J.D. student a milkshake gift certificate from Tommy’s in honor of Emily. I received the below note from Emily’s mother, Jackie, and brother, Will, last week.
“Dear Tommy and Lee- thank you so much for your generosity and kind reminiscences of Emily. Such acts keep Emily’s memory alive both for us and for a new class of students who would do well to follow Emily’s example of building strong friendships and finding joy in small pleasures. So thank you all for remembering Emily.”
Will and Jackie Pomeranz
Law School Deans used to say to first year students, “Look to your left. Look to your right. One of you will not be here next year.” I told our first year students a very different message. “Look to your left. Look to your right. The classmates you see will be friends and colleagues for life.”
In honor of Emily, I asked them to build strong friendships and find joy in small pleasures. In honor of Aretha Franklin, I asked them to show respect for the study and the rule of law, and for each other.
Have a great week.
For copies of past messages, please go to this link: Monday Morning Messages.
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.