Monday Morning Message 8.30.21 You'll Be Known For What You Do, Not Who You Say You Are.

Posted 2021-08-30 10:23am

"Be ethical even when you think no one is looking; your word is truly all you have. Good opinion once lost can be difficult to regain. Maintain an unimpeachable reputation for honesty and integrity....Be professional. Law school is not undergraduate college where sins may be easily forgotten. You’ll be known for what you do, not who you say you are. "  -U.S. District Judge Benita Y. Pearson '95, Northern District of Ohio, August 2021 Orientation Closing Speaker

Last week marked our return to the law building after nearly eighteen months of remote instruction. In addition to welcoming our returning students back to the building, we welcomed our first-year class for their first full week of classes.

The week before classes began, we completed an inspiring and informative first-year Orientation organized by a team led by Associate Dean Carolyn Broering-Jacobs and Assistant Dean Sarah Beznoska. The week included events to welcome our 1L students to the CSU Cleveland-Marshall community, introduce them to legal practice, inspire them as they start their legal studies, and join in community service to fulfill our mission of Living Justice. 

On the first evening of Orientation on August 17, I welcomed our 1L class and noted that 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.”

Several highlights of the Orientation week were an Oral Argument in Ohio's Eighth District Court of Appeals, organized by Professor Doron KalirLive Justice Day, organized by Professor Pam Daiker-Middaugh and Adjunct Professor Zach Germaniuk ’12; and an inspiring closing plenary delivered by U.S. District Judge Benita Y. Pearson '95, Northern District of Ohio.

I am especially grateful for the hardworking faculty, staff, and alumni who, in ways large and small, came together to welcome our new students. Special thanks to:

  • Nick De Santis, Director of Academic Support, and the team that helped him with C|M|LAW JumpStart – our seven-part groundbreaking series in July designed by Nick to introduce students to the skills needed to succeed in law school.
  • Jaime Gay, Assistant Director of Student and Career Services, for kicking off our unique Peer Mentor Program in which new students are matched one-to-one with upper-level students.
  • Professor Doron Kalir and Rick ZhangSystems/Web Administrator, for their work in hosting an oral argument with Ohio’s Eighth District Court of Appeals. Thanks also goes to Deputy Court Administrator Bridget O’Brien ’01, who managed all of the logistics on the Court’s side. And, of course, we are most grateful to the three-judge panel: Judge Anita Laster Mays '92, Judge Eileen A. Gallagher '87, and Judge Mary Eileen Kilbane '87. Finally, we are proud of and grateful to the attorneys on both sides, who delivered excellent arguments and then stayed to talk with our students after the arguments were through: Appellant's attorney, Robert McCaleb '15, and Appellee's attorney, Poula Hanna '16Yes, all three Judges, the Court Administrator, and both attorneys were our graduates!
  • Our legal writing faculty – Professors Sandra Kerber, Karin Mika, Claire Robinson May, and Brandon Stump – who taught during Orientation week, so that the first-year students get a preliminary introduction to both the legal system and the law school classroom.
  • Our Student Success team – Nick DeSantis, Academic Support Specialists Michelle Bond and Bobby Stevenson, and Director of Bar Preparation Mary Jane McGinty – who presented a session on the many resources available to support students’ academic and bar exam success.
  • Our Library team – led by Professor Lauren Collins – who created an in-person library Orientation designed to acclimate our students to the many resources our law library has to offer them.
  • Professor Pam Daiker-Middaugh and Adjunct Professor Zach Germaniuk ‘12, along with the team from Slavic Village Development, who allowed our students to join in the Lead Safe North Broadway project. Students spent our Live Justice Day compiling materials and then delivering those materials to over 2000 households in the North Broadway neighborhood. 
  • Jill Natran for her tireless work in getting our building ready for students, faculty, and staff; organizing various events; and coordinating a student organization fair during the first week of classes.

Welcome again to the Class of 2024!

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

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 best,


Lee Fisher

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


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