“Founders never leave our memories for they leave indelible footprints on our minds.” Ernest Agyemang Yeboah
“Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.” – Babe Ruth
Each Monday, between now and October 19, I will highlight some of the many extraordinary women and men who will be inducted in our Cleveland-Marshall College of Law (C|M|LAW) Hall of Fame (“HOF”), created in the summer of 2017, C|M|LAW’s 120th anniversary. TheC|M|LAW Inaugural Hall of Fame Celebration, an annual fundraising event to be held every fall, will be on the evening of Thursday, October 19, 2017, 5:30-8pm.
Cleveland-Marshall is the direct descendant of three law schools, Baldwin University Law School founded 120 years ago, in 1897; Cleveland Law School, also founded in 1897; and the John Marshall School of Law, founded in 1916. Baldwin University Law School merged with Cleveland Law School in 1899 and they were incorporated into the Cleveland Law College of Baldwin University (later known as Baldwin-Wallace College.) The new law school was known as Cleveland Law School.
The below legends were some of our “Founding Honorees.” They graduated or made significant contributions to Cleveland Law School and/or John Marshall School of Law in our first 50 years (1897- 1945), prior to 1946 when the Cleveland Law School merged with the John Marshall School of Law to become the Cleveland-Marshall Law School.
- Newton D. Baker – he was one of our most prominent trustees when our parent law schools opened their doors in 1897 (annual tuition was $50.00). His legendary career included two terms as Mayor of Cleveland, President Wilson’s Secretary of War during World War I, and co-founder of BakerHostetler. His crowning achievement as Mayor was the passage of the home rule amendment to Ohio's constitution, which granted Cleveland the right to draw its own charter. Baker argued before the U.S. Supreme Court as counsel for the property owner in Euclid v. Ambler Realty Co, a landmark case that established the constitutionality of zoning laws.
- Alfred. A. Benesch – he was one of the principal founders of John Marshall School of Law in 1916. His distinguished career included teaching Municipal Law at John Marshall, Cleveland City Councilman, Cleveland Safety Director, State Commerce Director, and Director of Rent Control for Cleveland during World War II. He was co-founder of Benesch Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff, now Benesch, andserved three terms as President of the Cleveland Board of Education. The Board renamed Outhwaite School, from which he graduated in 1891, as the Alfred A. Benesch Elementary School.
- Judge Jean Murrell Capers ’45 – 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). She recently passed away at age 104. As 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.”
- Charles Carr ’26 – he was a 30-year veteran of Cleveland City Council, including Majority Leader. Widely recognized as a pioneer in the fight for civil rights, he authored fair housing legislation, integrated Cleveland’s city parks, and helped form the Future Outlook League, an organization that promoted black ownership of businesses.
- Judge Mary Grossman ’12 – she was not only the first woman elected to Cleveland Municipal Court, but also the first woman in America elected to a municipal court. Judge Jean Murrell 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.
- Joseph C. Hostetler – he was an enthusiastic supporter of Cleveland Law School where he taught for many years. His distinguished career included Assistant City Law Director, President of the Cleveland Bar Association, Director of Cleveland Trust Co., and co-founder ofBakerHostetler. He was secretary of the Cleveland Baseball Co. for 20 years, and was counsel for the American League. Cleveland–Marshall School of Law awarded him an Honorary Master of Law Degree in 1948.
- Judge George C. McMonagle ’30- he served over 30 years as an elected and appointed visiting Common Pleas Court Judge. In the 1970s Judge McMonagle adjudicated the case which led to the creation of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District. He was a revered jurist, and Brent Larkin ’86 wrote in the Plain Dealer in 1987 that “he was one of the greatest judges ever to serve in the county court system- perhaps the greatest.”
- Norman S. Minor ’27- he was the first African-American lawyer to be appointed an Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor and later returned to private practice where he was a legendary criminal defense lawyer. In 1980, local lawyers and judges created the Norman S. Minor Bar Association in his honor, Cleveland's first African American bar association. Congressman Louis Stokes ’53, who with his brother Cleveland Mayor Carl B. Stokes ’59, became law partners with Minor, once said, "Norm Minor was probably the greatest criminal lawyer in the history of our state. Charisma, beautifully modulated voice. He could mesmerize a jury. Judges were fascinated by him. And I don't care how long a case took-two months, six months-he never took a note. Never. And he never missed a point in any trial."
- Max Ratner ’29 – he was a legendary businessman and community leader. He went to law school at night and worked in the family lumber business during the day. He practiced law briefly and paid all of his four year education expenses ($400) by winning his first personal injury case. He then decided to focus on his family’s lumber business which grew into Forest City Enterprises (now Forest City) where he served as President and later as Chairman of the Board. He was founder and Chairman of the America-Israel Chamber of Commerce and President of Park Synagogue. One of Cleveland-Marshall’s scholarship funds proudly bears his name.
- Judge Lillian Westropp ’15- she founded the first savings bank run for and by women in 1922, later known as Women’s Federal Loan and Savings Association. She served as President and Board Chair. She served as a Judge on the Cleveland Municipal Court for 26 years and helped found the Woman’s Lawyer Club of Cleveland.
This year’s 120 honorees are listed at the link below.
We hope that you will support our C|M|Law Inaugural Hall of Fame Celebration by purchasing and/or selling tickets, becoming an official sponsor of our inaugural event, and/or purchasing an ad in our Hall of Fame program.
Please go to this link to support the event: C|M|Law Inaugural Hall of Fame Celebration. I hope you can join us for a great event! It would mean a lot to us!
October 19, 2017
Thanks. Have a great week.
For copies of past messages, please go to this link: Monday Morning Messages.