2016-17 Monday Morning Message Archive

June 26, 2017

"Don't work for recognition, but do work worthy of recognition." -H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

One of the many rewarding parts of my job is receiving positive notes every week about our outstanding work. I love sharing them.


June 19, 2017

“America needs talent more than ever, but Americans aren’t yet fully grasping that college is the best way to ensure that supply of talent.” - Jamie Merisotis, America Needs Talent

Ohio’s near-term economic future is in the balance. Ohio faces a projected $1 billion deficit, and in these final days of the state legislative session, legislators must pass a balanced state budget by June 30.


June 12, 2017

“The fact of being an underdog changes people in ways that we often fail to appreciate. It opens doors and creates opportunities and enlightens and permits things that might otherwise have seemed unthinkable.” -Malcolm Gladwell

"My whole career has been one of fighting for the underdog." – Congressman Louis Stokes ‘53


June 5, 2017

“As LeBron James stated, ‘nothing is given, everything is earned.’ And Class of 2017, we have earned this law degree.” - Tiffany Henderson ’17, President, Student Bar Association

This is my final set of words of inspiration from our recent Commencement speakers. Below are excerpted remarks from CSU President Ronald Berkman, CSU Board Chair Bernie Moreno, Tiffany Henderson ’17, President, Student Bar Association, Ben Beckman, ’10, Chair, C|M|Law Board of Visitors, and Chief Magistrate Greg Clifford, ’80, President, C|M|LAW Alumni Association.


May 30, 2017

I read Dean Fisher’s Monday Morning Message…..every Tuesday.” - Richard (Dick) Pogue at the May 20, 2017 C|M|Law Commencement.

I want to share some more words of inspiration from our recent Commencement speakers. Below are excerpted remarks from Steve Percy ’79 and Richard (Dick) Pogue, our Honorary Degree Recipients; and Linda Klein, President of the American Bar Association, our Commencement Speaker.


May 22, 2017

“Defend The Land” – Cleveland Cavaliers Playoff Slogan

“Regardless of the path we choose, it is important for us to give back. We are agents of change and we must ‘defend the land’ for everyone.”–Elissa Schooler, Class of 2017

“We are not just attorneys, but defenders of justice. A voice for the voiceless. Advocates for fairness….We are advice-givers and role models. Creative minds yet logical thinkers. To merely label us ‘attorneys’ would do a disservice to this great profession…” – Brittany Lowe, Class of 2017

This past Saturday was the culmination of a year of teaching, studying, inquiring, debating, volunteering, leading, and learning as our Class of 2017 graduated. Our 131 graduates came to us from more than 55 colleges and universities across the country and around the world. 118 graduated with a JD degree, 4 with an LLM degree, 9 with an MLS degree from our Masters of Legal Studies program, and 9 with joint degrees.


May 15, 2017

“History gives answers only to those who know how to ask questions.” - unknown

As part of our year-long 120th Anniversary celebration, we unveiled our first-ever C|M|Law Trivia Game at our First Annual C|M|Law Legacy Celebration a few weeks ago.


May 8, 2017

“The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.” - Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird.

It was the day I decided to learn law and live justice. It was a warm spring day. May 4, 1970. I was a freshman at Oberlin College. A few days earlier, President Richard Nixon had expanded the Vietnam War by invading Cambodia. Anti-war college protests erupted throughout the country.


May 1, 2017

“Our fingerprints don’t fade from the lives we touch.” -Judy Blume

“Legacy is not leaving something for people, it’s leaving something in people.” – Peter Strople

This past Saturday we hosted our first-ever C|M|Law Legacy Celebration. A C|M|Law Legacy is an alumnus, alumna or current student whose parent, grandparent, sibling, aunt, uncle, or spouse/life partner also received a degree from C|M|Law. Over 60 alumni legacies from 16 families attended and each were given our new C|M|Law Legacy pin. A few families had as many as 7 members of their family who graduated from C|M|Law!


April 24, 2017

“Whatever you do, do it well. Do it so well that when people see you do it, they will want to come back and see you do it again, and they will want to bring others and show them how well you do what you do. –Walt Disney

I want to highlight some upcoming major annual C|M|Law Events that you don’t want to miss!


April 17, 2017

“I hope you never lose your sense of wonder, you get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger………Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance, and when you get the choice to sit it out or dance….. I hope you dance.” – Lee Ann Womack, “I Hope You Dance.”

In the 1973 movie classic "The Paper Chase," Harvard Law School Professor Charles Kingsfield tells his students, "Look to your left, look to your right. One of you won't be here next year." During orientation last August, I told our first year students, “Look to your left, look to your right. You likely are looking at a friend and colleague for life.”


April 10, 2017

"None of us is as smart as all of us." -Ken Blanchard

“Breakthrough innovation occurs when we bring down boundaries and encourage disciplines to learn from each other” - Gyan Nagpal, author of Talent Economics

As we celebrate our 120th anniversary it is important to remember that we are more than a law school. We are part of a larger university,Cleveland State University, that serves as Cleveland’s premier urban higher education anchor institution. 


April 3, 2017

“…..Without access to quality representation there is no justice.” -Justice Antonin Scalia, on the 40th anniversary of the Legal Services Corporation


March 27, 2017

“The art of communication is the language of leadership.” – James Humes

“Those enjoying winning streaks win twofold. They win not only the game but also the right to greater self-determination. They become masters of their own fate. That feeling of efficacy, of being in charge of circumstances, is the essence of confidence. Winning once or twice is encouraging, but winning continuously is empowering. – Rosabeth Moss Kanter


March 20, 2017

“You hold in your hands what many believe to be the best novel ever written. To Kill a Mockingbird is the story of a crusading lawyer, Atticus Finch, and his fight for moral truth and racial justice. Today, his character continues to ignite important dialogue.

This iconic story has inspired many of our students to be lawyers. It is our gift to you because of the path you have chosen and because the story of Cleveland-Marshall is also an iconic story of justice and equality. 

In our 120-year history of leadership and innovation in legal education, we were the first law school in Ohio to admit women and one of the first to admit African-Americans. Through our longstanding clinical and pro bono programs, our students have worked hard to build a world that strives for justice. We not only honor our past; we invest in our future. From leadership in cybersecurity and health care law to innovation in collaborative learning, we continue to be a law school of firsts and an institution of opportunity and excellence. 

We are proud that you have met our high standards for admission and we would be even prouder to welcome you to our C|M|Law family as we Learn Law & Live Justice.”


MArch 13, 2017

Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning” -Benjamin Franklin

Breaking News…..This past weekend, Emily Stolfer and DeAngelo LaVette went undefeated in every round to win the Frederick Douglass Moot Court National Championship!

Emily and DeAngelo soundly defeated 18 law school teams from throughout the country including Columbia, Emory, University of Virginia, George Washington, and Texas A&M. Emily and DeAngelo argued the final round in the U.S. District Court and came away with a 6-0 score. Between the regional competition and national competition, DeAngelo and Emily NEVER lost a judge's ballot. In other words, they won every single round at both regionals and nationals (a total of 10 rounds) unanimously!

Read more... 

MArch 6, 2017

“When recruiting lawyers, I look for people who bring an entrepreneurial approach to the practice of law….” – Mark Smolik ‘87

This past week, Mark Smolik '87, one of our most distinguished alumni, spoke at C|M|Law. Mark is the Vice President, General Counsel, and Chief Compliance Officer for DHL Supply Chain Americas and Chairman and Founder of QualMet, an innovative legal technology company that uses performance metrics and benchmarking to raise the legal quality and business value between in-house and outside legal counsel. Mark spoke about the business of law, the changing dynamics of the legal profession, and what that means for our law students and recent graduates.

Read more... 

February 27, 2017

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress. -Frederick Douglass

Every week I witness the impressive accomplishments of our students not only in the classroom but also outside the classroom through participation in our diverse C|M|Law student organizations, publications, and events.

Read more... 

February 21, 2017

"Teaching is the greatest act of optimism” -Colleen Wilcox

“The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” -William A. Ward

Every week, I receive heartfelt emails from students thanking our outstanding faculty and staff for their remarkable service and dedication to C|M|LAW. Here is a sampling.

Read more... 

February 13, 2017

I never teach my pupils. I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.”  Albert Einstein

Most of us live in a bubble. We engage in what is called “confirmation bias.” That is, we search for or interpret information in a way that confirms our own preconceptions.


February 6, 2017

Find out who you are and do it on purpose.” – Dolly Parton

As we celebrate our 120th year anniversary as Cleveland’s “brain-gain” law school, it is a good time to reflect on who we are. At a time when law schools never have been more competitive, what makes us distinctive? I think the answer is that we are a law school for life. Simply put, for our students and graduates, their C|M|LAW experience is an important part of who they are, and their passion and loyalty for C|M|LAW is extraordinary.


January 30, 2017

“The good ideas that underlie most of the great changes in our society…. have roots in the open kind of information commons of the university or the British coffeehouse. … In those environments, ideas are free to connect with each other and build on top of each other…that remixing is really where great ideas happen.”  - Steven Johnson, Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation


January 23, 2017

When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” -Dr. Wayne Dyer

The past few days of our peaceful transition to power, the Presidential Inauguration, and the Million Women March, have prompted me to reflect more about the best framework and mindset for facing our mounting challenges.


January 17, 2017

“ We are not makers of history. We are made by history.” -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 THE PAST IS PROLOGUE.” Inscription over the door of the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

“ What do you think that means?,” General Eisenhower asked the cabby driving him through the nation’s capital. “ It means,”said the cabby, “you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”


JANUARY 9, 2017

Each year, I choose 12 quotes, one for each month of the year, to serve as my guideposts for the coming year. So here’s some wisdom to live by in 2017.


December 19, 2016

“The story of our [Cleveland State University] success is told one student at a time.” Dr. Ronald Berkman, President, Cleveland State University


December 12, 2016

John Glenn went around the world three times today. Everyone brought radios to school and we listened. We saw it on television too. He’s the first man ever to orbit the earth.”


December 5, 2016

“We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.” -Cynthia Ozick, American writer


November 28, 2016

“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident”. - Arthur Schopenhauer 


November 21, 2016

"We have to remember that we’re actually all on one team… We’re not Democrats first, we’re not Republicans first, we are Americans first. We’re patriots first….we all go forward with a presumption of good faith in our fellow citizens….” - President Barack Obama


November 14, 2016

On election night, no matter who you supported, most of us were surprised and many were shocked by the outcome.


November 7, 2016

Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.” –President Franklin D. Roosevelt


October 31, 2016

In 1980, Justice Lloyd Brown, Hon. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, and Judge Ronald B. Adrine '73 met in the chambers of Judge Brown to discuss the formation of an African American Bar Association.


OCTOBER 24, 2016

"[I]t's our game; that's the chief fact in connection with it: America's game; it has the snap, go, fling of the American atmosphere; it belongs as much to our institutions, fits into them as significantly as our Constitution's laws; is just as important in the sum total of our historic life."

Walt Whitman 


OCtober 17, 2016

On October 31, 1963 while on a routine beat through downtown Cleveland, Detective Martin McFadden noticed three men pacing in front of a jewelry store on Euclid Avenue. McFadden identified himself as a police officer and asked them their names. Read more...

October 10, 2016

Last week I wrote about Kenneth Ricci '86 receiving the Cleveland-Marshall Distinguished Alumni Award. This morning I want to highlight another distinguished alumnus who also was honored at the recent CSU Distinguished Alumni Awards ceremony - Judge Annette Butler '70. Read more...

October 4, 2016

Yesterday was Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, so this message is being sent Tuesday morning.


September 26, 2016

Tonight at 9pm is the first Presidential Debate. This Presidential Super Bowl is expected to top the previous debate audience record of 80.6 million TV viewers set in 1980 for the debate between Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter. Read more...

September 19, 2016

I rarely will write about personal matters in this Monday Morning Message, but because of something special that happened this past weekend, I want to tell a story about my parents. Read more...

September 12, 2016

Yesterday marked the 15th anniversary of 9/11, one of the saddest, darkest, most horrific days in history. Just one day before, on Monday, September 10, 2001, the FBI stated at a congressional briefing that the most imminent domestic terrorism threat was from… Read more...

September 6, 2016

When a holiday falls on Monday, I’ll send my message on Tuesday morning. Since Monday was Labor Day, this message is about the new world of labor and work. Read more...

August 29, 2016

Good Morning. During orientation week for our first year class, we featured a new session on “The Future of Cleveland.” Why? Because our future is tied to Cleveland’s future. Read more...

August 22, 2016

Good Morning. First and foremost, thank you for the opportunity to serve as Interim Dean. It’s an honor and a privilege. Read more...

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