2017-18 Monday Morning Message Archive

June 25, 2018

“Earlier this year I struggled and needed help. I honestly remembered being in orientation and the woman from the counseling center came to talk to us about staying sane and to be on the lookout for substance abuse. Because of that, I reached out and got the help I need.” - Cleveland-Marshall first-year student, Spring 2018

The recent tragic suicides of famed fashion designer Kate Spade and famed chef and television host, Anthony Bourdain, and the disturbing patterns of racial and sexual discrimination, and sexual harassment throughout our country have, once again, made me reflect about our obligations to each other and to our students, staff, and faculty ….especially our students.


June 18, 2018

“Thank you for organizing such a wonderful and meaningful graduation ceremony. With the risk of sounding corny, for me it was like an out-of-body experience. I could not stop smiling during the entire day, knowing that I did it, that I survived, and I definitely came out stronger than I went into it three years ago… I just needed to let you know how much I appreciate the life-changing opportunity and experience I received from CMLAW.”-Erika Molnar ’18

Some people collect wine, antique furniture, fine art, coins, or trading cards. I collect speeches and talks because, to me, there is nothing more inspiring than when the written word meets the human voice. A great speech has meaning that transcends the immediate moment


June 11, 2018

“We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill

“I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back.” – Maya Angelou

“Blood makes you related. Loyalty makes you family.” – Chris Diaz

There is no greater gift to a law school and no greater testament to the quality of its students, faculty, and staff, than a strong, loyal alumni network. I will be forever grateful for our supportive and engaged alumni, led by our dedicated Alumni Association and Board of Visitors, who pay it forward every day.


June 4, 2018

“The women of my generation and my daughter's generation, they were very active in moving along the social change that would result in equal citizenship stature for men and women.” – U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (aka “RBG”)

“How fortunate I was to be alive and a lawyer when, for the first time in United States history, it became possible to urge, successfully, before legislatures and courts, the equal citizenship stature of women and men as a fundamental constitutional principle.” - RBG

A few days ago, Peggy and I saw the excellent documentary film “RBG” about the inspiring, groundbreaking career of U. S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

About 15 hours later, our first grandchild, Violet Stanley Fisher, was born.


May 29, 2018

“I guess there are never enough books.” ―John Steinbeck

Last Monday, I asked for your recommendations for a summer reading list for our students. It has become much more than a summer reading list- it’s more like a year-long reading list!

Below are the recommendations I received last week as well as my own recommendations. I also have included books that have been recommended to me by professors, deans, judges, lawyers, and friends in recent years.


May 21, 2018

“There is no friend as loyal as a book.” – Ernest Hemingway

“So many books, so little time.” - Frank Zappa

“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.” -James Baldwin

My mother, Elaine “Boots” Fisher, was a voracious reader. When she died, my family established a special collection in her name of Newbery and Caldecott Medal and Honor children’s books at the Shaker Heights Public Library.


May 14, 2018

“Your education is a dress rehearsal for a life that is yours to lead.” – Nora Ephron

“A graduation ceremony is an event where the commencement speaker tells hundreds of students dressed in identical caps and gowns that individuality is the key to success.” - Robert Orben

“It’s not easy being a mother. If it were, fathers would do it.” - Dorothy, The Golden Girls

This past weekend was very special for me both personally and professionally. Saturday was the Cleveland State University Commencement, and I had the rare privilege of proudly handing a diploma to my daughter, Jessica, who graduated with a B.A. in social work.


May 7, 2018

“Teaching is the greatest act of optimism.” -Colleen Wilcox

One of the greatest benefits of my position as Dean is working with our outstanding faculty. They not only inspire our students, they inspire me.

Over the next year, I will highlight the work of each of our dedicated professors in my Monday Morning Message. This morning, I am pleased to highlight the work of four of our faculty -Professor Carolyn Broering-Jacobs, Professor Patti Falk, Professor Claire Robinson May, and Professor Milena Sterio.


APRIL 30, 2018

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

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” – African Proverb

This week is my one-year anniversary as Dean, and I want to take this opportunity to say thank you. I’ve been overwhelmed by the support I’ve received from the C|M|LAW community over these past two years, first as Interim Dean, and over the past year as Dean. I remain excited and grateful for this unique opportunity.


APRIL 23, 2018

“I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think.” – Socrates

“The best thing about being a teacher is that it matters. The hardest thing about being a teacher is that it matters every day.” -Todd Whitaker 

We are a law school that is student-centered. That would not be possible without our outstanding Cleveland-Marshall facultyOur faculty members offer a level of accessibility, support, encouragement, and interaction that many law schools don’t offer.


APRIL 16, 2018

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin

We are a law school that ensures that our students are practice-ready. Our excellent Civil Litigation, Transactional, and Community Advocacy Clinics connect our students with the practice of law in creative ways that allow us to use the city and the courts as our classroom.

There are many examples, but below is just a brief glimpse into last week in our Civil Litigation Clinic.


APRIL 9, 2018

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” - Declaration of Independence

"Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it." -Maya Angelou

Below is another message to those extraordinary individuals who have been admitted to the Fall 2018 Class of Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.


APRIL 2, 2018

“Choices are the hinges of destiny.” – Edwin Markham

I want to share my email to those very talented individuals who have been admitted to the Fall 2018 Class of Cleveland-Marshall College of Law (“C|M|LAW”).

Congratulations! You have met our high standards of admissions; you were chosen from a large, highly competitive pool of applicants because of your unique combination of achievement and potential for success.


March 26, 2018

We are a law school on the rise.

Last week we received great news that C|M|LAW rose 14 places in the U.S. News Rankings, the fourth highest increase among the nation’s 194 full time ABA accredited law schools. Only 3 law schools in the country had a larger increase in national ranking. In addition, our longstanding part-time program ranked first in Ohio. See Cleveland State University C|M|LAW Rises; Case, Akron Drop in U.S. News Law School Rankings


March 20, 2018

“Celebrate what you want to see more of.” – Tom Peters

“Your playing small does not serve the world.” – Marianne Williamson

This morning, U.S. News & World Report (U.S. News) released its national law school rankings. The news was very good. In fact, it was great news!


March 19, 2018

“Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.” – Albert Einstein

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

Tomorrow is the law school version of March Madness- the annual release of the U.S. News & World Report Law School Rankings. So this week I am writing both a Monday and a Tuesday Morning Message. Tomorrow I will report on the results, and my prediction is below.


March 12, 2018

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

“We are not just attorneys, but defenders of justice….To merely label us ‘attorneys’ would do a disservice to this great profession…” – Brittany Lowe ’17, Jones Day

“I love Cleveland-Marshall, and I love the opportunity it provides for its students to take the law and apply it toward a life of justice.” – Alana Jochum ’10Executive Director, Equality Ohio 

“For 120 years, C|M|LAW has been training lawyers with a conscience. You might call them advocates….crusaders…champions. We call them graduates.” – C|MLAW Video “Justice is Calling You.”

It’s not often that a law school wins the advertising equivalent of a Grammy, an Emmy, or an Oscar. Our video,“Justice is Calling You, produced by our very talented friends at Goldfarb Weber Creative Media, recently won the coveted ADDY Award at the Cleveland American Advertising Awards!


March 5, 2018

“The future started yesterday and we’re already late.” -John Legend

“Once a new technology rolls over you, if you’re not part of the steamroller, you’re part of the road.” – Stewart Bran

We are an iconic law school but we do not rest on our 121 years of laurels. We constantly plan for our future. We look around corners. We anticipate where the world is going and do our best to get there early.


February 26, 2018

“If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money. But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood and sweat and tears.” - Simon Sinek

When I served in public office, a necessary part of each election campaign was raising funds. I’ll never forget what one donor said to me as he handed me his financial contribution. He said, “is this ‘hello’, or is this ‘goodbye’?” He observed that most candidates courted him until he made his financial contribution; but after that, he didn’t hear from the candidate again.


February 19, 2018

There's something happening here; What it is ain't exactly clear. There's a man with a gun over there; Telling me I got to beware….

I think it's time we stop, children, what's that sound; Everybody look what's going down. There's battle lines being drawn ; Nobody's right if everybody's wrong. Young people speaking their minds ; Getting so much resistance from behind.” - Buffalo Springfield, For What It Is Worth

No matter your views on guns, our hearts break for the children and families of Parkland, Florida.


February 12, 2018

I am building a fire, and every day I train, I add more fuel. At just the right moment, I light the match.” —Mia Hamm, gold-medal soccer player

Red Gerard was sitting dead last in the men's slopestyle snowboarding final early yesterday in South Korea after his first two runs down the course. He botched his first run, finishing with a score of 43.33. His second run wasn't much better as he wiped out and received a score of 46.60. But he crushed his final run to put up a score of 87.16, essentially doubling his score.


February 5, 2018

The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times. The generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all of its dimensions, and so they entrusted to future generations a charter protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning.” -U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, Obergefell v. Hodges

Last Wednesday, for the first time in nearly a decade, the Ohio legislature allowed for proponent testimony in support of HB 160, the Ohio Fairness Act, sponsored by State Representative Nicki Antonio (D-Lakewood), which would add "sexual orientation" and "gender identity or expression" to Ohio's nondiscrimination laws.


JANUARY 29, 2018

“The soft skills are the hard skills.” -Professor Amy Edmondson, Harvard Business School

“21st century education revolves around the “4Cs” (critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity).” -Ken Kay, CEO,EdLeader21

“Talent alone gets you nowhere. You really have to have the grit, and you gotta have a love for people.” - Zac Brown

As 2018 begins, a number of our Class of 2017 graduates continue to seek full-time post-graduate employment. Why should you hire our graduates? Here’s why.


JANUARY 22, 2018

Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire.” – William Butler Yeats

“I am not a teacher, but an awakener.” – Robert Frost

Not a week goes by without my receiving positive emails and notes from students, alumni, and community leaders about our outstanding Cleveland-Marshall faculty and staff. I enjoy sharing some of them from time to time.


JANUARY 16, 2018

We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Yesterday was Martin Luther King Day, and it’s worth noting that we have a long, proud history of advancing equality and social justice. Cleveland-Marshall College of Law was the first law school in Ohio to admit women and one of the first to admit minorities. It was our graduates who laid the foundation for the legal profession and who led the fight for civil rights in Northeast Ohio.


JANUARY 8, 2018

Each January I choose 12 quotes, one for each month of the year, to serve as my guideposts for the coming year. Last year’s quotes can be found here: January 9, 2017 MMM

So here’s some wisdom to live by in 2018.


December 18, 2017

When the school offered me a scholarship, I asked my sister to read the letter for me because I just couldn’t believe that something so good is happening to me. Seeing how many people invest in this institution really makes me study as hard as I can.” - C|M|LAW student Erica Molnar

In these final days of 2017, please consider making a tax deductible gift to Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. No contribution is too small (or large!)Please donate here:Believe in C|M|LAW. Please Give Now. It would mean a lot to us.


December 11, 2017

“Well, tests ain’t fair. Those that study have an unfair advantage.” – Allan Dare Pearce, Paris in April

“It’s not that I’m that smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” – Albert Einstein

Final exams began last week and continue until December 22. We provide coffee and food in the Dean’s office every day during exams, but I also want to offer a little advice…


December 4, 2017

Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” -Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Did the C|M|LAW leaders listed below know while they were students or professors at C|M|LAW that someday they would make history by being first? No, but they were willing to take the first step toward their dreams.

As our first year law students approach their first law school final exams later this week, I know that they are feeling some pressure and stress. Trust me, each of the leaders listed below felt the same pressure and stress.


November 27, 2017

“People who end up being ‘first’ don’t actually set out to be first. They set out to do something they love.” – Condoleezza Rice

We are a law school that opens doors, shatters ceilings, and charts new paths.

We are a law school that not only makes great lawyers; we make great leaders.

Most importantly, for the past 120 years, we have been- and continue to be - “A Law School of Firsts.



November 20, 2017

“If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” -Rudyard Kipling

“Stories constitute the single most powerful weapon in a leader’s arsenal.” -Harvard Professor Howard Gardner

Our Cleveland-Marshall Law Alumni Association (CMLAA), led by Tim Collins ’85, is known for sponsoring excellent Continuing Legal Education (CLE) sessions. This past Friday, CMLAA hosted a CLE organized by Nicholas Froning ‘13.


November 13, 2017

“Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can't, and the other half who have nothing to say and keep on saying it.” – Robert Frost

“First learn the meaning of what you say, and then speak.” - Epictetus

What is the single most important skill for a lawyer and a leader? I believe it is effective, persuasive written and oral communication.


November 6, 2017

“Empathy is standing in someone else’s shoes, feeling with his or her heart, seeing with his or her eyes. Not only is empathy hard to outsource and automate, but it makes the world a better place.” Daniel Pink

“All advocacy is, at its core, an exercise in empathy.” Samantha Powers


October 30, 2017

"What we call failure is not the falling down, but the staying down."  –Mary Pickford

We’re very proud of our graduates who passed the Bar Exam last Friday, and we’re proud that our bar passage rate was higher than last year and higher than the state average. With 100 first-time bar takers, C|M|LAW had the second highest number of first-time bar takers in Ohio and the second highest number of first-time bar passers in the state.


October 23, 2017

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” 

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

Our C|M|Law Inaugural Hall of Fame Celebration last Thursday evening was an historic event. Over 300 alumni, friends, students, staff, and faculty came together to honor 120 men and women who have contributed to the past, present, and/or future success and reputation of C|M|Law. Each has left their own trail.


October 16, 2017

“Success is a journey, not a destination.” – Arthur Ashe

Please join us this Thursday evening, October 19, 5:30-8pm for our first-ever C|M|Law Inaugural Hall of Fame Celebration, at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, 1801 Euclid Ave. Our Cleveland-Marshall College of Law (C|M|Law) Hall of Fame honors those living and deceased leaders over the past 120 years who have contributed to our past, present, and/or future success.


October 9, 2017

“If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, what am I? And if not now, when?”

Hillel the Elder

“If not us, who? If not now, when?” –President John F. Kennedy


October 2, 2017

Our thoughts and prayers go out this morning to all those who have been affected by the tragic shootings in Las Vegas.

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” —John Maxwell 

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”).


September 25, 2017

“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


September 18, 2017

“Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Standing in the hall of fame…. Cause you burn with the brightest flame.” -  See this video"Hall of Fame", The Script

We have officially launched the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law (C|M|Law) Hall of Fame (“HOF”), created in the summer of 2017, C|M|Law’s 120th anniversary. The C|M|Law Inaugural Hall of Fame Celebration, an annual fundraising event to be held every fall, will be on the evening ofThursday, October 19, 2017, 5:30-8pm. I hope you can join us for a great event!


September 11, 2017

“The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places.”  -Ernest HemingwayA Farewell to Arms

“You can train your mind to not only handle the unease that comes from having to consistently act without having all the answers, but embrace and invite it as a signpost that what you’re doing matters….learn how to dance with the unknown.” - Jonathan Fields, Uncertainty

16 years ago today, at 8:46 a.m., our world changed in an instant. It was one of the saddest, darkest, most horrific days in history.


September 5, 2017

“The dignity of labor depends not on what you do, but how you do it.” -Edwin Osgood Grover

Yesterday was Labor Day and we tend to think about labor as work. But it’s also about how you do your work.

We live in a world where, for most of us, helping our fellow citizens in a time of need is a labor of love. This past week, we saw the worst of mother nature and the best of human nature. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, as the water rose, people throughout the world rose to help their fellow citizens in a time of need.


August 28, 2017

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.” – President John Quincy Adams

In my welcoming remarks to our first-year class, I asked them to dedicate their first year at C|M|LAW to three special women who recently passed away:


August 21, 2017

“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.” Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Nations, like stars, are entitled to eclipse. All is well, provided the light returns and the eclipse does not become endless night….The reappearance of the light is the same as the survival of the soul.” – Victor Hugo

This past week we welcomed the light of our first-year class and today we welcome the light of all our students - amidst the darkness of Charlottesville.


August 14, 2017

“Come to the edge” he said. They said, “We are afraid.“ “Come to the edge,” he said. They came. He pushed them…and they flew.” – Guillaume Apollinaire

“Study while others are sleeping, decide while others are delaying, prepare while others are daydreaming, begin while others are procrastinating, work while others are wishing, persist while others are quitting”Anonymous

We are excited that our first year class (C|M|LAW Class of 2020) will be arriving tomorrow for orientationBelow are excerpts from my welcome message.


August 7, 2017

Every year on my birthday (and many days in between), I have a chocolate milkshake, my favorite guilty pleasure since childhood. This year, my birthday milkshake takes on a new meaning.

On Friday, July 28, 2017, Emily Pomeranz ‘95 passed away after a long battle against cancer. Born in Cleveland, Emily grew up in Cleveland Heights. After graduating from Laurel School and Kenyon College, she earned her law degree at C|M|Law in 1995. She worked for many years as an attorney for the Board of Veterans Appeals in Washington, D.C., and as recently as last year, she was a donor to our Annual Fund.



July 31, 2017

“ 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. 


July 24, 2017

The Ohio Bar Exam is this week - July 25-27 in Columbus. Since 1738 when Delaware created the first bar exam, law graduates have gone through this rite of passage. Our graduates have worked very hard to get this far. I want them to know that we believe in them…… so with apologies to Reinhold Niebuhr, author of the Serenity Prayer, I’ve taken the liberty of writing the following:


July 17, 2017

Pursuing your dreams is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.” – Anonymous

“Get ready to embark on a wild ride unlike anything you’ve ever experienced, packed with thrills, chills, and probably a few spills. Being a 1L will challenge you like you’ve never been challenged….. The first year of law school will be one of hardest years of your life. Law school will profoundly alter the way you think, and view and interact with the world around you. Your 1L experience will change who you are, whether you want it to or not. “ Andrew McClurg, 1L of a Ride, A Well-Traveled Professor's Roadmap to Success in the First Year of Law School


July 10, 2017

“You can be a master, Don't wait for luck. Dedicate yourself and you goin' find yourself, Standing in the hall of fame…. Cause you burn with the brightest flame. And you'll be on the walls of the hall of fame.” -  "Hall of Fame", The Script

As part of our 120th anniversary, I’m excited to announce our C|M|LAW Inaugural Hall of Fame Celebration. On October 19, 2017, 5:30-8pm, we will honor our first class of distinguished law school alumni, friends, and community leaders who have helped make our law school what it is today and what it will be in the future.


July 3, 2017

"The greatest threat to freedom is the absence of criticism." --Wole Soyinka

“I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.” -Thomas Jefferson

I have just finished reading two of my “summer reads”- John Adams by David McCullough, andThomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham. Adams and Jefferson were distinguished lawyers and two of the five Declaration of Independence authors. (Note: four of the five Declaration of Independence authors were lawyers.)

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