New Graduate Profile: Kelly Wojtila

Posted 2020-12-04 3:03pm

Our class of 2020 graduates are actively engaged in the permanent job search and you can help! To connect with any of our talented class of 2020 graduates, please contact Assistant Dean for Student and Career Services, Sarah Beznoska, at .

Meet Kelly Wojtila, one of our class of 2020 students who passed the October 2020 Ohio bar examination. Kelly will bring her client-focused approach, strong work ethic, and extensive legal experience to her work as a new attorney.

What motivated you to attend law school? 

My decision to attend law school is deeply rooted in my sense of community. Growing up in a small, close-knit town like Chardon, you learn very quickly how important it is to prioritize the well-being of those around you. I wanted to take this attitude and do as much good with it as possible. One of the best ways I could think of to do that with was to attend law school, and then use the specialized skills I would learn there to help people through some of their most difficult and confusing experiences.

Tell us about your legal work experience (law clerk, externship, internship, etc.).

My first law clerk position was with Zipkin Whiting, Co. LPA, doing primarily employment law and class-action work. In my six months there, I worked closely with three incredible women who not only taught me about the practice of law, but also how to make myself heard in (frequent) situations in which I am the only woman in the room. After leaving Zipkin Whiting, I began clerking for William Norman, a sole-practitioner in criminal defense. I spent two-years learning the ins and outs of our state and federal criminal systems while gaining practical experience in client management, legal research, and writing. 

While continuing to work for WEB Norman Law, Inc., I completed two externships. The first was through CSU's Cleveland-Marshall’s Community Advocacy Clinic, in which I worked with a low-income mother of two to seal 13 misdemeanors (in multiple courts) from her record. I spent my last semester of law school as an extern with the (Northern District - Ohio) Federal Public Defender’s Capital/Habeas unit, where I assisted in drafting habeas petitions and appeals for clients on “Death Row”.

What are the best qualities you will bring to a legal employer?

I am extremely hard-working and compassionate. While attending both college and law school as a full-time student, I was always simultaneously working at least two jobs - I am not intimidated by long hours or hard work. This work has allowed me to work and bond with people of all social intersections, regardless of any differences we may have.

What are your goals for your legal career?

At the end of the day, my one true goal is to help our most vulnerable and marginalized. I had the privilege of receiving a legal education, and I intend to use my career as an attorney to uplift those who did not. Hopefully, I am able to do this by continuing in criminal defense, preferably through post-conviction and appellate advocacy.

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