Student Profiles: Cleveland State Law Review Editors-in-Chief Patrick Lipaj and Katherine McLaughlin

Posted 2020-04-22 12:14pm

CSU Cleveland-Marshall College of Law 3L student and current Cleveland State Law Review Editor-in-Chief Patrick Lipaj has always been interested in business and graduated from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Economics (along with a Bachelor of Arts, Political Science).  When he started as Law Review editor last spring, Lipaj did not realize just how similar serving in the role would be to managing a business.

“I learned a lot about running an organization the past year,” Lipaj said.  “Law Review is essentially a small business – we have 50 top-notch employees, serve customers, have to develop and manage budgets and create an awesome product.”

Current 2L CSU C|M|LAW student Katherine McLaughlin will be taking the reins from Lipaj as the incoming Law Review Editor-in-Chief.  In addition to writing her note on third-party access to data generated by connected cars, McLaughlin has spent the past year watching Lipaj run the publication.

“I’d like to build on the strong foundation that Pat has laid for us,” said Mclaughlin. “I already learned how much work goes into producing our publication. Filling Pat’s shoes will be no easy task.”

For the position as Editor-in-Chief,  McLaughlin campaigned on the topic of member support. She wants members to not only enjoy their time on Law Review and build their skills, but to benefit from the Law Review’s alumni network for years to come.

When offering McLaughlin advice as incoming editor, Lipaj offers a glimpse at his sense of humor by giving recommendations on the best ways to obtain the amount of coffee she will need during the next year.

While Lipaj likes to joke with professors and his associates, he is a very competitive person as well.  As evidence, his classmates can point to his time on Moot Court, where he was awarded Best Brief at the 2019 Burton D. Wechsler First Amendment Moot Court Competition, and his success against them in 5K races.

Lipaj enrolled at CSU Cleveland-Marshall just a year after his undergraduate studies, but had a wide range of career experience before and during his legal studies.  He worked as a trader at ExchangeBase, LLC and served as a staff assistant at Van Meter, Ashbrook & Associates, where he operated in various political capacities.  While at CSU C|M|LAW, Lipaj has worked as a full-year clerk with The Sherwin-Williams Company, was a summer associate at Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan, & Aronoff LLP and is currently a judicial extern with the Office of the Honorable Donald C. Nugent ’74, who serves in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.

Lipaj’s competitive nature also comes through as he explains what he has enjoyed about the law and his various positions.

“I think my competitiveness is what drew me to law,” explained Lipaj.  “I like working for Judge Nugent because there was always a winner and a loser in the courtroom. I loved working on political campaigns because, on election day, the voters choose a clear winner and loser. I love Moot Court because the panel of judges pick which briefs and oral advocates win and which ones lose.”

McLaughlin brings a her own unique background and skillset to the EIC position, having worked as a Commercial Lines Underwriter with Cincinnati Insurance Companies before coming to law school.  While she was considering law school as far back as her undergraduate studies at Wittenberg University, she did not know what area of law would interest her.  After four years with Cincinnati, she knew she wanted to work with businesses. She felt if she could sit and read insurance policies all day, she had what took to read cases, statutes and regulations in law school.

“Insurance has a bit of overlap with the legal world, and my previous position helped me understand a few things better like contracts and liability,” said McLaughlin.  “Working a full-time job also helped me develop great study habits.  Even though I’m a full-time student, I still treat law school like a 9-5 – or 9-8 – job.”

It is no surprise that McLaughlin spent the summer of 2019 as a law clerk with the Progressive Corporation.  However, she is currently expanding her horizons as an extern with the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office.  She does not see herself practicing criminal law but took the externship specifically so she would be out of her comfort zone and could experience a different aspect of law.

This summer, McLaughlin will work as a summer associate at McCarthy, Lebit, Crystal & Liffman. She is currently interested in pursuing corporate or employment law after graduation, but is open to expanding interests as she prepares for her final year of law school.

Upon graduating this spring and receiving state certification, Lipaj will go to work for Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan, & Aronoff.  He was born and raised in Cleveland, and hopes to stay in Cleveland his entire career.  He considers the choice to attend law school at CSU Cleveland-Marshall, in the heart of his favorite city, a “no brainer” and cannot wait to practice alongside his classmates who he considers lifelong friends.

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