With commencement 2022 approaching, CWRU School of Law is featuring a few of our outstanding graduating students to learn why they chose CWRU School of Law, what courses they enjoyed, the advice they'd share with incoming students and where they're headed next.
What is your favorite memory of CWRU School of Law? I will always remember my very first federal trial with the First Amendment Clinic! The weeks before the trial, we used my professor's office as our situation room and if I wasn't in class, I was there with my classmates running through documents, preparing questions and strategizing. I loved the sense of purpose and the pure focus that we brought to that office every day in service of our client. At the end of the trial, we received the trial transcript and I was able to see everything I said on the record—objections, examinations and the closing statement. It was the first time the reality of my law degree really sank in.
Why did you choose CWRU School of Law? You can learn legal doctrine anywhere, but I chose CWRU because of the community I found in Cleveland as an undergraduate student. Law school is notoriously challenging and isolating, but I was fortunate to have a supportive community of mentors and friends to help get me through.
What advice would you give to incoming first-year law students? Try to build a support system as soon as possible. It will be much more helpful than random study tips.
Favorite course? I have too many favorites, and my professors made all the difference: Evidence, Contracts, Social Justice Law Reporter, First Amendment Clinic, Civil Rights, Mass Media Law & Policy, Critical Race Theory, First Amendment Law, Civil Procedure with Bryan Adamson, Race Law & Society, and LLEAP. I also enjoyed serving as a teaching assistant for Criminal Law, Evidence, and LLEAP 3.
What are your post-graduation plans? I will be working as a litigation associate at Hahn Loeser & Parks in downtown Cleveland. Eventually I'd love to teach and mentor students as a law professor.
Organizations & Achievements:
- Currently serving as the Student Bar Association co-president (with Nadia Haile)
- Past president of the Black Law Students Association
- IfRFA Fellow (Initiative for a Representative First Amendment) at Harvard University's Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Technology
- Member of Case Western Reserve's Constance Baker Motley Mock Trial Team; received the "Best Advocate" award in the 2021 and 2022 regional competitions
Favorite course? Discrimination in Employment, taught by Professor Sharona Hoffman. We got through a lot of really important subject matter, and Professor Hoffman kept the course updated with very recent developments in employment discrimination case law. I am grateful that as a result of this course I feel better prepared and knowledgeable about my rights as I enter the workforce.
What are your post-graduation plans? The jury's still out on where I'm taking the bar, but I'm psyched to move to Milwaukee for a two-year clerkship at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. I am originally from Wisconsin and am looking forward to being back in the same state as all of my siblings.
What advice would you give to incoming first-year law students? Do your best and forget the rest. You can only do what you can reasonably do, and that's enough. Everything will work out in the end.
Organizations & Achievements:
- Contributing editor on the Case Western Reserve Law Review;
- Member of Law for the Environment, Animals, and Food;
- Awarded four CALI Excellence for the Future Awards for receiving the highest grade in Contracts, Torts, Civil Procedure, and Copyright Law;
- Recognized on Dean's List; and
- Law review Note was awarded the Sindell Torts Prize for best essay in the field of torts.
Why did you choose CWRU School of Law? I am originally from Maryland, When I imagined going to law school, I always expected to stay there. However, when I was applying to law schools, I kept reading ads from CWRU School of Law that said things like: collaborative, community, and experiential education. These were all the things I was looking for in a grad school environment. When I spoke with people at the school, I felt that community and I knew I needed to go to CWRU.
What is your favorite memory of CWRU School of Law? My favorite memory is with my study group my first year of law school. We were sitting in someone's apartment and we were just all trying to memorize every topic and thing we learned in Tort Law. People would say a random topic and then another student would try to explain it without looking at notes. I think this is my favorite memory because it highlights what I love most about CWRU law school: the community. I have always felt supported by the other students, faculty and staff. Being completely stressed out about final exams, but being surrounded by my friends and feeling loved and supported—that is my favorite memory.
Why did you choose CWRU School of Law? I am originally from Maryland, when I imagined going to law school, I always expected to stay there. However, when I was applying to law schools, I kept getting ads from CWRU School of Law that said things like: collaborative, community and experiential education. These were all the things I was looking for in a grad school environment. When I spoke with people at the school, I felt that community, and I knew I needed to go to CWRU.
Any advice for incoming first-year law students? Do what works best for you. Whether that is how you take notes, how you handle your mental health, or how you engage in class. There is no one right way to do law school; rather, you need to learn to balance what works for you and integrate the new learning strategies into that.
Favorite course? This is a really hard question to answer so I am going to share two of my favorite classes. The first one that I want to talk about is Contracts, which is a doctrinal class that every law student is required to take in their first year. My teacher was Professor (Juliet) Kostritsky and she is amazing. She was always able to keep my attention and really helped me engage with the material at 8 a.m. It is a very hard class, but she made it fun. It was the first class that really started to shape my mind as a lawyer and bring out a strong analytical side.
The second favorite class is LLEAP 3: Transactions. LLEAP is the legal writing classes at the law school. You are required to take LLEAP 3 your second year, but you can choose Transactions or Litigation. Most of what we imagine when we think of a lawyer is litigation, so having a class that showed the other side of what being a lawyer was like was cool. Also, the class was experiential and filled with group work. We were simulating a merger and acquisition, so we had to do due diligence, draft amendments, advise our client, and do negotiations. It is a wonderful and unique experience that was built up by Professor (Matthew) Salerno. Most law schools do not give you opportunities like this.
What are your post-graduation plans? I will be moving to Milwaukee to work as a Patent Lawyer at Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c. They are a large Midwestern law firm. I worked for them last summer and they offered me a position. The experience over the summer was wonderful; I was able to work on Patent and Trademark Office Actions, draft contracts for small filmmakers, and present to the firm on trademark issues. I am very happy to be going back to work for them.
What advice would you give to incoming first-year law students? Do what works best for you—whether that is how you take notes, handle your mental health or engage in class. There is no one right way to do law school, rather you need to learn to balance what works for you and integrate the new learning strategies into that.
Organizations & Achievements:
- Law Review, Executive Symposium Editor. As symposium editor, I organized and designed a Symposium, AEDPA and the PLRA After 25 Years. I also work for the journal as a team leader helping to edit and review articles.
- Student Federal Bar Association, Treasurer
- Student Intellectual Property Law Association, Secretary
- Texas Regional Champion and National Finalist, USPTO National Patent Drafting Competition
What is your favorite memory of CWRU School of Law? I loved Fall Ball 1L year. I had never been to FirstEnergy Stadium for a formal event prior to the Ball and it was a great opportunity to interact with peers outside of classes for a night of free drinks, food and dancing! That was also before COVID took the world by storm, so I cherish that memory as one of the last "normal" social events before the pandemic.
Why did you choose CWRU School of Law? I was impressed with the school's practical training offerings, especially the Community Development Clinic. I knew I wanted to use my legal training to help organizations, especially those owned and/or operated by underrepresented clients, in the Greater Cleveland community and the clinic did just that and more. I hoped I would have the opportunity to participate in the Clinic in the future. And fortunately, I am in the clinic now and enjoying every minute!
Advice for incoming first-year law students? Don't doubt yourself! You got into law school for a reason and you are more than capable of succeeding, even if that success does not correlate to straight As.
Favorite course? LLEAP 3 Transactions taught by Prof. (Matthew) Salerno. I liked learning how to get a deal from a term sheet to closing. The class solidified my desire to work as a transactional lawyer in the future.
What are your post-graduation plans? I've accepted a full-time associate position with Tucker Ellis LLP (TE) in the firm's Cleveland office. It is a dream come true for me because my first real introduction to the legal profession was through attorneys from TE when I attended Cleveland Early College High School at John Hay Campus. TE attorneys were my mock trial coaches then and their skill, professionalism, and dedication to our program inspired me to pursue a career in law. I participated in the program all 4 years of high school and even after I graduated, I kept up with my former coaches and made other meaningful connections with attorneys from the firm that continuously motivated me through college and law school. I am super excited that my journey has brought me back to the firm that piqued my initial interest in law over 10 years ago.
Post-graduation, I am also looking forward to continuing to watch my near 8-month-old daughter Sage continue to grow and amaze me!
Organizations & Achievements:
- Corporate Finance and Law Alliance (CFLA) - Current President
- Black Law Students Association (BLSA) - Current Member and Former Secretary
- Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association
- Norman S. Minor Bar Association
- Ohio State Bar Association
What is your favorite law school memory? Professor (Leon) Gabinet would end each Federal Income Tax class by saying, "Stay off the streets and out of the bars kids." I am thankful to have known such a legend. (Prof. Gabinet passed away in Dec. 2021.)
Advice for incoming first-year law students? Keep your eyes on your own lane. Figure out your goals, focus on what it will take to achieve those goals, and don't worry about what everybody else is doing. Your path might look different from your classmates and that is totally okay. You do you.
Favorite course? I loved Estate Planning with Professor Tom Hausman. In addition to being an incredibly kind human, he made the tax code understandable, and even enjoyable at times. I feel prepared for my future career because of his class.
Post-graduation plans? I have accepted an associate position in the Estate, Trust, and Probate group at Tucker Ellis LLP. I am thrilled to join such an incredible group in an area of law that I feel very passionate about.
Organizations & Achievements:
- Publishing editor for the CWRU Journal of International Law
- Co-president of Christian Legal Society
- Received the 2021 Distinguished Note Award and 2021 CALI award for the Journal of International Law
Why did you choose CWRU School of Law? In short—its international law programs and reputation.
What are you working on right now? I am currently completing a spring semester capstone at the Anti-Corruption Commission - Sierra Leone. My work is focused on drafting and editing service charters, rule changes, assessing compliance and implementation policy for Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and assisting in reviewing and developing training modules for ethics and integrity in the workplace. I recently presented copies of my books at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and also at the Office of the President, among many others.
Favorite class? Constitutional Law with Professor (Raymond) Ku. His down-to-earth teaching style and understanding of the subject matter stand out. More so for me, he took the time to review my writing assignments and also provided mentoring advice. Notable other professors with similar impact are Professor (Cassandra) Robertson and Professor (Juliet) Kotrisky.
Advice for incoming first-year law students? Work hard and network.
What are your post-graduation plans? I plan to take the DC bar and secure a job.
What is your favorite memory of CWRU School of Law? My favorite memory is when I started an improv acting group where I facilitated improv exercises and scenes with my fellow classmates as a means to stretch our creative thinking muscles, de-stress, and have a bit of fun. (Sadly, it never returned post-COVID shutdown).
Why did you choose CWRU School of Law? I chose CWRU School of Law because of the geographical breadth of its alumni network, the "easy approach" atmosphere between students and faculty/staff, and the great scholarship opportunities.
What advice would you give to incoming first-year law students? Have fun, make friends, and build your network; but when it comes to your education and career, keep your head down and focus on what makes you happy, what study methods work for you, and only worry about your own measure of success. Try not to get caught up in how others are progressing or performing (you don't have time for it anyway!)
Favorite course? I couldn't possibly pick a single favorite course, but here are the top five (in no particular order): Law of the Music Industry, Negotiations in Sports Management, Trademark Law, Mass Media Law and Policy, and Copyright Law.
What are your post-graduation plans? I plan to study for, take, and pass the bar and then I plan to begin my career as an attorney in sports & entertainment law (ideally focused on soft IP and transactional matters).
Organizations & Achievements:
Throughout my law school career, I received three CALI Excellence for the Future Awards for receiving the highest grade in Trademark Law, Representing the Professional Athlete, and Mass Media Law & Policy. I have also been recognized on the Dean's List and serve as the marketing director on the Disability Law Society's Executive Board.