Law School’s Faculty/Student Rock Band Headlines Legal Aid’s Jam for Justice

Razing the Bar performing at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Razing the Bar performing at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

“Razing the Bar,” CWRU School of Law’s faculty/student/alumni rock band, will kick off the 2023 Jam for Justice as the lead band on August 23 at the Beachland Ballroom. The in-person event features nine local lawyer rock bands, with proceeds benefitting the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland. The 1L classes from both CWRU and Cleveland State will be attending as part of their orientation activities. 

Razing the Bar, whose name was chosen through a law school naming contest, was formed a dozen years ago. It continues the tradition of the Gravel-tones, a previous CWRU Law School band that dated back decades. 

Razing the Bar has played at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, House of Blues, Music Box Supper Club, Happy Dog Tavern and even the Goodtime III cruise ship. The band also performs regularly at Cosmic Dave’s Rock Club on Juniper Road in University Circle, across the street from the Law School. During performances, band members wear black t-shirts emblazoned with a flaming guitar in the shape of the scales of justice.

While faculty, including Co-Dean Michael Scharf (vocals, guitar), Law Library Director Joe Custer (bass guitar), Professor Charlie Korsmo (keyboard, vocals), Professor Kathryn Mercer (vocals) and Professor Andrew Pollis (vocals) form the core of the band, Razing the Bar’s identity is redefined each year as student members graduate and new musicians join via video audition tapes over the summer. This year, the band features five students: 

  • Michaella Guyot-Polverini, a 3L from a small town in France who plays keyboards and sings. 
  • Kelsy DelMonte, a 3L vocalist from Columbus who is also captain of the Law School’s award-winning International Criminal Court Moot Court team.
  • Nathaniel Arnholt, a 2L guitarist from Cleveland.
  • Jared Levine, a 1L drummer from Columbus.
  • Sophia Fisher, a 1L vocalist from Akron. 

In addition, the band features two alums – Liz Safier (‘21), a Squire Patton Boggs attorney who plays the electric violin, and University Trustee Chuck Hallberg (‘77), who plays guitar and sings.

The band’s “Jam for Justice” set features 25 minutes of classic rock songs from the 1960s through today, with each song showcasing the talents of different band members. The performance will begin with “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morison, followed by “Hotel California” by the Eagles, “Hey Jude” by the Beatles, “Like a Rolling Stone” by Bob Dylan, “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac and “Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Show. The band will close with a frolicking rendition of Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline.”

This was the fourth year in a row that Razing the Bar was selected for the Jam for Justice. It also regularly plays benefit concerts for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and the Law School’s Public Interest Law Fellowships.