LLEAP 3 – Your Network Starts Here

2023 LLEAP 3 Speaker with Students

“Please take a moment and look around. This is your first network.” 

Each semester, this is how Matthew Salerno starts his LLEAP 3 Transactions course. This spring semester, two guest speakers were kind enough to help demonstrate what he means.

Adam Marshall (LAW ‘99), Jason Hollander (LAW ‘99) and Matt Salerno (LAW ‘99) did not know each other when they started at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. They met in their first year and, as many 1Ls do, they ended up in various study groups together. From the study groups, their friendship grew - so much so that this group of three spent their entire summer of bar exam prep studying together and supporting each other. Strangers became classmates. Classmates became study group members. Study group members became lawyers and life-long friends. 

Nearly 25 years later, these three classmates reunited in the LLEAP 3 Transactions class. In a real-life lesson on how enduring relationships are forged while in law school, Marshall and Hollander spoke to the students in Salerno's class about representing clients, life as a lawyer, career paths and a variety of other topics. 

Hollander, Vice President, Legal, Business Resiliency and Assistant Corporate Secretary at Diebold Nixdorf, discussed his path from outside counsel to in-house counsel. Echoing the problem solver’s mindset that Salerno stresses, Hollander explained to the students that “our job [as lawyers] is to find solutions for our clients.”

Marshall, Managing Member of Lorium PLLC, talked about his path from mid-sized firm to large firm to owning his own firm. In sharing his experiences, Marshall encouraged the students, telling them “you are the next generation; make the most of your opportunities.” 

The students in LLEAP 3 Transactions also heard a presentation from Linda Green, the Commercial Transactions Manager at Chicago Title Insurance Company. In addition to discussing current issues that students might encounter in practice, Linda discussed title insurance and the multiple documents used in closing a commercial transaction. After her presentation, the class went on to prepare all the documents necessary to close this semester’s deal. 

Jennifer Cupar (LAW ’98), who teaches the LLEAP 3 Litigation course, also called upon her network of law school friends to participate in her class this spring. Early in the semester, students participate in a simulated case management conference where they present their positions to a judge and then discuss discovery and mediation with the judge and opposing counsel. Two members of Cupar’s law school study group, Magistrate Judge Heide Herrmann (LAW ’98) of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, and Sarah Nintcheff (LAW ’98), law clerk to Judge Patricia A. Gaughan of the Northern District of Ohio, served as judges for the conferences. Five other judges, three of them CWRU Law alumni, also helped to give students this real-life litigation experience: Judge Edmund A. Sargus (LAW ’78) of the Southern District of Ohio, Judge Mary Jane Trapp (LAW ’81) of the Ohio Eleventh District Court of Appeals, Judges Lisa Forbes (LAW ‘92) and Michelle Sheehan of the Ohio Eighth District Court of Appeals, and Magistrate Judge Jennifer Armstrong of the Northern District of Ohio.

Finally, Judge Bridget Meehan Brennan of the Northern District of Ohio “presided” over the case. At the end of the semester, the class had the pleasure of meeting Brennan virtually when she spoke about her distinguished and fascinating career since graduating from CWRU Law in 1999. 

“We can’t thank our guests enough for taking time out of their busy schedules to talk to our students,” says Salerno. “Their real-life examples reinforce to our LLEAP 3 students that we’re teaching them how to do the things that they will be asked to do in practice.”

LLEAP 3 is a key part of the law school’s experiential curriculum. In LLEAP 3, the classroom is transformed into a law firm where students research, write, and interact with clients exactly as a junior business or litigation attorney would. Students in LLEAP 3 Transaction buy and sell a business, starting from a term sheet and working on all the documents necessary to “close the deal.” Students in LLEAP 3 Litigation work on a hypothetical litigation proceeding from the initial client interview through opening statements at trial. LLEAP 3 is a required second-year legal writing course that falls in the middle of the continuum from first-year writing courses to third-year clinic and capstone experiences.