Speeches

Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor
Lawyer to Lawyer Give Back for Justice
Oct. 22, 2018

(Remarks prepared for delivery on Oct. 22, 2018, in the 10th floor video studio at the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center)

Good evening. I’m Ohio Supreme Court Justice Maureen O’Connor.

Thank you for that introduction. Thank you as well for your leadership on the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association and providing the space and hospitality for the event.

I wish I could be with you this evening.

I would like to thank the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland for bringing together justice partners throughout the Greater Cleveland area.

I would also like to thank the Ohio Supreme Court’s Commission on Professionalism and its deep commitment to promoting access to justice.

Specifically, I’d like to thank the Chair, Judge Richard Collins

Legal aid programs and the organizations represented here tonight are all working to provide access to justice. But they cannot come close to meeting the needs of low-income individuals who are involved in the legal system.

So tonight, I ask you to “Give Back for Justice” and consider volunteering for a pro bono opportunity during your mentoring term.

Please take time to talk to pro bono providers and explore the opportunities available. You will find a wide range of subject areas and types of commitments – from providing an evening of assistance at a “brief advice clinic” to co-counseling on a pro bono case with your mentoring partner.

You also will receive notifications about other pro bono opportunities in your community throughout the mentoring term.

These are important opportunities.

By engaging in a pro bono opportunity, the mentor and mentee will be able to fulfill the mentoring activity requirement in addition to fulfilling their professional responsibility to help ensure justice for all.

Our goal is to create a culture of pro bono within the Lawyer to Lawyer Mentoring Program. We hope that mentors and new lawyers will continue to offer pro bono help even after their mentoring terms end.

Many Lawyer to Lawyer Mentoring participants in Northeast Ohio have established a habit of pro bono.

They include:

Dave Gallup with Gallup Law. Dave’s dedication to the CMBA’s Lawyer Referral Services has been admirable. Dave has served as Chair and/or Vice-Chair of the LRS Oversight Committee for close to 20 years. He sincerely promotes the Lawyer Referral Service as a tool which promotes and improves the quality of, and public trust in, the administration of justice and the legal profession.

Gregory G. Guice with the Reminger Company. Greg is a volunteer leader making significant contributions. He is CMBA Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion, an officer role, and is the Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee. He is Co-Chair of the Minority Clerkship Program, a diversity pipeline program for first-year law students.

Ellen Mandell from the law office of Ellen S. Mandell. Ellen is truly committed to the betterment of the legal profession and to the community as a whole. She is a past president of the Cuyahoga County Bar Association and past chair of its Certified Grievance Committee. Through the CMBA, Ellen has been highly involved with the Family Law Section, Judicial Selection Committee, and the Certified Grievance Committee. She also serves as a Monitor, working with lawyers who are returning to the practice of law following a suspension. Both her legal colleagues and the public benefit from her volunteer service.

And finally, Mary Groth of the CMBA. Mary’s commitment to mentoring is truly exceptional, from her work within the CMBA, with the Stokes Scholars, and 3Rs programs, to serving as a long-term mentor for College Now. . She always has time for those just starting their education in the law, sharing her experience in everything from college applications to networking to career planning.

In 2015 the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education presented Mary with the Founders' Award in honor of her career spent supporting civics and law-related education in Ohio. Recently, Mary was appointed President Elect for the National Conference of Bar Foundations, where her extensive knowledge of law-related philanthropy can benefit other organizations across the country.

Thank you for participating in the Lawyer to Lawyer Mentoring program and for your pro bono work.

You will never regret the commitment you will make. Pro Bono services are a critical and enriching part of the justice system. They are satisfying for the pro bono lawyers themselves and life changing for clients.

Enjoy your evening. God bless.