Print All
Federal Bar Association Northern District of Ohio Chapter
Ph. (877) 322-6364

President’s Podium


In 2007, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio adopted a Pro Bono Civil Case Program.  Thus far, over seventy-five attorneys have volunteered their services to the program.  Pro bono counsel have been appointed in seventy six cases, providing legal representation in civil rights (prisoner, employment, ADA), labor (E.R.I.S.A.), and foreclosure matters.  The Court, however, is seeking attorneys with experience in all areas of civil litigation.

Under the Pro Bono Civil Case Program, a judge may refer a case to the Clerk’s Office for assignment of counsel from the panel of volunteer attorneys experienced in the subject matter of the case.  The program helps to defray expenses incurred by attorneys providing legal assistance to pro se parties.   The Court will reimburse attorneys for out-of-pocket expenses up to $1,500 upon submission of an itemized statement.  Expenses in excess of $1,500 will also be considered for reimbursement if submitted to the Court in advance.

If you, or other members of your firm, are interested in participating in this valuable program, please complete an application to join the volunteer panel. General information about the Pro Bono Program, including the application form, reimbursement voucher, and an announcement regarding deposition services, is available on the Court’s website at:

I want to express my gratitude to Heather Karns for her leadership and tenacity in the coordination of our “Meet the Deans” program held on January 17, 2012 at the City Club of Cleveland.  The program offered a candid panel discussion between Martin H. Belsky, Dean and Professor of Law, University of Akron School of Law; Craig M. Boise, Dean and Professor of Law, CSU, Cleveland Marshall College of Law; Lawrence E. Mitchell, Dean and Professor of Law, Case Western Reserve School of Law; and, Daniel J. Steinbock, Dean and Professor of Law, University of Toledo College of Law.  Discussion points included the rising cost of law school, difficulties facing law students graduating with considerable debt in a tough job market, the perceived “value” of a law degree in today’s market, curriculum changes designed to incorporate more experiential learning, diversity initiatives, law school adjustments to falling enrollments, and distance learning.  If you were unable to attend this informative program, a podcast of the presentation is available on the City Club of Cleveland’s website: /.



Our Chapter has strong ties with the four law schools in our District. Each school has both faculty and student representatives who serve on our Board of Directors. Our Chapter currently has 259 student members, which is in large part due to the generous sponsorship of Rennillo Deposition and Discovery, a Veritext Company.  Rennillo’s financial support made it possible for law students to join our Chapter at no cost.  Membership, in turn, provides our law student members with invaluable benefits, including: an early opportunity to work and network with lawyers and judges, participation in our Chapter’s many programs and projects, and attendance at many of our CLE events at no cost.

Our Chapter is also very fortunate to be the beneficiary of a $20,000 award received from the U.S. District Court’s Attorney Admission Fund.  The purpose of this Fund is to “benefit the bench and the bar in the administration of justice.”  FBA NDOC programs and projects planned for 2012 will be funded, in part, by this award.  We are very grateful for the continued support received from the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio and recognize that the 2012  award will help insure that we have the financial resources to continue providing  stellar programs and projects for which our Chapter is known. 

Congratulations are due to the four recipients of the 2011-2012 FBA NDOC Constitutional Law Awards at the University of Akron:  Ryan Doringo, Ashton McEvoy, Eric Sarmiento and Susan Tussing. These students received the highest grades in their Constitutional Law I class during the Fall 2011 Semester.

Special recognition is also due to our Younger Lawyers Committee for their ongoing efforts in organizing a series of service projects for 2011 and 2012.  A second Red Cross Blood Drive, co-sponsored with the U.S. District Court, was held on February 7, 2012.  On February 11, 2012, FBA NDOC volunteers, together with members of the Northeast Ohio Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel, staffed a Legal Aid Brief Advice and Referral Clinic at the Fatima Family Center in Cleveland.  A Volunteer Night at the Cleveland Foodbank is scheduled for March 26, 2012 from 6:00-8:00 p.m.  On Friday, April 27, 2012, we will be doing a “packing day” for the local charity Shoes and Clothes for Kids (SC4K) from 12:30 – 4:30 p.m. May will be busy with the collection of childrens books for the "A Book of Your Own" Project. Whatever your interest, these important service projects are designed to provide an opportunity for Chapter members, young and old, to make a difference in our community. None requires long term commitment.  If you can spare a few hours of valuable service offered to those in our community who are less fortunate, please join us. 
I encourage you to visit our new website at  There you will find a list of our Committees and a calendar of upcoming events. We always have a full line up of top quality CLE programs, covering a wide array of topics.

Diana M. Thimmig is Of Counsel with Roetzel & Andress LPA in Cleveland, Ohio. She focuses her practice on complex business and commercial litigation, bankruptcy cases, and insolvency proceedings. Diana is President of the Federal Bar Association, Northern District of Ohio Chapter.

(back to top)

District Court Clerk's Corner


The United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation

The Northern District of Ohio is in for a real treat this summer when the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, also known as the MDL Panel, visits Cleveland on July 26, 2012. Other locations being visited this year by the Panel include; Washington, D.C., New York, NY, San Diego, CA and Dallas, TX. Stay tuned for an announcement of a FBA-NDOH CLE program to be held in conjunction with the visit of the MDL Panel to Cleveland.
The MDL Panel was created by an Act of Congress in 1968 – 28 U.S.C. §1407. The MDL Panel consists of seven sitting federal judges, who are appointed to serve on the Panel by the Chief Justice of the United States. As set forth in the statute, the functions of the Panel are to (1) determine whether civil actions pending in different federal districts involve one or more common questions of fact such that the actions should be transferred to one federal district for coordinated or consolidated pretrial proceedings; and (2) select the judge or judges and court assigned to conduct such proceedings.

The purposes of this transfer or “centralization” process, of course, are to avoid duplication of discovery, to prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings, and to conserve the resources of the parties, their counsel and the judiciary. Transferred actions not terminated in the transferee district are remanded to their originating transferor districts by the Panel at or before the conclusion of centralized pretrial proceedings.

The MDL Panel has long relied upon the judges in the Northern District of Ohio to assist in the management of multi-district matters. MDL 875 - The Asbestos Product Liability litigation currently presided over by the Honorable Eduardo Robreno in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, at one time had been presided over by former Chief Judge Thomas D. Lambros here in Northern Ohio. The MDL Asbestos litigation is winding down now. The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has issued an order that will require most courts (but not Northern Ohio) to handle their own asbestos cases from now on.  Judge Robreno is continuing to handle Northern Ohio asbestos cases along with the asbestos cases from a handful of other courts, to avoid any parallel litigation that might cause confusion while he continues to work on our cases.  We may eventually be approaching a time when we will no longer be transferring asbestos cases to MDL, but may need to address them in Northern Ohio.  Only three asbestos cases were filed in our district during 2011.



James G Carr (Sr. District Judge) MDL - 1490 IN RE: Commercial Money Center, Inc., Equipment Lease Litigation 12/12
James G Carr (Sr. District Judge) MDL - 1953 IN RE: Heparin Products Liability Litigation 353/573
Patricia A Gaughan (U.S. District Judge) MDL - 2044 IN RE: Vertrue Inc. Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation 14/14
James S Gwin (U.S. District Judge) MDL - 2001 IN RE: Whirlpool Corp. Front-Loading Washer Products Liability Litigation 10/10
David A Katz (Sr. District Judge) MDL - 1742 IN RE: Ortho Evra Products Liability Litigation 57/1,512
David A Katz (Sr. District Judge) MDL - 2197 IN RE: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., ASR Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation 3,786/3,834
Donald C Nugent (U.S. District Judge) MDL - 2220 IN RE: KABA Simplex Locks Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation 14/15
Kathleen McDonald O'Malley (U.S. Circuit Judge) MDL - 1535 IN RE: Welding Fume Products Liability Litigation 99/12,589
Solomon Oliver, Jr (Chief Judge, USDC) MDL - 2003 IN RE: National City Corp. Securities, Derivative and Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) Litigation 8/27
Benita Pearson (U.S. District Judge) MDL 2316 Ford Motor Co. Defective Spark Plug and 3-valve Engine Products Liability Litigation 6/6
Dan A Polster (U.S. District Judge) MDL - 1909 IN RE: Gadolinium Contrast Dyes Products Liability Litigation 262/719
Dan A Polster (U.S. District Judge) MDL - 2066 IN RE: Oral Sodium Phosphate Solution-Based Products Liability Litigation 141/196
Dan A Polser (U.S. District Judge) MDL - 2319 Bayer Healthcare LLC 11/11
Jack Zouhary (U.S. District Judge) MDL - 2196 IN RE: Polyurethane Foam Antitrust Litigation 31/61

The figures noted after each Judge’s pending MDL actions represent pending versus total cases.

The Welding Rod litigation has involved over 12,000 cases and the DePuy Orthopaedics litigation currently has over 3,800 pending cases with several thousand more expected to be filed this year.

2011 Scoreboard

Civil Docket. Civil case filings increased 72% from 3,546 in calendar year 2010 to 6,080 in 2011 due to a 443% increase in MDL filings which rose from 603 to 3,277. Traditional civil case filings decreased by 5% from 2,937 in 2010 to 2,800 in 2011. Civil case closings decreased 22% from 4,691 in 2010 to 3,667 in 2011, again reflecting the large fluctuations in MDL caseloads. The number of civil cases pending at year end increased 56% from 4,319 in 2010 to 6,736 in 2011.

Criminal Docket. Criminal case filings rose 6% from 521 in calendar year 2010 to 550 in 2011 while the number of new criminal defendants increased 23% from 781 to 962. Criminal case closings decreased 3% from 506 in 2010 to 492 in 2011 while the number of criminal defendants rose 5% from 718 to 755. The number of criminal cases pending at year end went up 12% from 421 in 2010 to 472 in 2011 while the number of pending defendants increased 30% from 682 to 884.

Alternative Dispute Resolution: The number of cases referred to ADR increased approximately 4% from 335 in 2010 to 350 in 2011 with 103 (29%) referrals to Federal Court Panel members and 247 (71%) referrals to judicial officers. Following the modifications to the Local Rules which allowed neutrals to charge up to $275/hr for their services, effective August 1, 2011,  there was a decrease in the number of cases referred to Panel members, with 33% (62/189) of the referrals made in 2011 prior to the change going to Panel members but only 25% (41/161) thereafter. Since the program’s inception, 6,566 cases have been referred to ADR with 6,449 cases having completed the process.  Of the 6,449 cases completed:  31% were resolved through ADR, 15% were resolved after the actions were referred to ADR but before the ADR proceeding took place (default judgments, dismissed actions), 7% were withdrawn from the process prior to the ADR proceedings being conducted, and 46% were returned to chambers for post-ADR settlement negotiations and case processing.

Depository Change - L.Rule 67.1 Deposits
Technical modifications have been made to Local Civil Rule 67.1 changing the Court's depository from Bank of America's Court On Line Banking System to the Administrative Office's Court Registry Investment System (CRIS) which invests in the Bureau of Public Debt's Federal Investment Program of Government Accounting Series (GAS) securities. Please remember to submit your proposed order for review prior to submitting it to the Court, to a financial deputy in Cleveland or to the Deputy in Charge in Akron, Youngstown or Toledo.

L. Rule 67.1 Deposits provides:
Whenever a party seeks a court order for money to be deposited by the Clerk into an interest-bearing account, the party shall attach to the motion a proposed “Order of Deposit and Investment,” in the form provided in Appendix D, which directs the Clerk to invest the funds in Government Account Series securities through the Court Registry Investment System by the Bureau of Public Debt. Prior to filing the proposed order in Cleveland, the party should contact a Financial Deputy and in Toledo, Akron or Youngstown, contact the Deputy-in-Charge, who will review the proposed order for compliance with this rule and to prepare for the efficient transfer of funds, preferably by wire transfer.

Any order obtained by a party or parties in an action to deposit funds into the registry of the Court, as set forth in Appendix D, Order of Deposit and Investment pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2041 shall include the following:

CJA Panel Attorneys and Experts: W-9 and CJA Payee Registration Form Requirement
Criminal Justice Act (CJA) Panel Attorneys are reminded of the requirement that they, as well as their experts (investigator, interpreter, paralegal, etc)  submit  a W-9 form  to the Clerk’s Office. This is required in order to seek reimbursement from the court.  A new W-9 form is also required whenever a person seeking reimbursement has a name change, address change, or taxable reporting change. A CJA Payee Registration form is also required for all CJA attorneys seeking reimbursement from the court. 

Paralegals must submit their compensation request on a CJA21 Authorization and Voucher for Expert and Other Services form.  If the paralegal works for a law firm, the firm’s taxable identification number (TIN) should be used.  If the paralegal is a sole proprietor, the paralegal’s social security number should be used unless they have their own taxable identification number.

CJA National Policy and Procedure Training: The Clerk's Office, in conjunction with the Federal Defender's Office, provided CJA National Policy and Procedure training to all CJA Panel Attorneys last December. The National CJA Voucher Training provided information describing the CJA and explaining the CJA voucher submission and approval process.  During the training, key points were identified related to the compensation and expenses of appointed counsel.  Key points also related to the authorization and payment of service providers other than counsel (i.e., investigator).  The uses of the CJA Online Reference Tool (ORT) were discussed and demonstrated online during the training.  Following the ORT, a demonstration of the calculating CJA20 Voucher/Worksheet was demonstrated and information was reviewed on tips and other resources such as frequently asked questions and user set up instructions.  The last topic covered was the changes in the policy guidance on billing practices. We concluded the training with questions.

More information may be found on the Court’s website at

FDsys (Federal Digital System) - Another Resource for Free Online Access to Written Opinions
The Northern District of Ohio is now part of an online pilot program conducted by the Government Printing Office (GPO) called FDsys (Federal Digital System) which provides free online access to official publications from all three branches of the Federal Government. All OHND written opinions from 2004 to the present are available for free download from the FDsys site. FDsys is similar to the CourtWEB system that OHND already participates in, but also includes documents from other branches and agencies, on which users can conduct federated searches. Written opinions are also freely available through the PACER system.  You may access Fdsys at the following link:

PACER Fee Increase
Fees apply for electronic access to most documents. The current fee of eight cents per page, with a maximum charge of $2.40 per document will be increasing to ten cents per page in April. There is no fee for access to court opinions, and fees are waived for users who incur less than $10 of use in a quarterly billing cycle. This increase was authorized by the Judicial Conference in response to increasing costs for maintaining and enhancing the judiciary’s electronic public access system and to develop and implement the next generation of the Judiciary’s Case Management/Electronic Case Filing System. The EPA fee has not been increased since 2005. As mandated by Congress, the EPA program is funded entirely through user fees set by the Judicial Conference.  The Conference was mindful of the impact such an increase could have on other public entities and on public users accessing the system to obtain information on a particular case. For this reason, local, state, and federal government agencies will be exempted from the increase for three years. Moreover, PACER users who do not accrue charges of more than $15 in a quarterly billing cycle would not be charged a fee. (The current exemption is $10 per quarter.) The expanded exemption means that 75 to 80 percent of all users will still pay no fees. See,

RSS Feed - Newly Docketed Events
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio provides automatic case notification through the use of RSS feeds, allowing the public to easily stay informed of newly docketed events. Anyone can subscribe to the court’s RSS feed, which is free and includes automatic notification of activity in individual cases the user selects.
The feed offers summarized text, such as the name of the document filed, with links to the document and docket report. Results may be sorted by date or case title.

Users must have an account with the judiciary’s Public Access to Court Electronic Documents (PACER) system, and log in to PACER to view the document or docket report linked to the RSS feed. There are many available RSS readers that offer the capability.

Geri M. Smith was appointed the Clerk of Court for the U.S. District Court Northern District of Ohio on July 1, 1991, having joined the court in 1982. She serves as the chief administrative officer of the court as well as the administrative assistant to the Chief Judge. Smith is a member of the FBA-NDOC Board of Directors.

(back to top)

The Judge's Gavel: State of the Court


Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 was substantially revised in 2010.  The Advisory Committee Notes state that the revisions were made “to improve the procedures for presenting and deciding summary-judgment motions and to make the procedures more consistent with those already used in many courts.  The standard for granting summary judgment remains unchanged.”  Despite this disclaimer, lawyers and judges should note that the Rule was completely rearranged.  One example is the moving of the former 56(f), which pertains to the options available to a party and the court when affidavits are unavailable to oppose a motion, to current Rule 56(d).  Lawyers and judges should also be aware that even the wording in the summary judgment standard was changed from “genuine issue as to any material fact” in former Rule 56(c), to “genuine dispute as to any material fact” in current 56(a). So, at a minimum, lawyers and judges may no longer rely on boilerplate language previously utilized in citing to the various aspects of the standard.

Beyond this, there are other significant additions to the Rule of which practitioners and judges should take note.  Although it was always good practice for a party to cite to the particular part of the record that supports that party’s  factual assertion, Rule 56(c)(1)(A) now explicitly requires that this be done.  Further, Rule 56(c)(3) incorporates the requirement found in the case law of some circuits, that judges are not required to “search the record” when considering summary judgment motions.  Courts, however, retain discretion to consider material in the record even if it is not called to the court’s attention.

The Rule also clarifies that judges have a significant amount of flexibility in considering summary judgment motions.  For example, Rule 56(f) now incorporates the holding of case law which found it permissible for judges to grant summary judgment motions sua sponte, that is, without any motion having been filed by a party.  It also allows a court to grant summary judgment on grounds not raised by a party.  It may also, upon consideration of a motion, grant summary judgment to a non-moving party.  The Rule requires that the parties be given notice and an opportunity to respond under such circumstances.

The Rule now explicitly recognizes, as held by the Supreme Court in Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325 (1986), that a party, without the burden of proof at trial, has two ways of meeting its initial burden of production.  It may do so by pointing to material in the record to affirmatively show there is no genuine issue of disputed fact, or by showing that “an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact.”  For example, in a copyright infringement case where the issue is whether the alleged infringer had “access” to the work that was allegedly infringed, one might show through the affidavit of the alleged infringer that he lived abroad during the pertinent time, that he did not know the alleged author of the infringing product or others who admittedly had access to it.  Conversely, the party could also show that, upon the completion of discovery, that no persons had testified to facts and circumstances that would be sufficient for the court to conclude that the alleged infringer had access.

Rule 56(e)(1),(2) is now explicit in regard to what the options of the court are if “a party fails to properly support an assertion of fact or fails to properly address another party’s assertion of fact.”  The court may either give the party an opportunity to provide the missing information or it may go ahead and decide the motion.  Though it has long been clear that a court cannot grant a default judgment for failure to address an assertion of fact, the Rule now states that a court may deem the fact to be undisputed.  Under Rule 56(e)(3), a court may then grant summary judgment if the motion and supporting materials –including the facts considered undisputed–show that the movant is entitled to it.”

In sum, you can see that there are changes of which we must all take note. The Rule now incorporates, in several respects, previous case law interpreting the Rule.  It more explicitly states the obligations of the parties and very clearly asserts that courts have a wide range of discretion with respect to how the process is carried out, as long as parties have notice and an opportunity to be heard.  It remains to be seen whether there will be an increase in the granting of motions sua sponte, on grounds not raised by a party or to non-moving parties since those practices are now explicitly sanctioned by the Rule.  My guess is that these techniques will continue to be used sparingly, with the predominant model continuing to be that a party files a motion seeking judgment on specified issues on which the court will rule.  While it has long been held that the summary judgment process does not itself violate the Seventh Amendment right to a jury trial, overuse of these techniques could raise serious concerns regarding this right.  However, there are occasions when a party has no triable issue or case, but that fact has not been brought to the court’s attention or the issues have not been properly framed or addressed by the parties.  In such circumstances, resolution of the case, through the alternative techniques recognized in Rule 56, would not run afoul of the right to a jury trial and would be consistent with the admonition in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 1 that the Rules “be construed and administered to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action. . .”.

In any event, the changes give us all something to think about.

1 For a full consideration of the Rule, including strategies and tactics in bringing and opposing summary judgment motions, see The Honorable Solomon Oliver, Jr., Summary Judgment, in 3 Business and Commercial Litigation in Federal Courts, Ch. 30 (Robert L. Haig Ed. 3d ed. 2011).

Judge Oliver received his B.A. degree from the College of Wooster and his J.D. from New York University.  He was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio in May of 1994.  Previously, he served as Associate Dean and Professor of Law at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.

He also served as Chief of the Civil Division and Chief of Appellate Litigation in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Cleveland.  Judge Oliver clerked for the late William H. Hastie of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.  He served as Secretary to the Council of the American Bar Association’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, and Co-chair of the Litigation Section’s Minority Trial Lawyer Committee.  He is a member of the American Law Institute, the Board of Trustees of the College of Wooster, and the Judicial Conference of the United States.

Judge Oliver received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Wooster and from NYU’s Black, Latino, Asian Pacific American Law Alumni Association.  His most recent publication is a chapter on summary judgment in a six-volume treatise entitled, Business and Commercial Litigation in Federal Courts.

(back to top)

Law School Corner


The Future of Legal Education: Responses from Northern Ohio’s Law School Deans

Legal education, the current state AND the future of, has been under heavy scrutiny for the last few years. The issues are not new but the legal community as a whole is now becoming more aware of them. On January 17, 2012 law deans from Northern Ohio’s four law schools met at The City Club of Cleveland to share their views on issues presented by moderator and Federal Bar Association Northern District of Ohio’s President, Diana Thimmig. Common areas of focus expressed by the four deans included an increase in attention on providing skills training, increasing diversity, the need to keep costs reasonable, assessing resources, and providing a quality education with decreasing resources. President Thimmig posed questions about law school economics, the changing law school applicant pool, how state subsidies are impacting law schools, allegations about employment figures presented by law schools, and changes to law school curriculum. To view this program and more from Dean of University of Akron’s School of Law, Martin H. Belsky; Dean of Cleveland Marshall College of Law, Craig M. Boise; Dean of Case Western University School of Law, Lawrence E. Mitchell; and Dean of The University of Toledo College of Law, Daniel J. Steinbock visit this link:

Are You Interested in Becoming a Law Student Representative?
If you are currently a law student at one of the universities in the Northern District of Ohio and are interested in becoming a law student representative for the 2012 – 2013 academic year, please contact one of the following School of Law Board Representatives:

The University of Akron School of Law:  Associate Dean William S. Jordan, III, 330-972-6751

Case Western Reserve University School of Law:  Professor Jonathon Entin, 216-368-3321

Cleveland-Marshall College of Law:  Professor Kenneth Kowalski, 216-687-3947

University of Toledo College of Law:  Heather Karns, 419-530-2851

(back to top)

Members in the News



FBA-NDOH Past President, Carter Strang, a partner at Tucker Ellis & West LLP (TEW), and FBA-NDOH Member Karen Ross, an associate at TEW, co-authored, “’Take-Home’ Premises Liability Asbestos Exposure Claims--2011 Update” in the January 2012 edition of the Defense Research Institute's Toxic Tort Environmental Law Newsletter.

In addition, Past President Strang was named to the Kent City Schools Hall of Fame, Class of 2011. Carter is a 1969 graduate of Kent Roosevelt High School.


David E. Mills, The Mills Law Office LLC and FBA-NDOC member, was named one of the five “Lawyers of the Year 2011” by the Lawyers USA publication for achievement of noteworthy accomplishments during the year. Lawyers USA recognizes annually those attorneys who have made a significant impact in the legal world.


J. Philip Calabrese, FBA-NDOC member and a partner in the Cleveland office of Squire Sanders, has been appointed chairman of the Sixth U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ Advisory Committee on Rules.  A former clerk for Chief Judge Alice M. Batchelder, Calabrese has been a member of the 12-member Advisory Committee since April 2009 when he was appointed by then-Chief Judge Danny Boggs. The Advisory Committee, which consists of attorneys who practice before the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati, provides advice and recommendations on court rules and internal operating procedures. Mr. Calabrese was selected because of his experience in federal practice, including practice before the Sixth Circuit. 


Barbara Paynter's firm of Hennes Paynter Communications received the top award for crisis communications work from the Greater Cleveland Chapter of Public Relations Society of America for the third consecutive year. On December 2nd, the firm won the 2011 gold “Rocks” award for its work on behalf of Saint Joseph Academy, the only Catholic all-girls school in the city of Cleveland. Barbara is the public representative to the FBA NDOC Board. Her firm offers crisis communication, media training and litigation communication support. 

(back to top)

Judicial Profile: United States Magistrate Judge Gregory A. White


At a recent “Brown Bag Luncheon” hosted by the Northern District of Ohio Chapter this past January, United States Magistrate Judge Greg White opened with a light-hearted question, “how is a law career like baseball?”  The answer, “when you can’t practice anymore, they put you on the bench.”  All kidding aside, while he’s now been on the bench for over four years – after a long and storied career as the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, and before that as the Lorain County Prosecutor – did you know that Judge White would be happy building the bench too?  More on that later.

Judge White’s career path has had a decidedly West-to-East direction.  Born in Huron County, then moving to Lorain County, where he graduated from Oberlin High School in 1967 and later serving for 22 years as its Prosecuting Attorney, and finally settling in Cuyahoga County, first as the District’s United States Attorney for six years, and now sitting as a U.S. Magistrate Judge.  Though he has no current plans to take over Youngstown.  Judge White says he’s here to stay.  That’s a good thing, as he is also an active and dedicated member of our FBA Northern District of Ohio Chapter’s Board of Directors, where he continues to add valuable direction to our Chapter’s many programs and activities, including helping out with coaching the Garrett Morgan High School’s Mock Trial team in last year’s Cleveland Metropolitan School District Mock Trial Tournament.

Greg White began his journey after high school by joining the United States Marine Corps, serving his country during the years 1968 and 1969, including a Vietnam tour of duty with the Ninth Infantry Regiment.  While in the Corps, he was awarded the Silver Star Medal (awarded for “gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States”), the Bronze Star Medal (awarded for “heroic achievement or service”) with a “V” designation (indicating “valor,” resulting from an act of combat heroism), and the Naval Commendations Medal (awarded for “distinguishing oneself by heroism, meritorious achievement, or meritorious service”), also with the “V” designation.  It is clear from talking with Judge White that his military service is central to who he is today – as he notes, “the USMC gives you a perspective on life” that he has carried with him throughout his career.   

After leaving the Marine Corps, Judge White began work in Lorain’s steel mills, while also taking classes at Lorain Community College.  He later enrolled at Kent State University, where he graduated in 1973 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice and Police Administration.  He jokes that it was advice given by one of his former accounting professors that turned him toward “giving serious thought toward going to law school.”  Judge White took that advice, and entered Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in 1973, where he completed his Juris Doctorate degree in 1976, graduating Magna Cum Laude.  While studying at Cleveland-Marshall, Judge White also worked days as a carpenter, and he still enjoys woodworking, spending many a winter afternoon in the garage pursuing the craft.  As noted earlier, Judge White not only sits on the bench, he’d be happy building it too.

Judge White began his legal career as a solo practitioner, sharing an office and “given a desk and chair,” with Lorain County solo practitioner Hub Wilcox.  Just a short time later, in 1979, when the City of Elyria’s then Law Director was appointed to the bench, Judge White made his first foray into Lorain County politics, seeking, and being appointed by Elyria’s Mayor to, the open Law Director position.  However, later that same year, the Mayor lost a re-election bid by 61 votes, which, as a result, carried with it the end of the Law Director appointment.  So, in 1980, just three years out of law school, Judge White ran for Lorain County Prosecutor, and won, a position he held for the next 22 years.  While serving as County Prosecutor, he was active in the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association and served as President of that organization from December 1989 to December 1990.  He was selected Outstanding Prosecuting Attorney of Ohio in December 1995.  While there, Judge White also engaged in a number of professional activities, including serving for ten years on the Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission, helping to revise Ohio’s criminal code.  He also chaired a statewide Victims of Crime Task Force, which made recommendations to the Ohio Governor resulting in new laws relevant to the investigation and prosecution of crimes perpetrated against mentally challenged and disabled individuals.  For eight years, he also chaired the Ohio Attorney General’s Victims of Crime Advisory Board.   

In November 2002, Judge White received a call from the White House that would change his career and propel him toward the federal legal arena.  He was nominated to the position of United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.  Judge White recalls fondly the honor of being named the district’s top law enforcement officer, and particularly the experience of his interview at the Justice Department, including the majestic sight of seeing the inscription ringing the walls of the alcove outside the Attorney General’s Office in Washington, stating “The United States Wins Its Point When Justice Is Done Its Citizens In The Courts.”  The position of United States Attorney is perhaps best described in a paragraph written by Supreme Court Associate Justice George Sutherland more than 70 years ago:

The United States Attorney is the representative not of an ordinary party to a controversy, but of a sovereignty whose obligation to govern impartially is as compelling as its obligation to govern at all; and whose interest, therefore, in a criminal prosecution is not that it shall win a case, but that justice shall be done.  As such, he is in a peculiar and very definite sense the servant of the law, the twofold aim of which is that guilt shall not escape or innocence suffer.  He may prosecute with earnestness and vigor – indeed, he should do so.  But, while he may strike hard blows, he is not at liberty to strike foul ones.  It is as much his duty to refrain from improper methods calculated to produce a wrongful conviction as it is to use every legitimate means to bring about a just one.”

Berger v. United States, 295 U.S. 78, 88 (1935).

While serving as the United States Attorney, Judge White was appointed by the Attorney General of the United States to the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee, and served as Chairperson of the Law Enforcement Coordinating, Victim, Community Issues subcommittee.  He also served on subcommittees addressing Terrorism and National Security, Border Issues, and Violent Crime.  On top of this, he is a past Chairperson of the Cleveland Federal Executive Board.

At the recent FBA “Brown Bag Luncheon,” Judge White humorously noted, “Public corruption has followed me throughout my career.”  Thankfully, not instigating it but rather prosecuting it.  First, there were various investigations of public corruption relating to Lorain County affairs, then prosecution of former East Cleveland Mayor Emmanuel Onuwar along with businessman Nate Gray in connection with a long-term bribery scandal that sent both men to federal prison, on through to participation in the investigation and prosecution of Tom Noe, persons involved in investment improprieties with the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation, and most recently, the early stages of the Cuyahoga County corruption investigation.  To quote Judge White, “it was a historic ride.”  Though his favorite part of the work as United States Attorney was working in the neighborhoods – “dealing with guns, gangs, and the like” – working toward building the capacity of those neighborhoods to address their problems and to thrive. 


Magistrate Judge White addresses the Brown Bag attendees seated in his jury box.

FBA NDOC Board Member Bruce Wilson’s reaction to Magistrate Judge White’s humor.

Then, in 2008, after ”27 years of stomping out fires” as a county prosecutor and United States Attorney, Judge White arrived at what he now describes as “four years of very quiet.”  On March 1, 2008, Judge White began his duties as a United States Magistrate Judge for the Northern District of Ohio, the culmination of the rigorous and extensive vetting process leading to his selection as a Magistrate Judge by the district judges of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.  He describes his docket he now oversees as a “large dose” of state habeas cases and Social Security Administration benefits appeals, the latter of which often involves a process that can be “very trying for people” in light of how long it takes for some of the matters to work their way through what can be many levels of review.

Perhaps his favorite part of being a United States Magistrate Judge is participating in the mediation process, especially the personal interaction with lawyers and litigants, where for many of them it represents “their first real chance to say their peace.”  One particular case that stands out is the recent $4,000,000.00 jail death settlement mediated by Judge White, involving the death of R&B singer Sean Levert in the Cuyahoga County jail, awarded to Angela Lowe, Sean Levert’s widow.  The case stemmed from facts showing that after Mr. Levert entered the jail on charges for a non-violent crime, non-support, and after he gave the authorities his anxiety disorder medication (Xanax), he was placed in a restraint chair, then later died from withdrawal symptoms.  Angela Lowe has since testified before the Ohio House of Representatives in support of passage of “Sean’s Law,” dealing with the treatment of inmates who have drug prescriptions when admitted into custody.

While Judge White’s service as a Magistrate Judge primarily involves civil litigation -- dealing with his own docket of cases as well as matters referred by a district judge for “report and recommendation – in which he notes that “civil practice attorneys sometimes can be tougher than criminal lawyers to work with,” he also has a criminal case rotation, involving two week stints on the criminal docket, handling arraignments, traces, warrants, and occasionally pleas, followed by six weeks off the criminal case rotation.  He particularly enjoys the civil practice, finding it a satisfying intellectual experience.  As to opinion writing, he describes himself as “an editor as much as anything else,” with his longtime law clerks preparing first drafts of the many orders and opinions that issue from his courtroom, then refining them to reflect his considered decisions.  Judge White describes the general docket of the district court as “very busy,” and thinks that the Northern District of Ohio court’s emergence as a venue for MDL litigation is a great asset to the district.

Yes, it has been a “historic ride” for Judge White, first as county prosecutor, then United States Attorney, and now as a United States Magistrate Judge.  And we can be sure that it will continue to be one for Judge White while here at the Cleveland federal courthouse . . . unless, of course, he changes his mind about taking over Youngstown.


James W. Satola is the Federal Bar Association Sixth Circuit Vice President and FBA Northern District of Ohio Chapter Board Member (and Past Chapter President).

(back to top)

Top Ten Trial Tips


  • No one knows your case better than you, right?  But if you can’t communicate it to the jury, all that knowledge is worthless.  It’s about persuasion.  Be creative in your arguments.  Speak plain English.  Use analogies and homespun stories.  Does your case have a theme that runs from opening to closing?  It should.
  • “I have learned from long experience that plain people,
    take them as they run, are most easily influenced through
    the medium of a broad and humorous illustration
    than in any other way.”
    Abraham Lincoln

  • Why are you standing at the lectern all the time?  The courtroom is your arena. If the Judge requires you to be in a certain place, try to politely convince him or her otherwise.  Use the space -- gestures -- voice variation -- to communicate effectively with the jury.  Don’t turn your back on them (or the court reporter).  And if you don’t SPEAK UP, you will certainly never persuade anyone that you should win the case. 
  • Please prepare your witnesses -- by that I mean, if you have the time, familiarize them with the courtroom -- reduce their stress -- allow them to be comfortable with the courtroom electronics and how to use them -- walk them through their terrifying appearance (affirming the oath, taking the stand, looking at the jury, speaking clearly, allowing the Judge to rule on objections before speaking). 
  • If you think the longer you speak, the more believable you are, think again.  Have you seen Apocalypse Now or 2001: A Space Odyssey?  Give jurors some credit -- they listen.  They get your point after you make it the first or certainly the second time.  Don’t beat a dead horse -- “Brevity is the soul of wit” and, for that matter, of persuasion.  Jurors appreciate the lawyer who clearly and concisely states the case.
  • “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak;
    courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”
    Winston Churchill

    If you have a chance at rebuttal, redirect, or re-cross, don’t repeat what you said in your direct.  Rebuttal is a wonderful opportunity to have the last word and correct mistakes or clarify critical points.  Make it focused and on point. 

  • Tell your team at the trial table (or other courtroom support) to be careful -- the jury is always watching.  You undermine your case if someone on your team is making faces at the other side’s arguments, gesturing during testimony, rolling their eyes, or otherwise being “cute.”  Jurors have even commented on counsel chewing gum.  Try to keep your trial table organized.  Remember, jurors base their decision on what they hear -- and see in the courtroom. 
  • If your exhibits can’t be read, seen, or understood -- they are worse than worthless.  Can all jurors see your presentation -- PowerPoint -- timeline?  Make sure you enlarge -- highlight -- bold.  Assist the jury in understanding what the documents say. 
  •                         Juror:   Your Honor, I can’t read these. 
                            Judge:  I can’t either -- they must not be important.

  • Don’t use trial or hearing time to learn how to use the courtroom electronics.  If you don’t know how -- or simply can’t do it -- bring an associate, paralegal, or someone who can.  Make an appointment with the Court’s staff in advance of the trial to practice or try it out.  Your client is hurt if you are viewed as stumbling, bumbling, or unprepared -- especially if the Judge takes you down a notch.  Perhaps your courtroom presentation should include the old-fashioned flip chart or poster board.  But, again, make sure it can be seen by all jurors -- large print, colors, easy to understand and follow.  And if you can display it at opening, during key witness testimony and then again at closing, it’s a wonderful visual tool to give your words meaning. 

  • If the Judge asks a question during an argument, answer the question.  Be civil -- don’t detour, duck, dive, dip -- or dispute the Court’s ruling.  If the question asks for a “yes” or “no,” BEGIN your answer with a “yes” or “no” -- or an “I don’t know” -- THEN explain.  Even if the question is dumb, take the opportunity to let the Judge know what the answer is and why the question makes no difference. 

    “Fear not those who argue but those who dodge.” 
    Dale Carnegie

  • Jury Instructions are where you can really help the Court.  File timely -- not at the last second.  Give the Court the specific instructions for your claims -- the “guts.”  Play it straight with the instructions -- if you attempt to stretch the law, it is much less likely the Court will adopt your requested instruction.  Usually the boilerplate used by the Court is online or available on ECF.  Don’t waste the Court’s time, or your time, reinventing the wheel.  By all means use those instructions in your opening and closing -- they are a gift from the Court and should be used as a roadmap to summarize why the jury should find in your favor.  Also, be selective about motions in limine -- don’t unload the dump truck. 

  • Would you play a new board or card game without knowing the rules?  Then why in the world would you go to court that way?  Know your Judge and his or her courtroom rules.  If they are not online and if you have not discussed them at a pretrial conference, then ask!  For example, do not waste trial time with “may I approach the witness” or “may I display the exhibit” -- that’s dinosaur etiquette.  Know the trial schedule -- be punctual -- be respectful of the jury’s time.  Chamber staff is happy to help -- please treat them politely -- you might be surprised what they tell the Judge about your civility . . . And they can keep you from going directly to Jail, and help you to Pass Go and collect $200! 

    (back to top)

Help Me!  My Client’s Case Has Been Swept Into an MDL!!

Catherine Garcia-Feehan

You have filed what, at first blush, is a typical personal injury case in federal court.  Suddenly, your case is the subject of a CTO from the JPML and you are thrust into the complex litigation universe known as a Multidistrict Litigation docket.  Your case may be “tagged and transferred” to another district and you find yourself one of many plaintiffs’ lawyers who is swimming in a sea of new controlling orders and unfamiliar acronyms.  What do you do?  Do not panic.  Even seasoned lawyers who practice regularly in federal court may be intimidated by the MDL world.  However, some basic guidelines and best practices can ease your anxiety and make you look very good in front of your client when they suddenly find themselves as part of an MDL docket. 

1.  Multidistrict Litigation (“MDL”)

As the title implies, multidistrict litigation refers to related cases pending in more than one district.  This can be as few as two or several thousand cases which can be part of an MDL.  Under 28 U.S.C. §1407, related cases can be consolidated and transferred to a single district for pretrial purposes.  The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (“JPML”) is the entity which considers consolidation of such related claims, that is civil actions involving one or more common questions of fact pending in several different judicial districts.1  Typical MDL dockets may consist of disputes regarding mass torts, antitrust, and securities cases.  The JPML consists of seven federal judges, both district and appellate jurists, chosen by the Chief Justice of the United States. The JPML also has its own set of rules that dictate the procedures regarding consolidation and transfer.2  While the JPML has the authority to transfer claims involving the common questions of fact it can also exclude and refuse to transfer those claims not related to the main issue at hand.  At the end of 2011, there were over 65,000 cases in MDLs pending in 57 transferee district courts.3 

2.  Conditional Transfer Orders (“CTO”)

Once the JPML transfers related actions for consolidated proceedings, it also has authority to designate subsequent cases as tag-along actions.  Tag-along actions are those cases involving the same questions of fact that have been identified as belonging in the specific MDL docket.   Generally defense counsel notify the JPML of the tag-along action.  The JPML then issues a conditional transfer order, which is subject to opposition for a fifteen day period.  Of importance for the practitioner new to this process are that objections to the transfer of your case must be made directly to the JPML.  Neither the transferor or transferee court has the authority to consider objections. 

3.  Transferee Court

When the JPML designates cases appropriate for transfer and consolidation, it also designates the district and judicial officer to oversee that MDL docket. The judicial officer assigned to the specific MDL is usually an experienced judge who has handled complex litigation matters or other MDL dockets.  The MDL is identified by a four digit number assigned by the JPML and that number is part of the lead docket in the transferee court.  The lead docket contains the orders or motions pertaining to all cases in the MDL.  Then there are the case specific dockets representing tag-along actions or cases directly filed in the MDL. If you are not admitted to practice in the transferee court, you need not apply for pro hac vice status as under Rule 2.1(c) of the Rules of the JPML, you can continue to represent your clients as long as you are in good standing in any Bar of any U.S. District Court.   If your case is a tag-along action and had, for example, motions pending in the transferor court, you may need to re-file in the transferee court.  It will be important for practitioners to read all the orders in the main docket in order to fully understand what is happening in their MDL.  With the proliferation of MDL practice, a number of district courts devote a portion of their websites listing the significant orders which are easily accessible to all.

4.  Lead Counsel

Even in a small MDL, there is generally lead counsel on both sides. The judicial officer will interact with lead counsel in managing the direction of the MDL.  Unlike an individual case, the goal of an MDL is to coordinate pretrial proceedings so as to prevent duplication of effort.  This includes developing case management orders, shared discovery, necessary motion practice and resolution of disputes which affect the entire MDL docket.  It would be impossible for the transferee court to deal with hundreds of lawyers on each of these issues.  Therefore, once the leadership is in place, lawyers new to the MDL are often directed to contact liaison counsel or lead counsel to get guidance and direction.  Common questions which liaison counsel field include inquiries regarding service of process, interpretation of court orders or attendance at regularly scheduled status conferences. 

5.  Resources

In addition to lead counsel, the transferee court is also a resource.  If liaison counsel is unable to answer your question, they may direct you to the judicial officer’s courtroom deputy, MDL coordinator or other member of the judge’s staff who can provide additional guidance.  Generally, it is best to begin with liaison counsel as they are most familiar with the judicial officer’s procedures and preferences.  The Manual for Complex Litigation 4th Ed. (2011) also provides useful guidance on MDL practices and procedures and it is accessible via the JPML website.

6.  NDOH

The Northern District of Ohio is among the progressive court leaders of MDL practice and innovation.  The Clerk’s Office has a designated MDL Coordinator, Renee Schumitsh, who is solely devoted to the MDL dockets.  The NDOH’s website lists all of the pending MDLs along with relevant orders and contact information of lead counsel.   Currently, our district has 13 MDLs, the most recent additions being assigned to Judges Pearson and Polster.  The JPML’s 2011 Statistical Report lists the DePuy Orthopaedics ASR hip implant products liability litigation, assigned to Judge Katz, as “among the more significant of the Panel’s transfer determinations.”  As of March 1, 2012, there were 4,804 cases which made up these 13 MDLs. 

Although you may not be well versed or acquainted with MDL practice, reading all of the pertinent orders in the lead docket, posing questions to the leadership and acquainting yourself with overall MDL practices will go a long way in successfully navigating complex litigation whether you have one or twenty cases.  You will also be better prepared to answer your clients’ concerns about being part of an MDL and be able to conserve resources normally expended towards resolution of your client’s case–as the main goal of consolidation is efficiency and avoiding duplication of discovery or other pretrial procedures.  If you follow these guidelines and read the relevant court orders, you will be successful in your MDL experience.   

1  17 James Wm. Moore, Moore’s Federal Practice, § 112 (3d ed. 2011). 

3  Annual Statistics of the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (January through December 2011).

(back to top)

A Review of Recent and Upcoming Chapter Events


Successful Winter Service Events: Legal Aid Clinic and Blood Drive

Red Cross employee inviting
members to sign in.

Many members of the FBA-NDOC braved the elements this winter to help serve our local Northern District of Ohio communities.  We can’t think of a better way to keep warm!

On February 7th, we teamed up with the U.S. District Court to co-sponsor a Red Cross Blood Drive – jumping in to fill a last-minute cancellation.  The contributions of our members helped the Red Cross to gather 12 pints of blood, enough to potentially save 36 lives.  When combined with the amounts donated through our December Blood Drive, the FBA-NDOC’s donation efforts this winter helped the Red Cross gather enough of this valuable resource to save nearly 100 lives. 

Volunteer attorneys John Moran (ACCA),
Derek Diaz (FBA-NDOC), and Cindy Binns

We are proud of our contributions to the Red Cross this winter, and look forward to another opportunity to gather local donations at our next Blood Drive scheduled for June 14th.  We hope to see you all there!

On February 11th, more than a dozen members of the FBA-NDOC braved one of the first real snow storms of the year – on a Saturday! – to volunteer their time at a Brief Advice and Referral Clinic organized and hosted by the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland at the Fatima Family Center.  After enjoying some complementary coffee and muffins, our members joined forces with additional volunteers from the Northeast Ohio Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel of America to offer free legal advice and referrals to low-income people living in local communities. 

Amanda Knapp (FBA-NDOC Younger Lawyers
Committee Vice-Chair) and Chris Meta (Akron law
student) discuss legal advice for a client.

Law student volunteers, who were responsible for all intake interviews, gained valuable experience in interacting with clients.  Following the initial intake interview, law students then assisted volunteer attorneys in investigating the legal issues raised and advising clients on their next steps.  The legal advice offered at the Clinic related to a wide variety of legal issues, including: unemployment, landlord-tenant, bankruptcy, probate, wills, deeds, powers of attorney, child support, child custody, guardianship, domestic violence, collection of loans, wrongful termination, credit card debt, income taxes, expungement, filing of liens, mortgages, veterans’ benefits, and nursing homes.  A total of 37 local residents received legal advice in just three hours time!  In addition to receiving legal advice, four clients were referred back to Legal Aid for additional assistance, and two were referred to the Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service.

Despite the snowy weather, our FBA-NDOC volunteers left the Fatima Family Center with a warm feeling that they had made a difference – however small – in the lives of people who did not ordinarily have access to basic legal services.  We look forward to giving our members another opportunity to participate in this valuable community service when the FBA-NDOC sponsors another Brief Advice and Referral Clinic in July.

Attorneys Jonathon Groza, Amanda Knapp, Mike Quinlan, Jacqueline
Pasek, and Bozana Lundberg enjoy the Younger Lawyers Committee
Happy Hour at the Lava Lounge in Tremont.

Happy Hours for Younger Lawyers
Many of FBA-NDOC’s younger lawyers and law student members have been getting together for monthly Happy Hours organized by the Younger Lawyers Committee. Happy Hours have already been held at Great Lakes Brewing Company (December 14th), Panini’s (January 26th), and the Lava Lounge in Tremont (February 26th).  We would love to have more lawyers and students join us at these fun, informal get-togethers!  It’s a good chance to meet others who share your interest in federal practice.  It’s also a great opportunity to try out some of the different bars and restaurants throughout the Cleveland area.

Please mark your calendars for the following Happy Hours, planned for the spring and early summer.  We may also have some “special guests” join us at our Happy Hours, so be sure to watch our email announcements (or check the FBA-NDOC website calendar) for more details!

May 17, 2012 - Chocolate Bar, 347 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio at 6 P.M.

June 20, 2012 - Buckeye Beer Engine, 15315 Madison Avenue, Lakewood, Ohio at 6 P.M

For questions or comments, please contact Young Lawyers Committee Chair Božana Lazić Lundberg at or (216) 696-7727.

Upcoming Spring Service Events: Foodbank and Shoes & Clothes for Kids and "A Book of Your Own" Project

As we put the winter behind us, the Younger Lawyers Committee has already started planning some fun service opportunities for FBA-NDOC members in the spring.  In true “spring cleaning” spirit, we’re looking forward to the opportunity to get a little dirty while we do some good work for the community.

On March 26th, FBA-NDOC members were encouraged to join their friends and colleagues for a Volunteer Night at the Cleveland Foodbank.  Volunteers donated just a few hours of their evening to help inspect, sort, and re-pack – in a true “assembly line” format – food and drinks donated by food manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, community groups, and caring individuals.  The boxes packed by our volunteers were delivered to a wide variety of local shelters, food pantries, and other programs offering hunger relief in Northeast Ohio.  With the aid of volunteers like us, the Cleveland Foodbank distributed over 29 million meals to people living with hunger in Northeastern Ohio last year.  We look forward to doing our part to help the Foodbank continue the fight against hunger in 2012!

On Friday, April 27th, from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m., we’re starting the weekend early with a “Packing Day” for the local charity Shoes & Clothes for Kids (or “SC4K”).  SC4K is a unique charity, which not only distributes clothing and shoes to needy children throughout the Greater Cleveland area, but also makes it an integral part of its mission to build those children’s self-esteem by furnishing only brand new clothing and shoes.  Through a network of wholesalers that sell children's clothing at deep discounts, SC4K is able to purchase between $20.00 and $25.00 worth of brand new clothing for every $1.00 spent.  SC4K also purchases and distributes discounted Payless Shoe gift cards instead of shoes, allowing families to purchase new shoes or boots of their own choosing that are stylish and fit properly. 

At our Packing Day, FBA-NDOC members will gather in SC4K’s warehouse to unpack boxes of new clothes, break down boxes for disposal, sort and prepare new clothes for distribution, and pack sorted clothes into new boxes for delivery to SC4K’s more than 30 distribution partners in the Greater Cleveland area.  We are looking forward to a fun, hands-on volunteer experience!  Even more, we’re excited to have this opportunity to work towards helping SC4K to achieve its commendable goal of providing: “More than new outfits.  New outlooks.”

Start saving children's books. We will be collecting books in May for our "A Book of Your Own" Project. The books will be distributed to children in the Cleveland School District, many of whom have never owned a book.

(back to top)

Launch of New “Reach Out” Program


The Community Relations and Public Service Committee is pleased to announce the launch of a new and unique program, Reach Out: Legal Assistance for Nonprofit Organizations. Reach Out is a collaborative effort of our local chapter of the Federal Bar Association, the Northeast Ohio Chapter - Association of Corporate Counsel - America (NEO ACCA), and the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association (CMBA) - all of which have teamed up to develop and provide valuable law-related education and pro bono legal assistance to non-profit organizations in Northeast Ohio whose missions focus on community service and who demonstrate financial need.

The driver behind the development of the Reach Out program is the recognition that non-profits face many of the same legal complexities as “for profit” businesses, but often lack the resources to engage counsel to review and meet their legal needs. Reach Out will provide key educational seminars on legal topics of interest to non-profits, with each educational seminar to be immediately followed by a clinic where the non-profits may receive additional brief advice or counseling from volunteer lawyers staffed by the three bar associations. Lawyer volunteers will receive 1.5 hours of free CLE for their participation and attendance at the educational seminar.

The first of four educational seminars and clinics in 2012 is scheduled for March 29, 2012 on the topic of “Nonprofit Governance Issues.” Reach Out will provide additional programming throughout 2012 on the following topics: Contract Basics and Real Estate Challenges (April 19th); Employment Law Primer for Non-profits and Intellectual Property Law Tips for Non-profits (July 19th); and Risk Management and Insurance (October 25th). All of these free educational seminars and clinics will be held at the offices of the CMBA, 1301 East Ninth Street, Second Level, Cleveland, OH 44114 on the following schedule: 4:00-4:30 p.m. Registration; 4:30-6:00 p.m. Topic Discussion with CLE credit; 6:15-7:15 p.m. Consultations/Brief Advice.

If you have any interest in presenting at any of the above programs, please contact Jennifer Lesny Fleming, Chair of the Community Relations and Public Service Committee at, or Cynthia Binns, Vice- Chair, at Registration for the programs and clinics may otherwise be made at

We look forward to your participation in what will be a very exciting and mutually beneficial collaboration as the FBA joins forces with CMBA, NEO ACCA and the non-profits in our community. We hope to see you there!

(back to top)