2022 Hall of Fame Honorees

AWATEF ASSAD, CLASS OF 1995
Deputy Director for Risk Management, Cuyahoga County

Awatef Assad is a fighter for fairness and social justice. As the first woman to become an attorney from Beit Hanina, a Palestinian town in East Jerusalem, Awatef found inspiration from her mother, Fahmia—who attended the first Beit Hanina school for girls in the 1930’s—and whose unrelenting determination was responsible for bringing her family to the United States in 1969.  With twenty-five years of experience as a government litigation attorney with the City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County, Awatef led the County’s effort in enacting the historic Anti-Discrimination Ordinance and co-authored the first amicus brief filed in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court marriage equality case. Awatef has led many civic programs focused on improving the lives of women and is nationally recognized for her community work on behalf of the Arab American community.  She is the recipient of the F.B.I. Director’s Community Leadership, Arab American Institute Excellence in Public Service, Ohio Civil Rights Commission “Keeping the Dream Alive,” CAMEO Leadership, and the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association Justice for All Volunteer of the Year Awards. Awatef serves as the CMBA’s Vice-President of Inclusion and Diversity and is a Commissioner to the Supreme Court of Ohio’s Commission on Certification of Attorneys as Specialists.


MARK AVSEC, CLASS OF 1995
Partner, Benesch

Mark Avsec is the Vice-Chair of Benesch’s Intellectual Property Group. Before becoming a lawyer, he was a full-time musician, producer and songwriter, writing songs and producing or performing on albums for Carlos Santana (“Angel Love”), Bon Jovi (“She Don’t Know Me”), Donnie Iris (“Ah! Leah!” and “Love Is Like A Rock”), Mason Ruffner (“Gypsy Blood”) and Wild Cherry (“Play That Funky Music, White Boy”). He is the founding member of Donnie Iris and the Cruisers (producing all of the band’s albums and writing all of the band’s songs). Mark has served as an Adjunct Law Professor at Case Western Reserve University for 19 years. He also served as a faculty member of the Great Lakes Sports and Entertainment Academy, a joint program between Case and Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. He is a member of the Federal Judicial Center’s faculty and teaches music infringement to federal judges across the country with David Nimmer (Nimmer on Copyright) and Professor Peter Menell (University of California Berkeley School of Law). Mark is a ranked copyright lawyer in Chambers USA. He still performs as keyboard player with Donnie Iris and the Cruisers and The James Gang, featuring Joe Walsh, Jimmy Fox, and Dale Peters.


NANCY L. BERARDINELLI-KRANTZ, CLASS OF 2002
Senior Vice President and Deputy Chief Legal Officer, Eaton

Nancy Berardinelli-Krantz is senior vice president and deputy chief legal officer at Eaton. In this role, Nancy partners with Eaton’s chief legal and also has responsibility for the legal teams for Eaton’s Electrical and Industrial Sectors. Nancy formerly served as Eaton’s senior VP and general counsel, Digital, Innovation and Technology; senior VP, Ethics & Compliance; VP and chief counsel, Litigation; business counsel supporting the Electrical Products Group; and senior attorney, Government Contracts and Internal Investigations. Prior to Eaton, Nancy served as senior legal counsel, Americas, for The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, and also worked Jones Day as an associate in the Trial Practice/Government Regulation Group. Nancy is a Veteran of the United States Army, Judge Advocate General’s Corps. She serves on several community boards, including the Cleveland State University Foundation, University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children’s Foundation, and Positive Education Program (PEP) in Cleveland. Nancy was selected as a 2016 Crain’s Cleveland Forty Under 40 honoree, and was a member of the Leadership Cleveland Class of 2020. Nancy received a bachelor’s degree from John Carroll University and a juris doctorate, magna cum laude, from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.


JUDGE CHRISTOPHER A. BOYKO, CLASS OF 1979
Senior Judge, United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio

Prior to becoming a Federal Judge, Judge Chris Boyko served on the Common Pleas bench for Cuyahoga Countysince his appointment by then Governor Voinovich in January, 1996. He won election in 1996 and re-election in 1998and 2004. Before taking the Common Pleas bench, Judge Boyko served as Parma Municipal Court Judge, Parma LawDirector, Chief Prosecutor and Assistant Prosecutor. He also maintained a general practice for 16 years. Consistentlyrecognized by “Who’s Who in American Law” since 1992, Judge Boyko has lectured for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Judicial College, Ohio Judicial College, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, Federal Bar Association, and at numerous law and law enforcement related seminars. Judge Boyko has taught at two law schools in Ukraine and has taught law to Saudi Arabian law enforcement. On January 4, 2005, Judge Boyko was sworn in as a United States District Court Judge and took Senior Status in 2020. On May 14, 2010 Judge Boyko received a Master of Judicial Studies degree from the University of Nevada, Reno, via the National Judicial College. His thesis was published in the Cleveland State Law Review in 2009.


JUDGE SALVATORE R. CALANDRA, CLASS OF 1951 (DECEASED)
Judge (Retired), Cleveland Municipal Court

Salvatore ‘Sal’ R. Calandra is still known in legal circles as a man of tremendous integrity, having served more than 25-years for the Cleveland Municipal Court. Judge Calandra entered public life in 1957 when he became an assistant law director in Cleveland, serving in that capacity during the tenures of three different mayors. He also served as a legal advisor to Cleveland City Council, and as chief counsel for the Cleveland Law Department before he was appointed to the Municipal Court in 1972. Judge Calandra ultimately won a full, six-year term the following year and was re-elected three times before his retirement in 1997. He graduated from Cathedral Latin High School, John Carroll University and the Cleveland Marshall School of Law. Judge Calandra was also very proud of his service to the country during World War II as a member of the United States Army. Judge Calandra was active in a number of local civic and charitable organizations including the Cleveland Italian American Society, President of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society of the Cleveland Catholic Diocese, and he also headed up the Justinian Forum, a group of lawyers of Italian heritage. Judge and Mrs. Calandra were also inducted into the Northern Ohio Italian-American Hall of Fame.


ANTHONY J. COYNE, CLASS OF 1987
President and Managing Partner, Mansour Gavin LPA

Anthony Coyne is the president and managing partner of Mansour Gavin. With over 30 years of experience in urban affairs, Tony focuses his practice in the areas of business law, municipal law, zoning and planning, eminent domain, real property, and litigation. Active in the community, he was consecutively appointed by three different mayors to serve on the Cleveland City Planning Commission for 25 years and was its chairman for 16 years. Tony was instrumental in the reconstitution of the Group Plan Commission and the $50 million revitalization of Public Square. Although he recently retired from his role as chairman with the Group Plan Commission, he still remains on the Board of Directors. He recently served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in Cambridge, Massachusetts and is Chairman of the Board of St. Vincent Charity Medical Center. As a frequent guest lecturer, he has served as an adjunct professor at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and has spoken before organizations such as the Cleveland and Ohio State Bar Associations, the Ohio Planning Conference, the CLE International Seminar on Eminent Domain, the Urban Land Institute, and the International Council of Shopping Centers on topics such as eminent domain, zoning, land use, and municipal law.


SARAH C. FLANNERY, CLASS OF 2002
Partner, Thompson Hine LLP

Sarah leads Thompson Hine’s Immigration practice, which advises employers worldwide on global talent management and immigration compliance.  A summa cum laude graduate of Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Sarah has been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America for Immigration Law and is a member of Law 360’s Immigration Editorial Advisory Board. Sarah was a recipient of Crain’s Cleveland Business’ 40 under 40 Award in 2016 and its Women of Note award in 2021. A strong advocate for advancement of women, Sarah recently completed her tenure as firm-wide chair of Thompson Hine’s Spotlight on Women Program, developing strategies to recruit, retain and advance women at the firm and within the larger business community. Sarah served on CSU’s Alumni Association Board of Directors from 2012-2018. She currently serves on CSU’s Foundation Board as a member of its Executive Committee. She is also a member of Cleveland Marshall’s Board of Visitors. Sarah co-chaired Radiance in 2021 and actively supports student success at CSU and Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.


JUDGE SEAN C. GALLAGHER, CLASS OF 1989
Administrative Judge, Ohio Court of Appeals for the Eighth District

Judge Sean C. Gallagher is the son of John F. Gallagher of Achillbeg Island, County Mayo, Ireland, and Margaret T. Gallagher (nee Casey) of Tuosist, County Kerry, Ireland. Judge Gallagher graduated from St. Edward High School and received his B.A. from Ohio University. Judge Gallagher was elected to the Ohio Court of Appeals in 2002 where he currently serves as the Administrative Judge. He served as a judge in the Cleveland Municipal Court from 1997 to 2002. He was a felony prosecutor in the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s office from 1991-1997. He was a Probation Officer in Cuyahoga County and was Common Pleas Court Bailiff to Donald C. Nugent. He received the “President’s Award” from the Cuyahoga County Bar Association in 2006, was one of the alumni of the year for Cleveland-Marshall in 2007 and was named one of the ‘Irish Legal 100’ for 2014 at the Irish Embassy in Washington D. C. Judge Gallagher is a member of the bar in Ohio and Arizona. He holds dual citizenship in the United States and the Republic of Ireland. With his wife Dawn, they are the proud parents of a current Cleveland-Marshall student, J. Fergus Gallagher.


PROFESSOR EMERITUS LOUIS B. GENEVA
Associate Professor (Retired), CSU Cleveland-Marshall College of Law

After Louis Geneva earned his LL.M. degree from New York University, he helped draft the Puerto Rican Tax Code.  He was asked to teach at NYU before leaving to practice in a Connecticut tax law firm.  Lou started the IRS Conference on Federal Wealth Taxation, a program at the law school presenting current tax problems to lawyers for many years.  He was a regular presenter at the Cleveland Bar Association Annual Estate Planning Institute.  Lou is also a fellow in the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC).  Lou was involved in law school charitable programs including the William Thomas Foundation and Delta Theta Phi, the national legal fraternity where he was named the national Professor of the Year.  He formed the board of directors at the Thea Bowman Center serving on that board and eventually as president for eight years.  The Center is one of the most charitable organizations in the Cleveland Mt. Pleasant area.  Lou also served on the Community Fund Management Foundation board for a number of years supporting its efforts on behalf of its residents with disabilities.


JUDGE THOMAS W. GRAY, SR., CLASS OF 1963 (DECEASED)
Administrative Law Judge (Retired), Social Security Administration

Thomas Gray established himself as a civil rights leader by joining Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., and other black leaders to organize the historic 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott. Later, blocked by segregation from pursuing law in Alabama, he moved his family to Cleveland. He enrolled at Western Reserve University Law School and graduated from Cleveland-Marshall. A substitute teacher and postal clerk by day, he attended evening classes at C|M|LAW. During an extraordinary, decades-long career, he was recognized for practicing civil rights, fair housing, and poverty law. He used the law to attack pervasive discrimination and to promote better housing opportunities for poor people. He directed an office of the Legal Aid Society and headed up other legal programs, including Lawyers for Housing, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and the Cleveland Bar Association’s Law in Urban Affairs. Next, there were 12 years with the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority as assistant general counsel and chief assistant general counsel. In 1991, he returned to Montgomery, Alabama as a Federal Administrative Law Judge in the Social Security Administration. Over the years, he was a trustee of the Cleveland Bar Association, president of the Norman S. Minor Bar Association, and president of the Cleveland-Marshall Law Alumni Association.


JOSEPH B. JEROME, CLASS OF 1975 (DECEASED)
Principal, Jerome, Grauer and Associates Ltd.

Joseph B. Jerome graduated cum laude in 1975 from the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and from Bowling Green State University in 1972. During his 46 years practicing law, he was regarded in the legal community as exhibiting the highest level of integrity. He was a renowned mediator and arbitrator for complex construction cases with the American Arbitration Association. He was also a devoted board member and former officer of the West Shore Bar Association and past president of the Cleveland-Marshall Law Alumni Association, where a memorial scholarship was created in his name in 2022. To many, he was truly larger than life. His humor and wit will forever be missed, especially by his family whom he loved so dearly. The law firm of Jerome, Grauer and Associates Ltd. carries on his name and legacy.


JUDGE THOMAS D. LAMBROS, CLASS OF 1952 (DECEASED)
Judge (Retired), United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio

Judge Thomas D. Lambros served on the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio for more than twenty-eight years. He was appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1967 and served as Chief Judge from 1990 until his retirement in 1995. In 1960, he was elected to the Court of Common Pleas for the State of Ohio in Ashtabula County where he served until his appointment to the federal bench. Of all his federal court duties, Judge Lambros most cherished naturalizing new American citizens. He administered the oath of citizenship to more than 40,000 immigrants from all over the world in ceremonies not only in the courtroom, but also at schools, public squares, and even in the living rooms of the disabled and elderly. For this, he earned the Ellis Island Medal of Honor awarded to outstanding sons and daughters of immigrants. In 1985, Judge Lambros was commended for the creation and development of the Summary Jury Trial by U.S. Chief Justice Warren E. Burger; the procedure received formal statutory recognition by Congress in the Civil Judicial Reform Act. Judge Lambros received numerous awards for his professional accomplishments including the American Judicature Society’s Herbert Harley Award and the Center for Public Resources’ award for the Most Outstanding Achievement in Alternative Dispute Resolution.


VINCENT T. LOMBARDO, CLASS OF 1981
Attorney (Retired), Ohio Attorney General’s Office

The son of Sicilian immigrants, Vincent T. Lombardo was the first in his family to go to college and the only one to go to law school.  Vince began his career in private practice. Then, in 1984, he was appointed an Assistant Ohio Attorney General. He served for 27 years, representing the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, the State Employment Relations Board, and the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, and received the Ohio Attorney General Professionalism Award for exemplifying the professional standards that the OAG seeks for all employees. He chaired the Cleveland Bar Association Certified Grievance Committee, judged practice rounds for the Cleveland-Marshall Moot Court Program, and mentored over 60 law students through the Cleveland-Marshall Law Alumni Association (CMLAA). He is a Past President, Honorary Trustee, and Life Member of CMLAA, and has received the CMLAA President’s Award three times, the CMLAA Greatest Mentor Award, the Cleveland-Marshall Moot Court Alumnus of the Year Award, and the Cleveland Italian American Heritage Committee Award for Public Servant, State of Ohio. 


LORI A. LUKA, CLASS OF 2000
Managing Attorney/Owner, Lazzaro Luka Law Offices, LLC

Lori Ann Luka graduated from Youngstown State University, summa cum laude, in 1997 with a degree in Political Science. Attorney Luka then graduated from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in 2000. Lori is currently the managing attorney/owner at Lazzaro Luka Law Offices, LLC, where she has worked since 2008 and focuses exclusively on personal injury litigation. Attorney Luka has taken over 40 cases in her litigation career to trial in various venues in the State of Ohio. Lori is currently a Trustee for the Ohio Association for Justice (OAJ), a group of Ohio trial lawyers dedicated to fighting for the rights of injured Ohioans. Lori has been named an Ohio Super Lawyer by Law and Politics Magazine, Cleveland Edition, on numerous occasions for her work in plaintiff’s personal injury litigation and was recently recognized by this publication as one of the Top 25 Female Attorneys – Cleveland and Top 100 Female Attorneys – Ohio. Lori is dedicated to hiring law clerks from C|M|LAW and passionate about teaching them the requisite skills to become successful practicing attorneys.


JUDGE JAMES J. MCMONAGLE, CLASS OF 1970
Judge (Retired), Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court

In his 52-year legal career, Jim McMonagle has distinguished himself through his reputation for professionalism and integrity. Jim is of counsel at Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP, where he is a member of the corporate and litigation practice groups. His mediation and arbitration practice is recognized as one of the best in the nation. Among his many career highlights, Jim was a judge on the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas; general counsel, senior vice president, and secretary of University Hospitals; board member of a Fortune 500 Company and chairman of the board of a Mutual Fund Complex; and a United States District Court Judicial Nominee.


JOSEPH J. MORFORD
Managing Partner, Tucker Ellis LLP

Joe Morford is the Managing Partner of Tucker Ellis LLP, a law firm of more than 400 lawyers and other professionals collaborating to represent the top companies in America in trials, litigation, business transactions, and intellectual property law. In addition to his responsibilities as Managing Partner – a role he has held since 2010 – Joe maintains an active practice focused on the representation of major corporations in complex mass tort, business litigation, and product liability matters in courtrooms throughout the United States. Active in the community, Joe has served on numerous boards of directors, including currently the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law Board of Visitors, College Now of Greater Cleveland, the Greater Cleveland Partnership, and the West Side Catholic Center. For 18 years, Joe served as a volunteer magistrate judge for the City of Shaker Heights Juvenile Court Diversion Program. He is named among Cleveland Magazine’s “Cleveland 500” as a leader who is shaping the city in the area of law. Most recently, Joe joined the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity’s (LCLD) Leaders at the Front Movement in pledging specific, meaningful, and measurable commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion both personally and within Tucker Ellis.


COLLEEN M. O’NEIL, CLASS OF 1996
Litigation Co-Chair, Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLP

Colleen O’Neil is a Partner with Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLP, where she serves as the Co-Chair of the firm’s Litigation practice group, helping clients resolve complex business disputes. Colleen has extensive experience in federal and state courts nationwide representing clients in matters involving commercial contract disputes, shareholder and corporate disputes, estate and probate matters, trade secret claims, real property disputes, municipal and public law issues, and Title VII claims. Colleen is a member of Calfee Women LEAD, the firm’s women’s affinity group. She is also a member of the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law Board of Visitors, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, Ohio State Bar Association, and the American Bar Association’s Litigation Section. In addition, Colleen is a member of the Board of Directors for Magnificat High School, Board Member for the Cleveland-Marshall Law Alumni Association, and a graduate of the Leadership Cleveland Class of 2016. Colleen has received the following awards and recognitions: The Best Lawyers in America, Commercial Litigation; Ohio Super Lawyers: Top 50 Women Attorneys in Ohio, Top 25 Women Attorneys in Cleveland, Top 100 Attorneys in Ohio; and the YWCA of Greater Cleveland’s Woman of Professional Excellence Award.


ISAM SALAH, CLASS OF 1976
Senior Partner (Retired), King & Spalding LLP

Isam Salah served as Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review, and after graduation was awarded a two-year fellowship at Georgetown University’s International Law Institute at where he received an LL.M. degree.  He began his legal practice at Shearman & Sterling in New York City before moving to Schlumberger Ltd., a world-leading oilfield services company as Middle East and Asia Counsel for, during which he was based in Dubai and Jakarta. He returned to NYC in 1986 and helped establish a boutique finance law firm which later merged with King & Spalding. During his 30-year career at K&S, he became a senior partner and established and led the firm’s Middle East practice group, including the establishment of the firm’s offices in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Riyadh. He developed a market-leading expertise in the structuring of finance and investments transactions for Middle East clients to comply with Islamic financial principles. He handled the first commercial Islamic finance and investment transactions executed in the U.S. The firm became the first major law firm to focus on Islamic finance as a practice specialty and he spoke and wrote frequently on the topic of Islamic finance. The Islamic finance and investment structures and documentation that he and his colleagues developed are now widely used in the United States.  He retired from King & Spalding in 2017 and now serves as Chairman of United Palestinian Appeal, and as a director of two other non-profits: Education for Employment and the Institute for Middle East Understanding.


DEAN STEVEN R. SMITH
Former Dean, CSU Cleveland-Marshall College of Law
Dean Emeritus, California Western School of Law

Dean Steven R. Smith (1988-1996) came to Cleveland-Marshall from having served as the first Deputy Director of the Association of American Law Schools. During his deanship the faculty expanded, curricular offerings increased, and several innovative programs created. Of particular interest to Dean Smith was health law, and the C|M|LAW health law program grew and quality with specialty programs including the Medical Institute for Law Faculty (in cooperation with the Cleveland Clinic). During this time the funding was secured, and construction began for the major law school building expansion. Dean Smith served on many boards of bar and nonprofit organizations, including chair of the City Club of Cleveland. He was on several committees of the ABA and Association of American Law Schools, and was the public member of the American Psychological Association Ethics Committee. He has written widely in health law, mental health law, and legal education. He has received many awards for teaching, research, and community service. In 1996 he became dean and president of the California Western School of Law in San Diego, serving in that position until 2012. He served as chair of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, and chair of the San Diego Foundation. He and wife Lera, now reside in San Diego.


STEPHEN E. WALTERS, CLASS OF 1983
President and Managing Partner, Reminger Co., LPA

Steve is the President and Managing Partner of Reminger Co., L.P.A., and has served in this position since 2005. While serving in this capacity, Reminger has grown 9 new offices to a total of 16 in 4 states. Steve has over 35 years of legal experience in a wide variety of areas. His legal practice remains focused on the representation of medical professionals and facilities. Steve continues to be a recognized thought leader in the legal community and is featured in the media outlining his thoughts on successful leadership.  He has been recognized and listed in the Best Lawyers in America since 1999.  He has been recognized in Ohio Super Lawyers since 2006.  He has also been named one of the Top 50 Attorneys in Cleveland. Steve is President of the Reminger Foundation, a philanthropic organization which was founded in 2009 under his leadership.  The Foundation supports worthy causes throughout the geographical reach of Reminger’s practice.


JUDGE LESLEY BROOKS WELLS, CLASS OF 1974
Senior Judge (Retired), United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio

Judge Lesley Brooks Wells earned a Bachelor of Arts from Chatham College (now Chatham University), and her J.D. from CSU Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. She worked as a federal court intern through the Women’s Law Fund while completed her law degree. After graduation, Judge Brooks Wells maintained a private law practice, served as both director of the ABAR III Civil Rights Litigation Support Center and an adjust professor at C|M|LAW, and as an adjunct assistant professor at CSU’s College of Urban Affairs. After serving more than a decade as a judge for the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, President Bill Clinton nominated Judge Brooks Wells for a judgeship in 1993. She was confirmed by the Senate in February of 1994, receiving her commission the following day to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. Twelve years later, she became a senior judge. Judge Brooks Wells retired from service in October of 2015.


ASSISTANT DEAN GARY R. WILLIAMS, CLASS OF 1984
Assistant Dean and Bar Exam Preparation Director (Retired), CSU Cleveland-Marshall College of Law

Gary Williams, a name familiar to those who attended Cleveland-Marshall during the late 1990s and early 2000s, taught as an adjunct professor and later served as Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and Bar Passage. With the help of faculty and staff, he developed programs to help students succeed in law school and pass the Ohio Bar, including developing and teaching Cleveland-Marshall’s first for-credit bar preparation course. He regularly drove to Columbus to give aid and comfort to graduates taking the bar exam. As a result of his course and its progeny, Cleveland-Marshall’s bar passage rate improved significantly. The College’s bar assistance fund established at his retirement, bears his name. Gary has lived a life of public service. After law school, he served as assistant prosecutor, then as assistant law director for the City of Cleveland, and as a trial lawyer for the United States Solicitor’s Office. He was the first African American to serve as chief prosecutor, then chief counsel, for the City of Shaker Heights, Ohio. After retiring from Cleveland-Marshall, Williams served on the Board of ACLU of Ohio and as executive director of Sankofa Fine Art Plus, a small non-profit whose mission is to revitalize distressed communities with public art. He currently serves on the Ohio Supreme Court’s Commission on the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center.


SONALI B. WILSON
VP, General Counsel and Board Secretary, Cleveland State University

Sonali serves as CSU vice president, general counsel and board secretary, joining CSU in 1996 as a lecturer at C|M|LAW and moved in-house in 1997. She served as board secretary from 2000-2011 and became general counsel in 2004. She was reappointed board secretary in 2020 and is a CM-Law Leader-in-Residence. She was an associate at Arter and Hadden prior to coming to CSU. Sonali holds a bachelor’s degree from Boston University, a master’s degree from Harvard University, and a juris doctorate degree from Georgetown University Law Center. She received The Norman S. Minor Bar Association’s 2013 Trailblazer Award; 2014 Women of Color Foundation’s Professional Woman of the Year award; and named a 2015 YWCA Woman of Achievement.  In June 2020, Sonali received the Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of College and University Attorneys, and named among Crain’s Cleveland Business’ 2021 Notable General Counsels. Sonali is active on several community and education-related boards, including The United Way of Greater Cleveland, serving as its Public Policy and Advocacy Chair, and member of the UWGC Philanthropic Fund; the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association Foundation Board; Trustee emerita of the Cleveland Institute of Music; and the Cuyahoga Community College Board of Visitors.


Leaders on the Rise

ALLISON TALLER REICH, CLASS OF 2009
Partner, Frantz Ward, LLP

Allison Taller Reich is a Partner in the Construction Practice Group at Frantz Ward LLP where she focuses on all aspects of construction law, representing owners and developers, construction managers, contractors, subcontractors, sureties, and other design and construction industry professionals. Allison immerses herself in the construction industry, legal industry, Cleveland community, and the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law community. Allison is the Immediate Past President of the Cleveland-Marshall Law Alumni Association and has been a Trustee since 2013. Allison mentors 1L law students as well as students through College Now. She is passionate about and has served on the Bridge Board of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio since 2010, including being the past chair, and has served in various roles with the United Way of Greater Cleveland since 2012. Allison has also been active and involved with the CMBA including its 3Rs and Diversity and Inclusion REAL Workshops and Women in Law Sections, Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, the Downtown Cleveland Alliance, an OSBF Fellow, an ABA Forum on Construction Diversity Fellow and Steering Committee Members and serves on her firms Women’s Initiative and Diversity Equity and Inclusion Committees.


ALEXANDER REICH, CLASS OF 2009
Partner, Kalish Law Firm

Alex Reich is a Partner at the Kalish Law Firm where he represents policyholders in disputes with insurance companies that fail to acknowledge coverage or pay claims. Alex’s clients range from Fortune 500 companies that rely on Alex as international insurance coverage counsel, to local businesses facing first-party loss or third-party claims, to injured individuals facing an insurance company that refuses to the right thing. As a seasoned litigator with over 12 years of courtroom experience, Alex takes a wholistic and creative approach to dispute resolution, balancing zealous advocacy and pragmatic strategy depending on the needs and goals of his clients. He has represented clients at every level of the state and federal judiciary, including the Ohio and United States Supreme Courts. Since 2018, Alex has served on C|M|LAW’s adjunct faculty teaching appellate advocacy as Co-Director of the school’s nationally recognized Moot Court Team, prior to which he coached and mentored Moot Court students since 2009. A lifelong Clevelander, Alex is passionate about serving the needs of the community. He is active with the CMBA, the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, and local organizations dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion.