Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Chief Justice Addresses Alma Mater

Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor headed back to her alma mater at Cleveland Marshall School of Law to encourage students to get out of their academic comfort zone.

“Don’t be afraid to take the risk,” said Chief Justice O’Connor. “Make sure it’s an educated decision. But if something tells you it’s the right thing, do it. Even if it’s risky, do it.”

Chief Justice O’Connor graduated from law school in August 1980 and had a child one day later. She went on to serve as a magistrate and judge in Summit County, prosecutor, lieutenant governor, and the first woman in Ohio history to lead the Ohio judicial branch.

“If you think you have it tough,” said Justice O’Connor. “Anything is possible and that’s the message I want to convey to you as you start your law career.”

She told the group, including fellow alumni Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, and Cleveland City Councilman Kevin Kelley that she almost took a different career path.

“I applied to one law school. It was Cleveland Marshall. I have an interesting story on how I decided to go to law school,” said Chief Justice O’Connor. “I went to work on a masters in teaching. I got to the end of the masters of teaching. I had student teaching experience. I realized, after that, I didn’t like kids that much and, believe me, thousands of children benefitted from that decision,” said Chief Justice O’Connor.