Hot Talk October

How Free Is Speech in Your Workplace?

October 10 @ noon at the CMBA Conference Center

Our world is brimming with recent examples where speech and the workplace intersect. Think NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem. Or the Google engineer who claimed he was fired for writing a memo criticizing the company's diversity efforts. Or how about the never-ending supply of Facebook posts that are “personal” but in reality are easily discoverable by co-workers, bosses, and potential employers?

Just how free is your speech when speaking in the workplace?  

Bring your questions, your views, your criticisms - whatever you've got - and come meet us at the bar for Hot Talks on October 10 at noon. Leading our discussion will be Elizabeth Bonham, Staff Attorney for the ACLU of Cleveland, and Bruce Hearey, Shareholder with Ogletree Deakins. The discussion will be moderated by our president, Darrell A. Clay of Walter | Haverfield LLP.

As a civil rights litigator, Elizabeth is committed to leveraging the legal system to dismantle institutionalized oppression. She plans and litigates major impact cases including defending free speech in Citizens for Trump v. Cleveland, and voting rights in APRI v. Husted. She is particularly interested in advocating against mass incarceration and abuses in the prison industrial complex. Beyond her litigation pursuits, Elizabeth manages a student law clerk program and works with her organization’s policy and legislative teams in integrated advocacy efforts.

Since 1975, Bruce has built a reputation as a pragmatic and creative litigator who, as one client describes, “represents his clients aggressively and professionally, while simultaneously maintaining a quick wit and dry sense of humor about his job and life in general.” Generally representing the interests of employers, Bruce has handled numerous jury trials both inside and outside of Ohio, including cases involving breach of contract, discrimination, harassment and more for clients ranging from professional sports teams, Fortune 200 companies, colleges, hospitals, law firms and other professional services and manufacturing companies.

No need to RSVP. As for lunch, you are welcome to bring your own or pre-order one for $8. Pre-ordered boxed lunch options are: grilled chicken wrap, turkey sandwich, veggie wrap or Mediterranean salad. Pre-order a lunch online or email Lucy Jackson and be sure to specify your selection when you order.

2017-10-10 12:00:00 2017-10-10 13:00:00 America/Detroit Hot Talks Free, interactive discussions open to CMBA members and the general public. Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, 1375 E. 9th Street, Floor 2, Cleveland, OH 44114

Can't make it in person? We'll share the talk via Facebook Live. Like us today at

Why Hot Talks?

The CMBA’s mission begins with five simple words: “To promote the rule of law.” To believe in the rule of law means that we believe all people and all institutions are subject to and accountable to the laws of our land. It also means that we believe all laws must be both fairly applied and fairly enforced.

We stand behind our mission with action.

One way we strive to fulfill our mission is by creating opportunities for the open, civil exchange of ideas and viewpoints across a vast array of subjects – both for our members and the community at large. During the coming weeks and months, as the Trump Administration continues to unveil its plans for action, as the legislative and judicial branches begin to weigh in with their responses, and as the temperature rises on other hot topics, the CMBA will offer opportunities for civil conversations about these consequential concerns. We're calling these conversations: Hot Talks.

On the second Tuesday of every month, the CMBA host a series of Hot Talks -- free, interactive discussions open to CMBA members and the general public that will feature a variety of speakers who can offer expertise on particular topics, as well as a broad spectrum of viewpoints.

Bring your questions, your views, your criticisms - whatever you've got - and come meet us at the bar for Hot Talks.

Hot Talks are co-presented by The Press Club of Cleveland.

So what will these talks look like?

To start, we will have two or three lead speakers spend 15 or 20 minutes on introductory information such as:

  • What’s the difference between an Executive Order and a Presidential Memorandum?
  • What’s the legal impact of such presidential actions?
  • What are the recent hot presidential, legislative and/or judicial actions?
  • From the speakers’ perspectives, what specific impact will the actions have?

Then comes the Q&A. Free form. Thirty to forty minutes. Anything anyone wants to ask. Our speakers will field questions and again provide their perspectives. Sometimes they’ll agree. Sometimes they won’t. Sometimes the audience will agree; sometimes it won’t. The point here is to take real time developments and talk about them in an environment that is conducive to genuine, respectful give-and-take.

No, we won’t be catering to the left … or to the right. No, we won’t be offering the CMBA’s view on whether a policy announcement is good or bad. Yes, we will be giving people an opportunity to learn more about the legal news of the day in an environment that will enable us to discuss, debate and ultimately become better educated about the changes coming out of Washington D.C. and elsewhere – changes that will affect all of us.

Got thoughts and opinions about the recent actions…and those to come? We are looking for people who might be interested in leading our discussions. Immigration is clearly the buzzword for early February. Who knows what March and beyond will bring. If you would like to guide one of our conversations, give me a call or shoot me an email. We would love to include you.

Our doors are open to all who wish to engage in civil discourse. Bring your questions, your views, your criticisms – whatever you’ve got – and come meet us at the bar for Hot Talks the second Tuesday of every month.

The discussions will be free (yes, FREE), informal lunchtime conversations that will give our members and the public alike a chance to learn more about newly announced policies and other issues of importance. OK, lunch will not be free, but you can pre-order a boxed lunch for $8 at the noon sessions, or you can bring your own. The lunch options are: grilled chicken wrap, turkey sandwich, veggie wrap or Mediterranean salad. Please specify your selection when you order.  

Future Hot Talks:  

  1. November 14th    12:00 - 1:00 p.m. The Human Trafficking Highway
  2. December 12th    12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

Recent Hot Talks

February 14, 2017:  Immigration Policies

Our first Hot Talk took place on Tuesday, February 14 at noon at the CMBA's Conference Center.  The discussion was focused on recent immigration pronouncements and featured immigration attorneys, Heather Drabek Prendergast of Aljijakli & Kosseff, LLC and Sarah C. Flannery of Thompson Hine who provided perspectives on the impact for individuals and employers.

March 11, 2017: Sanctuary & Welcoming Cities

What does it mean to be a "Sanctuary City" or a "Welcoming City"?  What's the difference?  This after-work conversation discussed the differences as well as the advantages and disadvantages for communities to consider.

We welcomed Carol Roe, At-Large Council Member in the City of Cleveland Heights, which recently voted to approve the city's status as a Welcoming City. This free, interactive one-hour conversation was followed by a cash bar reception. 



April 11, 2017: Federal Budget Impacts

We welcomed Congressman Jim Renacci and Lakewood Mayor Mike Summers as our guests to talk about the impact of President Trump's proposed budget. What are the impacts locally and nationally? The conversation included talk about the importance of the proposed increases as well as the impacts of other cuts or eliminations in spending.  Read the full media advisory here or view more photos on our Facebook page.

May 9, 2017: Congress versus the President in War & Foreign Affairs

Through collaboration with the American Constitution Society and The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, the talk featured  Professor Dakota S. Rudesill from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, and Professor Robert F. Turner from the University of Virginia School of Law. Read our full media advisory for more details. After brief, introductory remarks, the conversation was open to all for an interactive question and answer period which was moderated by Jonathan Witmer-Rich, Professor at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.  

July 11, 2017: From the Nixon White House to the Trump Tower

This month's lunch-time conversation welcomed James Robenalt as he presented on "From the Nixon White House to the Trump Tower," an in depth look at executive power. Jim's knowledge of the presidency and the courts offered thoughtful and practical insight into what is happening in the halls of power and what might lie ahead. The conversation was moderated by a member of The Press Club of Cleveland.

August 8, 2017: The Opioid Crisis in Northeast Ohio

This lunch-time conversation welcomed Judge Lauren C. Moore of the Cleveland Municipal Court - Drug Court, Marisa Darden - Assistant United States Attorney, and Alicia Rock - Investigator with the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiners Office. They offered their perspectives on: the state of the opioid crisis in our community, key players, what is being done, what is working, and what might be done next. This conversation was planned by the Louis Stokes Scholars of the CMBA and moderated by Anthony Price, 2017 Stokes Scholar. 

September 12, 2017: Making the Dean's List: Law School Leaders on the Value of a Legal Education Today.
We were pleased to welcome four local law school deans to discuss the value of law schools today, share insight and field questions about successes and challenges experienced by law schools. Moderated by Darrell A. Clay, the conversation included:  

If you missed it, you can check out the video from Facebook live.