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CMBA Appoints New Officer and Directors - CMBA News and Information

CMBA Updates & Legal News

Posted by: Melanie Farrell on Mar 17, 2021
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CLEVELAND – March 17, 2021 – Yesterday, the Board of Directors for the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association unanimously approved a slate of candidates who will join the Board beginning July 1, 2021. The positions filled included a future Bar president, directors and public representatives.

In early March, a Nominating Committee appointed by current CMBA President Joseph N. Gross, interviewed fifteen highly qualified candidates to fill the open Vice President position and six director positions. The Nominating Committee considered a variety of factors, including but not limited to the candidates’ history of service and commitment to the CMBA, diversity of experience, practice area and practice setting, as well as leadership engagement both within the CMBA and in the broader Cleveland community. In the end, the Nominating Committee presented the Board of Directors with a recommended slate, which the Board approved in its entirety.  

President Gross remarked, “I am profoundly proud and appreciative of the work performed by our Nominating Committee, with special thanks to our Chair, Sandra Kelly. The individuals recommended for appointment have all achieved professional excellence, and offer the Board diversity of experience, thought and practice, as well as a passion for leading our Bar.”  

The following individuals were approved to join the Board:

For the office of Vice President, the Honorable John J. Russo, Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas. Judge Russo comes to the role of Vice President with a history of extensive engagement in the CMBA throughout his nearly 30-year career. He will be the first sitting judge to serve as President of the CMBA. Judge Russo has served two terms on the Board of Directors, more than ten years of volunteer service for both the Ohio and Cleveland Mock Trial Programs, as well as the 3Rs, and frequent participation as a speaker in a variety of educational programs such as the New Lawyer Bootcamp. In addition to serving as the Administrative and Presiding Judge for six years, Judge Russo holds, or has held, numerous other leadership roles including President of the National Association for Presiding Judges and Court Executive Officers, 1st Vice-Chair of the Ohio Judicial Conference, Trustee of the Cleveland Marshall Law Alumni Association and several appointments by Supreme Court of Ohio Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor. After serving one year as Vice President, Judge Russo will become the President-Elect and then, as of July 1, 2023, President of the CMBA.  

For the role of Director, serving a three-year term beginning July 1, 2021:

  • Nicholas A. DiCello, Spangenberg Shibley & Liber LLP
  • Khalilah A. Lawson, Cuyahoga County Probate Court
  • John P. Slagter, Tucker Ellis LLP (second term)
  • Carla M. Tricarichi, Tricarichi & Carnes, LLC
  • Robin M. Wilson, Ulmer & Berne LLP 
  • Kyleigh A. Weinfurtner, Zashin & Rich Co., LPA

In addition, based upon the recommendation of the CMBA’s Executive Committee, the Board of Directors approved the appointment of two new public representatives to the Board beginning July 1, 2021:

  • Suzanne Hamilton, ERIEBANK
  • India Pierce Lee, The Cleveland Foundation

Finally, current Public Representative Bruce Hennes, Founder of Hennes Communications, was re-appointed to a new, three-year term. 

“The past year of pandemic-related operational upheaval has shown us that to remain strong, our organization needs great leadership,” said CMBA CEO Rebecca Ruppert McMahon. “Our newly appointed leaders will bring tremendous strength to our Boardroom as we continue to forge ahead in service of our legal community.” 

About the CMBA

The nonprofit Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association operates as a center for legal professionalism in the region, promoting the highest ethical and professional standards. The CMBA strives to be an indispensable resource for its nearly 5,000 members and the go-to organization on issues of law and justice in Northeast Ohio. Learn more at



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