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Well, We Made It! - CMBA News and Information

CMBA Updates & Legal News

Posted by: Rebecca Ruppert McMahon on Jul 20, 2021
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On July 13, the CMBA’s 14th Annual Meeting roared into action at the Cleveland Zoo under skies that literally changed minute-by-minute. Fortunately, the rain held off throughout the official program and much of the night, until a spectacular show of lightning, thunder and deluging rain made a very dramatic and memorable arrival just as darkness fell. While a full recap will appear in the September issue, I can’t resist sharing a few details.

This annual meeting was truly like no other. Two years in the waiting, hoping and planning, we landed on the perfect outdoor setting for more than 1,000 of our bar family and friends who laughed, cheered, teared, walked and ate their way through the night. Our Special Events Planner, Caitlin Peterson, worked tirelessly with the Cleveland Metroparks team — led by Sam Cario, Director of Events & Experiences — to deliver an evening that all of us who attended will remember forever.

During a record-short (54 minutes start to finish!) meeting in the Zoo’s amphitheater, we:

Celebrated the 2020–2021 leadership of President Joe Gross and the many, many bar successes throughout the year, including:

  • more than $1.2 million in legal fees generated by referrals made in connection with our Lawyer Referral Service
  • launching our new In-House Counsel Section with 126 founding members
  • the fourth class of the CMBA Leadership Academy comprised of 24 established and emerging leaders
  • An all-time high number — 239 to be precise — of live CLE programs
  • 33,400+ YouTube viewers of our video content
  • 8,000+ CMBA followers on FaceBook, LinkedIn and Twitter
  • the debut of the overhauled, content-rich website which attracted more than 170,000 page views between mid March and June 30

Presented awards to:

Monica Sansalone, recipient of the Honorable William K. Thomas Professionalism Award

Paul Smith, recipient of the Justice For All Volunteer of the Year Award

Leadership Academy Team D, comprised of Joe Burke, Melissa Laubenthal, Christina Niro, Yao Liu, Jessica Sanderson and Justine Shullick whose project, focused on dismantling systemic and negotiated racism, earned the unanimous support of the panel of judges.

The Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Law Section and the Judicial Ratings Committee — our outstanding Section and Committee of the Year

Valissa Turner Howard, the very surprised and much-deserving recipient of this year’s President’s Award, presented in recognition of her tremendous leadership and contributions over the past two years as the CMBA’s Vice President of Inclusion & Diversity.

Kicked off the new year ahead with the inauguration of CMBA President Rose Fini, CMBF President Lee Ann O’Brien and a host of other new officers and directors whose engagement will be truly game-changing in both organization’s boardrooms.

Best of all, we simply enjoyed the opportunity to come together in person, sharing real hugs and handshakes for the first time in a very, very long time.

Our future is bright, my friends. Thank you all for continuing to invest your time and your passion in our bar. We are the best bar association in the country because of you, our nearly 5,000 members, who are supported each and every day by our team of dedicated, innovative professional.

Come meet us at the Bar early and often this fall!

P.S. I hope you enjoy my favorite photo from the Annual Meeting. Thank you, Superhero Everly, for posing with my friends and me!

Becky has been a CMBA member since 1995 and CEO since 2015.



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