CSU’s law school graduates have some of Ohio’s lowest 1st time test passing scores under Lee Fisher as dean and Harlan Sands as president

The minutes of CSU's board of trustees don't show an interest in the performance of its law school and dean as accreditation issues are raised by the American Bar Association

CLEVELAND, OH – In 2018 John Marshall School of Law Dean Lee Fisher was bragging in a news release posted on Cleveland State University’s (CSU) website that the law school’s passage rate of 88 percent was the highest in the state.  Fisher was quoted as follows: “Today we appreciate the rising success of our law school, as also evidenced by our recent 14-point increase in our U.S. News national ranking, the 4th largest increase of any law school in the nation.” 

Although “disclosure” is an American Bar Association accreditation “standard,” Fisher wasn’t as public about the law school’s test scores being the state’s lowest the following year in 2019.  All of the state’s law schools with wildly-fluctuating “first time” test results are issuing news releases promoting their best scores while remaining publicly-silent about the worst.  The search engines only show the “best in the state” and not the “worst in the state” headlines.  The concealment gives Ohioans an idea where future prosecutors are learning to hide exculpatory evidence.

A public smear campaign against the name of United States Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall is a great way to distract the public away from Lee Fisher’s poor performance as the dean of a law school named for a man who freed over 600 enslaved American Negroes whose bloodlines were also mixed with Caucasians and Native American tribes.

After Fisher’s first year on the job in February 2017 only 69 percent of CSU law school graduates testing to obtain licenses as attorneys passed on first try.  It was 43 percent for the Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) law school where attorneys Jessica Berg and Michael Scharf have been employed as CWRU’s law school co-deans since 2013.

For perspective Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb graduated from CWRU’s law school in 2018 and has failed the bar examination twice in the past three years.  His failure to obtain a license now after three years instead of two lowers CWRU’s percentages.

Last February 2021 only 63 percent of CSU law school students – whose legal educations Fisher oversees – could pass the Ohio Bar Association examination on the first try to be licensed as an attorney.  The overall rate of law school students passing the test after three tries dropped the overall score to 49 percent that year.

The University of Akron law school’s first time passage rate was 60 percent to Cleveland State University’s 51 percent in 2019.  The dean’s thought they should merge to become the largest poor performers in the state.

In July 2021 the passage rate for the 139 Ohio law school graduates from “out of state” schools was 100 percent but for those who attended DePaul (50%), Indiana University-Indianapolis (33%), Louisiana State University (50%) and Northern Kentucky University (30%).  CSU’s passage rate was 88 percent and CWRU’s was 71 percent.  Ohio Northern University’s passage rate was 24 percent for the lowest in the state.  CSU’s law school has not been close to 100 percent since 2016.  It’s July 2021 scores were 83 percent.

According to the American Bar Association’s accreditation standards, within two years after graduation, a minimum of 75 percent of the university’s graduates should have taken and passed a state bar examination.  The rule is identified by number as Standard 316 and is found in the American Bar Association’sStandards for Approval of Law Schools.

Standard 316 was enacted by the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar to comply with “accreditation” standards approved by the United States Congress in the Code of Federal Regulations.  A 9-page fact finding report issued in 2019 revealed that within two years the majority of law schools reported that 97 percent of their graduates had tested for a license.

Poor first time passage test scores are not Lee Fisher and Cleveland State University’s only “accreditation” problems.

CSU’s wildly-fluctuating test scores may explain why Fisher was so willing to participate in the public “distraction” a former Palestinian student created with his online petition drive to remove the late United States Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall’s name from the law school.  Fisher has been employed as dean since 2016 and the law school’s test scores are not its only “compliance” problem.  Instead of welcoming immigrant Mousa Hanna Kassis’ online petition Fisher should have advised him to obey his “student code of conduct” if he wanted the board of trustees to consider his proposal.

In August 2021 Fisher received a “Notice of Non-Compliance” from the ABA’s “council.”  He was warned that CSU’s law school was in violation of Standards 202(a),(c) and (d).  The letter to Fisher reads as follows:

At its August 19-20, 2021, meeting, the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the American Bar Association (the “Council”) considered the status of Cleveland State University Cleveland-Marshall College of Law (the “Law School”) and concluded that the Law School is not in compliance with Standards 202(a), (c), and (d).

In accordance with U.S. Department of Education regulations (34 C.F.R. § 602.26) applicable to recognized accrediting agencies, the Council is required to post a notice describing the basis for an action when it finds significant noncompliance with one or more of ABA Standards pursuant to Rule 11(a)(4). The Council considers any finding of noncompliance with Standard 202 to be such a finding.

Consequently, pursuant to ABA Internal Operating Practice 5 of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, this public memorandum is being issued within 24 hours of the time the Law School was notified of the Council’s decision.

The Law School has been asked to submit a report by October 1, 2021, and to appear before the Council at its February 17-19, 2022, meeting. The Council will consider the written report at its November 18-20, 2021, meeting. If the information provided in the written report demonstrates compliance with the Standards listed above, then the Council will find the Law School to be in compliance with the Standards and cancel the hearing.

This notice will be posted on our website (www.americanbar.org/groups/legal education/accreditationnotices/) to comply with the U.S. Department of Education regulations until the matter is resolved.

A law school that is approved by the American Bar Association continues in that status pending final action by the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.

Keybank executive David Reynolds has some learning to do if he’s going to successfully lead the university’s board or be just another do-nothing “token.”  Fisher’s enrollment of American Negroes and Protestant Christian American children is horrible.  Communist China and Communist India have different constitutions, laws and forms of government.  There is no logic to enrolling 108 foreigners who will be violating immigration laws upon graduation if they remain instead of leaving.

Cleveland State University’s board of trustees and President Harlan Sands have no idea they were thrown under the bus.

The meetings of the board of trustees’ are public and so are the university’s records.  Personally identifiable information about students is not. What the minutes don’t reflect are public discussions showing that the board Reynolds now leading as ever having an interest in Fisher’s performance, enrollment or compliance challenges.

Two years ago Sands and Fisher started “merger” discussions with Akron University President Gary Miller and law school dean C.J. Peters.  CSU’s 2020 board of trustees’ minutes show no discussion or an authorizing resolution from the legislative authority David H. Gunning led at the time.

Reynolds replaced Gunning as chairman in May 2021.  None of the discussions about the issues being raised by the ABA are private or eligible for “executive session.”  The heading of the very serious federal and ABA regulation Sands, Reynolds and Fisher were accused of violating in August 2021 is captioned “Resources for program.

Is Cleveland State University board of trustees Chairman David Reynolds going to wield power to give Cleveland and surrounding area public school students “top of the food chain” access to a high quality education; or is he just another token? The Centers for Disease Control has affirmed that 20 percent of Cleveland area school students contemplate suicide. Their academic futures are being stolen from them by this town’s deal making academicians.

There should be some evidence of Reynolds entertaining a discussion with Sands and Fisher about the passage rates and non-compliance letter reflected in the minutes.

(a) The current and anticipated financial resources available to the law school shall be sufficient for it to operate in compliance with the Standards and to carry out its program of legal education.  (c) A law school is not in compliance with the Standards if its current financial condition has a negative and material effect on the school’s ability to operate in compliance with the Standards or to carry out its program of legal education. (d) A law school is not in compliance with the Standards if its anticipated financial condition is reasonably expected to have a negative and material effect on the school’s ability to operate in compliance with the Standards or to carry out its program of legal education.

According to Fisher in a statement, it was Sands and the board of trustees Reynolds leads who did not budget funds to fully staff the law school.

Cleveland State University’s board of trustees have negligently engaged in absolutely no discussions about the chronically low first time test passage scores under law school dean Lee Fisher.

It is important to note that this was about the allocation of financial resources from the university to our law school on the narrow issue of sufficient staffing for the law school,” Fisher claimed.  The law school, under his leadership, was “in the strongest financial condition in a decade.”

Fisher met the ABA’s October 21, 2021 deadline to prove that the law school he led was financially-strong, and that it was the university’s staffing negligence behind the accreditation concerns.

At its November 18-19, 2021, meeting, the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the American Bar Association (the “Council”) considered the status of Cleveland State University Cleveland-Marshall College of Law (the “Law School”) regarding its noncompliance with Standards 202(a), (c), and (d).

Following consideration of the record in the matter and the Law School’s response to the Council’s August 2021 Decision Letter, the Council concluded that the information provided by the Law School is sufficient to demonstrate compliance with Standards 202(a), (c), and (d). Accordingly, the Rule 13(a)(2) hearing is cancelled in accordance with Rule 20(d). Cleveland State University Cleveland-Marshall College of Law remains an approved law school.

EJBNEWS has previously reported that a review of the CSU board of trustees’ minutes for a meeting held on September 23, 2021 don’t include an appearance from Fisher.  Sands in the public meeting did not discuss the August 2021 ABA compliance letter.  Fisher appears to have responded “for the university” without a discussion with or an approval resolution from the board.

Cleveland State University’s board of trustees include lawyers who obviously have no clue that they cannot use “tautological” language to discuss public business outside of a public meeting. The minutes of the October 27, 2021 “special board of trustees meeting” of CSU’s board is evidence of an open government crime.

At its October 27, 2021 board meeting, Reynolds and the board “scheduled” an executive session in Beachwood at the Country Club located at 2825 Lander Road.  The justification for the off-campus executive session was the same unlawful tautalogical language Gunning used to violate the state’s open meetings law.

“Chair Reynolds made the motion [the appropriate use of the term is “motioned” instead of “made the motion”] to adjourn into Executive Session to for the purpose of of [a typo in the minutes] discussing personnel matters involving the contracts, employment and compensation of public employees; to consider real estate matters; and to discuss trade secret information required by law to be kept confidential. Trustee DePompei seconded the motion.”

The public has no idea from the minutes if Sands raised the topic of Fisher’s response to the ABA to CSU’s board of trustees.  From the records Fisher appears to be doing his own thing, covering his own azz and cutting his own deals.   He’s got the public distractively “razzle dazzled” thanks to a smear campaign against a good man who’s been dead since July 6, 1835.  That’s nearly 186 years.

Councilman Kevin Conwell and Cleveland city council were Fisher’s “suckers.”  It’s not what the public’s told by this town’s so-called “reporters” or what’s in front of the curtain that matters.  It’s what’s behind the curtain and the hidden agendas.

Eric Jonathan Brewer

Cleveland's most influential journalist and East Cleveland's most successful mayor is an East Saint Louis, Illinois native whose father led the city's petition drive in 1969 to elect the first black mayor in 1971. Eric is an old-school investigative reporter whose 40-year body of editorial work has been demonstrably effective. No local journalist is feared or respected more.

Trained in newspaper publishing by the legendary Call & Post Publisher William Otis Walker in 1978 when it was the nation's 5th largest Black-owned publication, Eric has published and edited 13 local, regional and statewide publications across Ohio. Adding to his publishing and reporting resume is Eric's career in government. Eric served as the city's highest paid part-time Special Assistant to ex-Cleveland Mayor Michael R. White. He served as Chief of Staff to ex-East Cleveland Mayor Emmanuel Onunwor; and Chief of Communications to the late George James in his capacity as the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority's first Black executive director. Eric was appointed to serve as a member of the state's Financial Planning & Supervision Commission to guide the East Cleveland school district out of fiscal emergency and $20 million deficit. Former U.S. HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson told Eric in his D.C. office he was the only mayor in the nation simultaneously-managing a municipal block grant program. Eric wrote the city's $2.2 million Neighborhood Stabilization Program grant application. A HUD Inspector General audit of his management of the block grant program resulted in "zero" audit findings.

As a newspaper publisher, Eric has used his insider's detailed knowledge of government and his publications to lead the FBI and state prosecutors to investigations that resulted in criminal prosecutions of well-known elected officials in Ohio; and have helped realign Cleveland's political landscape with the defeat of candidates and issues he's exposed. Eric's stories led to the indictments of the late Governor George Voinovich's brother, Paul Voinovich of the V Group, and four associates. He asked the FBI to investigate the mayor he'd served as chief of staff for public corruption; and testified in three federal trials for the prosecution. He forced former Cuyahoga County Coroner Dr. Elizabeth Balraj to admit her investigations of police killings were fraudulent; and to issue notices to local police that her investigators would control police killing investigations. Eric's current work has resulted in Cuyahoga County Judge John Russo accepting the criminal complaint he guided an activist to file against 24 civil rights-violating police officers in the city he once led for operating without valid peace officer credentials. USA Today reporters picked up on Eric's police credentials reporting from his social media page and made it national.

Eric is the author of of his first book, "Fight Police License Plate Spying," which examines the FBI and local police misuse of the National Crime Information Center criminal records history database. An accomplished trumpet player and singer whose friendship with Duke Fakir of the Four Tops resulted in his singing the show's closing song, "Can't Help Myself": Curtis Sliwa of New York's Guardian Angels counts Eric among his founding chapter leaders from the early 1980's role as an Ohio organizer of over 300 volunteer crime fighters in Cleveland, Columbus and Youngstown, Ohio. For his work as a young man Eric was recognized by Cleveland's Urban League as it's 1983 Young Man of the Year.

Known in Cleveland for his encyclopedic knowledge of government and history, and intimately-connected with the region's players, every local major media outlet in Cleveland has picked up on one of Eric's stories since 1979. There is no mainstream newspaper, television or radio outlet in Cleveland that does not include an interview with Eric Jonathan Brewer in its archives over the past 40 years.

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