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Distinguished visiting adjunct professor receives Bar Association award

May 26, 2017

Avery Friedman, the civil rights lawyer and CNN legal analyst who serves as distinguished visiting adjunct professor of consphoto of Avery Friedmantitutional law at Ursuline College, will be awarded the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association's 2017 William K. Thomas Award for Professionalism on Friday, June 2, 2017. It will be presented at CMBA’s annual meeting at Cleveland Public Auditorium starting at noon.

Friedman was unanimously selected by CMBA’s Ethics and Professionalism Committee. The presentation will be made by CMBA’s President Richard D. Manaloff. The honor is bestowed on “a lawyer or judge who has significantly contributed to the enhancement of professionalism in the Greater Cleveland legal community by exemplifying the goals of the Ohio Supreme Court’s ‘A Lawyer’s Creed’ and by furthering the ideals[of]the mission of the CMBA.”

Ursuline President Sister Christine De Vinne, OSU, Ph.D., said, “Avery Friedman has dedicated his life to practicing and teaching about civil rights law. Our students have benefited enormously from his intellect and insight. On behalf of Ursuline College, I congratulate Avery for this well-deserved honor.” 

Friedman’s nomination was made by Michael J. Borden, associate dean of Cleveland State University’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. Seconding the nomination, U. S. District Judge Dan Aaron Polster wrote, “Litigation is a full contact sport, and too many lawyers leave a lot of casualties on the field. That is not the case with Avery. He knows how to disagree agreeably. He will exhaust every possibility to achieve a fair resolution and if that is not possible, he will try the case in a dignified and professional manner.”

Another second, from Dr. E. Theophilis Caviness, president of the local chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), wrote, “Dr. King told us that the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. Without a volunteer fighting force . . . standing forcefully against iron-fisted racial violence, justice can be elusive. Avery has been our fighting force of one.”

In addition to teaching at Ursuline, Friedman has lectured at nearly three dozen law schools, including Duke, Stanford, UC Berkeley, Tulane, Wisconsin and Texas, and has been invited to appear before U. S. Senate and House subcommittees as an expert in civil rights law. Friedman has been a weekly legal analyst on CNN since 2001 and joins Jesse Owens and Gloria Steinem as an inductee in the Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame. 

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