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Lake County Bar Association's 40th Annual Law Day Breakfast, Plexus Lucnch at The New Holiday Inn

IMG_0699On Tuesday, May 3rd, we started the day at La Malfa on Heisley Road in Mentor where were attended the Lake County Bar Association's 40th Annual Law Day Breakfast.

Just last week we had attended a program at the City Club dealing with Law Day and, the theme for this year, the Miranda decision. The guest speaker was at that event was Ms. Cait T. Clarke, Chief of Defender Services at the Administrative Offices of the U.S. Courts.

Along these lines, on this day in Lake County, the title for the program was "Miranda more than words" and the speaker was Mr. Dennis Terez, Federal Public Defender of the Northern District of Ohio. At the beginning of his speech, Mr. Terez noted that Lake County was home to Mr. James A. Garfield, the 20th U.S. President, who was a lawyer, a teacher, and a lay pastor. Mr. Terez reviewed all of the occupations and encouraged us to emulate President Garfield. First, we should see it as our goal to be the "people's lawyer" by familiarizing ourselves with the U.S. Constitution and its history. Then we should be teachers by sharing what we have learned with others because people's lack of knowledge about their own government is absurd and frightening. For example a significant percentage of people believe that the constitution is renewed every few years and "Judge Judy" sits on the U.S. Supreme Court. Lastly, just like a lay pastor, we need to take advantage of all technological tools to spread knowledge or else we run the risk of being left behind.

According to Mr. Terez, technology and absence of knowledge were involved in the three of the foremost challenges confronting the Miranda decision today. As far as technology, the "right to remain silent" takes on a whole new meaning when petitions to be allowed to open iphones are involved. Another challenge is the "right to counsel" in light of the resources lost during the last sequester (on this matter Mr. Terez echoed what Ms. Clarke said last week) and how underfunded the judicial branch of the federal government is. In terms of "lack of knowledge" it is quite sad that so many people can recite the Miranda warning due to TV shows but, aside from that, know nothing about its background or about our other constitutional rights for that matter.

Mr. Terez concluded his presentation by asking us to accept these challenges and received an outstanding affirmation which made us feel very upbeat and hopeful about the future.  We introduced ourselves to Mr. Terez and he said that he really admired Ms. Margaret W. Wong for her tremendous energy and her skills as a businesswoman.

Awards were given to Mr. Joseph "Randy" Klammer, President of the Grievance Committee of the Lake County Bar Association for his advocacy on behalf of attorneys and for the community. During his brief remarks Mr. Klammer discussed the need to make good legal representation more accessible to the middle and lower classes of our society.

Another well-deserved award was given to Ms. Deborah Foley, former longtime President of United Way of Lake County, for her outstanding service to that organization which has helped so many people. Ms. Foley was also one of the initiators of the "Begin the Conversation" community forum about racial relations. The first one was an excellent success and another one is being planned.

Before we left, we learned that 280 people attended this Law Day Celebration including people involved with law enforcement, high school/college students, community leaders, and others who were not involved in the legal profession at all but just came to learn which was very encouraging, indeed.

We then drove back to Cleveland to attend a lunch put on by Plexus at the new Holiday Inn at the Cleveland Clinic on Euclid Avenue which will officially start accepting residing guests on May 8th. Restaurant facilities are now open, though, and our friend Mr. Scott Gerlach, Director of Sales, arranged for us all to have a delicious lunch in one of the meeting rooms. Plexus was founded "to promote networking and business development within Northeast Ohio's LGBT business community and its allies."

Everyone introduced himself/herself and after we got through one of the other members spoke up and said that Margaret W. Wong and Associates was quite good because a couple of his friends recently got married and our law firm helped one of them on an immigration matter.

Afterwards, all of us talked for a little while and during the course of the conversation we learned that three big factors that cause a business to grow more diverse are colleague satisfaction (if a worker feels more accepted by management and his/her co-workers then he/she is more efficient), talented millennials who want to work for a progressive firm, and clients who wish this also.

We also talked about the effectiveness of employee research groups in terms of nudging companies towards more inclusive policies. One example that was given involved Xerox. Years ago, salespeople of color were given cheaper products to sell than white people. Subsequently, they made less money from commission. They banded together and, as a result, the Xerox products were distributed more fairly.

Today there were over twenty people present, and these included several people who worked in the insurance industry, two wedding officiants; an artist; two people who worked for architectural firms; a pharmacist; a psychological counselor; two businesspeople who owned a successful printing company; an event specialist; and a person whose occupation concerned organizational effectiveness. It was quite a diverse group and we were proud to be a part of it.


Michael Patterson 

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC.


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