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Greater Cleveland International Lawyers Group; 21st Annual Rescuer of Humanity Awards; Judge Francine Goldberg Fundraiser

On Tuesday, December 1st, we went to the City Club for a luncheon meeting of the Greater Cleveland International Lawyers Group (GCILG). We were the first to arrive so we got toIMG_6100 spend a couple of minutes talking Mr. Richard O. Cunningham who was the speaker for the day. Mr. Cunningham is an international trade lawyer with Steptoe and Johnson, LLP in Washington, DC who comes here every year to make a presentation to the GCILG. We told him that we represented Margaret W. Wong and Associates and he agreed with us that as things become increasingly internationalized the needs for our services by businesses will increase.

On a different note, we talked with Mr. Cunningham, who has taught on the college/law school level, how he handles international students in it who speak English as a second language and thus sometimes struggle with it. He told us that providing them with written materials helps a great deal as does letting them know in advance that he will direct a question to them so they can be ready.

Soon other people arrived and we said hello to several law professors from CWRU including Dr. Michael P. Scharf (the Dean), Dr. Jonathan L. Entin and Dr. Juscelino F. Colares, JD, Ph.D., all of whom, of course, know Ms. Margaret W. Wong. We also spoke to a young international tax lawyer who told us that he may want to meet with Ms. Margaret W. Wong regarding a possiblecollaboration.

During his presentation, Mr. Cunnington discussed the in's and out's of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) which he described as "a deal focusing on issues relevant to the creation and maintenance of global value chains" meaning all of the people/companies involved in the production of a good o r service instead of a more traditional trade agreement. President Obama supports it and Mr. Cunningham predicted that it will probably pass the U.S. Senate after the November, 2016 elections. He gave a very detailed presentation about which institutions will benefit from it and which will not as well as which countries will likely joIMG_6098in. He believed that Vietnam will come aboard and very much benefit from it. The big question is how will the passage of the TPP affect our relationship with China (which is very unlikely to be a joiner) and, if not handled properly, this issue could broaden the divide between U.S./China and lead to serious entanglements in the future.

During lunch we shared a table with attorneys Ms. Jean Longmuir, Mr. William R. Roshner and Mr. Kevin D. Barnes. We discussed the immigration policy of the United States and the possible changes that we might consider making in lieu of terrorist concerns. Thankfully, we all agreed that refugees are not a major part of the problem.

Two young people in attendance worth noting were Mr. Benjamin Thomas Ballard, Editor-in-Chief of the "Global Business Law Review" and Mr. Tad Pinkson, a law student at CWRU who is taking an Introduction to Immigration class each Tuesday from 6pm to 8pm taught by Ms. Margaret W. Wong.

Accordingly, Mr. Pinkson said to be sure to say "hello" to her.


IMG_6102Tuesday night we went to Executive Caterers at Landerhaven in Mayfield Heights to attend the 21st Annual Rescuer of Humanity Awards presented by Project Love/Purple America. We are proud to say that Ms. Margaret W. Wong served as a Co-Chair for this event.

In the souvenir booklet it was written that "our programming helps build a community culture that stands for good. Appropr iately, in selecting the theme for this dinner, we wanted to honor those institutions and individuals that are also 'Connecting with Community.'" Along these lines, the honorees for 2015 included the Legacy of Cuyahoga CommunityIMG_6113 College and Dr. Alex Johnson, Ph.D., President; Mr. K. Michael Benz, Visionary Community Leader; Mr. Bill Kitson, President and CEO and United Way of Greater Cleveland; the Ohio Innocence Project and Attorney Terry Gilbert; and Dr. Richard Ross, Ohio Superintendent of Public Instruction.Also receiving awards for being student leaders and role models were Ms. Briana McElrath and Ms. Elena Paparizos.

When we arrived we encountered Ms. Karen Moses from the Jewish Family Service Agency (JFSA) who told us that their annual meeting was also taking place that eveningIMG_6110 at Executive Caterers. About 170 people were expected and she invited us to stay. We thanked her kindly but explained that we were there to attend another event. Nevertheless, Ms. Moses was still glad to see us and arranged for us to obtain a copy of the JFSA's annual report. The organization was celebrating its 140th birthday and the gathering looked lovely.

So on we went to the other side of the facility to the Project Love/Purple America party. Ms. Darby Marbury welcomed us and helped us find our name tag. Moreover, Mr. Stuart Muszynski, President and CEO, was very glad to see us and was very appreciative of Ms. Wong's support.

Some of the people that we talked to/said hello to at the IMG_6108reception included Mr. Bruce Seifert, a filmmaker who was taping the gala; Mr. RB Grampp, Sr., the CEO of Bluestone Trading Company, Inc. which conducts trade with diamonds from all over the world; and Mr. Joe Pollack who was taking photos for the event. Mr. Pollack talked to us for a few minutes about the passport photos that he has taken for people from such places as Italy and Canada.

IMG_6109At dinner we sat next to Mr. Elliott Reed, Program Manager for The REDIzone, a public-private partnership at Northeast Ohio Medical University, who was very interested in EB-5 Immigrant Investor visas, and Mr. John Dearborn from a start-up named Streamlink software. Mr. Dearborn told us that he is sponsoring two software engineers who are in the process of immigrating to the United States from India. He currently employs 10 software engineers and so these internationals constitute 20% of his labor force. He finds the paperwork a bit daunting, but he knows that in the long run it will all be worth it because these workers are excellent and really appreciate the opportunity that he has given them.

On Wednesday night, December 2nd, we went to the Barley House on West 6th Street to attend a fundraiser of our friend, Judge Francine Goldberg of the Domestic Relations Court.

The first people that we talked to upon arrival were Ms. Liz Heraghty and Ms. Colleen Kilbane both of them court reporters who had known Judge Goldberg for years even since she was a prosecutor.

Another person that we talked to who worked with Division of Domestic Relations was Mr. Harold R. Rauzi, the bailiff for Judge Rosemary Grdina Gold. We discussed the problems that foreign born people encounter in the courts and Mr. Rauzi said that the biggest challenge was providing them with the interpreters that they need but everyone does their best.

We didn't stay too long at the fundraiser it took place in a relatively small room which was packed to the brim with people which was a good thing because it indicated Judge Goldberg's popularity. Other dignitaries that were there were Cuyahoga County Councilman Dale Miller and Judge Diane Palos also from the Division of Domestic Relations. Judge Goldberg's bailiff, Mr. Mike Fields moved cheerfully around taking pictures of those who requested that he do so.

Before we left, we talked for a while to Mr. Michael Saltzman, who described himself as "an old senior attorney" who had an office in the Standard Building the same time that Ms. Margaret W. Wong did. He used to live in Shaker Heights and was a frequent patron of Pearl of the Orient whose egg rolls he "could of have lived on." Mr. Saltzman was present at the fundraiser because he considered Judge Goldberg to be "very creative" in her approach which results in many cases being solved a lot quicker and to the greater satisfaction of those who appear before her.

He mentioned that he met Ms. Goldberg a long time ago at an appearance that then-President Bill Clinton made in Cleveland in Mall B. They had to stand together for a while waiting for the President to arrive so they had a good time conversing about the problems of the world and coming up with solutions.

Next we walked a few blocks over to the Aloft Hotel for the annual Plexus Holiday Party which took place at the WXYZ Bar in order to visit with old friends.Equality Ohio

We talked for quite a while with Ms. Alana Jochum of Equality Ohio and her friend, Mr. David Mehrling about issues that affect the LGBT community like conversion therapy, a very controversial subject, and its future.

We met Ms. Robin Phillips, a marriage officiant, who might contact Margaret W. Wong and Associates if she encounters any foreign born people want to get married but have questions about how their immigration status might be affected.

Ms. Kathryn Bryan from the Renee Jones Empowerment Center made a special effort to flag us down as we were walking around in order to give her best to Ms. Margaret W. Wong.

We discussed projects that are aimed at helping refugees in the Cleveland area with Mr. Jeff Blazek, co-owner of Full Color Printings who has done some work for Refugee Response, an organization that we very much respect.

Inevitably the subject of how happy Plexus members are at their jobs came up.

For instance, Ms. Heidi Raynor, an administrative assistant, and Mr. Ryan Phile, a physician's assistant, who both work at the Cleveland Clinic really like it there because they respect its diversity concerning both the staff and patient services.

Mr. Daniel Prucey, who works for Lubrizol, told us that he gets phone calls and emails from hard-working associates stationed at locations all over the world at all hours due to the different time zones. Mr. Prucey grinned and said at times he feels like telling them to just relax and we'll take it up again in the morning before he realizes that it probably is the morning for them.

And then we talked to Ms. Rachel Stair who works at KeyBank as an Executive Assistant in Business Banking. Ms. Stair said she loves KeyBank because, "it is nice to know that you can work somewhere these days and not be afraid of being who you are."

Out & Aboutimwong