CLEVELAND – July 11, 2017 –CMBA Announces Inaugural Leadership Academy Class New Leadership Program Welcomes 34 Attorneys

The Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association (CMBA) is pleased to announce the members of the new CMBA Leadership Academy. This 10-month program will provide leadership and professional development programming for two different groups of attorneys: Emerging Leaders (minimum 5 years legal experience) and Established Leaders (minimum 15 years legal experience). Monthly sessions for the Leadership Academy will kick off in September and conclude in June 2018.

“The Leadership Academy has been designed to specifically leverage the CMBA’s knowledge of the legal profession and leadership within the profession,” said Rebecca Ruppert McMahon, CMBA executive director. “Our customized, highly-interactive programming will provide lawyers with the opportunity to intentionally expand their capacity for leadership within their places of employment, the Bar, the legal profession and the Greater Cleveland community.” Learn more at

An esteemed panel of past and present CMBA presidents, trustees and bar leaders selected 34 attorneys to participate in the inaugural class. “After carefully reviewing all applications, references and personal statements, we are thrilled to announce the names of these well-deserving individuals,” said Darrell A. Clay, 2017-18 president of the CMBA and member of the selection panel. “Collectively, they represent a broad range of backgrounds, practice areas and practice settings from across northeast Ohio’s legal community. We can’t wait to get started!”

The 2017-2018 Emerging Leader Cohort members are:

Jennifer A. Alexander, Cuyahoga County Probate Court
Elizabeth A. Batts, Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff LLP
Kari Ann Lillibridge Burns, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association
Monica Christofferson, Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court
Julie C. Cortes, The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland
Brandon D. Cox, Tucker Ellis LLP Kendra Davitt, Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Christopher G. Dean, McDonald Hopkins LLC
Katy M. Franz, Eaton Corporation
John W. Hofstetter, Kastner Westman & Wilkins, LLC
John D. Lazzaretti, Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP
Todd K. Masuda, Schneider Smeltz Spieth Bell LLP
Justin L. Monday, Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff LLP
Matthew W. O’Brien, Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas
Amanda M. Roe, Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP
Justin C. Withrow, Law Office of Michael C. Hennenberg, Esq.

The 2017-2018 Established Leader Cohort members are:

Awatef Assad, Cuyahoga County Department of Law
Christopher J. Carney, Brouse McDowell
Lisa Gasbarre Black, Catholic Charities Diocese of Cleveland
Jodi Spencer Johnson, Ice Miller LLP
Lori R. Kilpeck, Ziegler Metzger LLP
Andrea R. Kinast, Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas
Patrick J. Krebs, Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP
Lori Ann Luka, Lazzaro Luka Law Office
Harold (Hal) O. Maxfield, Jr., Cavitch, Familo & Durkin Co., LPA
Daniel L. Messeloff, Tucker Ellis LLP K.
Vesna Mijic-Barisic, Cleveland State University
Tom Mlakar, The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland
Kelli Kay Perk, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office
Scott J. Robinson, Schneider Smeltz Spieth Bell LLP
Joseph M. Saponaro, FisherBroyles LLP
Lori Wald, Attorney at Law Kristin L. Wedell, Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote, P.C.
Christopher Zirke, Corporate United, Inc.

About the CMBA The nonprofit Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association operates as a center for legal professionalism in the region, promoting the highest ethical and professional standards. Serving the largest legal community in the state, the CMBA has more than 5,200 members. Learn more at