April 10, 2018 at 9:32 am

Happy Beginnings | History Alum Hannah Caldwell Joins Cleveland Law Firm as Summer Associate

Editor’s Note: The Happy Beginnings series features recent College of Arts & Sciences graduates who are getting started in careers, graduate school and service.

Hannah Caldwell ’16 is in her second year at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, where she is an Honors Writing Fellow and a student member of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association as well as the Ohio State Bar Association.

Hannah Caldwell, portrait

Hannah Caldwell

Caldwell graduated from Ohio University in May 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in History from the College of Arts & Sciences. She was a member of Alpha Gamma Delta and a distinguished member of the Ohio University Mock Trial Team, where she received two Best Witness Awards and served as team captain during the team’s inaugural year.

At Case Western, Caldwell has been a Law Clerk for Seeley, Savidge, Ebert & Gourash in Westlake Ohio, and will be a Summer Associate for Thompson Hine in Cleveland.  She participated in the Center for Law, Justice & Culture’s Summer Law & Trial Institute in both 2016 and 2017 as an alumni law student panelist.

Where is your hometown?

I grew up in Strongsville, Ohio – a Cleveland suburb.

Where do you live now?

I live in Cleveland’s Little Italy with my fiancé, Robby, and our labradoodle, Ralph. My house is short walk to school and an even shorter walk to the best Italian food in town.

Why did you choose to attend Ohio University?

Ohio University was (and still is) the perfect quintessential college town I had in mind when I started applying to colleges. I remember touring other schools after my trip to Athens and thinking, “This is a huge waste of time.”

What were your best Ohio University experiences?

My best experience at Ohio University, hands down, was being a part of the Mock Trial Team. The things I learned as a part of the team affect my life every day – thinking on my feet, expressing myself, taking criticism – I could go on and on about what a positive impact the team and all of the wonderful friends I made had on my college experience.

How did you become interested in pursuing law?

Toward the end of my sophomore year I was truly loathing my biology coursework, and I was feeling pretty disinterested and discouraged. There was a bulletin board in Irvine Hall with a flyer advertising an informational session about intellectual property law – long story short, I got to thinking about law as a career, did some research, and called my dad. He reassured me that I wasn’t crazy for switching my college trajectory and that I should go for it – and here I am!

What has kept you busy since graduating from Ohio University?

I have been enjoying my time at Case Law – learning a lot, working as a writing tutor, and giving tours to prospective students. When I am not at the law school – I have been doing a lot of cooking, eating, drinking, and exploring beautiful Cleveland. My mom and I are season ticket holders at Playhouse Square so we go on a lot of mother-daughter dates. My fiancé and I do a lot of traveling. We just got back from a trip to Thailand, and we are going to Italy at the end of the summer!

How did your Ohio University experience prepare you for law school and shape your career path?

I cannot overstate how fortunate I was to have Larry Hayman as my pre-law adviser. I must have asked him a million questions in the year preceding my law school acceptance. From taking practice LSATs, to reviewing my applications, to serving as a shoulder to cry on and ultimately helping me decide where to attend – Larry was always patient and well-informed.

What do you think were the most important things you did as an undergrad to prepare you for law school?

Take the LSAT seriously! Just a couple of points can make a huge difference in how much money you receive in scholarships. Practice, practice, practice. And read all that you can.

Do you have any advice for students interested in law?

I would advise anyone interested in law to go out and shadow an attorney. Taking pre-law classes is important when deciding if you are interested in going to law school, but I think that you need to see the day-to-day to decide if you are interested in law as a career.

What are your future plans?

This summer I will work as a Summer Associate at Thompson Hine’s Cleveland Office (I am excited to start at Thompson Hine for a number of reasons – one being that the firm’s managing partner, Deborah Read, is an Ohio University alumna!) After that, I will spend my fall semester in Washington, D.C., working as a legal extern at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission headquarters. I will return to Cleveland in the spring to finish up my final semester at Case Law, and then I will study for the bar exam!

What is your favorite Ohio University memory?

I have too many happy memories to choose just one, but I always look forward to visiting Athens and making many more.

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