Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Law Students Meet Justices During Off-Site Court in Cleveland

For the first time in history, the Ohio Supreme Court held back-to-back sessions in Cleveland on September 25 and 26 during its biannual Off-Site Court program.

Off-Site Court enhances students’ understanding of the legal system by providing an opportunity for students to observe Supreme Court proceedings in person and to interact with the justices and attorneys.

Typically, high school students attend Off-Site Court, but at this session law students from Case Western Reserve University School of Law were able to see the seven justices live in action when they held arguments in the school’s Moot Courtroom.

Second-year law student Natalie Hemmerich participated in a question-and-answer session with the justices before court convened.

“That’s not something you usually get an opportunity to do is pick a judge’s brain about what they are thinking or what their process is like,” Hemmerich said.

Hemmerich said high school students aren’t the only ones who can learn from the Off-Site Court program.

“They enlighten me because I don’t necessary know all the process in Ohio because in law school you are studying the law in general, so you don’t always focus on what Ohio law is like,” Hemmerich said.

As a budding attorney, Hemmerich said she noted how the attorneys interacted with the justices.

Other law students said it was interesting to hear oral arguments.

“We learn a lot throughout law school about interpreting statutes and paying specific attention to the language, and I think that’s where a lot of judges or counsel kind of spent most of their time. So that’s what I took away from it mostly,” Abigail Omojola said.

The two-day Off-Site Court program also helped celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Cuyahoga County Courthouse where hundreds of high school students observed court in the Eight District Court of Appeals.

This is the third time the Court held Off-Site Court in Cuyahoga County. The justices traveled to Cleveland in 1988 and 1997.

Background information and a video illustrating the program, including footage from past Off-Site Court sessions, are available on the Supreme Court Web site.