An Interview With CMBA President Ian Friedman

Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association

Attorney at Law Magazine Cleveland Publisher Jim Shultz sat down with the President of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, Ian Friedman to discuss goals for the upcoming year.

AALM: As the new president, what are your goals for the association in the coming year?


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Friedman: My primary goal is to expand the reach and voice of the Bar Association. I came to the bar in the early 2000s through the grievance committee. I felt an immediate sense of comfort as I was surrounded by like-minded and caring lawyers. My love and respect for the bar has only grown since then. Those of us at the bar know how much good is done on a daily basis. It is important to me that all lawyers and non-lawyers alike are aware of the programs and opportunities that we offer. I also want everyone to know that this is a bar for all that will embrace anyone who wants to get involved.

AALM: How do you hope to advance the mission of the association? What steps have you taken toward that end?

Friedman: To answer this question, I must give credit to the many others that work with me in the effort toward positive impact within the Northeast Ohio legal profession and community at large. I am fortunate to work in partnership with a fantastic CEO in Becky McMahon who leads an incredible professional staff. Additionally, we have committed and diverse Board of Directors, Section Chairpersons, and Committee Chairpersons that give countless hours of their time to leave this profession better than how we found it. Putting together such accomplished professionals was the first and most important step. Together, I firmly believe that there is nothing that we cannot accomplish.


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AALM: Tell us about some upcoming events the association has planned for members.

Friedman: There are so many. I would recommend to anyone looking to attend a CMBA event or who just wants to learn about us, that they visit our website. A few examples of upcoming events though are the Public Servants Merit Awards Luncheon, Woman in Law Section’s Food For Thought 2019, Volunteer Lawyers For The Arts Collaboration Planning For Art Collections event, and Mediation Training For Commission on Human Rights. There really is a different top-notch event virtually every day. There is no doubt that a person or firm can find a relevant program or gathering with just a quick look at the CMBA site, a call to the CMBA, an email to CEO Becky McMahon at [email protected], or an email to me at [email protected]. Also, follow us on Facebook and Twitter for real time news and opportunities.

AALM: Tell us about any current or planned partnerships with other local associations. How will these partnerships benefit members?

Friedman: Collaboration between the CMBA and other bar associations, legal and non-legal professional organizations, schools and other entities is a top priority for us. Becky and I recently met with the leadership of the Norman S. Minor Bar, Hispanic Bar, South Asian American Bar, and Asian American Bar to consider future joint events and efforts. We are continuing to work with our regional law schools to host events for the students and get them involved early so that they can realize the full benefits (i.e. Employment Assistance and Professional Networking) that the CMBA has to offer early on. The opportunities for mutually beneficial collaboration are countless. All we need is a call or email and we will do what we can to make it happen.


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AALM: How has your involvement in the association benefited you and your career? How do you think it could benefit others like yourself?

Friedman: My participation in the CMBA has benefited me in many ways. I always like knowing what is going on in the community, especially when it may affect the practice of law. The CMBA not only allows me to stay abreast of such issues, it has allowed for me to be instrumental in how the issues are actually responded to. I have been exposed to so many other lawyers who practice outside of my area of criminal defense law. This exposes me to different thoughts and perspectives that I find to be of great value. My referral network has expanded so that I know who to send my clients to should they need service outside of my practice focus. I just like being at the bar association. We all know that this is a very difficult profession that takes its toll on us mentally and physically. I truly feel as though I am decompressing every time I enter the CMBA and see all of those who I consider to be my friends. There is no question that anyone who decides to join us at the bar will feel the same benefits.

AALM: What advice do you have for a member looking to increase their involvement in the association? For a member hoping to join the leadership?

Friedman: This is an easy one. Just come to any event or call anyone who is already involved. We are looking for new leaders. Different life experiences and fresh ideas are necessary for any successful organization. If someone were to tell us that they want to increase their involvement or get in leadership, they can be assured that we will take them right in and place them in a position that is engaging to them. I would also suggest that lawyers considering leadership within the CMBA look at the opportunities presented by the annual Leadership Academy. Again though, if a member wants to move up, we will help them to do so.

AALM: How would you describe the main goal of the association in your own words? Do you believe the association meets its mission? How can it continue to improve its reach?

Friedman: Our Vision, Mission & Core Values sum it up well on our website but this question asks for my own words. To me, the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association is here to improve the quality of life for those within the legal profession and to better serve those clients in need of access to justice. It basically stands for all of the ideals that drew me to the law in the first place. I do believe that we meet this stated mission. Every organization can and should improve its reach. We recognize that the world is changing fast and we are committed to making all of the necessary adjustments to best serve our constituents.

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