When Fred Weisman (ADL '48, LAW '51) founded Weisman, Goldberg & Weisman, LPA—now Weisman, Kennedy & Berris Co., LPA—in 1963, the graduate of Case Western Reserve University School of Law vowed that his firm would "show compassion for those who need help."
He has demonstrated this dedication in the courtroom, in his philanthropic efforts, and in his daily life. It is a belief that was undoubtedly inspired by his modest upbringing during the Great Depression. "Nobody had money," Weisman says. "We certainly had values, but they weren't greenbacks. They were helping each other out...bringing your neighbor chicken soup when they were sick, singing a little harmony, encouraging each other."
When he was 17, Weisman enlisted in the U.S. Navy during World War II. The G.I. Bill paid for his undergraduate education at Adelbert College. Determined to be a lawyer since the age of 10, Weisman then enrolled at the School of Law, where he was granted the John Rufus Ranney Scholarship. The scholarship, supplemented by his campus dry cleaning route, paid for his final year and a half of law school, enabling him to be admitted to the Bar of the State of Ohio.
In appreciation for the financial assistance he received, Weisman, a personal injury trial lawyer, and his wife, Lois, have made it a point to give to the university almost every year since he graduated—even while he was earning $1,800 per year in the early 1950s. In 1988 the Weismans established the Fred Weisman Endowment Fund, which grants scholarships to third-year law students who demonstrate financial need and a special interest in litigation.
At 82 years young, Weisman continues his practice of law. He laughingly explains, "I'm still practicing because I never got it right." Beneath this self-effacing exterior, however, is a former president of both the Cuyahoga County Bar Association and the Cleveland Academy of Trial Attorneys. He is also a fellow in the International Academy of Trial Lawyers who has been listed in every edition of The Best Lawyers in America since 1987.
What Weisman has also "gotten right" are his commitment to education, his dedication to his alma mater and his steadfast belief in "helping out the little guy."
Whatever the reason for a gift, the university is profoundly grateful for the support of our alumni and friends.
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