This month we are putting the spotlight on Cleveland attorney Cathleen Bolek. A principal at the firm Bolek, Besser & Glesius, she has served her clients tirelessly for over 25 years. She and her associates are Cleveland Employment Law Attorneys, helping people who have faced harassment or other mistreatment at their jobs. Get to know Cathy and her practice better below!
Can you give us your favorite moment in your career?
There are many. But for me, to say my favorite moment in my career is not one specific time, but a specific circumstance. When most clients come to us, they have been emotionally abused and financially devastated. They feel broken and hopeless. Occasionally, they are contemplating suicide. While my job is to hold those who harmed them accountable, my goal is to make a meaningful difference in their lives. My favorite moment is usually sometime after the litigation is over. When former clients send me a note or come back to visit. They feel whole and optimistic. Often, they just want me to know that the person they were when they met me is not who they are. That I played a role in helping them to heal and move forward is my greatest professional achievement. Its why I do what I do.
How did you get involved with the Cleveland Academy of Trial Attorneys?
I have been involved in CATA as long as I have been a lawyer. As an associate at the Spangenberg Firm, I believed participation was mandatory. At CATA, I found exceptional lawyers who were passionate about helping people, improving our judicial system and protecting the rights of patients, consumers, and employees.
What is involved with your new role as President?
In CATA, the officers and board members share the work involved in: managing the organization; presenting quality CLEs; publishing our quarterly magazine, CATA News; planning our annual Litigation Institute; organizing charitable events; and giving presentations on the dangers of distracted driving to area schools through the End Distracted Driving program (“ENDDD”). Once an officer becomes president, the work is quite light. My role now is primarily to oversee the organization and ensure that the other officers and board members are bringing our members the best publications and presentations possible.
How can other attorneys benefit from it?
Any Cleveland area attorney who represents individuals will find great value in a CATA membership. All of our members are in small firms or practice solo, but we bring them the type of resources that the big firm lawyers have. We give them access to a deposition bank with over 10,000 reports and trial depositions of experts routinely used in personal injury cases. Our members participate in a members-only listserve where they can request and share legal research and information about companies, experts, insurance adjusters, opposing counsel, case value and court procedures with hundreds of other lawyers. Our members receive our bi-annual CATA News, with timely, relevant articles, practice tips, and interviews, as well as a compilation of recent verdicts and settlements–information that is very helpful when determining settlement value for our clients. We host monthly CLE accredited luncheon seminars fall through spring, and an annual Litigation Institute, allowing our members to network while meeting their CLE requirements for a reasonable price. Our seminars focus on what is interesting and practical for our members, such as trial strategy and current litigation topics, and are usually well attended by local judges and staff attorneys. CATA hosts other social and charitable events providing networking opportunities while giving back to the community. We have an annual installation dinner, golf outings, happy hours for young lawyers, socials with the local law schools, and we proudly sponsor charitable groups, such as Youth Challenge’s annual Regatta fundraiser, dedicated to sports and recreation for children with physical disabilities; Shoes and Coats for Kids; the Legal Aid Foundation Annual Luncheon; and of course, the End Distracted Driving program, developed by The Casey Feldman Foundation, in memory of the daughter of the founder, who was just 21-years old when she was struck and killed by a distracted driver.
What is one thing that most people don’t know about you?
That neither of my parents graduated from high school and of their five children, I was the only one to graduate from college.
Where is your favorite place in Cleveland?
This is a very difficult question because I love so much about Cleveland: the Botanical Gardens; the law library on the top floor of the old courthouse; the West Side Market; the Flats; the Observation Tower. . . But if I had to choose one place it would be on a boat on Lake Erie on a sunny day.
You can contact Cathleen, or her associates at 216.464.3004 or at bbgohio.com