Notre Dame College Prelaw Program Merits Donation from Ohio Lawyers Give Back

Notre Dame College has received a $75,000 contribution from Ohio Lawyers Give Back in support of its co-curricular prelaw program.

Patrick J. Perotti of Dworken & Bernstein Co., L.P.A., presented the gift to members of Notre Dame’s moot court team to help fund their efforts to participate in national, simulated court litigation competitions in preparation for law school and careers as attorneys. The gift also will be used for “other ways to give back and support students” at the College, according to Perotti.

“Ohio Lawyers Give Back is impressed by the good work you do for your students and the quality of your graduates,” he told College President Thomas G. Kruczek in making the donation.

In 2018, Notre Dame will host its first American Moot Court Association (ACMA) national qualifying tournament Friday and Saturday, November 30 and December 1, at Cleveland State University Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.

Moot court is a method of teaching law and legal skills by requiring students to analyze and argue both sides of a hypothetical legal issue using state and federal appellate court procedures. Established in 2011, Notre Dame’s co-curricular prelaw moot court program has qualified for national competitions in four of its first six years of existence.

Dworken & Bernstein, the largest law firm in the Lake, Geauga and Ashtabula County area of Northeast Ohio, founded Ohio Lawyers Give Back to distribute unclaimed settlement funds at the conclusion of class action lawsuits to community organizations. According to Perotti, U.S. courts have endorsed the use of this cy pres mechanism to disperse settlement proceeds for which class members of the action cannot be found to “next best” beneficiaries.

The gift presentation at the College turned into a real-life lesson for the moot court students as Perotti explained the cy pres process and quizzed the members with legal questions that included First and Fourteenth Amendment case law, which the team argues in its ACMA contests each year.

Notre Dame’s moot court team was represented by junior Athena Eli, a criminal justice major; junior Lukas Thompson, who is majoring in finance; and sophomore Athene Goodman, a history major; and their advisor, R. Eric Matthews, Ph.D., dean of academic programs and assistant professor of political science, at the College.

Perotti has been recognized locally and nationally for achievements in consumer class actions, employment discrimination and wage and hour litigation. His reputation developed from a demand for outcomes, which not only offered compensation to class members but also stopped unlawful government and corporate practices.

His cases deal with overcharges, fraud and other illicit conduct by government agencies, telecommunications companies, banks, insurance companies, shippers, manufacturers, retailers and others.

Perotti has been honored with the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Award; defense bar’s Top 75 Plaintiff Trial Lawyers in the United States; and Ohio State Bar Association’s highest honor, the Ritter Award.

October 2018

About Notre Dame College

For almost a century, Notre Dame College has educated a diverse population in the liberal arts for personal, professional and global responsibility. Founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1922, the College has grown strategically to keep pace with the rapidly changing needs of students and the dramatic changes in higher education. But it has never lost sight of its emphasis on teaching students not only how to make a good living but also how to live a good life.

Today, the College offers bachelor’s degrees in 30 disciplines plus a variety of master's degrees, certification programs and continuing and professional development programs for adult learners on campus and online. Notre Dame College offers NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletic programs for men and women and is located in a picturesque residential neighborhood just 25 minutes from the heart of Cleveland. Hallmarks of the Notre Dame experience include stimulating academics, personalized attention of dedicated faculty and staff, and small class sizes.

Notre Dame College is located at 4545 College Road in South Euclid. For further information contact Brian Johnston, chief communications officer, at 216.373.5252 or


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