Former law professor appointed Cleveland housing court judge

Celia Wan, News Editor

Ronald O’Leary, former adjunct professor and alumnus of Case Western Reserve University School of Law, was appointed on March 14 by Ohio Governor John Kasich as the Cleveland Housing Court judge.

O’Leary will preside over the Cleveland Housing Court, replacing Ray Pianka, who passed away suddenly at the beginning of the year. He will officially take over the position on April 10.

O’Leary came to CWRU to pursue his degree in law after graduating from Miami University. One of his former teachers, Professor Emeritus Jonathan Entin, remembered him as a “very good student” who “was very conscientious and motivated.”

“He asked good questions that showed how much he was thinking about difficult issues,” said Entin.

After graduating from CWRU, O’Leary worked as an assistant city prosecutor for six years before he returned to CWRU as an adjunct professor. According to Entin, who was then the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the law school, O’Leary’s experience in private law firms and public services was what got him the teaching position.

“[O’Leary] was an ideal person for one of those positions: he has experience in law firms, in public service, and as a municipal judge,” wrote Entin in an email.

At CWRU, O’Leary taught the first-year skills course for eight years while also practicing law at the Cleveland Municipal court and later in private law firms. In the course, O’Leary introduced students to professional skills in law practising such as interviewing and counseling clients.

O’Leary’s predecessor, Pianka, had served on the Cleveland Housing Court for 21 years. His death was regarded as “an enormous loss” by Entin. As O’Leary has always held an interest in community development issues and has experience in Cleveland’s building and housing department, Entin is very positive about his takeover of the position.

“Ron O’Leary is a superb choice as Judge Pianka’s successor,” wrote Entin in the same email. “He will do the job in his own way.”