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Awatef Assad

My name is Awatef Assad, and I am an Arab-American from Palestine. I was born in Beit Hanina, Jerusalem, and immigrated to the U.S. with my family in 1969. We first settled in Dearborn, MI and relocated to Cleveland, OH in 1978. My passion for justice led me to law school. At Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, I learned the skills needed to advance the causes that became dear to me. I received my Juris Doctor Degree and was admitted to practice in Ohio in 1995. I’m also admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, and U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. I’m currently the Risk Manager for Cuyahoga County. With 22 years of experience as a public-sector litigation attorney, I led the County’s effort in enacting the landmark Anti-Discrimination Ordinance and the establishment of a Human Rights Commission. I’m a member of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association’s (CMBA) Board of Directors and Executive Committee. I serve as Vice-Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee and Chair of the Women-In-Law Section Social Justice Committee. I’m a member of the Ohio State Bar Association’s Advisory Council on Diversity Initiatives, and the William K. Thomas Inns of Court. My passion for public-sector work stems from my own experience. As the first woman from the Beit Hanina community in Cleveland to become an attorney, I fought to create a level playing field & justice for everyone. Trying to succeed as an Arab-American woman raised in a traditional family required a stubborn determination and I always knew my path to be less traditional. My mother’s unrelenting determination was responsible for bringing my family to the U.S. in search of a better life. She inspires me and gives me the strength to succeed in this demanding profession while advancing various social causes and introducing people to my Arab heritage. In 2019, I received the CMBA Justice for All Volunteer of the Year Award. I also received the F.B.I. Director’s Community Leadership, the Arab American Institute’s Excellence in Public Service, and the Ohio Civil Rights Commission’s “Keeping the Dream Alive” awards.

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