Father, husband inspire retired law professor to establish fellowship fund


Growing up, Margery Malkin Koosed was deeply affected by the way her father lived his life: with an emphasis on higher education and service to others. As a wife, she continues to be moved by her husband’s caring and compassionate law practice, which places people first.

Margery Malkin Koosed, retired professor emeritus in UA's School of Law, was inspired to establish a fellowship at The University of Akron, thanks to her husband, Lee Koosed (right), and her late father.

The influence of both men, coupled with input from Martin H. Belsky, former dean of UA’s School of Law, ultimately inspired Koosed to establish The Margery Malkin Koosed Public Interest Law Fellowship Fund at The University of Akron in 2012. The fund supports UA students pursuing careers in public interest law, especially as public defenders, by providing financial assistance to those who offer pro bono legal services to indigent persons through the University’s Public Interest Law Fellowships Program. Moreover, the fund honors Koosed’s father and her husband and is a fitting tribute to her nearly four-decade career with The University of Akron School of Law.

“Professor Koosed has been a leader in providing pro bono services and encouraging her students to include volunteerism in their careers,” said Belsky. “This fellowship reaffirms her commitment to public interest and reflects her passion for encouraging UA law students to do public interest work.”

According to Koosed, retired professor emeritus and UA’s former Aileen McMurray Trusler Professor in Public Interest Law, her father impressed upon her the supreme importance of both education and service. “As I was growing up, there was never a question of whether I would go on to a graduate program of some sort. It was a given,” she said. “More importantly, my dad instilled within me the view that justice must prevail for all people, no matter their place in society.

“After surviving World War II with a serious battle wound, he always felt his life was a gift and consistently gave generously to charitable organizations. He even established a fund dedicated to educational and charitable needs with the Jewish Community Federation, making my fund at the University a natural extension of his altruism.”

Although Koosed’s father, the late Sanford S. Malkin, earned a juris doctorate, he never practiced law. He believed, however, “that a legal education was the best background for most any occupation,” said Koosed, “and used his law training constantly in his heating contracting business.”

Such admiration for the legal profession undoubtedly made an impression on Koosed, who earned an undergraduate degree from Miami University and her J.D. from Case Western Reserve University. In 1974 she joined The University of Akron School of Law, becoming an assistant professor in 1976, earning tenure and a promotion to associate professor in 1981, acquiring full professorship in 1987, and gaining emeritus status at her retirement in 2012.

During her career with UA, Koosed taught Criminal Law and Constitutional Criminal Procedure and presented seminars on topics such as criminal process, capital punishment litigation, and mistaken convictions. She also served as coordinator of UA’s Appellate Review/Legal Clinical Program, where she supervised law students, taught clinical courses, and worked as counsel of record for indigent prisoners pursuing relief in state and federal court.

In addition to her duties at UA, Koosed served as a visiting professor at two Cleveland-area law schools; completed two terms as a commissioner on the Ohio State Public Defender Commission, where she chaired the State Public Defender Commission’s Committee on Capital Defense Counsel Qualifications; served on the American Bar Association’s Ohio Death Penalty Assessment Team; and was coordinator of the Ohio Death Penalty Task Force, a member of the Executive Committee of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Criminal Justice, and an acting judge of the South Euclid (Ohio) Municipal Court. She also is a frequent presenter on death penalty issues at litigation seminars and focuses her legal writing on death penalty litigation and wrongful conviction issues.

Koosed’s bar admissions include the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit; the U.S. District Court for the Northern and Southern Districts of Ohio, and Ohio. Her numerous professional associations include membership in the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the American Bar Association, and the Ohio State Bar Association.

Not surprisingly, Koosed’s passion for the law is shared by her husband, Lee, a general practice attorney with Stotter & Koosed LPA in Cleveland whose accomplishments include chairing the Ethics Committee of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association and serving the city of South Euclid for 17 years as an acting judge and 11 years as a part-time prosecutor.

“Lee is a caring and highly ethical lawyer who has done it all while maintaining a people-oriented general practice,” said Koosed. “He has been helping others for more than 38 years and has always supported young lawyers, providing his insights and assistance whenever possible. I know Lee believes as strongly as I do in the law and its ability to serve as an instrument that brings light to dark places.”

For Koosed, the establishment of the fund is simply an extension of her many contributions to UA’s Public Interest Law fellowship Program. “The fund is a natural depository for me,” she said, “and I am so happy for the opportunity to contribute to University of Akron students and the community for years to come.”