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Alumni Profile: Beth Wain Brandon

Beth Wain Brandon’s father, Norm Wain, immigrated to New York City from Russia as a youth with his family and a group of likewise struggling villagers. Even though they had extremely modest means themselves, the group used to regularly pass around a collection hat because they knew someone was always worse off than them. It was a lesson that stuck with Norm, who still volunteers to this day, and one that he passed down to his four children, including his eldest daughter Beth.

“Growing up, I got the message to get involved–if you’re capable, then lend a hand,” Brandon says. “I consider myself extremely lucky to have been born into a family that always valued giving back.”

When she arrived at Cleveland State University’s Cleveland Marshall College of Law, Brandon was committed to getting a strong legal education, while also developing the skills that would help her to do good for those in need of assistance. After graduating she spent more than a decade with the prominent Cleveland law firm Benesch Friedlander Coplan & Aronoff, while maintaining a strong community presence, including volunteering with Planned Parenthood, a passion of hers that predated law school.

“I thought Cleveland-Marshall was an amazing place to attend law school. Being in the center of the city, and the contacts that opens in the legal field, are huge advantages going into practice,” Brandon notes.

With a growing family to raise, Brandon eventually elected to give up the full-time practice of law, which freed up more time to dedicate to her passions within the community. 

She holds a strong presence in the local Jewish community. Brandon, a proud Shaker Heights native, dedicates a good deal of her time to the Cleveland Jewish Federation, where she currently serves as a Federation Board of Trustees Vice Chair and Allocations Committee Chair. She also serves as Director of the Mount Sinai Health Care Foundation, and previously served as Assistant Treasurer for Bellefaire JCB, Secretary for the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, and President of the Ohio Jewish Communities Board.

Brandon continues to lobby and raise awareness and funds for Planned Parenthood and is also involved with the YWCA of Greater Cleveland, where she helps formerly homeless individuals and families reach their highest level of self-sufficiency through the Circle of Women program.

“I consider it a privilege to volunteer in the community and follow in the footsteps of my mentors,” Brandon says.

In recognition of her lasting impact on Cleveland’s Jewish and general communities, Brandon was recently recognized as the 2019 recipient of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s Gries Family Award.

Even though it has been more than two decades since Brandon has practiced law full time, she still finds her legal education invaluable and has maintained friendships and contacts that she made starting on the very first day of law school. She uses both the legal knowledge and the collaboration and consensus building skills she learned in law school in her leadership positions on a daily basis.

“What you learn in law school is so much beyond just learning the law,” Brandon adds. “Law school teaches you how to think, how to interact and collaborate with so many different people and how to have confidence in approaching the world. 

The family that Brandon left practice to shepherd is now grown and her three adult daughters are now in position to follow in her footsteps and give back to the community. All three of her children either work for non-profit organizations or are actively involved in volunteer capacities.

“I’m so proud of my children for all that they do in the community,” Brandon says. “I think they definitely see the legacy in community service that my parents set for me and that I have been able to pass down to them.”