Ohio Center for Law Related Education
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1700 Lake Shore Drive
P.O. Box 16562
Columbus, OH 43216-0562
Ms. Kate Strickland  
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CEO/Executive Director
Ms. Kate Strickland
Executive Director
Board Chair
Mr. Marion Smithberger
Columbus Bar Foundation

Improve society by developing citizens who are empowered with an understanding of our democratic system.

Organization Overview

Impact Statement


  • We held nine student-led and teacher professional development programs; served 3,500 educators and students; and engaged 70 schools and over 1,500 volunteers.

  • We developed two new programs, High School Moot Court and the Civics and Law Honor Roll, to strengthen students' critical thinking skills; help them develop public speaking techniques; and actively engage them in community citizenship activities.

  • We enhanced the use of technology by migrating our data and website to one, cloud based platform. Doing so increased efficiency internally as well as for customers. 


  • We will engage 20 new teachers and students from underserved schools. We will also create a Teacher Fellows program to award 10 teachers who have 0-5 years of classroom experience and work in an underserved school.

  • We will increase teacher participation by 20% through the internet-based professional development. The program includes video introductions to Mock Trial, Moot Court, and We the People programs, lesson plans, and suggested methodologies.

  • We will increase student participation by 25% through the virtual summit of the Youth for Justice program. Schools that lack the financial resources to travel to Columbus will still be able to participate in Youth for Justice.

Background Statement

In 1983, the Ohio State Bar Association, American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, and Attorney General Anthony Celebrezze came together with a shared belief that to be engaged citizens, students needed a greater understanding of their Constitutional rights and responsibilities.

Recognizing that partnerships between the educational and legal communities were necessary to effectively implement this goal, this coalition founded the Ohio Mock Trial to help fill the gap in law-related education for high school students. Since its inception, the Ohio Mock Trial program prepares original constitutional case materials, trains classroom teachers, and coordinates a statewide student competition. 

Receiving 501(c)(3) nonprofit tax-exempt status in 1985, the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education (OCLRE) was created to support the expansion of the Ohio Mock Trial and develop student-led, and teacher, professional development, law-related, citizenship programs. The Supreme Court of Ohio, along with others, joined as a sponsor in 1989. OCLRE’s programs align with Ohio’s academic content standards and prepares students for academic success, enhances problem solving skills, and improves analytic thinking.

In 2010, all federal funding for the Center for Civic Education was eliminated by Congress. As a result, OCLRE terminated the elementary We the People program to focus on the middle and high school programs. The significant decrease in school budgets and loss of funding to OCLRE has substantially impacted our outreach activities, program growth, and limited implementation of new programs.

In 2014, 3000 students participated in OCLRE programs, and over 1,000 individuals volunteered as advisers, case and competition committee members, judges, and competition coordinators. In recent years, schools have been challenged to find sufficient resources for students and teachers to participate in OCLRE’s programs. 

Statement from Ms. Kate Strickland, Executive Director

Preparing students to be active and engaged citizens is critical to protecting and strengthening America’s constitutional democracy. Although challenges to our education system are great, we are so encouraged by the excitement we see in the students and teachers participating in our programs. OCLRE’s academic resources provide teachers with innovative and interactive teaching strategies and methodologies that engage students in learning about government and the importance of informed and responsible citizenship. We are proud that OCLRE’s original and authentic programs align with Ohio’s learning standards, foster leadership, and teach students 21st century skills including analytical thinking, policy-making, and community problem solving. Our programs provide students with hands-on opportunities to apply what they learn in the classroom to relevant issues, so they can affect positive change in their communities. These are skills students carry with them throughout their lives.

Statement from Mr. Marion Smithberger , Columbus Bar Foundation

OCLRE prides itself as a non-partisan organization that strives to create and cultivate partnerships between the education and legal communities to teach students about their constitutional and civic rights and responsibilities. The board of trustees is proud to serve an organization that gives teachers the resources, best practices, and student-led programs to ensure that the next generation possesses the knowledge and skills needed for productive participation in civic and political life. The continuous support of OCLRE’s original four sponsors, including the Supreme Court of Ohio, the Attorney General of Ohio, the Ohio State Bar Association, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio Foundation demonstrates the unwavering commitment to improving civic education for students in central Ohio and throughout the state.



Ms. Kate Strickland, 
Term Start 4/2016 
Compensated Yes 
Biographical Statement

Kate Strickland was appointed OCLRE executive director April 1, 2016. Previously, Kate served as deputy director and her responsibilities included the management of day-to-day operations and outreach activities, including the cultivation and maintenance of relationships with core constituencies such as schools and school districts, colleges and universities, and other social studies and law-related education organizations and resource providers.

Kate holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from Miami University. Prior to joining the OCLRE staff, Kate practiced as a licensed social worker and supervised a status offender and misdemeanor mediation program.

Mr. Ryan Suskey, 
Biographical Statement

Ryan Suskey serves as the director of professional development and programs for OCLRE. He works to deliver quality professional development opportunities for teachers throughout Ohio and to maintain the high level of programming that constituents expect from our programs. Previously, Ryan taught seventh and eight grade history at Columbus Collegiate Academy and high school French at Carver Vocational Technical School in Baltimore, MD. He also clerked with the Franklin County Public Defender in the juvenile division and is an alumnus of Teach for America. Ryan holds a bachelor of philosophy degree in French literature from the University of Pittsburgh, a master of arts in teaching from Johns Hopkins University, and a juris doctor from The Ohio State University.

Additional Organization Information
Number of Full-Time Staff:
Number of Part-Time Staff:
Number of Volunteers:  
Staff Retention Rate: 100% 


Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
Fundraising Plan Yes
Management Succession/Training Plan Yes
Organization Policies and Procedures Yes
Strategic Plan Yes
Years Plan Considers 4
Current Plan Adopted 7/2010
Additional Organization Information

Supreme Court of Ohio, Attorney General of Ohio, Ohio State Bar Association, American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, Ohio State Bar Foundation, teachers, school districts, John Carroll University, local and metro bar associations.


Local Governing Board
Board Chair Mr. Marion Smithberger,
Board Chair Term 7/2009 -  7/2018  
Board Members
Mr. Gary Daniels Esq.,  
Ms. Liz Deegan,  
Mr. Thomas Friedman Esq.,  
Mr. Daniel Hilson Esq.,  
Mr. Jonathan Hollingsworth Esq.,  
Ms. Karyn Justice Esq.,  
Mr. Pierce Reed Esq.,  
Ms. Pam Vest Boryaton Esq.,  
Ms. Candice Christon Esq. , Ex-Officio
Additional Organization Information
Board Meetings Annually
Board Meeting Attendance 80% 
Board Member Monetary Contributions 60%
Board Member In-kind Contributions 90%
Gender Female 36%
  Male 64%
Race African-American/Black 18%
  Asian-American/Pacific Islander 0%
  Caucasian 82%
  Hispanic/Latino 0%
  Native American/American Indian 0%
  Multi-Racial 0%
  Other 0%
Advisory Board
No members in the Advisory Board.


Youth for Justice

Youth for Justice is designed to encourage and empower middle school students to be actively engaged citizens. Students identify an injustice, intolerance, or problem relevant to them and their community. Teams of students work together to develop action plans to raise awareness and resolve the issue. Teams present their projects and findings to the local community including the student body, school board, or other decision makers. Each spring, Youth for Justice teams are invited to participate in OCLRE's virtual summit at which volunteer volunteers evaluate the projects and award implementation grants to outstanding projects.

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We the People

This nationally acclaimed program helps middle and high school students understand the history and principles of our constitutional government. We the People focuses on the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights and fosters civic competence and responsibility for students across the state. Upon completion of the course of study, classes are invited to participate in simulated congressional hearings held at the Ohio Statehouse and Thomas J. Moyer Judical Center in Columbus. This accumulating activity provides an authentic and performance assessment. 

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Mock Trial

Mock Trial offers high school and middle school students an innovative approach to learning about the law and how our legal system functions. Guided by teachers and volunteer legal advisers, students participate in an original, unscripted simulated trial written by attorneys. High School Mock Trial is based on a constitutional issue and allows students to argue both sides of the case in real courtrooms across the state. The state final is held at the Ohio Statehouse and the championship team represents Ohio at the national competition. High School Mock Trial is among the largest in the country with more than 3,000 students participating each year.

Middle School Mock Trial cases are literature-based and constructed around books commonly read in Ohio's middle schools. This interdisciplinary program develops students' reading, writing, critical thinking, and assessment skills. The annual showcase is held at the Thomas J. Moyer Judical Center in Columbus, OH.

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Teacher Professional Development

OCLRE partners with teachers, education organizations, and school districts to provide teachers with innovative professional development programs. The annual two-day Law and Citizenship Conference gathers educators from throughout Ohio and the country to learn about and discuss topics in the fields of civics, government, and law-related education. Teachers are introduced to innovative teaching strategies and methodologies.

Ohio Government in Action is a two-day workshop specially designed to give teachers an insider's view of Ohio state government. Activities are focused on Ohio's legislative, judicial, and executive branches of government. Teachers meet with the most up and coming individuals in Ohio's government; tour the award-winning Supreme Court of the Ohio Visitor Education Center; participate in a special tour of the Ohio Statehouse; and leave with a binder full of ready-to-use lesson plans aligned with Ohio's academic content standards.

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Moot Court

Moot Court is OCLRE's newest program and focuses on the appellate court process. Moot Court is designed to provide students with the opportunity to research legal issues; prepare written briefs; present a simulated oral argument; and respond to questions posed by a panel of volunteer judges. Held at the Thomas J. Moyer Judical Center in Columbus, Moot Court arguments are evaluated on the application of law to the facts presented in the case materials written by volunteer attorneys and judges. By focusing on the applicability of Constitutional law to current legal issues, Moot Court provides students with an opportunity to strengthen critical thinking skills and increase their understanding of the U.S. Constitution and judicial system.

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Data reflects three most recently completed fiscal years.

Current Fiscal Year 08/01/2016 - 07/31/2017
Projected Revenue
Projected Expense
Endowment Fund No
Current Capital Campaign? No
Anticipate a capital campaign in next 5 years? No

Revenues by Source

  2016   2015   2014  
Total Direct Support
Direct Support Foundations
Direct Support Corporations
Direct Support Individuals
Direct Support Unspecified
Indirect Public Support
Earned Revenue
Interest and Dividends
Membership Dues
Special Events

Expense by Type

  2016   2015   2014  
Payment to Affiliates

Assets and Liabilities

  2016   2015   2014  
Total Assets
Current Assets
Total Liabilities
Current Liabilities


TCF Staff:
Documents Form 990 2016 Form 990 2015

All portrait information is provided voluntarily by nonprofit organizations. An organization may decline to participate. At a minimum, information is updated annually--sometimes more frequently. Documents indicated as available by an organization are verified by Foundation staff. The financial section is completed by Foundation staff based on available documents for a three-year period.