Posted April 24, 201911:34 pm
After studying together at Case, the Kooseds spent years practicing law - Marge teaching law at area universities and Lee practicing in the field.
“I actually gave up my active law license when I retired and took a status called emeritus pro-bono, which allowed an attorney with 15 years or more experience to do volunteer work at an organization where I can give legal advice,” Lee explained. “So, I volunteer at the Legal Aid Society two days a week. I work for something called the Debt Collection Clinic, which assists people who have been sued for credit card debt who represent themselves.”
Lee said he also spends time playing trombone with The Temple-Tifereth Israel ensemble and previously played with the Workmen’s Circle Klezmer Orchestra for 15 years. Additionally, he is also a member of the Babes of 1916 senior softball league.
Occasionally, Marge still teaches criminal law, criminal procedure and death penalty courses. When she isn’t back in the classroom at the University of Akron in Akron, she works on adopting death-penalty reforms in Ohio legislature and court system, as she has been doing since 1981.
“I’ve been on the boards of varying groups that deal with the death penalty and now I am involved with (Ohioans to Stop Executions),” she stated. “Other work that I’ve been doing is voter protection and election law, where I volunteer to monitor elections and have been since 2000.”
Outside of the legal stuff, Marge also gardens and is the president of the South Euclid Garden Club and co-coordinator of the South Euclid Garden Walk. She also supports InMotion, an organization to support those with Parkinson’s disease, where she is on the client volunteer council.
CJN: Why is volunteering important?
Marge: I really believe that helping others is the reason we are here on this planet. Engaging in public service is when you’re a full person. Some of that comes from my religious training, and I think that it was part of my desire to be a lawyer and work in criminal justice issues. That was fostered by my temple education and experiences. It’s just kind of embedded in me and it’s not something one can put aside.
Lee: I thought it was important to give back. You know, I had a great 43-year career practicing law and I did a wide variety of things. I couldn’t have asked for a better job and this is a great way to give back. And almost half the clients I see regularly at Legal Aid are people much closer to my age. They got credit cards because they lost their job or got sick. (The clients) seem to be able to talk to me very candidly about these things. It’s good and a lot of good things come out of it.
CJN: Why do you give back to the community?
Marge: Lee’s dad did a lot of work with the Jewish community. And although there were times that were difficult for them, almost all of my uncles and aunts were very active, too. My mother’s (siblings) were all educators at their temples. So, that goes a long way back for us. It wasn’t really a second thought when it came down to my turn. It was just what my family did and I knew it was something I needed to do as well.
Lee: My family always did things. But one thing we started years ago when our families used to get together for Chanukah parties, instead of giving gifts to the kids, we would all bring clothing and household items for Russian immigrants. Much of what I did, I see our children doing as well.
Lee: I think it is just part of the reason to keep going. You’re always learning something and meeting people. I feel very strongly as I’m meeting people that I’m doing something they really need.
Marge: It’s my favorite reason to get up in the morning. I dislike it when I’m not busy. I’m kind of on an “always learning” kind of track. Public service is a way to reach out and engage that even more.
As for their future, the couple plans to keep enjoying their volunteering efforts as well as engage in their hobbies and serve in an important role – grandparents.
“We’re very good at being grandparents,” Marge said. “We also really enjoy having friends over for garden tours. We like to dine in the garden al fresco, too. I also travel a lot to try and explore new cultures and environments.”
Lee added, “Sometimes she travels with me and sometimes not. But I’m also a stamp collector and specialize in Israeli stamps.”