Q & A with Prosecutor & Assistant Law Director Myra Staresina Severyn

Where did you grow up?
I was born in a little village in Croatia to a United States citizen. We moved here permanently in 1970, and I became a naturalized citizen. I grew up in Parma.

Where did you attend high school?
I graduated from Parma Senior High School in 1980.

What did you do after graduation?
After graduation, I worked as a legal secretary and took classes at Tri-C, Western Campus. I graduated from Cuyahoga Community College in 1982 with my associate degree. I transferred to Cleveland State University and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Psychology in 1984. I then attended the Case Western Reserve University School of Law and graduated with my Juris Doctor in 1987. After law school, I moved to Southern California, where I practiced medical malpractice defense from 1987 to 1992. I have been a member of the California State Bar since December 1987, and the Ohio State Bar since 1990. I returned to Cleveland in 1992 and practiced primarily professional liability defense until I opened my private practice in 1996. I have been prosecuting since May 1996.

How did you start your career?
My first introduction to law was as a legal secretary—the job I held during the last year of high school and most of law school. It was during this time that I developed an interest in law. Simultaneously with this position, I was taking classes first at Tri-C and then at Cleveland State, and none of the classes that I took interested me as much as seeing what an attorney does firsthand.

What do you like about your career, and how do you best contribute to the City of Middleburg Heights?
I really enjoy the interaction with all aspects of law enforcement from working with the police to everyone in our Mayor’s Court and at the Berea Municipal Court. I especially enjoy interacting with the public and those times when I feel that I have truly made a difference. For most people, they are meeting with the prosecutor during            some of the most stressful times in their life, and although they may not like what brings them to court, I strive to make the experience as positive as possible. I always try to keep in mind that whatever brings someone to court is very important to them, and I do my best to listen and to explain the charges and the process in a way that helps individuals that come to court feel comfortable with the process and with their alternatives. In my experience, individuals tend to feel better about the legal process if they are given an opportunity to be heard and treated respectfully.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I enjoy travel, reading, hiking, and live music.

a cup of coffee with…