About Judge Calabrese

Judge Phil Calabrese grew up in Cleveland.  After graduating from law school, he moved home to raise his family.  Three generations of the Calabrese family have served Cuyahoga County in public office.


Judge Phil Calabrese’s wife, Becky Bynum, teaches Latin to students in the Shaker schools.  She is a founder of the Friends of the Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter, an organization which raises funds and engages in community outreach to support the County Shelter’s efforts to rescue and adopt stray and abandoned dogs.  She has also served on the board of the Cleveland Rowing Foundation.

Judge Calabrese’s children graduated from the Shaker schools and are now in college.  His parents are retired and live in South Euclid.

His father, Leonard Calabrese, worked for Bishop Anthony M. Pilla in the Diocese of Cleveland, heading the Bishop’s social action office, the Commission on Catholic Community Action, which implemented the Church in the City program.

His mother, Dorothy Calabrese, worked as an advanced practice nurse at the Cleveland Clinic treating oncology patients.


  • St. Ignatius High School (1989)
  • College of the Holy Cross (1993)
  • Fulbright Scholar (1993-94)
  • Harvard Law School (2000)

Legal Career


Judge Calabrese began his legal career by clerking for Judge Alice M. Batchelder on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, one level below the Supreme Court of the United States.

Private Practice

As a lawyer in private practice, Phil Calabrese was a partner in the international law firm of Squire Sanders & Dempsey (now Squire Patton Boggs) and the Columbus-based law firm of Porter Wright Morris & Arthur.

Throughout the nearly two decades he spent in private practice before becoming a judge, he represented clients in all phases of litigation, from pleadings through class certification, discovery, experts, trial, and appeal in both state and federal courts in Northeast Ohio and around the country.

He handled cases involving billions of dollars for companies doing business around the world, but also represented individuals in small matters important to them, for example when threatened with the loss of their pet dogs.

In addition to his sophisticated civil practice, throughout his career Judge Calabrese accepted court appointments to represent indigent defendants charged in criminal cases, giving him a breadth of legal experience that few lawyers bring to the bench.

As a lawyer, Phil Calabrese argued at the Ohio Supreme Court. The full video of the argument may be found here: http://www.ohiochannel.org/video/supreme-court-of-ohio-2-19-2019-case-no-2018-0184-paul-cheatham-ira-v-huntington-natl-bank


Law Professor

In addition to practicing law, Judge Phil Calabrese is an adjuct professor of law at Case Western Reserve University’s School of Law, where he teaches an advanced course on expert witnesses and scientific evidence.

For Judge Calabrese’s full resume, click here.