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counselor SUMMER 2021

Creating a legacy

UC Law’s family connections run deep


the record

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Creating a legacy: UC Law’s family connections run deep

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Brands we love, built by the people we trust


Women in Law builds community to create new student opportunities


Support for social justice leads to $1M in gifts


The impact of one man


A data-informed approach to bar passage


Creating a legacy: UC Law’s family connections run deep


Challenging environmental changes: Three alumni discuss what’s next in energy regulation and climate change



Cincinnati Law: Remembering our past



editor: Sherry Y. English design: University of Cincinnati Creative Services writers: Sherry English, Carey Hoffman, Julia Mace, Nick Ruma, Bill Bangert photographers: Joe Fuqua, Andrew Higley, Ravenna Rutledge to contact the editor: Phone: 513-556-0060 Email: Write: University of Cincinnati College of Law PO Box 210040 Cincinnati, OH 45221-0040

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opening statement A full year had passed since the catastrophe; the survivors had absorbed the blow and found, to their amazement, that they were still standing, though some were a bit more wobbly than others. In a tentative fragile way, things were starting to return to normal…1 Novelist Tom Perrotta could have been describing how many of us feel post-pandemic in this excerpt from his novel The Leftovers. This work, which also is an HBO mini-series, explores grief and loss in the wake of the simultaneous disappearance of millions worldwide, “the Sudden Departure.” Those left behind were forced to adapt to a new “normal,” even as they knew normalcy would never return. In the sixteen months since Covid-19 first appeared, we, too, are recovering from a seismic jolt, thanks to vaccines and medical treatments that have slowed the virus’s spread in this country. Just as the Sudden Departure survivors, we are a bit “wobbly” and “tentative” as we recalibrate.

Reviewing this academic year, I realize that we also have been strengthened by this experience. Consider Hooding. Unlike last year, we were able to graduate our Bearcats in person at Fifth Third Arena—120 of them—in an abbreviated, lively, and CDC-compliant ceremony. Supplementing the live event was a keepsake video featuring David Willbrand, JD ‘96, as keynote speaker. My colleagues and I were so pleased that this part of “the normal” law school experience could be available to the class of 2021, which has spent half of their law school careers online, the only cohort of Cincinnati Law students to do so. Despite this lost time, our students inspired me with their resilience and determination. Specifically, I had the great privilege of meeting with them, along with members of the Dean’s Advisory Board, to celebrate graduation toward the semester’s end. These students shared stories of pandemic perseverance that reaffirmed my faith in the future. They talked about how the lockdown was a “time of huge personal growth,” how “inspiring” they found their classmates. That they came to law school as “brawlers, but now know how to land a punch.” To a person, each was ready to take their place in the profession, seeking to make a difference. In other words, our students worked through these challenging circumstances and emerged even more focused on their respective missions. Much like their alma mater.

1 Tom Perrotta, The Leftovers 4 (2011).



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Photo: Ravenna Rutledge/University of Cincinnati

As Cincinnati Law pivoted, innovated, and executed in response to changing circumstances, we, too, advanced our mission. Some examples: • We broke ground on our new building, which we’ll occupy starting July 2022. • Thanks to the hard work of Professors Bai and Mank, and Assistant Dean Nora Wagner, the Ohio Department of Higher Education approved our new master’s in law program, which will launch Spring semester 2022. • Our Ohio Innocence Project gained new trials and the release of two men serving over ten years for a crime they did not commit, increasing OIP’s total exonerations to 33. In addition, OIP scored a legislative victory when the Ohio Senate unanimously approved a bill requiring police to record interrogations.

• Professor Sandra Sperino was elected to the American Law Institute, the leading independent US organization producing scholarly work to clarify, modernize, and otherwise improve the law. • Professor Meghan Morris received the Goldman Award in her first year of teaching and was named an inaugural University Research Council Faculty Member. With such accomplishments and others during these extraordinary times, I know our momentum will continue long after Covid-19 is a distant memory. For now, faculty, staff, and students alike look forward to returning to the building for the very last academic year at the corner of Clifton and Calhoun. When we do, it will be with new pedagogical tools, new ways of collaborating with stakeholders, and a new appreciation for our community, of which you are an important part.

• TJ Robinson (3L) and Katie Basalla (3L) argued in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and secured a new trial for their client. • Greg Magarian (3L) became the first Cincinnati Law Student to earn Best Oralist in the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot Competition. Our team won an honorable mention for their brief.

These students shared stories of pandemic perseverance that reaffirmed my faith in the future.…To a person, each was ready to take their place in the profession, seeking to make a difference.” —VERNA WILLIAMS

Verna Williams Dean

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Brands we love, built by the people we trust



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e interact with brands every day of our lives. Whether we are using their products, trusting their services, or following their mission, they’re a part of who we are. But who is behind these well-known brands? We are proud to say that many are some of our very own UC College of Law graduates. We talked with five of our graduates who have found success at five top organizations. They share about their UC College of Law experience and their careers since graduation day. APPLE


As one of the most recognizable logos of today, Apple needs a strong legal team behind it. And our very own Greg Holger is part of that team. Holger spends his days maintaining compliance with lobbying, campaign finance, gift, conflict of interest, and ethics laws in the United States and Canada. His path to work at one of

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[UC Law] gives you the opportunity to make the most of your time in law school.” —GREG HOLGER, JD ’13

All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.

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the most successful technology companies in the world began in little Cincinnati, Ohio. Even though he is now working for one of the largest tech companies, the small-town feel of UC is what gave him the leg-up. The close connection to the community as well as the strong reputation and vast alumni network provided him with the opportunities he needed to get to where he is today. Holger came to the UC College of Law with an interest in the intersection of the public and private sectors.   “The Center for Professional Development helped me make several important connections during my three years to great people in Cincinnati serving in public office or having done so in the past,” he says. “Learning from them and about their work helped lay the foundation for my first role after law school as a law clerk in the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions in the office of then Chairman Senator Harkin.”   When looking back on his experience ever since, he wholeheartedly recommends UC to those interested in pursuing a legal career.   “[UC Law] gives you the opportunity to make the most of your time in law school.” CATERPILLAR FINANCIAL SERVICES CORPORATION TIFFANY WILLIAMS DUPREE ’07



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Caterpillar Inc. is known for the high-quality, high-power products it designs and manufactures. From construction to mining, diesel to natural gas, Caterpillar’s durable and reliable heavy equipment helps its customers get the job done. Its subsidiary, Cat Financial, provides financial service to support its customers along the way. People like Tiffany Williams Dupree work behind the scenes, bringing her expertise she has honed since beginning her UC College of Law journey. On a day-to-day basis, her practice is focused on commercial finance, corporate governance, and securities laws. She says that her experience at UC gave her a foundation as solid as the products Caterpillar creates. “The business and corporate classes that I took in law school were instrumental in creating the foundation for my areas of practice,” she says. “Additionally, the lawyering classes that I took in law school were great preparation for working with clients.” Like her education from the classroom, her UC experience has stayed with her still to this day. “I loved the lifelong friendships I made, the concern professors showed for their students, the breadth of classes offered, the small class sizes, and the practical experience gained.”



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I loved the lifelong friendships I made, the concern professors showed for their students, the breadth of classes offered, the small class sizes, and the practical experience gained.” —TIFFANY WILLIAMS DUPREE, JD ’07



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Photo: provided

Democracy for America is a national progressive political action committee with a grassroots mission of inclusive populism across all 50 states. Yvette Simpson brings her passion for diversity and inclusion and expertise in law to her role as CEO, which began back at UC. “I was a member of the Human Rights Fellowship program and member of the Moot Court Board. The work I do now started with the human rights work I started in law school,” she says. Her law studies helped her hone her critical thinking, problem-solving, writing, and public speaking skills. For UC Law students, including Simpson, earning a degree is more than just obtaining book knowledge. “It was all about the skills that we were learning and applying it to real life.” That real-world application prepared her for the many hats she wears on a daily basis. Simpson is also a Political Contributor on This Week with George Stephanopoulos (ABC News) and a former member of Cincinnati City Council. She’s able to balance so many responsibilities throughout her career, thanks in part to the support that she’s had since attending UC College of Law. To this day, she still calls on her mentors for support. “There were mentors of mine when I was in law school who I still call to this day when I need advice,” she says. “I think having people who were instrumental in helping me get through law school and who still have an active role in my development is really unique to UC Law.”






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Cincinnatians know Fifth Third Bancorp as a top local employer. Now, Fifth Third is a Fortune 500 company, nationally known for its talent diversity, thanks to a recent award by Forbes and Statista Inc, who put Fifth Third in the ranks as one of the best employers for diversity in 2021. This focus on diversity spreads throughout every department, including the legal department. Since joining the team, Zaunbrecher has launched a program known as Fifth Third Fellowship to support current UC Law students. A few students from the graduating class are selected for a two-year fellowship. “Our first class will hit their 2-year mark in August and both are staying,” she says. “We want to make sure diverse attorneys are getting the jobs.” In addition to these efforts, Zaunbrecher is an active member of the Enterprise Team, determining the strategy for the company’s future, and works alongside more than 100 teammates in the Legal/Communications Department. “I am impressed with their intelligence, capabilities, and dedication on a daily basis as we deal with legal and risk issues, along with internal and external communication and PR,” she says. Upon her own graduation, Zaunbrecher began her career at Dinsmore & Shohl and stayed for an impressive tenure of nearly 30 years. She credits her professors for preparing her for the workforce. “UC is very focused on applied knowledge versus theory-based concepts,” she says. “UC creates practical lawyers that have applied knowledge and can give practical answers.”

UC creates practical lawyers that have applied knowledge and can give practical answers.” —SUSAN ZAUNBRECHER, JD ’90



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Another top information technology company has a successful UC College of Law graduate on its team. Phyllis Turner-Brim says her success is the result of what she has experienced and what she brings to the table. And, it all began with her strong legal education. “Having the opportunity to get a solid and robust legal education at UC taught by a good mix of full-time and adjunct faculty made me an attractive candidate and associate,” she says. “Every step begets the next step.” Her path at UC was forged by an eclectic group of professors, who taught and delivered the content in a memorable, relatable way. Not only did her UC Law experience give her the real-world experience she needed, she also was able to explore her passion for diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility of the legal profession to underrepresented groups, particularly African American women. “I appreciate that UC has demonstrated commitment in that area and look forward to further driving that.” With that strong support system, she was able to land a job right away. And, the rest is history. “My education has been a part of my total package that I bring to my role at HP and to every role since I left law school,” she says. “People shouldn’t think that just because you don’t have a big-name law school that your opportunities for success will be limited. I was able to leverage the great value to be successful.”

UC Law’s brand of success

Here’s a sampling of our alumni and the major corporations at which they work. ADOBE






















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Women in Law builds community, pools financial resources to create new student opportunities BY CAREY HOFFMAN



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hen Melany Newby earned her JD to help others get involved in a way that is providing a benefit to from the UC College of Law as a UC Law students and projects in the college that might othermember of the Class of 1974, she wise be out of reach,” says Newby, who understands the realities was one of just 15 women among of college environments better than most. She served as UC’s 110 graduates. The year prior, the first legal counsel from 1978 through 1989, then moved to the percentage had been even lower. University of Wisconsin as the vice chancellor for legal and Not many women saw a executive affairs through 2006. career in the law as an attractive – “I feel really strongly about or perhaps even particularly viable this UC Women in Law program,” – option at the time. It was a maleadds Pershern. “It’s because we as dominated field. women can make such a difference, More than four decades and sometimes I think individually later, that has changed markedly. we don’t think we can. But collectiveEnrollment at UC Law is now majorly we’ll make a big difference.” ity female. What is happening in the Giving circles have bepresent along gender lines is more come a popular and effective new equitable and representative of sociwave in encouraging participatory ety as a whole. And Newby is part of philanthropy, and Women in Law is the leadership of an initiative to make a version of that format specifically sure that the legacy of past women tailored to the UC Law community. graduates continues to be felt today as Those involved don’t just send in a the college continues to evolve. check and have that be the end of Women in Law is a new the story. They work together to philanthropic alumnae group decide what causes they want to launched in early 2020. Newby and support with their giving, and then Judy Pershern, JD ’84, are co-chairing what would ordinarily be a small the group, which seeks to show the gift individually gains the power of a —JUDY PERSHERN, JD ’84 benefit that can come when fairly collective gift, magnifying the overall modest individual amounts of money impact. are pooled collectively with the College of Law alumnae backing of benefactors who embrace who participate in Women in Law are an active role in seeing that the most good comes from their asked to make a gift of $1,000, with lower amounts from UC Law philanthropy. graduates who are less than 10 years out of school, involved in “The stated mission of Women in Law is that we want non-profit work or are current students. The goal is to grow the

We as women can make such a difference, and sometimes I think individually we don’t think we can. But collectively we’ll make a big difference.”

Photo: provided

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group’s roster to 100 women, for an annual pool of $100,000 to fund proposals that will make a difference in the community or be a transformative learning experience for UC Law students. “It’s important for students to see women alums coming together to fund the projects that are important to them,” says UC Law Dean Verna Williams. “When you support Women in Law, you are supporting students who want to go out and change the world. ” In just its first year and battling the hurdles created by the COVID precautions, Women in Law still managed to raise $48,347. Alumnae who answered the initial call to become involved span all the way from the UC Law Class of 1968 up to the Class of 2016. Not bad for an effort that didn’t have the kickoff meeting for its steering committee until Feb. 26, less than three weeks before COVID-19 was declared a national emergency. By the end of summer, more than 40 alumnae had committed to participating in the project. The effort succeeded even though another hurdle kept the effort from being fully realized. “We also had planned that this would have an event tied to it, kind of a social aspect, where we would gather and finalists for receiving grants would make their presentations to the group,” says Newby. “Presentations are made and then our members vote in support of projects they feel most strongly about.” As it worked out, once the Women in Law screening committee looked at all initial proposals to make sure they fit within the group’s criteria, four funding requests remained. Presentations were made to members virtually, and all four projects were funded. They include: •  Twenty new full-time summer positions for law students in public interest/nonprofit placements and the First District Court of Appeals in Ohio, plus a year-long fellowship at the Hamilton County Municipal Court Help Center.



The intent is to continue to grow their group and create for UC Law a resource that makes things happen within the college, while also helping nurture that bond between alumnae and their alma mater. •  Equipment that allows students to compete in virtual remote competitions as well as related team registrations fees. •  A mentoring program connecting the UC chapter of Black Law Students Association with Hughes High School (Cincinnati Public Schools) students. •  Two outreach programs created by the Latino/a Law Student Association benefiting the Latinx community, as well as the Ohio Innocence Project at Cincinnati Law and the Hamilton County Municipal Court Help Center. The impact of these projects will not only be realized by outside agencies, but by UC Law students who will participate in these opportunities, says Jim Tomaszewski, assistant director in the college’s Center for Professional Development. A good example are the students who will be working with the First District Court of Appeals. “That proposal was a Justice Diversity partnership for 1Ls as a way to help them

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Lori E. Krafte ‘06

Sandra Ammann ‘68

Paula D. Lampley ‘92

Tammy R. Bennett ‘01

Doloris Learmonth ‘78

Maureen Bickley

Magistrate Karen Litkovitz ‘84

Paula Y. Boggs Muething ‘03

Judge Beth A. Myers ‘82

Janetta Brewer ‘06

Judy Pershern ‘84

Jennifer Buse ‘92

Eileen C. Reed ‘84

Doreen Canton ‘88

Melany Stinson Newby ‘74

Candace Caplinger ‘81

Lynn M. Schulte ‘06

Fay D. Dupuis ‘69

Marianne Scott Emmert ‘84

Ruth Edwards ‘74

Beth I. Silverman ‘84

Diane Fellman ‘75

Mary M. Sullivan ‘04

Carol S. Friel ‘79

Candi Taggart ‘78

Jennifer Fuller ‘06

Candice Thomas ‘15

Angela M. Gates ‘03

Judge Ann Marie Tracey ‘75

Anne Gerhart ‘72

Kelley B. Tracy ‘09

Lauren Gray

Elizabeth Tuck ‘03

Elizabeth Gutmann ‘84

Tracy T. Ward ‘99

Claire G. Hodapp ‘12

Mona Warwar ‘84

Kathryn A. Hollister ‘84

Beth Wayne ‘89

Nancy K. Johnson ;78

Tiffany Williams ‘07

Lisa Kathumbi ‘06

Andrea Yang ‘07

Catherine I. Kelaghan ‘90

Judge Marilyn Zayas ‘97

Katherine Keller ‘73

Rebecca A. Zemmelman ‘16

bridge challenges they often face,” Tomaszewski says. “That will fund three students who will work all summer with the judges from the Court of Appeals, and they are really going to see how those systems work. They will have taken Civil Procedure during their first year and they’ll have a lot of light bulbs going off. They know those rules, but now they’ll see them referenced in a decision, and it gives it a new, stronger context they can draw on for the rest of law school.” Another funded initiative has already helped indirectly with a big payoff both for a UC Law student and the college’s reputation at-large. The request to upgrade equipment the college uses for virtual remote competitions became more relevant than ever this year. The impact was felt with UC’s student team that took part in the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot competition, a premier event in the world of moot competitions that draws entries from hundreds of law schools around the globe. Normally held in person in the venues of Vienna and Hong Kong, the competition shifted to a virtual format this year because of the pandemic. UC put together a strong team for the Hong Kong competition this winter and was rewarded by not only reaching the championship round – a first for UC Law in its five-year history in Vis competition – but also seeing 3L student Greg Magarian win the competition’s award for Best Oralist. That’s the kind of impact the organizers for Women in Law had in mind when they launched their new endeavor. Now the intent is to continue to grow their group and create for UC Law a resource that makes things happen within the college, while also helping nurture that bond between alumnae and their alma mater. “There are just all kinds of things at the law school that I don’t think we know about,” Newby says. “I’m hopeful that what we’ll find is that a lot of the women who start out giving $1,000 find a niche at the law school that they find they would like to support in other ways, as well.”

Photos: UC Creative + Brand

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Support for social justice leads to $1M in gifts BY JULIA MACE


hile social justice was brought to the forefront of the national conversation in 2020, the University of Cincinnati College of Law has long been a leader in this arena, training and cultivating schol-

ars, leaders and activists committed to systemic change through education, research, theory and practice. Donors supported this work by giving more than $1 million in 2020 to The Nathaniel R. Jones Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice. These individuals include Cincinnati Law alumni as well as those who were inspired to give because of the college’s reputation for outstanding work and dedication to change. The Jones Center, named after one the nation’s most respected jurists, reflects Judge Jones’ impressive career as a champion for justice. Scholars at the Center teach, research and work to combat harassment, violence against women and economic inequalities that target the most vulnerable. The Center’s programs give students real-world experience, whether supporting clients in the domestic-violence clinic or moderating “urgent conversations” about the issues of the day.. “Judge Jones is a legend, his name is synonymous with making a difference,” Dean Verna Williams said. “The work to move this nation toward equality and liberation is far from over but I think Judge Jones would be pleased about the impact these gifts will make in moving us forward.”



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udge Jones had a dedication to service, excellence and the pursuit of justice,” said Michael L. Wright, BS ’93, JD ’96. “He was inspirational. He came at a time when it was tough to be a Black man and an attorney and fight for social justice causes.” Wright, along with fellow alumni Michael L. Cioffi, JD ’79, and Harry H. Santen, JD ’57, donated to the Nathaniel R. Jones Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice Fund. This fund provides resources for the Center’s activities including expenses related to its director, research and program assistants and events. Wright shares that he attended UC Law with the aspiration of helping those that need assistance and believes the Jones Center plays this role in the community. “I believe in Dean Verna Williams and the course she has the law school on,” Wright added. “I wanted to support her, the Center and honor Judge Jones. Attending UC Law was the best career decision I ever made so giving to the Center was an easy decision.”




eff and Jennifer Davis are not UC alumni but were moved to act after the national events of 2020. The university’s commitment to positive change and social justice work influenced their decision on selecting both the College of Arts & Sciences and the College of Law for a gift. “In this moment of urgency and increased advocacy—not only from those most directly affected by bias and discrimination but from everyone in our community—there is hope for greater inclusiveness and understanding, as well as systemic policy changes,” they said. “We hope this is a positive step toward increased social justice.” The Davises created the Theodore M. Berry ’31, Directorship of the Nathaniel R. Jones Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice Endowment Fund; this will allow the Jones Center to have a dedicated director, training the next generation of social engineers who will create tangible change.


lumnus Bill Morelli, A&S ’74, JD ’78, was also intentional about his donation. He created the Bill Morelli Endowment Fund for the Nathaniel R. Jones Center for Race, Gender and Social Justice. “At a time when national discussion—often divisive—is taking place on issues of race, gender and justice, it’s important for the legal profession to take the lead in framing issues and developing solutions,” he said. “The Jones Center is at the center of thought leadership in this area and I hope this gift can bring together scholars and practitioners in the field to inspire the next generation of lawyers to shape public policy and help build bridges of understanding in the broader community.” The fund established by Morelli will be used to establish a practitioner-in-residence program, allowing the College of Law to host a social justice advocate or innovator to teach courses on race, gender and social justice. On alternating years, it will also allow the college to host a conference at which scholars in law and other fields such as philosophy, sociology, political science, or public health, will come together to address, and explore solutions for issues of race, gender and social justice. On April 8, 2021, the Jones Center hosted the Inaugural Morelli Colloquy on Belonging and Difference: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. Invited speakers in law, the humanities, and social sciences discussed their work on a wide array of topics and framed these issues in terms of belonging and difference. These interdisciplinary conversations opened up new ways of thinking about how to address issues of trenchant inequality and inequity.


ong-time advocates for victims of domestic violence, Francie and John Pepper’s donation directly supports the Domestic Violence and Civil Protection Order Clinic within the Center. Since 2005, the Clinic has helped Cincinnati Law students represent more than 1,400 survivors of domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault and human trafficking in civil protection order hearings. Thanks to the work of the Clinic, Cincinnati City Council was the first in the nation to pass a resolution declaring that freedom from domestic violence is a fundamental human right.

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Photo: Ravenna Rutledge/University of Cincinnati

The impact of one man BY BILL BANGERT


rowing up as the daughter of a doctor in Jackson, TN, Ashley Nkadi felt a familial expectation to go to medical school. That’s one reason why she majored in neuroscience at the University of Cincinnati, earning her degree in 2016. However, in the years after graduation, she became more and more interested in issues around social justice, which pushed her in the direction of law. “I worked at a non-profit called BYP100, organizing around Black liberation,” says Nkadi, who just wrapped up her first year as a student at the UC College of Law. “We often worked with lawyers and because I was the public relations person, we spent a lot of time determining all the things you can legally say without jeopardizing our non-profit statuses. That was especially the case during elections. During this time, I began to like the idea of a lawyer’s role.” Nkadi says she’s had a passion for digital communication for a long time, running her own website since she was in the sixth grade. Towards the end of her time as an undergrad at UC, she started gravitating toward social justice and digital organizing. “If you look at the dots that connect my life, it really is communication, primarily digital communication, that brings it all together,” Nkadi says. “When I was an undergraduate at UC, I co-founded the Irate 8, a student-led digital social activist movement committed to increasing diversity at UC and making the university more inclusive. I then worked in digital strategy and communications at organizations such as The Movement for

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I’m a digital girl through and through. I like the construction and the identity of a brand, whether it is a person or a company or a social justice organization, and I want to work where those things intersect with law.” —ASHLEY NKADI

Photo: Ravenna Rutledge/University of Cincinnati



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Black Lives. When I came to law school, I considered practicing in health care or environmental law. But since I’ve been at the College of Law, I have consistently been called back to the original plot of the movie. I’m a digital girl through and through. I love branding, I love media. I like the construction and the identity of a brand, whether it is a person or a company or a social justice organization, and I want to work where those things intersect with law.” One of the factors that brought Nkadi to the UC College of Law was Judge Nathaniel Jones, who passed away in January 2020. Nkadi was involved in the discussion around whether Charles McMicken’s name should be removed from the College of Arts and Sciences and during that process, she says Dianne Dunkelman took her under her wing. Dunkelman, the Founder and CEO of the Building Healthy Lives Foundation, arranged for a meeting with Judge Jones. “Judge Jones told me his story, and he gave me a copy of his book ‘Answering the Call: An Autobiography of the Modern Struggle to End Racial Discrimination in America,’” Nkadi says. “He talked about things he thought I could do or things I would be good at, and from there, he connected me with his daughter who runs his foundation.” Nkadi was named a Jones Fellow, which means taking classes related to the intersection of law, identity politics, institutional racism and feminist issues. “It was an interesting sequence of events,” says Nkadi. “I met him, I read his book, and he was able to impart wisdom about his journey and his activism. To be subsequently named

a Fellow in a program that has been named for him — I just thought it was kind of cool.” Nkadi had her eyes on law schools like Harvard or Howard, but Judge Jones suggested she go to the UC College of Law. “He said it had the resources I needed and I had a personality that would do well there,” Nkadi says. “That was his recommendation to me and that was something I considered deeply when making my decision.” As for what she plans to do with her law degree once she gets it, politics is a possibility. “My family is always saying I’m going to be a politician because I just can’t stay away from trying to make change,” Nkadi says. “When I was an undergrad it was the Irate 8, after graduation I was involved in critical movements in this country, and I recently was appointed to be the Vice President of the Student Bar Association. So, I don’t think I’ll be able to stay away from trying to create structural change in any community of which I’m a part.”

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A data-informed approach to bar passage A collaboration among UC researchers may be changing the conversation around bar passage BY NICK RUMA



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hen Joel Chanvisanuruk, JD ’06, was hired as director of Academic Success and Bar Programs at Cincinnati Law in 2009, conventional wisdom pointed to incoming student credentials—notably, LSAT scores and undergraduate GPAs—as the best

indicators of bar passage. Now, thanks to a collaboration with Amy Farley and Christopher Swoboda, both of who are professors in UC’s School of Education, that conventional wisdom is being called into question. And they have the data to back it up. In 2019, Farley, Swoboda, and Chanvisanuruk published “A Deeper Look at Bar Success: The Relationship Between Law Student Success, Academic Performance, and Student Char-

acteristics” in the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies. The article examines five years of Cincinnati Law alumni data, including course performance and detailed bar score reports collected by Chanvisanuruk, in an attempt to understand and quantify predictors of bar success. Their results suggest that bar passage can be predicted by a wide set of variables, while LSAT and undergraduate GPA are in fact weakly predictive. They found information from the first year of law school – even a student’s performance in just one first semester course – explains significantly more variation in bar passage. “When we were embarking on this, we heard a lot from other schools that the way to increase bar passage was to essentially get better students at your law school. We heard that over and over again,” said Farley. “What we found in our data

Photo: Joe Fuqua


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was that, at least among admitted students, LSAT, incoming GPA, the rigor of undergraduate institutions, a student’s race, gender, age, everything we know about them, tells us very little about who is going to be successful on the bar.” COLLECTING THE DATA Farley, Swoboda, and Chanvisanuruk’s analysis was possible in part because of a decision Chanvisanuruk had made years prior. While law schools generally get a report on who passed and who failed the bar exam, Chanvisanuruk knew, from having taken the Ohio bar, that test-takers were sent a more detailed score report breaking down their performance on each section of the exam. In order to get a more complete sense of graduate performance, Chanvisanuruk sought approval from the Supreme Court of Ohio, which administers the Ohio Bar Exam, to create a student waiver to gain access to the detailed score reports. When that was approved, Chanvisanuruk began collecting the data that would eventually inform his work with Farley and Swoboda. “We pushed the analysis past that binary of pass/fail into where they are on the continuum,” said Chanvisanuruk. “Then we’re also able to look at subscales. How did they perform specifically on the multiple choice, on the essays?” “Something that I think sets our research apart that we’ve learned as we’ve been doing this work is that most law schools don’t have the kind of incredible data access that the University of Cincinnati has,” said Farley. “Joel [Chanvisanuruk] was really smart and innovative in thinking about partnering

with the bar and getting student permissions to be able to access their bar passage data.” QUESTIONS LEAD TO COLLABORATION As part of his portfolio at Cincinnati Law, Chanvisanuruk spearheaded a number of programs designed to increase students’ chances at success in law school and, ultimately, on the bar exam. A few years after being hired, he’d introduced Structured Study Groups (SSGs), a sort of peer-mentorship program pairing groups of 1Ls with upper-level students. The groups meet twice a week and focus on developing and applying study skills specific to law school as well as strategies to improve exam preparation and performance. “The idea is to take all that stuff that’s unwritten (which you’re just expected to know), and make it explicit,” said Chanvisanuruk. Chanvisanuruk had also created a bridge program available for incoming 1Ls prior to orientation that was designed to introduce fundamental concepts and skills necessary for success in law school. In addition, he was teaching an upper-level bar writing course available to third-year law students. In order to better understand whether these programs were having the intended effect, Chanvisanuruk, who, aside from having earned his JD from Cincinnati Law, also has a master’s degree in Public Affairs from the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University Bloomington, began enrolling in graduate statistics courses at the University of Cincinnati’s School of Education. “I knew I wanted to take statistics, specifically in educational evaluation, so that I could better understand whether the programs were having the affect I wanted them to have,” he said. He came to the statistics courses with two questions. He wanted to understand whether the programs he was managing were having the intended effect. But also, he said, there was the question of when, and to what degree of certainty, you could predict the ultimate bar passage of a student. It was in one of those classes that for the first time he ran a multivariate regression analysis—a method of statistical analysis used to measure the degree at which more than one independent variable (e.g. predictors) and more than one dependent variable (e.g. outcomes), are linearly related—comparing students’ performance in their first-year courses and their ultimate bar passage. By that point, he’d collected three years of detailed score reports from Cincinnati Law graduates who’d taken the Ohio Bar Exam. That initial analysis led to the collaboration with Farley and Swoboda, who collectively have expertise in applied statistics, quantitative methods, higher education, student success, and equity and opportunity. GETTING TO WORK With the support of grants from the University of Cincinnati and the AccessLex Institute (the President and CEO of which is Cincinnati Law alumnus Christopher Chapman, JD ’93), Farley, Swoboda, and Chanvisanuruk set out to better understand the various factors that lead to a student’s success on the bar exam.



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The fact that we can intervene so very early makes it really exciting.” —JOEL CHANVISANURUK Photo: Joe Fuqua

Farley says she was motivated by the larger context around law schools and the bar exam. “It’s this very interesting little microcosm of much of the things we know about higher education,” she said. “We have this competitive, challenging and rigorous small community of learners. We have the ultimate high-stakes assessment at the end—the bar exam. A high pressure, consequential assessment that has huge consequences for not only the students themselves, but also for the field.” Farley said both she and Swoboda were also excited at the amount of data available, including the five years of detailed score reports Chanvisanuruk had collected by that time, as well as course performance data. “Having access to not only who passed the bar, but subscale data about their performance on the bar is almost unprecedented in legal education,” said Farley. “That allows us to do a lot of really complex analysis around looking at what are the things that contribute to bar success.” Their work together led to the publication of “A Deeper Look at Bar Success: The Relationship Between Law Student Success, Academic Performance, and Student Characteristics.” They found that, while a student’s final law school GPA is most predictive of bar success, their first semester GPA was significantly predictive. And, in contrast to previous studies, their data indicated that the LSAT and undergraduate GPA were only weakly predictive of first-time bar passage among admitted students. “We had a reviewer say, basically, ‘this is really different than what we know,’” said Farley. “Like, ‘you guys need to talk about this a lot more because this goes against what everything else says.’” “All the information that is collected at the point of admission pales in comparison to a student’s performance in Contracts in terms of predictability,” said Chanvisanuruk. “The fact that we can intervene so very early makes it really exciting.” The data suggested that a student who was predicted not to pass based on their first semester GPA could remedy that by taking more upper level bar courses. At Cincinnati Law, their findings resulted in a policy change and modification of Rule 9 of the JD Academic Rules. Under the rule, students who

perform under a 2.8 after their first semester or their first year of law school are required to take five upper-level bar courses, as well as a newly created, skills-based ethics course in their second year of study, and an upper-level bar writing course in their final semester of study. The rule went into effect for the graduating class of 2021. In qualitative follow-up and interviews with students, Farley said they found students were less likely to enroll in upper-level bar courses if they hadn’t performed as well as they would’ve liked in their first year. “We found that there’s sort of these perverse incentives around taking upper level bar courses,” said Farley. “Students who don’t do well in their first year have a strong desire to try to improve their overall GPA. And some of the calculus that they do around that involves taking less rigorous coursework to increase their GPA. But what that does, we found, is students who take fewer upper level bar courses are less likely to pass the bar. So, there’s potentially this unintended consequence where underperforming students are less likely to take these upper level courses.” LOOKING TO THE FUTURE What’s novel in Chanvisanuruk’s approach to academic success and bar passage is its interdisciplinary quality. When Chanvisanuruk started, he said, it was uncommon for law schools to partner with researchers in education to better understand factors that contribute to bar passage. Now, with five other law schools in the process of replicating the same study that Farley, Swoboda, and Chanvisanuruk have done at UC, their collaborative, data-informed approach may mark a sea change in how law schools go about preparing students for the bar exam. “It can be hard for institutions of higher education to share their data and to be open to letting other people into their world,” said Farley. “I think that’s not necessarily the norm, although it is changing in legal education. I really applaud [Cincinnati Law] for their commitment to serving all students. And I think UC is really seen across the country as a leader in this space.”

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Creating a legacy:

Photo: provided

UC Law’s family connections run deep




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Photo: provided

ack in 2016, then-UC senior business major Betsy Emmert penned a guest opinion piece for the Cincinnati Enquirer. The topic was what makes Cincinnati an attractive destination. Discussing how she weighed staying in the place she grew up versus other attractive academic options open to her, Emmert wrote: “In Cincinnati, I see opportunity, growth and potential. Behind our share of political and economic issues are leaders, professionals and businesses united to propel Cincinnati forward. As I have learned through my co-op rotations, internships and college courses, the necessary ingredient to our city’s future success is strong talent dedicated to the future of the city.” Then-business major Betsy Emmert is now Betsy Emmert, JD ’19, and a second-year associate at Dinsmore specializing in real estate law. She was an exceptional student, graduating magna cum laude both from the UC Lindner College of Business and from UC Law. But she also had the insight to understand from her family’s legacy that the quality of education she could get staying home would serve her every bit as well as the many other big-name schools that were recruiting her. Legacies have that kind of power. Family histories become closely entwined with the identity of a school. In a small-school setting like UC Law, they feed off of each other and become part of the inner strength that sustains the institution. The school identifies as the nation’s premier, small, urban, public law school and these families believe in that vision. “Seeing generations of families attend Cincinnati Law is a tangible reminder of the broad scope of our history and our legacy,” said Dean Verna Williams. Institutions with any extended history are living, breathing bodies. You can find their DNA in the products they produce. With a history dating back 188 years, the University of Cincinnati it has been the school of choice for a whole roster of familiar families. Recent examples that date across multiple generations include names like the Emmerts, the Goerings and Holschuhs, families who are likely familiar through shared experience with a sizable number of UC Law graduates. For Betsy Emmert and the rest of her family, UC Law has been a three-generation affair. All three generations have been UC families through-and-through, matriculating in Clifton


both as undergrads and then for their legal educations. The family’s legacy started with Ace Emmert, JD ‘49, who earned his engineering degree at UC before graduating from UC Law and going on to become Senior Vice President, General Counsel and a Director for Provident Bank. Betsy’s parents are Ace’s son, Drew Emmert, JD ’88, and Marianne Scott Emmert, JD ’84. Drew is a partner with DBL Law, while Marianne has her own practice that focuses on real estate and business law. With familiarity, the family has found plenty of ways to appreciate the UC Law experience. “As an alumnus, I just feel very favorably towards the school, its students and the faculty,” says Drew Emmert. “It’s a school that really is embedded in the community.” That’s certainly true with the percentage of grads who go on and make careers for themselves in the local legal

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and corporate community. But Mariway to make connections in the anne Scott Emmert says it’s been a miscommunity. take made many times over to confuse His career, though, proximity with a lack of sophistication. took him about as far afield from She recalls her time as a Cincinnati as you can get in the U.S. student being along the lines of the Alaska has been his home for more movie “The Paper Chase,” where actor than 20 years and today he serves John Houseman famously portrayed an as a Senior Assistant Attorney Genintimidating, old-school professor from eral for the Alaska state governthe classical tradition. “It was a great ment. His responsibilities include launching pad,” she says. “When I gradadvising and representing the uated and started working, I was with Regulatory Commission of Alaska, colleagues from Harvard and other Ivy which oversees the state’s utility League schools, and I think they were and pipeline operators, as well as surprised how well-prepared we were. Alaska’s Retirement Management What we learned at UC prepared you Board and Mental Health Trust for opportunities to go into a number Authority. of fields.” Even with distance, the That overall feeling only Goering family feels connected to grew a generation later for the EmUC Law. As you might expect with merts’ daughter, Betsy, and her choices the family’s deep ties on campus, —BETSY EMMERT, JD ’19 to extend the legacy gave the family that has to do with people. great satisfaction. “When I was attending, “There is something intrinsic the current College of Law building to UC, and I don’t think it’s just at the was under construction,” Stuart law school,” Betsy says. “It’s a place that says. “Classes were held everyis very entrepreneurial. There is that where and it was a time of shared emphasis on getting real world experience that so many stuhardship, which I think drew us closer together as a class and dents get, and that’s as true at the law school as it is other places closer with the faculty, because it was a challenge for everyone. within the university.” There were 119 in my graduating class, and I would say I know When the day arrived for the Hooding Ceremony for where at least half of the members of the class are today and I’m UC Law’s Class of 2019, the Emmert’s family legacy was on full in regular contact with a number of them.” display. As graduates, Betsy’s parents were able to come to the Still, with Andrew growing up in Alaska, continuing podium and hood their own daughter, another of the benefits the family legacy at UC Law was far from a sure thing. As it that come with legacy status. turns out, though, Alaska is the only U.S. state without a law school, and UC offerings like the Urban Morgan Institute for THE GOERING FAMILY ROOTS AT UC Human Rights proved attractive. UC’s educational tradition is also a big part of the family story for the Goerings, whose UC Law ranks include two generations in Stuart Goering, JD ’82, and son Andrew Goering, JD ’11. The family’s patriarch, Stuart’s dad John Goering, was a remarkable Bearcat. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degree from the Lindner College of Business and soon after returned to campus to join the accounting faculty. He continued to teach even while serving UC as University Registrar and Associate Vice President of Admissions and Records, and founded a key program within the Lindner College of Business, the Goering Center for Family and Private Business. Stuart Goering’s educational roots at UC run deep and provide an interesting background. He started learning on campus as a preschooler in Beecher Hall, only a few hundred feet from where he would one day attend law school, at what is today known as the Arlitt Child Development Center. After getting his undergraduate degree from Purdue, he returned to UC for law school for reasons that now hold some irony – he believed he would make his career in Cincinnati and his family familiarity JOHN GOERING, FAMILY PATRIARCH with UC led him to conclude a UC law degree would be a great AND BELOVED BEARCAT

When I graduated and started working, I was with colleagues from Harvard and other Ivy League schools, and I think they were surprised how well-prepared we were.”

Photo: provided



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Andrew had studied German as an undergrad at the University of Alaska-Anchorage. UC Law’s flexibility allowed him in 2010 to spend a semester as a visiting student at the Bucerius Law School in Hamburg. Today, he works in the emerging field of compliance risk monitoring for State Street Corporation in Massachusetts. UC Law, with faculty that were accessible to students because of the school’s 8:1 ratio of faculty to students, helped him find his own pathways, which in turn makes him feel connected to the school. “The faculty helped me think differently. They encouraged exploring the thought process of what is out there and what you could do (through a legal education),” he says.

When I was attending, the current College of Law building was under construction … and it was a time of shared hardship, which I think drew us closer together as a class.”

sociate at Santen & Hughes, where he sometimes works on cases with his father. Johnny was a history major as an undergrad at Tulane, but ultimately, it was his grandfather who inspired him to go into the law, and once that became clear, UC Law was the obvious choice. He, too, was a member of UC Law Review and on the staff of the Human Rights Quarterly. At lunch with Johnny and one of his friends who expressed an interest in being a prosecutor, John Holschuh, Sr., discussed, in the words of his grandson, “how you can use the law to help people and that’s kind of been one of my missions. I love UC Law’s dedication to social justice, so the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights first drew me there and then I got involved in taking classes with the Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice, which ultimately led to my doing a couple of years at Legal Aid doing housing law.” The Holschuhs also had the experience of getting to participate in Johnny’s hooding, and the year prior to that experience John Holschuh, Jr., was the college’s speaker at Hooding. The influence and affinity John Holschuh, Sr., had for UC Law, which included the family establishing an endowed scholarship in his name, promises to carry through as a theme for generations to come. “He was exceedingly proud of the law school,” John Holschuh, Jr., recalls of his dad. “Taking that one step further, the people he knew from the law school meant so much. Dad stayed in touch with a lot of his classmates. I’ve stayed in close contact with a lot of my classmates from law school, and I know Johnny has, too. That idea of a small class, urban law school really is the kind of place where you establish relationships that become a huge asset when you come out and go into practice.”


Photo: provided

THE HOLSCHUH LEGACY RUNS DEEP The Holschuh family is yet another three-generation UC family that has found UC Law to be the springboard to generational success. The patriarch who first found his way to UC was John Holschuh, Sr., JD ’51, who made his way from a very modest upbringing in the blue-collar steel town of Ironton, Ohio, to Miami University and then to UC Law, where he excelled – he was first in his graduating class and editor-in-chief of the UC Law Review. In 1980, John Holschuh, Sr. was appointed to the federal bench on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, where he eventually became Chief Judge. At about the same time as his dad’s appointment, John Holschuh, Jr. was finishing his legal education as part of UC Law’s Class of 1980. With a strong interest in debate, he ended up as director of UC Law’s Moot Court and then started his career right out of law school with the Cincinnati firm of Santen & Hughes, where he is now a partner. He is also a past president of the Ohio State Bar Association and the Cincinnati Bar Association. His wife, Wendy Ellis Holschuh, JD ‘83, was an Urban Morgan Fellow and a member of the UC Law Review. The latest Holschuh to get his legal education at UC is their son, John “Johnny” Holschuh, III, JD ’14, who is now an as-


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Challenging Environmental Changes

Former Dean Joseph Tomain and three alumni discuss regulating energy, and climate change



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ean Emeritus Joseph P. Tomain, Wilbert and Helen Ziegler Professor of Law, is a highly respected professor and scholar, teaching and conducting research in the areas of law and the humanities, energy law, and regulatory policy. He has published in these areas for over 40 years, producing numerous articles, essays, casebooks, treatises, and monographs, as well as delivered papers at conferences throughout the U.S. and Europe.   In late April Dean Tomain led a moderated conversation with three distinguished Cincinnati Law alumni discussing climate change, energy and the environment. The

participants—Julie Janson ’88, Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer, Duke Energy Carolinas; Neil Chatterjee ’02, Commissioner, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; and Sean Arthurs ’05, Director of Global Education and Training, EarthRights International—are well-respected in their fields and bring thoughtful analysis to today’s environmental changes and impacts. Following are excerpts from their insightful conversation. You can read the conversation in its entirety online or view it on the college’s YouTube channel in its entirety.





JOSEPH P. TOMAIN Dean Emeritus Wilbert and Helen Ziegler Professor of Law

JULIE JANSON ’88 Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer Duke Energy Carolinas

NEIL CHATTERJEE ’02 Commissioner, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

SEÁN ARTHURS ’05 Director of Global Education and Training EarthRights International


JOSEPH TOMAIN: HOW DID YOU GO FROM LAW SCHOOL TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW? Julie Janson: I saw a posting in the career development office at the law school in 1987 for a summer internship at the Cincinnati Gas and Electric Company, and here we are 33 years later. I started full-time a couple weeks after I took the bar exam and have since had at least a dozen roles…. Most notably I served as the corporation’s general counsel for seven years. [Also] I served as the president of the Ohio and Kentucky region before relocating to the Carolinas in 2012 in the general counsel role, and I’m currently EVP and CEO of the Carolinas… Neil Chatterjee: It’s been a fascinating journey. My parents … viewed

education as a buffet in that you should consume as much as possible. So, I enrolled in the JD/MBA program … I was in business school on September 11, 2001, and decided at that point that I wanted to serve my country in some capacity. My best friend in business school… graduated and got a job with then congressman, now U.S. Senator, Rob Portman. … I went to visit Bill in Washington, and I saw the work that he was doing, and I asked him, “How does one get here? How do I get a job in the legislative branch of government?” … I took an internship that paid me a $1,400 monthly stipend. But I knew at the time that I would be passionate about public service and… I worked my way up through the legislative process. I worked for a congresswoman from Ohio named Deborah Pryce. Then I got an opportunity to serve my home state

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senator, Senator Mitch McConnell, during a time that he was serving as minority leader in the Senate. When a vacancy came up in 2016 on the [FERC] commission, I had identified a candidate for it that I thought would be perfect. This person got cold feet and backed out. I was alarmed. I thought, what do I do now? …This person ultimately convinced me to go for it and … I have had the wonderful opportunity to serve at the commission for the past four years at what has been really an exciting time in the energy landscape. Seán Arthurs: I think I’ve had 12 roles within different companies since UC. I started at Legal Aid right out of law school as a Skadden fellow working with victims

of domestic violence. I went on to a clerkship in Washington, DC at the DC District Court, then joined Sherman and Sterling as a litigator for three years. … An opportunity came up at the Georgetown Street Law Clinic as a teaching fellow, which combined law and education. As I was coming to the end of that fellowship, …I applied for an Education Leadership doctoral program at Harvard that takes 25 people a year. I was really fortunate and got into that program. Then …I was with the National PTA for about two and a half years scaling their programs, consulting with a variety of school districts and nonprofits around the country, and then this unique opportunity came up at EarthRights International to be the director of global education and training. And it just seemed like the perfect unification.

PERSPECTIV ES JT: WHAT’S ON YOUR DESK? Seàn: EarthRights works to combine the power of people and the power of law to protect what we call earth rights. It’s a combination of environmental rights and human rights and they point to this term earth rights. We train lawyers, indigenous activists, and frontline community members, and we train them on how to partner with others and how to mobilize their community to resist any abuses. In advocacy, there’s an education component, there’s skills building, but most broadly, I’m training for advocacy. They brought me on because we have some amazing initiatives going on around the world. Neil: There are many things that I’ve tried to do to bring the commission into better alignment with not just market realities in the 21st century, but also with how the commission interacts with the public. … I’ve been very visible both as chairman and a commissioner. And I’ve been pleased to hear from folks who commend everything we’ve done, from updating our website and our e-library platform, to encouraging both the commission and project stakeholders to be more targeted in communicating with communities 32


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and landowners as we go about the work we need to do in evaluating energy infrastructure projects. The common denominator for me, throughout my tenure, has been a focus on markets, on really developing a regulatory ecosystem that enables new technologies to flourish and for markets to thrive. That can range from updating the commission’s PURPA regulations … to removing barriers to entry for innovative new technologies like battery storage and aggregated distributed energy resources. I think FERC taking that step of being an enabler, of removing obstacles that have inhibited these innovative new technologies, I think that’s been the ideal method to really facilitating a market-driven approach to energy policy that I think better aligns the country’s regulations with the realities of the 21st century marketplace. Julie: As I think about my current role, I have responsibility for the regulatory and legislative affairs in the Carolinas, as well as the strategic planning and the financial performance of our Carolinas utilities. Our corporate strategy is our business strategy, which is to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. We have a couple interim goals at 2030, net zero methane, and

at least a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030 (from 2005 levels). Our business has retired 51 coal units since 2011. Over the next decade we have the largest fleet transition in the industry set out before us. We’ve reduced our carbon emissions by 40% since

2005, so we’re all headed to the same place. I think we have the complicating responsibility to actually provide power that is reliable, that is affordable, that works from a physics perspective in an increasingly clean way.

We have the complicating responsibility to actually provide power that is reliable, that is affordable, that works from a physics perspective in an increasingly clean way. JULIE JANSON

W ISHLISTS JT: WHAT TECHNOLOGIES WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE COME ONLINE? Julie: Well, we have the largest regulated nuclear fleet, and very well run I might add, with both a really stellar performance record and low cost to our customers. In the Carolinas, I think there could be a number of distributed advanced nuclear opportunities. I think green hydrogen in particular is very promising, carbon capture, but at this point I’m not prepared to pick one. I just say let’s invest in them and figure out which ones are going to work instead of fighting about what I think for the most part we agree on. Neil: That’s not our role to identify technologies. … But there is a role that FERC can play in that we can create that regulatory flexibility to enable the deployment of those new technologies. One of the more enjoyable components of my tenure at the commission is having our international allies reach out to us for guidance and for expertise. When I initially took this position as a domestic energy regulator, I didn’t anticipate that I would have opportunities to represent the United States government in India and Japan

and in Western Europe. What we’re finding is that our allies are looking to FERC as the body which has the foremost experience in overseeing these competitive energy markets. They want to learn from us so that they can better design their markets and their grids to see the similar benefits that we have seen. JT: Seàn, you’ve heard technologies are coming online. What’s your reaction to that from your perspective? Seàn: … There’s lots of opportunities. I don’t know that there’s one silver bullet, but one of the things that we have certainly seen that’s incredibly troubling in the energy and climate space is massive environmental discrimination and racism that we’ve seen everywhere, from where facilities are located, to how people are impacted, to the options they have. You know, especially indigenous communities and communities that don’t have access to a lot of resources, the impact and the suffering, the choices that they have, I think that’s something that we can amplify as well. The impact of this is not being felt equally.

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PRO ­ POSA LS JT: WHAT POLICY PROPOSAL DO YOU THINK IS WORTH SERIOUS CONSIDERATION? Seàn: …I think seeing enforcement, holding companies accountable to some of the promises and obligations that are made, is important. Thinking carefully about the subsidies and looking at the massive imbalance between subsidies that we’re giving to green energy and that are given to coal, I think that would perhaps be where I would start. Neil: … I think we need to make energy policy boring again. … I think if we can get back to boring substantive conversations around energy policy and take the political zest out of it, we can move the country forward in the right direction. Julie: Well, the transmission, the investments required with the distributed generation resources and the need to invest in all of that is also a big component of what we’re looking at. But I think from a policy perspective, cost-effective, market-based, equitable, promotes technological advances and probably not industry specific. We’ve got the transportation sector and certainly we’re leaning into electrification of the transportation sector. But again, I think something that is cost-effective, and market based is probably the direction.

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One of the things that we have certainly seen that’s incredibly troubling in the energy and climate space is massive environmental discrimination and racism, from where facilities are located, to how people are impacted, to the options they have. SEÀN ARTHURS

IN CLOSING JT: FINAL THOUGHTS ABOUT THE INDUSTRY’S FUTURE? Julie: It’s never been a more exciting time to be part of this industry. … The transition is upon us and we continue to look forward to working with our stakeholders and for the benefit of our customers. Neil: I think our role is going to continue to rise. I think many of the critical decisions that the country will face over the next couple of years regarding the energy transition, regarding electric reliability amidst the push for de-carbonization, are going to continue to keep the agency in focus. I think we’re going to do a better job as that visibility increases with outreach, with ensuring accessibility to a greater number of stakeholders. But I think FERC is clearly out of the shadows now. … I also hope that we continue to see

independent experienced commissioners who are willing to serve, who will continue to execute on FERC’s mission of ensuring just and reasonable rates and maintaining the reliability of the grid. Seàn: I think lots of people put this far better than I, but any group in the human rights space, their aspirational goal is to work themselves out of existence, to the point they’re no longer needed to monitor and enforce. That would be a long-term goal. In the short term, I’m encouraged by just the different efforts in the private sector and by the government and the access to new stakeholders. We would like to increase our education efforts and empower and partner with indigenous communities around the globe more and more and help educate and inform so that they can be making the decisions they want to make for their communities.




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Cincinnati Law: Remembering Our Past


n March of 1933, M.L. Ferson, who served as Dean of the College for 20 years, noted the College of Law “has adapted itself through stages during the past century from a pioneer setting to its present setting in the midst of a populous nation teeming with industry and commerce.”  Ferson was marking the 100th anni-

versary of the College of Law. Eight years earlier, the law school had moved into its current location at the corner of Clifton Avenue and Calhoun Street in what was then Alphonso Taft Hall. Today, the College of Law is on the verge of changing locations for the fifth time in its nearly 200-year history. The law school has continued to adapt itself to the needs of today’s lawyers. In the words of Dean Verna Williams, the new building will “exemplify the upward trajectory of our law school,” and serve as “a tangible reminder to embrace our next purpose.” We’ve collected below a series of images looking back on the homes and history of the College of Law as we prepare, once again, to move onto what’s next.



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Cincinnati Law School was founded by Timothy Walker, Edward King, and Judge John C. Wright, opening with only 17 students above the offices of King & Walker on Third Street near Main.


Cincinnati Law School, now located on Walnut Street near Fifth, affiliates with Cincinnati College, becoming a degree granting institution.


The Cincinnati Law School building burns down, and another was constructed on the same site.


The Cincinnati Law building was destroyed by fire again and rebuilt on site.


University of Cincinnati establishes a separate Law Department, installing William Howard Taft as its first head.


The new home of the law school, 21 W. Ninth St., is dedicated.


The law school moves into the old McMicken house on Clifton Avenue.

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Chief Justice William Howard Taft dedicates the law school’s new home, named Alphonso Taft Hall, at the corner of Clifton and Calhoun. The building cost $325K.


The library is endowed in memory of Rufus B. Smith, Class of 1878.


H. Elsie Austin becomes the first African American woman to graduate. Later she became the first African American woman to serve as assistant attorney general in Ohio.


The 100th Anniversary of law school is celebrated with 175 students, including 7 women.


Juris doctor degree conferred for the first time instead of the bachelor of laws (LLB)


The Robert S. Marx Law Library Wing is dedicated by Chief Justice Earl Warren.


Elwin Griffith, the first person of color on the faculty, is hired.


Professor Ruth Bader Ginsburg, future Supreme Court Justice, delivers the Robert S. Marx Lecture.

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The Urban Morgan Institute is established, the first institute at an American law school devoted to the study and development of international human rights law. Urban Morgan was a former trustee of the University of Cincinnati.


Nora J. Lauerman becomes the first tenured woman on the law faculty


The 150th Anniversary of the law school is celebrated. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor visits and dedicates the new building.


The Glenn M. Weaver Institute for Law and Psychiatry and the Center for Practice in Negotiation and Problem Solving are established.


The Lois & Richard Rosenthal Institute for Justice/Ohio Innocence Project is founded after Cincinnati’s civil unrest following the death of Timothy Thomas.


The law school celebrates its 175th Anniversary.


The Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice is founded.


The LLM in the U.S. Legal System is established.


UC Law breaks ground on our new home, a $45.6 renovation strategically located along the primary connector to the university’s Innovation Corridor.


Our new home will open, placing UC Law in the heart of campus on a prominent stretch of Martin Luther King Drive.  

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briefs A snapshot of some of the stories covered this year. You’ll find more at

Criminal justice reform bill on interrogations supported by OIP signed into law Monday, May 17, 2021 became a landmark day in the drive for criminal justice reform in Ohio, when Gov. Mike DeWine signed into law one of the most important anti-wrongful conviction measures in the last decade. The new law requires law enforcement agencies to record custodial interrogations of people charged with most major felonies for the first time iin Ohio’s history. This law, strongly supported by UC Law’s Ohio Innocence Project and a host of allies, will help prevent wrongful convictions of innocent Ohioans, foster the integrity and transparency of law enforce-

ment investigations, and protect law enforcement agents from false claims of misconduct. A bipartisan amendment to the bill, added in the Senate the week before, prevents law enforcement agents from shackling pregnant women during childbirth and delivery. The success of this bill is due to the leadership of a team of bipartisan leaders in the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate, including 4 2


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House Majority Leader Bill Seitz, JD ’78 (R-Cincinnati) and House Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron). OIP is also indebted to the sponsors of this bill, Rep. Phil Plummer (R-Dayton) and Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton), and to their legislative teams, led by Ryan Quinn and Sean McCann. Sen. Nathan Manning (R-North Ridgeville) and Sen. Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati) and their legislative teams, led by Kate Millen and Cindy Peters, were outstanding leaders in the Senate over the course of the past two years. OIP was proud to serve as a proponent of this bill and is grateful for the dedicated and determined assistance of Nicole “Niki” Clum of the Ohio Public Defender’s Office. Clum worked tirelessly on this bill from its inception in early 2019. Other key advocates supporting this significant criminal justice reform measure include Michelle Feldman, formerly of the Innocence Project and now with the Council of State Governments; Gary Daniels of ACLU Ohio; Kevin Werner of the Ohio Justice and Policy Center; and Micah Derry and Jeff Dillon of Americans for Prosperity-Ohio. Leading the efforts for OIP throughout this process was Pierce Reed, the project’s Program Director for Policy, Legislation and Education. Across the board, this was a collaborative effort comprised of diverse organizations that all share the common goal of protecting the liberty and freedom of all Ohioans.

Ohio Innocence Project helps earn freedom for Cleveland man after more than 14 years in prison

Photo: Mark Godsey

For the first time in more than 14 years, Michael Sutton and Kenny Phillips are free men. The two Cleveland men, who were 17 years old at the time of the shooting of two people and the attempted shooting of a Cleveland police officer, were freed on a $50,000 personal recognizance bond Monday, May 3. Cuyahoga County Court of

Donald Caster, left, of the UC College of Law, with Kenny Sutton.

Common Pleas Judge John O’Donnell ruled both Sutton and Phillips will be out on bond until their new trial begins.

Sutton was represented by UC’s Ohio Innocence Project (OIP), while Phillips was represented by the Wrongful Conviction Project (WCP) at the Ohio Public Defender Commission. “Michael and Kenny have been in prison for almost 15 years for something they didn’t do,” says Donald Caster, JD ‘03, attorney for the Ohio Innocence Project and associate professor of criminal law at the University of Cincinnati College of Law. “The court of appeals said their trial was a ‘travesty of justice.’ We are grateful that they are finally coming home.” Representing Phillips for the WCP were attorneys Joanna Sanchez and Rachel Troutman, along with investigators Mark Rooks and Larry VanCant. Attorneys Donald Caster and Samantha Kovacevic with UC’s OIP represented Sutton. The current and former UC Law students who worked on the case over the years include Nikita Srivastava, Amona Al Refaei, Yessica Cardenas, Jamal Baheth, Ambrosia McKenzie, Claire Gaglione and Rachel Keathley.


Three Cincinnati Law faculty honored with University awards for faculty excellence and mentoring Three University of Cincinnati College of Law faculty members were honored with university awards. Stephanie Hunter McMahon, Professor of Law, is one of two recipients from the College of Law of this year’s Faculty Excellence Award. Professor McMahon was nominated for her leadership in the College’s ongoing curricular reform. As chair of the Curricular Reform Committee, she has led the review process for the College’s curriculum, meeting with faculty and other stakeholders to ensure the college has the right curriculum for the next generation of attorneys.

Stephanie Hunter McMahon

Louis Billonis

Louis Bilionis, Dean Emeritus and Droege Professor of Law, is also a recipient of the prestigious Faculty Excellence Award. Dean Bilionis was nominated for his dedication to law school pedagogy and student assessment. His innovative research has challenged entrenched paradigms in law teaching. Sandra Sperino, Judge Joseph P. Kinneary Professor of Law, received the Faculty-to-Faculty Research Mentoring Award. Professor Sperino’s mentorship has helped the College’s junior faculty thrive as scholars, teachers, and stewards of the College.

Sandra Sperino

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Professor Meghan Morris awarded for research on links between property and extremism


Meghan Morris, Assistant Professor of Law and Affiliate Faculty, Department of Anthropology, was one of eight UC professors in the inaugural class of University Research Council (URC) Faculty Scholars. The program awards promising early career faculty at the University of Cincinnati, providing them each with $25,000 to explore a transformative research idea for two years. Morris, whose work falls in the Behavioral & Social Sciences category, plans to examine the relationship between property and extremism in the United States for her project, “This Land is My Land: Property and the American Dream.” With this research, Morris hopes to reveal the roots of important cultural conflicts over property, and, in doing so, offer tools to determine more peaceful and just responses to such conflicts in the future. The first class of scholars was selected based

on the quality, novelty and impact of their individual research, along with a clear potential to make further, sustainable contributions to knowledge creation and improved societal outcomes, according to UC’s Office of Research.

Meghan Morris

Law student named “Best Oralist” at international moot competition For Greg Magarian, practice and passion led to top honors and a Cincinnati Law first. Said Magarian, JD ’21, “If you want to hone your writing skills, enhance your persuasive skills, and develop your public speaking skills, there may be no better opportunity to take advantage of than the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot competition.” Earlier this year Magarian competed in the 2021 Vis East Moot competition and was named “Best Oralist,” winning the Neil Kaplan Award — a significant achievement for him and the College of Law. He and his teammate Samantha Berten, JD ’21, also advanced to the championship round of 32, a first for UC Law. They competed against some 400 law students from around the world. The UC Law team received an honorable mention for their memorandum. “I was excited but shocked that I won Best Oralist,” said Magarian. “I was confident and felt I was doing well, but I didn’t expect it. This was a team effort. It was great to see our hard work pay

Greg Magarian 4 4


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off and get some international recognition for our Midwestern law school.” After graduation, Magarian, who also served as executive editor of the University of Cincinnati Law Review, plans to work as a litigation associate

for Faruki, a Cincinnati-Dayton area firm that specializes in complex commercial litigation. “Because I’m interested in litigation, the skills I developed as part of my preparation for the Vis Moot are the ones I will need as a practicing attorney. “I want to thank my coaches John Pinney of Graydon and Steve McDevitt of BakerHostetler, for their mentorship. Thanks to my teammates Samantha Berten, Jacob Harrod, Emily Feeley, Matthews Maxwell, Robert Harris, Christie-Anne Beatty, Ashley Kim, Paige Richardson, and Rachel Walters for all their contributions to writing the memoranda and preparing for oral arguments,” Magarian added. Finally, “thanks to the College of Law for supporting us and giving us the opportunity to compete internationally.” The College’s Women in Law alumnae group provided supportive funding for this program.

Cincinnati Law post-graduate fellowship opportunities grow Cincinnati Law’s increasing list of post-graduate fellowship programs includes a range of professional opportunities for recent law graduates. Here’s a look at the expanding list. Dinsmore, P&G OIP Fellowship This unique Fortune 500 company, AM Law partnership will yield a fellowship for a recent law graduate to join one of the most successful Innocence Projects in the country. It is designed to give a recent law graduate the opportunity to hone lawyering skills and gain experience in civil rights litigation and policy making. The fellowship is a two-year, set-term apprenticeship program for new graduates. The recipient will work as a member of the OIP staff, managing legal cases for claims of actual innocence and supporting OIP’s legislative agenda to help reform the criminal legal system. “As the events of the past year demonstrate, the tentacles of racism run deep in the criminal legal system, working grave injustices on communities of color. Meaningful change is long overdue. That’s why collaborating with Dinsmore and P&G is so exciting. Together, we will help build a cadre of attorneys to address this crisis,” said Verna Williams, Dean and Nippert Professor of Law. Fifth-Third, Cincinnati Law Fellowship Created in collaboration with Susan B. Zaunbrecher, JD ’90, Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary at Fifth-Third, this fellowship is a model for similar ventures at other Fortune 500 companies, helping retain the best talent in the region and opening doors for new attorneys. “We saw an opportunity that would support rising legal stars, benefiting fellow alumni as well as Fifth Third,” said Zaunbrecher. “As a Cincinnati company, we recognize the importance of attracting and retaining diverse talent in our region. We are thrilled to provide hands-on, meaningful work experiences for our UC Law fellows that will help them embark on their legal careers.”  Tire Discounters Real Estate Legal Corporate Fellowship Tire Discounters has created a Real Estate Legal Corporate Fellowship in its Cincinnati headquarters.  Reporting to the Associate General Counsel and Director of Real Estate Development, the Fellow will participate in new market expansion, site acquisition and development, leases, and all tasks throughout the lifecycle of the project. Tire Discounters has partnered with UC Law through the Externship program, and this marks an exciting opportunity to build on that relationship.   

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center Legal Fellowship This fellowship allows recent graduates the opportunity to work within an in-house legal department developing skills to handle a wide range of projects. The fellowship was created in collaboration with Beth Stautberg, JD ‘92, Senior Vice President and General Counsel at Children’s, and Bob Carpenter, JD ‘95, who serves as Vice President, General Counsel and Senior Risk Officer there.


TriHealth Fellowship “TriHealth is very excited to be starting this legal fellowship with UC College of Law,” said Lori B. Rodgers, Assistant General Counsel at TriHealth. “Bryan Cockroft will be our first legal fellow and comes to TriHealth with a wealth of contracting and client facing experiences that he gained while working in UC’s Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic. He will be a great asset to our team over the next year.” Medpace Fellowship Medpace offers a one-year post-graduate fellowship for a University of Cincinnati law graduate. Working with Medpace’s Corporate Affairs Team, the fellow will report to the company’s General Counsel and be part of a team that works to provide legal support and advice, and participate in initiatives relating to contract management and compliance. Additionally, the fellow will be mentored by the General Counsel and exposed to a variety of strategic imperatives relevant to Medpace’s operation.  “This is a mutually beneficial program that provides new UC Law graduates with great opportunities to gain valuable, supervised in-house legal experience, while providing us as an employer with bright, motivated and enthusiastic new lawyers,” said Steve Ewald, JD ‘94, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary at Medpace. “We have been so pleased with the program and we have seen strong competition from the soon to be graduating class and very high ranking candidates who have applied. This is not a program of last resort for students seeking jobs, it is an affirmative choice, and that comes through clearly in the quality and quantity of candidates we have seen.”  Companies interested in starting a law fellowship program with the College of Law should contact Jim Tomaszewski at (513) 556-0058 or (james. for more information. 

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hearsay (alumni updates) Wonder what your classmates are up to? Want to share your story? Then look no further than Hearsay! This issue includes information shared through Spring 2021. If you have news to share, please visit 1970s

companies not wanting to hire their own in-house legal help or turn to a large firm.

Judge Alice McCollum ’72, Montgomery County (OH) Probate Court, retired in 2020 after 42 years of service.

Elisabeth Stephenson ’89 received the 2020 Award of Excellence from the Ohio Jury Management Association.

Diane Fellman ’75 was appointed to the California Wildfire Safety Advisory Board by California Governor Newsom.

1990s Anthony Moraleja ’92, a former prosecutor, was appointed to the Pike County (OH) Court.

Cincinnati Bar Association awarded the Hon. Marianna Brown Bettman ’77 with the 2020 John L. Muething Lifetime Achievement in Law award.

Mark Whittenburg ’92 was selected as General Counsel of the Year by the St. Louis Business Journal and the Association of Corporate Counsel - St. Louis chapter.

Barb Howard ’79 became chair of the American Bar Association House of Delegates. Robert Colby ’79, Chattanooga Air Pollution Control Bureau Director retired after 40 years of service.

Doug Yerkeson, CEAS ’90, Law ’93, joined the Indianapolis office of Bose McKinney & Evans LLP as a patent attorney.

1980s Patricia Koprucki ’81 recently published her book “Suddenly Single at Sixty: A Guide to Overcoming the Loss of Your Significant Other.”

Bertha Garcia Helmick ’95 has taken office as judge on the Hamilton County Municipal Court. She is the first Hispanic woman to hold this office.

The Honorable Heather Russell ’83 has been named a 2020 Enquirer Woman of the Year.

David Willbrand ’96, a longtime partner at Thompson Hine, has joined Pacaso as its chief legal officer.

Robert J. “Bob” Martineau ’83, former TDEC Commissioner, has joined FINN Partners as Senior Partner to lead environment, energy, and sustainability practice in the Southeast.

Shannon Kuhl ’98 was named chief legal officer at Premier Bank. Steve Goodin ’99 was tapped to temporarily replace Cincinnati Councilman Jeff Pastor.

Nate Lampley ’88 was recently inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

2000s Adria Kimbrough ’00 recently accepted a position as a Student Recruiting Manager, Marshall-Motley Scholars Program, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

Mark Stall ’88 just launched his own firm, Stall Legal, which offers on-call outsourced general counsel services to 4 6


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Rachael Rodman, A&S ’95, Law ’01, was named to 2020 List of “Women Worth Watching” by Profiles in Diversity Journal. Melissa Daigrepont ’03 has joined The Valor Firm as Counsel. Rob Zimmerman ’05, litigation attorney and partner at Dinsmore & Shohl LLP, was voted interim head of school for Cincinnati Country Day. He assumes this new role July 1, 2021. Lisa Kathumbi ’06 has rejoined Littler, the world’s largest employment and labor law practice representing management, as a shareholder in its Columbus office after serving as partner at Bricker & Eckler, LLP. Anne M. Mellen ’06 has joined Am Law 100 firm Polsinelli as shareholder, expanding the firm’s Labor and Employment Department. She will be working from the firm’s Atlanta, GA office. Pat Hayes ’08 recently launched “The Securities Compliance Podcast,” presented by Calfee and NSCP.

2010s Brian Fox ’10 was named one of Cincinnati Business Courier’s 40 Under 40. Tony Bickel ’11 was named partner at DBL Law. Mallory Ashbrook ’12, has been named a member of the National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts (NACVA) Standards Board. Katie Tranter ’12 was named partner at DBL Law. Nicholas D. Atterholt ’13 has been named partner in the Mansfield law firm of Weldon, Huston & Keyser. He has been rated as a “Rising Star” by Ohio Super Lawyers Magazine for 2018, 2019 and 2020.

IN MEMORIAM We’ve learned that the following UC Law graduates have passed away since our last report. Though gone, they won’t be forgotten. If you would like to honor their memory, you may send a contribution in their name to the Alumni Scholarship Fund. We will be sure to let their families know about your generosity. Individuals listed are those for which we have been notified up until April 30, 2021.

1950s Thomas E. Arnett ’50 Donald B. Ahlers ’53 Ferdinand A. Forney ’54 Edwin C. Price ‘’56 Ferd J. Lotz ’57 Paul T. Theisen ’57 Calvin C. Johnson ’58 Charles A. Corry ’59 Justice Donald C. Wintersheimer ’59

1960s Roy Verderber ’60 John O. Crouse ’62 John K. Taylor ’63 Gary P. Kreider ’64 Robert T. Hollohan ’65 James D. Ruppert ’66 Richard B. Meyers ’67 C. Ronald McSwiney ’68 Ronald S. Ran ’69

1970s William G. Fowler ’73 David M. Cook ’78 Robert S. Rubin ’79

1980s Elizabeth D. Pease ’84

1990s Karen S. Kovach ’92

Congratulations to Ryan Goellner ’15, Caitlyn Idoine ’15, and Kristi Murphy ’19 on their recent victory in the fight for racial justice in State v. Ramseur, State v. Burke, and State v. Robinson, in the North Carolina Supreme Court.

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L AW.U C . E D U

Profile for Cincinnati Law

Counselor Magazine - University of Cincinnati College of Law  

Cincinnati Law's official Counselor Magazine, Summer 2021

Counselor Magazine - University of Cincinnati College of Law  

Cincinnati Law's official Counselor Magazine, Summer 2021


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