During our 175th anniversary year, a representative group of alumni was interviewed by law school students and by Jeffrey L. Cruikshank, an author of institutional histories. The participants spoke of the College, the faculty, their classmates, and being a lawyer. Take a moment to read their memories, reminisce, and reflect on their law school experiences.
Edward L. Coyle
Class of 1930
UC College of Law: I went to Cincinnati because I wanted to get away from some of my friends in Columbus. I thought it would be better if I went to law school at Cincinnati instead of Ohio State. So I decided after visiting the school that it was the place for me. I went down to Cincinnati for my three years in law school and graduated and passed the bar exam. Then I went back to Columbus and became part of the law firm with my brother until the war came.
I remember the law school very fondly. I enjoyed Constitutional Law very much, probably more so than any other subject.
Sidney J. Kahn
Class of 1935
UC College of Law: Classes at UC Law were small in number. While it demanded class preparation, it also had a relaxed air. Our class initially numbered about 85, but only 45 graduated.
When called upon, a student delivered an oral brief of the case in point followed by class discussion. Interesting, but frequently amusing. Each of us in senior class participated in Moot Court.
Classmates: I cannot talk too highly of my classmates. They were of diverse ages and yet showed a fellowship — good-natured, but determined. Classmates I recall well were Bill Baetz, Tom Jones, Johnny Nolan, Bill Kinneary, but above all, my partner, Sid Brant. I should add Alfred Katz and Jerry Lischkoff to the above, as well as Joe Kinneary, Bill’s brother.
Being a Lawyer: You must show your client that you are giving him the best you have, not only as a lawyer, but as a friend. From what I see now, it would appear that the practice now is too impersonal and financially controlled.
Milton J. Schloss, Sr.
Class of 1937
UC College of Law: The class started out with about 80 and ended up with 55…And I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. One of the high points of my life…. I really thoroughly enjoyed the three years that I spent there. The faculty, the students, everything.
Everybody in those days thought if you were going to practice law, you go to law school in the town you’re going to practice in. That was kind of a common belief.
Faculty: I remember Dean Ferson, who had come from North Carolina… and also taught Contracts. And Rowley, who later became the Dean, taught Personal Property. Charlie Luberger taught Procedures. Tom Lavery taught Constitutional Law. And I remember one of the prizes I won was in Constitutional Law, which I shared with my later-to-be-wife, Mary. And I think Lavery wanted to do that to promote the romance.
Classmates: There were three women, one of whom I married… Adele Linch married a fellow named Harold Goldstein.
The students were very close, and we were very close to the faculty…. We even formed a football team…We did a lot of things together in the school socially.
Being a Lawyer: I think it [a law degree] really helped me tremendously in business — not so much the legal side, but the approach of really going to find the problem…It gave me a way of thinking. And much to the chagrin of a lot of our employees, I became a master at cross-examination. If anybody came with a problem, I’d ask them numerous questions and really almost make them come to a conclusion of what the problem was and how they would solve it.
Class of 1938
UC College of Law: UC Law was small, intimate with fewer subjects then. Cincinnati was a quiet community with a strong German heritage.
Classmates: There were only 40 students, mainly local residents. A classmate helped me get my first job.
Being a Lawyer:Have good connections.
Arthur G. Preston, Jr.
Class of 1940
UC College of Law: I have enjoyed watching the University and the Law School grow into substantial institutions. I chose the University of Cincinnati Law School because it was small, enjoyed a good reputation, and accepted me.
Faculty: The professors were capable and friendly, especially Murray Seasongood, who was affiliated with the City of Cincinnati, and Frank Rowley, who…became dean of the law school.
Classmates: My class contained about 30 students, all of whom I knew, and especially Tom Pogue and Ralph Clark, sons of local lawyers.
Being a Lawyer:
Donald E. Sproul
Class of 1941
UC College of Law: At that time, J. Edgar Hoover was the director of the FBI, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and he had, as was his usual custom, toured the various law schools and interviewed possible candidates. As the result of his personal visit to the University of Cincinnati Law School, almost everybody applied….the beginning salary of $3200 a year was very attractive. As time went by, when we were finished with law school, we had more or less forgotten about it because nothing had been done — we thought — about our applications. All of a sudden, two of us received long telegrams that were in the way of notifying a person of his appointment as a special agent of the FBI.
It was a combined program which ended in a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws….They didn’t particularly like it done that way. They preferred people coming there who already had acquired a Bachelor of Arts degree. The bar exam was two or three days and the questions were submitted by various acting members of the bar. It was quite an ordeal.
A number of my colleagues in school were drafted and I foresaw that it would happen to me, so I thought I might as well get a background in the military so that I would enter the military as an officer… While I was in law school, I was the only member of the law school who at the same time was going across the campus and taking ROTC classes in uniform I got a lot of heckling about that.
Classmates: It was about 35 members. We did have one woman. She later became a judge.
Class of 1941
UC College of Law: I had absolutely no experience in law in any form but my father during his short life time told me several times that I should, if I could, go to law school because he thought that getting a degree in law would prepare me for almost any activity that I wanted to go into and that training would be helpful….The pre-legal requirements for getting into law school at that time required two years of Liberal Arts College. At the end of the two year period, they changed it to three years and in the following year, they required a Liberal Arts Degree. Because of the change in the requirements during the interim of my attending school, they permitted me to enter law school at the end of the third year on the condition that I took the necessary requirements in Liberal Arts School…This I did and I was a freshman law school and a fourth year student in Liberal Arts College at the same time.
If it hadn’t been for the University and the Law School being located here locally, I would have never been able to attend… My mother had mortgaged the house to help pay for my tuition…. I was notified that I passed the bar in 1941 but from that time until February of 1946, I did not have any contact with law or the law school.
I am proud of the fact that I graduated from the University of Cincinnati Law School. I know its reputation has grown over the years.
Faculty: I remember Charlie Weber was one of the professors who taught a real estate course. Of all the courses I took, his was the one that I was most interested in and influenced me in my law practice.
Classmates:Our freshman class at law school was the largest group of students that enrolled in the law school since 1928. In fact, there were more students in our freshman class than there were in the second and third year classes combined. Because of the war and our serving in it, our class never kept close contact with each other.
Hon. William S. Richardson
Class of 1943
UC College of Law: I was born in Honolulu and grew up in Honolulu before World War II….one of my teachers had come from the University of Cincinnati and talked with the family. It seemed an impossibility at that time because it was so far away. It involved five days by steam ship and another five days by train… I think the tuition was about $125 a semester… It wasn’t long before World War II started, and of course I didn’t think it was even possible to finish… I enlisted in the Army Air Corps… the school dwindled down about a dozen students…but I finally graduated in 1943.
Being a Lawyer: Bringing Hawaii in line with all the cases that have come about after working its way across the country [was a challenge] …and the different living conditions in Hawaii had to be melded in with the American systems…. our students had to begin doing business with the Far East, …many of our lawyers are involved not only with American law, but with the Far East and Australia and Korea and Japan – it’s a different ballgame….we’ll be involved with the businesses in the Orient…they have some basic differences with ours, but especially in Hawaii we have the merging of their systems.
I started the law school here 30 years ago, and now they’ve named the law school after me.
h3>Martha A. Stimson
Class of 1943
UC College of Law: UC Law was small. The men had gone to war. The other girl and I became good friends. There was no social life….Any success I had was built on my legal education at UC.
Faculty: Dean Rowley made us work hard and toe the line. Murray Seasongood taught a class and asked me to come to work at Paxton and Seasongood. There I met Si Lazarus, who started the Law Department of Federated Department Stores and he got permission from Mr. Season good for me to come then with him.
C. Robert Tatgenhorst
Class of 1946
UC College of Law: My father graduated from Cincinnati Law School. He was elected to Congress and served 1928 and 1929. He advised I go there. War was declared my sophomore year of law school. Ours was the first class to graduate after the war — only six students in the class. I immediately passed the bar and became Assistant Attorney General of the State of Ohio (1947-49).
I loved that law school.
Faculty: Professor Charles E. Weber was a favorite.
Social Life: I enjoyed the law school fraternity P.A.D.
Francis X. Schwegmann
Class of 1947
UC College of Law: My law school education was interrupted by the U.S. Army.When I came back from four years in WWII, I returned to law school, but remained in the reserves as a JAG officer.
UC was a friendly place and I mingled with all of my classmates. My law degree influenced my entire work career, from assistant prosecuting attorney to labor law.
Being a Lawyer: Enjoy your work. Be true to yourself with honesty and integrity.
Martha H. Perin
Class of 1948
UC College of Law: I was the only girl veteran who had applied….I loved it, and I finished in two years. There were six girls that started in the class in ’46, and I was the only one that graduated in two years. Out of the six, I think three graduated….People said, “Well, did you feel funny being in a class with so many men?” I felt very comfortable because I’d been in the Navy and most of the people were so very nice. I think there were 130 in law school in the freshman class in ’46. And 75 of us graduated in ’48 in September.
Nettie Birk, who was secretary, sort of looked after all of the law students and really went out of her way to help.
That was the bar exam where only 52 percent of the people who took the bar exam passed, and I was one of the lucky ones.
Faculty: We had some wonderful professors. Frank Rowley…there was something about him. Aside from being a terrific teacher, he had a special grace and manner, and he was so dignified. He was somebody that the College of Law could be very proud of as a Dean.
Roscoe Barrow…they called him the Gray Fox. He had this beautiful white hair. And when he retired, he dyed it red.
Being a Lawyer: Actually being Executive Director of the Bar Association was much more fun and much more interesting than practicing law, as such, in a law office. We had a little over 1,000 members of the Bar Association in 1949 when I set up the office….The first black lawyer was accepted into the Bar Association. I think that was in ’49.
Hon. George H. Palmer
Class of 1949
UC College of Law: At that time, veterans…were permitted to go straight through and not take a summer vacation. So I did the three years in two years….My class when I entered the school was 120, I think, most of whom were veterans…we had only two women in that class.
During my first semester there…we had our first baby. That was lots of fun. I remember telling the Dean, Frank Rowley, who definitely was probably the finest teacher I’ve ever had…a brilliant man, an excellent teacher. I remember telling him and giving him a cigar.
We were attending college on the GI Bill, which when I started out was $90 a month. What I raised was about $20 a month. I used that to support my little family. Then I lived for the last year on campus, in what was called the Village, in a family trailer, a minimum amount of room. It was small and the rent was also…I graduated in ’49, took the bar actually before I graduated, palms perspiring and sweating the whole time. Because I could not afford the cram course. I did all the studying on my own…they failed the majority of persons taking it at that time (over 50%).
Social Life: We pretty much lived in the basement when we weren’t in class because they had ping pong tables there. We played ping pong and caroused around.
William J. Keating
Class of 1950
UC College of Law: Your senior year of college was covered by your first year of law school in those days…The school was wonderful. All these people were flooding in from the service….They did everything to accommodate the returning servicemen. It was just terrific.
We were permitted to take the bar exam in our fifth semester. They had all essay questions at that time, and it was a three-day experience.
Nettie Birk was one of the most outstanding people. She was administrative secretary…She knew every student by name. She knew all about them personally. She was sort of the Mother Confessor…She was a fixture here.
Faculty: When I came to the law school, Dean Frank Rowley was here. Probably one of the greatest men I’ve ever known….I said to him that I would like to continue my swimming through law school. And he said, “Okay, on one condition. That when you travel, you come in and tell me the day you’re going to leave, and the day you’re going to return….I lived by that religiously…All of the sudden I noticed on the day I left, I was getting called on in class. And the day I returned, I was getting called on in class.
We had a teacher who taught us real estate. Pop Morrison we called him. He’d been around forever. Wonderful, wonderful teacher, but we all referred to him as Pop Morrison.
Classmates: We had a very large class in ’48, maybe one of the largest they’d experienced up to that time… I was President of the freshman class, and I got this great idea that we would have a party. Invite all the students in our class and the professors. And we would put on a little skit about the professors….There was a real affection for our professors in our time.
Being a Lawyer: The reasoning required in law school really holds you in good stead no matter what you do throughout life.
Hon. John D. Holschuh, Sr.
Class of 1951
UC College of Law: My adviser, Prof. St. John, had a friend who was the Dean of the College of Law at UC — Frank Rowley. He called the Dean and said that he had a young man who really wanted badly to go to law school, but had no money. As it happened there was a couple in Cincinnati — Weston — and they had just given the law school $1000 specifically as a scholarship for a student who otherwise could not afford to go to law school. So that scholarship just opened a door to a whole new world for me - the world of the law. I have been able to since then establish a scholarship… at the law school … for people like myself.
Faculty: Dean Rowley was my mentor, my idol. As a professor he was fantastic — just fantastic. And as a Dean he was superb. The other one I remember very well was my Torts professor, Fred Dewey… Prof. Toepfer taught Trusts. He was excellent. One of the most kindly professors was Alfred Morrison. He was also the adviser to the Cincinnati Law Review. … It was a wonderful school.
Class of 1953
UC College of Law: What I remember so much on a daily basis from law school was walking up the stairs. The building was a Williamsburg colonial building when I was a law student. There were pillars in front and I would walk in the building past those pillars and I thought I was entering the U.S. Supreme Court. It gave me a sense of professionalism just to do that.
My father died [and my mother]… supported the family and kept me in law school. She wanted me to stay at the University of Cincinnati. As a result of what she did, I was able to go for two more years, graduate, get a teaching fellowship at Northwestern Law School, go into the Army JAG corps and do trial criminal work for three years, clerk for a federal judge in Chicago, then start teaching first in Cleveland at Western Reserve, ultimately at Ohio State. I would never have had any of those opportunities had I not graduated from a first class law school. …What she did was a life-altering experience for me — keeping me in law school at UC.
Moot Court: In the second semester, we had to engage in a [first year] Moot Court program. I had always enjoyed library work. I enjoyed writing. I enjoyed writing a brief. I had done theatrical work as a kid and I absolutely loved getting up in the court room and making an argument… It’s sort of theater, but I’m the writer and the director and the producer and the star when I get up in the court room and make an argument. I also, as a result of that experience, began to understand what was going on in the classroom. That the teachers were really asking the kind of questions a judge would ask of an advocate representing a client at appellate arguments. I knew then that this was what I wanted to do. I was the editor-in-chief of the Law Review and I finished first in my class. I attribute all that to Moot Court. It was a kind of life changing moment.
Faculty: Dean Frank Rowley taught contracts. And he was a rather foreboding person. He had been a colonel in WWII and had worked on contract work in Washington for the Army. He acted as though he was still a colonel. I was frightened of him in the classroom. He was a good teacher; he knew the subject. I enjoyed the class, but I knew I wasn’t going to mess around with him in the classroom.
We had several rather young professors. One of them was Robert Toepfer….in the days when I went to law school we had two separate courses in what was called Equity - one course at the end of the second semester and another course at the beginning of the third semester. He taught both of those courses. I thought a great deal of him. He knew his materials very well. I liked the subject matter. I liked his grasp of the course and later in life when I started to teach I tried to model myself after Mr. Toepfer.
Another faculty member I remember very, very well is Fred Dewey, who taught Evidence and Torts in the first year. He was another tough person in the classroom. We had the county prosecutor, Carson Hoy, as an adjunct professor who taught criminal law. He wasn’t the scholar that the regular law faculty members were, but we knew that he had a lot of trial and criminal experience as an assistant prosecutor and then the prosecuting attorney of Hamilton County…he got me interested in the subject of criminal law, which was something I really had not thought about until I went to law school.
The law librarian Alfred Morrison, whom everybody called Pop — he was the oldest member of the faculty — taught property law. He was very dry, but very thorough. We learned from him to have an eye for detail. The focus on little things — not forget the big things, but often the big things were made up of a lot of little things. All in all I had a very, very good legal education at the University of Cincinnati.
James A. Katsanis
Class of 1955
UC College of Law: The UC Law School was very small in size compared to the present facility. You were well aware at the time that you were in graduate school. All of my classmates took that fact seriously and were very conscientious about law school. There was no “fooling around.” A social life at the time in law school was a little bit more structured and formal as opposed to undergraduate school.
Being a Lawyer:I believe two characteristics essential to becoming a good lawyer are to be well organized and to be able to get cases concluded within a reasonable time.
Do not expect to become successful when practicing law unless you put in a lot of time, energy and patience in the legal matters that you are handling….You will find that your enthusiasm will greatly contribute to your success.
Fredrick H. Braun
Class of 1956
UC College of Law: The law school was totally different than it is today. There were a total of only 90 students in the entire law school, approximately 30 in each class. I think there were only about 2 or 3 women total of the ninety… Most law schools were much smaller… The biggest law firm in town when I graduated was Dinsmore and Shohl. In 1956, they had 13 lawyers.
I heard about a program that GE had where they send you to Washington DC. You go to night law school at George Washington and in the daytime you worked in the General Electric patent group… I came home one summer and I stopped at the GE plant. They asked would I be interested in transferring back here… I made a deal with the law school that I went to class in the mornings from 8 to 12; then I went to work at GE from 12-8. I did that for a couple of years and ultimately graduated with a law degree from UC.
The building was totally renovated and they built around the old building. They didn’t really demolish the old building, just kind of built around it. Part of it is incorporated in the new structure. But the outside appearance is totally different than it was then.
Faculty:The professors were very demanding, but they were very willing to be helpful when you needed help… We had Dean Roscoe Barrow. He was an interesting guy. He had some kind of a consulting job with the federal government which required him to go to Washington every other week while he was Dean. He was afraid of flying in an airplane, so he went down to Washington and back every couple of weeks on a train.
In my day, they only had about a 65% bar passage rate… So I went to a review course given by a retired judge, Judge Gusweiller, who gave a bar review course. He was a great guy; he was a good teacher. He cracked a lot of jokes; he took some of the boredom out of it. He gave us about a four month intense training course. So I went to Columbus and cranked it up for three days.
Social Life: By the time I came here, I had one and a half kids. I had eight hours of work and four hours of school. It was too much. I couldn’t do much extra curricular activities… At noon time when we would finish our morning classes, I’d jump in my car and go up to work and they would go over to Shipley’s and drink beer.
Classmates: One guy in particular, Will Ziegler, he and I are good supporters of the law school. We get together for a lot of alumni events. As I said, the law school Alumni Association has an annual spring luncheon where they honor two or three outstanding graduates from the past… That’a very nice event… I kind of stay in touch that way.
Being a Lawyer: I think one of the most fascinating things to me was that as a patent attorney, you are dealing almost every day with inventors. They are a different breed of people. It’s kind of interesting to interact with these people who are very creative.
I think it is a good profession, a good career. You meet a lot of interesting people. There is some very interesting travel. It’s a good business to get into.
Charles A. Corry
Class of 1959
UC College of Law: I started in the Fall of 1954, but then I was interrupted. In those days everyone had to serve in the military if you were physically fit. And so I was gone for a few years. Then I came back and ended up graduating in ’59.
The base’s Judge Advocate found out that I’d had a year of law school and he put me on every court martial that we ever had in the 50th Fighter Bombing Wing.
The law school in those days consisted basically of three large classrooms….The upstairs was the library, faculty offices, and the lower level was the student lockers, the Law Review offices.
Faculty: Roscoe Barrow was one of my favorite professors and another fellow named Fred Dewey…Fred also had another distinction…. In the locker room — what we would call the men’s locker room — there was a table tennis table, a ping pong table. There were fierce matches down there. And Fred Dewey was one of the fiercest players down there. He would challenge the students. He was a good guy and I liked his courses and I felt I learned a lot.
Classmates: Our class was sort of divided into groups, I would say. There were the vets and the non-vets…I think we had actually two females in the class…. Everyone wanted to be a great trial lawyer like Perry Mason.
Being a Lawyer: One characteristic you have to have is an analytical ability. The ability to look at a set of facts and determine what’s important and what’s not important, and what the issue is.... You have to be able to think on your feet…. It is very important to have good writing ability and good verbal skills. I think those three things make a very good lawyer.
Be diligent and expect in your career that your life work is going to be a series of highs and lows….It’s a great and growing field and it’s one that I would encourage any bright student to pursue.
Hon. Donald C. Wintersheimer
Class of 1959
UC College of Law: At that time, there were two choices [in Cincinnati]. There was the University of Cincinnati, which was recognized as a better law school by everybody, and there was Chase Law School, which was a YMCA nighttime law school. I was accepted at all the big schools — Harvard, Yale, Michigan…and I thought UC was a fine fit for me. And I think it has been. We had a small class, which I think I was more used to coming from Thomas More.
There were only three classrooms, essentially first year, second year, and third year. And a library, of course, and the faculty offices.
Faculty: We were convinced, as a consensus, that the people who were teaching here, many of them, were rejects from whatever administration had just been ousted in Washington, DC.
We did have Merton Ferson, who was a Dean here….Roscoe Barrow, who was a very good teacher, who was the Dean at that time, and taught Contracts. We had a couple of practitioners…. Carson Hoy was a prosecutor at that time, and he just laid it out pretty much like the Uniform Code of Military Justice…a very practical, pragmatic kind of fellow. We had Stevenson, who was from Kentucky…a tall man, bald, and he was always thinking of the point, the point. And he was pretty good….Fred Dewey, who taught torts, believed in the Socratic method. And he thought the Socratic method meant to embarrass the students as much as possible.
Wilbur Lester taught Administrative Law. He was pretty good… Irving Rutter had just come in from New York that year.
Frank Emerson…taught Corporations. He was a very practical fellow, very understanding of students’ problems….You got the impression that he was a very wise man….He was interested in what you had to say…but he frequently would add something that made it crystal clear.
Classmates: I think there were only four or five out of the 37 who had not been in some branch of the military. Ken [Aplin] was an accelerated student…A good student, an excellent student. He was a professor here for many years.
So many of the students were older and married, and even had children… We had Christmas parties. Portia Schaefer…was the official hostess for the class. Bill Flax was what today I guess we would call a radical libertarian.
So many of us had just been out of the service, seen a lot of things we didn’t like there…We’d had a lot of exposure to the world, I guess, in a short period of time… I think there was a genuine interest in improving the condition of just ordinary people….I think UC was of great value to me.
Norman I. Barron
Class of 1960
UC College of Law: We had two secretaries in the law school who were both Irish. One of them actually ended up marrying a classmate of mine…They were kind of fun because they had this Irish accent and they were like little mother hens. They kind of looked after the guys. They were always trying to keep you from getting into trouble. If you were called in to see the Dean, they would give you a heads up on what’s going on.
I was the first editor of the Restatement, which was an inhouse newpaper…We used it as a way to gripe without having to give out who we were.
One of the things that I’m probably the most proud of...[one of] my closest friends in law school [George Katsanis] died at a very young age…So we established a scholarship at the law school when he died. We started it with $2500 and it now has almost $400,000 in it. …we’ve given out scholarships since 1979.
Moot Court: I really did enjoy the Moot Court. We had a particularly good set of teams and we had an outstanding advisor in Professor Rutter, whom you may hear about from time to time from some of the older students. He was an amazing person that had a great impact on my life….We actually won the regional and we went to the national competition. We lost to the ultimate champion, which was Ohio State that year.
Classmates: The classes were very small. We started out with about 50 and we ended up with 32 or 33 in the class….You knew everybody in every class. The faculty was very accessible. They actually became friends - almost.
There were quite a few very illustrious people that were in our class. John Sharpnack was a classmate of mine and he is now a Supreme Court Justice in Indiana. John Getgey, who was killed in an airplane crash, was President of the Bar Association at the time he was killed….Judge Gorman was on the Court of Appeals for a number of years…Judge Valen, who was a Court of Appeals Judge in Butler County, District Two…it was a very close group. We still get together a lot…I should have mentioned among our illustrious graduates was Stanley Chesley….we had three Greeks and we had three Jews. Stanley and myself and Harold Freeman were the Jewish boys. Judge Valen was one of the Greeks and George Katsanis...and Dino Anginalo from Dayton…We had this little side group which we called the HaHa’s, which was the Hebrew American Hellenic American Association.
Social Life:The older students will tell you about the ping pong table that was downstairs. That was a recreational area and several of the faculty [played], particularly Professor Dewey who was the Torts professor and a particularly good ping pong player. We had an intramural baseball and basketball team when we were in law school. I’m not sure that every class did that, but ours was very involved in athletics. We participated in the college intramurals, we played against undergrad teams.
Being a Lawyer: I think the lawyers coming out of law schools today are better prepared than we were, quite frankly. I think the educational system has improved. I think the methodology is better….The opportunities presented to students are much greater….young people are a lot smarter and more sophisticated today than they were 40 and 50 years ago…The congeniality of lawyers was better 50 years ago than it is today. It’s much more adversarial.
Stanley M. Chesley
Class of 1960
UC College of Law: It’s an amazing school….I’m a living example of an amazing opportunity because the school was located in Cincinnati, Ohio… I didn’t have the bucks, the know-how, the wherewithal to go out of state…Selling shoes and paying my way through....They had a unique plan…You did your fourth year of undergraduate as your first year of law school and you saved a year… At the end of your first year of law school, you got your BA…then you did two more years of law school and got your law degree… I’m one of the few people that has an LLB instead of a JD.
It’s a unique institution…it’s an institution that instills confidence…this is the crown jewel of our community.
Faculty: There was a fellow by the name of Irv Rutter. He taught a course called Facts. And all of a sudden, my mind bristled on the idea that the facts are every bit as important as the law.
Social Life: In our old law school, you could play ping-pong down in the basement. Only 42 people graduated in my law class. We only had 3 women.
Being a Lawyer: Law is a great training of the mind. And it’s a great training to make leaders.
Hon. Robert H. Gorman
Class of 1960
UC College of Law: I had graduated from Brown and my brother, who was five years older than I, had graduated from Harvard. My father had taught at both the University of Cincinnati and Chase, which was then called the YMCA night law school….He was a good tutor and mentor and he was also good friends with Dean Roscoe Barrow. So I supposed he influenced both of us to come back to the University of Cincinnati College of Law.
[The law school] was three rooms. Each year had a room. It was the old building…a basement recreational area where you could get away…The library was on the third floor.
The first semester the classes were arranged on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. We had three classes and we were done by noon. On Tuesday and Thursday, I think we had two classes and we were done by one o’clock. On Saturday, we had an 8am class. After that, apparently they thought we weren’t spending enough time around the law school…They changed the classes then so that the earliest we got out was three o’clock.
The curriculum was very fixed until our senior year. …A course called Legal Method really caused ulcers to a number of the students… It was taught by a professor who was kind of a legend named Wilbur Lester. They called him the mystery man. He was really a very fine teacher. He was attempting to lead us into the appropriate way of thinking as lawyers. It was very difficult to break old habits. I think more students dropped out because of that course in the first couple of weeks than any other reason.
I think we had 63 or 64 students who started in our freshman class. I think we graduated with 37 or 38 students.
Faculty:We had a very good professor named Fred Dewey. He taught both Torts and Evidence. He was one of the few professors who didn’t lecture. He taught by using hypotheticals. You were expected to read your cases. I took an elective that was taught by Dean Barrow which was very interesting in my senior year. It was called Nuclear Energy Law or Atomic Energy Law….We had to write a paper and I remember that I wrote one on the regulation of nuclear power and reactors. I just barely knew what a reactor was…The Dean taught a great course….There was also an interesting elective, Constitutional History, that was taught by a professor named William Jeffrey, who was the law librarian.
We had a course called Appellate Practice, which was taught by Irving Rutter, a professor who came to the University of Cincinnati after practicing a number of years in New York. He taught really a fine class. We also had Trial Practice which was taught by Judge John W. Peck. It was a legendary course too, because it had been taught for years. It gave us a chance to actually conduct a trial. We used students from Hughes High School as the jury.
Social Life: We had in our senior year what was called a gridiron dinner. We would put on a parody… concerning members of the faculty. You would have various students playing the different faculty members.
Hon. William Muecke Barker
Class of 1967
UC College of Law: My legal education changed the way I approached issues so that my analytical skills became much sharper….I have never regretted my choice of law school and my legal career. In the many years since my graduation from UC, I have had occasion to work with lawyers and judges from some of the nation’s top law schools, and I have always felt my legal education was equal to anyone else’s anywhere.
Law Review: In those days (1960’s) you had to publish two case notes in your second year of law school, followed by a lead article in your third year. Because it was important for us to publish, my law review experience honed my legal writing skills and made me meet deadlines.
Faculty: The faculty was very stable with some fabulous teachers who have become legends…My favorite professors were Irwin Rutter, who made classes exciting and fresh; Stanley Harper, who came across as everyman, a journeyman lawyer who hit a home run by connecting the lesson with the real world; and Bill Jeffrey, a great thinker and intellect who possessed a keen and biting sense of humor, ridiculing your positions without ridiculing you. Underneath his brash and bluster, Jeffrey had a caring spirit for you as an individual. Facts, a course developed by Rutter, was an elective in the third year that taught me more than most of my classes put together. Another great teacher was Mr. Stewart, who taught an adjunct class in labor law.
Classmates: There were 73 students in my graduating class: 71 white men and 2 white women. I have enjoyed my continued association here in Chattanooga with Carlos Smith and J.L. Bailey, who are fellow graduates of UC Law School, plus the opportunity to encourage undergraduates at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga to attend UC Law School.
Hon. Sandra S. Beckwith
Class of 1968
UC College of Law: We were told at the outset…that it would take about three hours of prep for every hour of class work….You have to analyze, and think, and compare, and approach things thoughtfully.
We had an unfortunate incident in my freshman year. The professor who was supposed to be teaching Real Property — which, of course, was a matter of interest to me, because I thought I’d be practicing in that field, particularly — had a nervous breakdown, and it took the administration awhile to catch on. He kept showing up, but he kept teaching the same class over, and over, and over. All we ever learned was adverse possession.
Faculty: John Murphy didn’t stand behind the lectern and lecture. He walked around…and attempted to correct our Midwest accents. I can remember saying, “advertisement.” and he would say, “advertisement.” And I would say “advertisement,” and he would say “advertisement.” …He was entertaining, and brought some life to Contracts.
Professor Harper, for Civil Procedure…was entertaining. There was Professor Jeffrey in Constitutional Law…He was the one that took me aside and said, “You know, you’re taking up a seat that could be occupied by a nice young man who would make use of his education here.”
Professor Taft, who taught Municipal Corporations, was really very kind, and mentored me….Judge Peck was a wonderful encouraging influence.
Classmates: There were three women in my class. It was more than they had ever had in the whole law school at any one time before. And the school viewed themselves as quite progressive, and I suppose they were for the time…All three women were the daughters of lawyers….The men in our class seemed to be completely convinced that we were husband-hunting, but the fact that two of use were already married seemed to put the lie to the theory.
Social Life: I think the women were kind of left out. I don’t think in any mean-spirited way but, for example, the legal fraternities – and there were only fraternities — were not open to us….For the most part, there was a small women’s lounge that was off the rest room, and we’d all be in there studying, and the men would all be off elsewhere.
Being a Lawyer: I never have really admired people who scream and yell in the courtroom, or beat on the lectern. I think that’s a substitute for preparation and thought.
Louis F. Gilligan
Class of 1968
Faculty: I had [Professor Stanley Harper] for Civil Procedure, some Torts classes as well. I thought he was an excellent teacher. He was really good. There was another professor named Dewey. Professor Dewey taught Evidence and he was kind of an eccentric fellow. But what was unique about the way he taught Evidence was [he] related it to what the real life experience would be when you actually practiced law….Professor Rutter talked to you about the actual practice of law, how to do contracts, how to see and analyze problems.
Social Life: There were quite a few of my classmates, male and female, that were married. So you tended to meet other married couples as a result of some of those activities connected with the law school.
Being a Lawyer: I guess the best advice I could give was one that a lawyer a few years older than myself gave me when I first started practicing law. That is to look at yourself like you are a corporation or a business because you really are….With every passing day that you learn things, that you develop your skills, that you develop your professional reputation, it’s just like you are a company and your stock goes up….So my advice isn’t any different today than what I felt when I started practicing law. It’s like the Army commercial – “Be the best you can be.” Learn as much as you possibly can. Be extremely diligent about what you are doing and know you have to do it right. You have a professional responsibility….Never ever think you know it all. Go and seek advice from good people.
Hon. Norman A. Murdock
Class of 1968
UC College of Law: I remember Sam Wilson, who I really liked. Sam always tells a story. One of the interesting things about the times then that wouldn’t happen today…. In the middle of my second year, Dean Claude Sowle instructed Mr. Wilson to call me into the office. He was Assistant Dean.& Mr. Wilson said the examiners — the law school examiners — had just been there and they commented on me….They said, “How can he make it through this law school?”…& The Dean asked me to meet with you and tell you that you either had to quit school or quit working…I said, “Tell the Dean I’ll see him in court.” And I walked out. That was the end of it.
Claude Sowle always bragged that the best student in his class was his wife. I think he finished second, and she was first.
Faculty: I had this tax background and we had a brilliant tax law school professor…His name was Goldstein.
Classmates: I have fond memories of law school. The students, though younger, were very, very kind to me, very thoughtful. A couple of times students came over to study at my house. I can remember the next day, they commented, “How … can you study….. You’ve got six kids running around, all this chaos.”
Law School and the Legislature: I got elected to the Legislature in my last year of law school…I was elected in ’66. My first year in the legislature was ’67 and the first session began in January. So I took off that semester, finished in the first semester of ’68, in the fall semester, and took the bar exam.
Colombe M. Nicholas
Class of 1968
UC College of Law: Upon graduation at 19, my family thought I was too young to stop going to school. It was strongly suggested that I go to law school….When I said I didn’t want to go to law school, but instead wanted to work, My father said, “I will pay you $125 a week to go to law school. All you have to do is graduate and that is your job!!!”
I learned a way of thinking — what are the facts, what are the issues, and what is the rational. That thought process has stayed with me to this day. I was much more formed by law school than I was by college.
Faculty: I took my senior year, a course in Admiralty taught by Wilbur Lester. Commonly referred to as Boats. I thought it was going to be smooth sailing!!!...I was in trouble. I went to see Mr. Lester.& Crying my eyes out, I said, “If you pass me, I promise you I will never practice law.& I just had to get through the course.” He said he never had a student cry in his office….I kept my part of the bargain and never practiced law.
When they took our tax professor out in a straight jacket and gave us all passing grades in tax, that was a lucky break for us not him. I often wondered what grade I would have actually gotten.
Classmates: The beginning of my freshman year, there was one other woman in my class with about 100 men. By the end of the freshman year, I was the only woman. I had a hard time getting into studying in law school my freshman year. My grades were terrible – I almost flunked out!!! As a result, I took many of my freshman classes over again. So I had the unique situation of being part of the class of 1967 and 1968.
Social Life: Well, I was busy, loved playing bridge in the basement. My classmates were wonderful. I was like the class mascot; my nickname was Nicky. Everyone knew being a lawyer was not my career goal. I was having too good a time. One of the few people who can say they had fun in law school, which was reflected in my class standing...(I did graduate last in my class).
Being a Lawyer:I can really only talk about the legal profession from a client’s point of view. Lawyers have been such a huge part of my life. Christian Dior was basically a licensing company. The need for clear objective advice is essential in being able to make sound business decisions.
W. Andrew Patton
Class of 1968
UC College of Law: I selected UC — at that time it was a municipal university and I lived in the city — [because] it was very reasonably priced… One of my relatives …was a lawyer and went to UC Law School, and he suggested that would be a great place for me and he was right. …I liked UC. In fact, the University of Cincinnati attracted me. I thought it had a lot to sell, it was a smaller school. All of our classes were very manageable, even the quote “bigger” lecture classes.
Faculty: There was a new Dean, Claude Sowle…During his tenure, he hired quite a few young professors...including John Murphy and Victor Schwartz and Gersham Goldstein, who was a tax lawyer…. those three really sort of “gelled” with the other staff…They were very bright guys. …I saw [Victor Schwartz] on the street a number of years after he had left the University and was making his name nationally and I said, “You know, it’s great that you’re in the tort business, but you taught domestic relations law.” [He said] that one thing he liked about teaching at UC… was that it was a law school that produced a lot of actual practicing attorneys… he felt that he was really teaching the future practitioners, and he really enjoyed that.
Wilbur Lester…was extremely good. And Professor Rutter. He taught Appellate Law. ..One of his favorite lectures was ‘words are the symbols of ideas’…You picture yourself holding a word in your hand and looking at all aspects of the idea that it’s trying to express — sort of esoteric…He was a great guy; he was a great professor.
Stan Harper…he was just the greatest Torts teacher in the world. After my first semester, I was wondering if I should be there and doing law. He counseled me … If you’re going to be a lawyer…being here at UC…is just as good as any place else… If you go to another law school -- you go to Harvard, go to Michigan -- you might have a more famous professor… But if you work hard and you put your nose to the grindstone so to speak, you’ll get as much out of this law school as you would any other law school, but you’ve got to do the work.
Social Life: We had a very good social group. Many of us were married, some were not…The whole class was very convivial, and I don’t remember anybody being on the outs with anyone else
Being a Lawyer: Stan Chesley one time told me…when you look across the table no matter who it is or what firm, you just have to believe in your heart and make sure that you know that you’re as good as the person across the table. Don’t be intimidated.
There was a judge here who used to refer to all the lawyers as counselor — “Yes, Counselor.” The first time someone calls you counselor…It’s really a good feeling, and I still get that good feeling.
Gerald L. Baldwin
Class of 1969
UC College of Law: Law school was an interesting experience — fun at times, frightening at times (like being called on by John Murphy)….I think of our class as “close” and caring — friends.
Law Review: I was on Law Review and in my third year, I think I spent more time working on Law Review than working on classes. I think Law Review was a good education in managing a project.
Faculty: I have to say that I think John Murphy taught me the difference between
law school and undergraduate school. He was my favorite! Gersham Goldstein and Irv Rutter were memorable, too.
Classmates: Steve Nechemias, Jeff Kilmer, Steve Swanson, Mike Levey all stand out in fond memories, but then so do so many others.
Being a Lawyer: I think a good lawyer is a problem solver — that’s pretty general! As a commercial litigator, I think it is important to learn that you need to be able to be honest, realistic and objective with your clients. You have to be able to tell your client when he is demanding or expecting too much. And you have to be able to do that as a counselor or a friend, if possible.
One thing that has changed over the past 40 years is the emphasis on billing long hours and marketing yourself. Clients expect great legal work and then don’t want to wait for it. It is harder every year to practice “general” law. Specialization is expected. But knowing a little about areas of the law outside your specialty gives you a great advantage. I’ll never regret years spent in a “small” firm before mine became big.
Stephen M. Nechemias
Class of 1969
Faculty: A new dean came in. His name was Claude Sowle and he brought in a group of very young professors — Victor Schwartz, John Murphy, Ken Aplin — I’m probably leaving some out — who were terrific and were the backbone of the faculty. Claude Sowle and those professors really began turning the law school into the school [that] it is today. I felt lucky that Dean Sowle was my personal advisor…Sowle was a very personable, dynamic party-going type of guy, and he invited his advisees over to his house for dinners and… [He was] very good in the classroom as well. He taught Criminal Law and a few other things.
Gersham Goldstein… was a tax teacher and I run into him at ABA tax meetings still. These were very energetic people that were an inspiration and, you know, good to be around and in the classroom with.
Classmates: I was in the last class — this is back in the ‘60s — I was in the last class that could avoid being drafted and going to Vietnam by staying in school. There was a JAG reserve unit in Cincinnati and… I and half a dozen or so of my classmates in my law school class and a few from the class one year ahead of me were able to get into this reserve unit.
Social Life: There were two other married law students who lived in the same apartment complex I did and we sort of hung out with them socially. There was a group of guys that I was friendly with who hung out at the Bearcat Lounge and drank beer and played pool.
Being a Lawyer: I think the key thing to being a successful lawyer is the ability to write. You’ve got to be able to communicate, you have to be able to write briefs and arguments — that’s very important… but I write as many opinions and advisory letters to clients as I do argumentative type documents… One key to success is being able to explain to…somebody how it is and what they have to do [for instance] to become a resident of Florida for tax purposes rather than Ohio.
Walter J. Rekstis III
Class of 1972
UC College of Law: There were riots because of Kent State and the invasion of Cambodia and the Vietnam War.…They were trying to shut down the school, and the law school was not shutting down and that really bothered them. One reason it didn’t shut down was there are requirements in all states that in order to take the bar you have to have…so many credit hours... We were walking up this long staircase and there were a bunch of young kids at the top, and they were trying to prevent us from going in and studying for finals…. [A law student] said, “Look, I’ve been here for three years; I’m going to graduate. I want to be able to take the bar. I understand what you’re trying to do, but you’re not going to prevent me.” They said, “We’re going to stop you.”…He picked one of these kids up and literally picked him up and dropped him off the steps about ten feet into the bushes…. Eventually they shut down the law school…The second semester of my first year in law school, we didn’t take finals, everybody just passed… We got seven or eight people back who’d been off in the Army and came back to law school, so we actually graduated with more people than we started with.
It was a white male class. There were two blacks and two women, and one of the women was black, so she counted twice. And by the time we were third years, the first year class probably had 25 minorities and probably 25 women…The law school went from being a white male bastion to a more reflective cross-section of society in literally a two year period, and it was just amazing — there was nothing gradual about it.
The great thing about the UC Law School… It is small and intimate. You knew all of the professors, you knew everybody in your class, you knew most of the people in the other classes. You always had a couple of people you could go to. It was a great atmosphere, and in my particular economic situation, it made it much more bearable.
Law school really honed my ability to think more strategically to better address problems, both personally and in the practice. I think you’re a better person when you come out of law school. It was the education and the experience that got me to where I am today… The education at the University of Cincinnati, both undergraduate and law school, are world class.
Faculty: We had Dean Barrow, who was a former dean of the law school — I’ll never forget Dean Barrow. We found out my wife was expecting our second child … I went in during the summer between my first and second years in law school and spent an afternoon with Dean Barrow talking about this. Dean Barrow was probably 80 at that point, but he was still teaching, and he was … a fellow whose judgment I trusted. He convinced me that it would be a mistake to leave law school because of having another child and to do what I could do to stay in law school — and I did.
On St. Patrick’s Day in those days — you could go in the local bars in Cincinnati and give them any kind of a container and they’d fill it up with draft beer. So we all decided we were going to get a gallon of green beer and bring it in to John Murphy. I got a gallon jug … and brought it in a paper sack and put it next to the lectern in the old main lecture hall. John started lecturing, and finally his curiosity got him, so he got up, looked at it, lectured for a minute or two more and he just couldn’t take it anymore. So he said, “All right, who brought in the beer?”…. “You’re not allowed to have alcohol on campus.… " “Come here.” So I came up. He says, “We’ve got to do something about this…Let’s destroy the evidence.” So he and I sat down and drank the gallon of beer, and he continued to lecture… John got me my first job with Johnson & Umstead… I always remained close to John and always relied on his view of the students when I worked for a large law firm.
Ken Aplin was a brand new professor when we were there. He was really great Sam Wilson was great. We had a guy named Schwartz, who was our Torts professor.
Classmates: My kids will ask me about The Paper Chase, and it wasn’t that way. It was a very close class, it was a close law school and very cooperative…you always helped everybody out… Jim Patton would give me his notes and his notes were gold.
Being a Lawyer: I’ve made great friends, close friends, both lawyers and clients. I get to deal with people and help [them] through problems. I really enjoy doing that. I enjoy helping people solve problems.
Maj. Gen. John D. Altenburg, Jr.
Class of 1973
UC College of Law: I came back from Vietnam in March of 1970. I knew friends who were seniors in the law school [during] the spring of the Kent State shootings. The school essentially shut down. Those seniors never had to take finals.
I had in the back of my mind that when you went to law school you wore a coat and tie every day. While there were some of us that wore coats and ties to school every day, most of those that did were working at law firms.
When I finished my legal education, I was naïve enough to think that I was prepared to practice law…. I think something about UC being small and the quality of the faculty instills a certain pride in us and so we know that we have to live up to a certain standard…causes us to work hard, especially when we are starting out.
Faculty: The relationship between the faculty and the students was a solid one.I liked Professor Aplin…Stanley Harper was another one that was just a riot in class, just a wonderful teacher. John Murphy was a great Contracts professor. And Vic Schwartz, he was an Evidence professor my second year…He was a great professor. You weren’t worried about nodding off in the classes that those men taught.
Classmates: My class…was over 50% veterans. One of the really sharp guys in our class was a guy named Jim Ralston who had been at UC Law School, got drafted, went in the Army, came back from Vietnam, and then picked up in our class.
There were three women in my class. Just tells you something else again about how much things have changed. I think there were maybe two women in the class in front of us. Most of the women who went to law school then had been out of college at least five or ten years.
Social Life:I got married at the end of the first semester. My wife and I endured the separation of Vietnam….We ended up managing the North Cincinnati Apartments on Old Vine Street in Corryville. …We were living there, but we were renovating the building for the owner…Week to week rent was $15, a pretty rough place, roach infested…For me, law school was pretty much work - family and law school.
Being a Lawyer: The key, I think, to being a good lawyer is working hard, especially early on…. The one that spends the extra time and drills down more deeply and understands the nuances and permutations of the issue is the one that ultimately will be a better lawyer and will develop judgment.
Hon. Cheryl D. Grant
Class of 1973
UC College of Law: I was a police officer and I got interested in the law. One of the attorneys challenged me to become a lawyer, and I took the challenge up and applied to the University and was accepted….When I attended law school, they had the largest freshman class that had enrolled – 125. They had the largest number of women and there were 11 of us. They had the largest number of African Americans and there were 5 of us. I was the only freshman African American woman.
They had a new Dean.& They had this large class. They had women, a significant number of women. It was in the seventies, so law school was stressful. That was during the time just before the years when they were protesting at various colleges with guns and civil rights.
Faculty: I had one professor tell the women in the class that we were taking the place of men and we had no business being there…. I believe that was the first year that UC attempted to bring in young professors. There were young people like Dr. Singer…He was liberal. And then there was Larry Kessler. He taught Environmental Law and he was liberal. Victor Schwartz started and he was conservative and has become one of the torts leaders in the country today…They brought in some young bright professors who were out of that sixties age and that seventies age.
Then there was Professor Murphy…he was my favorite professor. I loved Contracts Law…Judge Spiegel did Bankruptcy and that was a good course that I enjoyed.
When I graduated, all the young professors were gone….When we left that year in 1973, those who started with us were leaving too.
Being a Lawyer: One thing about a law degree, you can do a lot with it, not just become a practicing attorney. You can teach. I almost applied to the FBI, but decided I couldn’t move around the country.
I would challenge [students] to stay focused and not get caught up in the glamour of the law because it can fool you. I would tell them to study. It’s a profession where you never stop learning. When you are not doing that, you are doing a disservice to your clients. I would tell young people to get a mentor, someone who can help advise them both personally and professionally. And not to get caught up in the theater of law.
Marvin I. Schotland
Class of 1973
UC College of Law: When I went to law school, I became a member of the Dean of Men’s staff [at UC] and continued to work in the Dean’s office for my first two years of law school. They had me working on various projects that were related oftentimes to the law. So I might do research on what were the rights of the resident advisors with respect to students.
I had two starts…..my first year, I was in the Army Reserve and called up for active duty…I had been in school for probably six or seven weeks, but lost that entire first year because I never got to the final exams….Suddenly the thing that I realized fairly quickly in the first week - I was around, in each of my classes, smarter people than I had ever been around in my life.
I was sitting outside the law school during that first week of orientation, [when] another student happened to be walking by and sat on the steps with me for a bit…Who turned out to be not only a friend in law school, but then a partner in law practice for about eleven years and my best friend…Jim Stuehringer.
There was a student who, in my opinion, was absolutely the most brilliant student there. A student by the name of Paul Nemann…he was an activist…Paul started a group of student volunteers, something called the Center for Consumer Affairs. I became involved and a lot of other students did as well….we actually opened up some store fronts in Cincinnati and assisted low income individuals with consumer problems.
Faculty: The professor that we had for orientation was a gentleman by the name of Lester…He was a fairly pompous individual, very dynamic and dramatic, sort of reminded you physically of Colonel Sanders with gray hair and gray beard, deep booming voice. In the first five minutes…he went up to the blackboard and drew a bunch of squiggly lines. He then looked back and said you are probably wondering what I am doing... [I am] demonstrating what this first year is going to be like for all of you. I’ve just depicted ground fog… Take a minute and look to the right and look to the left. Take a good look at the person sitting next to you because by the end of this semester one of the three of you is not going to be back for the second semester.
I loved Torts because I loved Victor Schwartz, who was just a very brilliant man and an outstanding educator. Contracts… ended up being a favorite, again because of just an interestingly unique professor by the name of John Murphy, who was also very brilliant, challenging.
Being a Lawyer:We decided to move to Tucson, Arizona and open up a law practice. The Arizona bar, if you were an out-of-state student who hadn’t attended an Arizona law school, the bar pass rate was less than 50%...The year that we took it, there were 30-35 out-of-state students…five of whom passed. Two of whom happened to be Jim and I. So we took the bar, and then there we were. We were both blue-collar kids with no money.
Daniel J. Buckley
Class of 1974
UC College of Law: In his legal drafting course, Irv Rutter taught us to “visualize” a transaction before we begin to write about it. As I “visualized” our experience at the College of Law, one of the clearest images was the lounge. Yes, the lounge. In particular, the lime green and popsicle orange chairs that exacerbated our day-to-day stress.
Faculty: I suspect that we are just a little grateful for the opportunities we gained from the College of Law. John Murphy taught us that parties can make their own law by contract. Through the medium of Harold Cranchford, Stan Harper taught us that civil procedure affects human beings. Gersham Goldstein pushed us to be more inquisitive with yet “another hypothetical.”
Classmates: There were 102 of us who entered in the Fall of 1971. Some came from Vietnam on the GI bill…Only 13 of those who entered were women.
Being a Lawyer:Perhaps our classmate, Mike Harmon, said it all best:
“All things considered, I’m very fortunate in the profession I landed in. Some people hate their job; I don’t. Some people have to worry every day about the bottom line; I don’t. Some people never get a chance to be creative; I do. Some people never get to perform in public; I do. Some people don’t get much chance to do good; I do. Some people don’t get the chance to speak out their mind; I do. Some people don’t get a chance to exercise discretion and independent judgment in their jobs; I do. Some people don’t have the luxury of valuing human relationships; I do. Some people never stop to smell the flowers; I do. Sounds like I found a great profession, doesn’t it?”
Melanie S. Newby
Class of 1974
UC College of Law:My overall impression of law school was very favorable…I am still sometimes amazed at the things that I can trace back to just the experience of law school and being made to think and being made…to look at things in ways that I would never have done before. And the law school wasn’t The Paper Chase… once they admitted you, they expected you to graduate. And fortunately, they told you that so you didn’t sit there and quake in fear.
Faculty: Stanley Ellis Harper, Jr. was absolutely one of my all time favorite professors. I can still see him pacing back and forth in front of classroom 2 with one foot on the riser and the other not, talking about the merger of law and equity, Bucephalus and cutting the Gordian knot, and also about living with all females — Ruth, two daughters, and a female dog. I know not why I remember all this, the subject was civil procedure — nothing sexy or exciting about that, but somehow his style of teaching reached me. He will be missed.
Classmates: The class ahead of us had 8 or 9 women in it, and our class had 15 out of 100. We have lunches twice a year, and I come to Cincinnati for at least one of them. For one reason or another, the class of ’74 has stayed really close, or at least a group of about 20 of us.
Social Life: We played hearts and euchre… we did a lot of card playing and then we would go to a place called the Pickle Barrel and play the pinball machine.
Being a Lawyer: I think that what you take away from law school isn’t knowing the criminal code and isn’t knowing how to do a title search for a real estate transaction. It is knowing how to look at a problem, evaluate it, and come up with a solution — or multiple solutions or possibilities or whatever. It’s that critical thinking skill…then when you’re out practicing, you pick up the substantive stuff.
Stephen A. Wolnitzek
Class of 1974
UC College of Law: Law school taught me how to think more clearly and that few things are black and white. It also taught me how to solve problems.
The building was old. The chairs in the classroom frequently broke.
Faculty: UC had many interesting personalities on the faculty: Harper, Barrow, Lester, and Dewey… Fred Dewey giving the same lecture two weeks in a row and never mentioning that he did it….the ash on his cigarette never dropping. Every class taught by Stan Harper was memorable…Learned a great deal about the actual practice of law from Whitey Aug.
Classmates: I made lots of good friends.& I still get together twice a year with about 20 of them.
Being a Lawyer:Be a person of your word. Be kind to everyone you meet. Your client’s enemy is not yours. Be respectful of everyone you deal with from the janitor to the president of a large company.
Kathleen M. Brinkman
Class of 1975
UC College of Law: We had a women law student organization…We got a grant from what was then the Women’s Studies program…to put together a slide show to take out to the local high schools… We would invite the girls to come and listen to us talk about women’s rights, and to see a real woman law student. Then we would invite them to spend the day at law school with us….A teacher came up to me and said, ”You know, I don’t know that any of the girls are probably interested in it — nobody’s expressed any interest — but I am. Can I spend a day with you?” So she did. She came to the law school. She spent the day with me. It’s Dolores Learmonth, who was later President of the Cincinnati Bar. She’s the managing partner at her firm. And we became lifelong friends.
Faculty: I was in the small section of Larry Kessler, who was a new professor teaching criminal law and criminal procedure….he was very good. Ken Aplin was…just a classic excellent teacher. And that furthered my interest in criminal law. John Murphy taught me labor law, and Tom Murphy taught me employment law…..There were mostly wonderful teachers.
Classmates: I was delighted to find that there were a lot of people who were my age, and some who were older. There were returning Vietnam vets. There were people who had worked and then decided to go to law school. There were people who had had pretty good careers in other fields….It was the first year that there was kind of a critical mass of women in the school when I started in 1972… It was people who felt more on a par with the faculty, and less intimidated by the faculty than some people right out of undergraduate school. So that intellectual give and take, I think, was much more lively than it would otherwise have been.
Being a Lawyer: When I started teaching trial practice at UC, I would tell my students that being a trial lawyer is the perfect job, because you are the writer, the producer, the director, and, except when you’re doing direct examination, you are the star. I think the students, to me, as time passed, appeared brighter. They appeared to become more hardworking, dedicated, conscientious about doing their work, more confident.
Ann Marie Tracey
Class of 1975
UC College of Law:Law school refined my thinking and reasoning abilities to a very significant degree. Law is such a central feature of my life, it is hard to imagine it not being an important filter through which to view the world.
Faculty: Prof. John Murphy terrified me in Contracts. He became a trusted advisor. I took more courses from him and we are still friends. My 12-year-old sister came to the Contracts class and he called on her! Maybe because she was reading the book, Willard (yes, the one about the rats), right in front of him!
Social Life: My class was about 10% women and I made terrific friends who are still in my life prominently. We had no money, so social life was parties, common dinner, movies, etc. I-71 was built when we were in law school.
Being a Lawyer: A good lawyer’s first obligation is service: to justice, family, clients, colleagues, friends (and that order may rotate by the person or circumstances). Too often, lawyers may focus on “winning” or financial rewards. I don’t believe that has changed…When I was a senior in college, U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas told me at a small dinner party I attended that I should not go to law school, that it “would ruin me” and that I “would not be able to see the forest for the trees.” Given a choice, people should only enter a profession about which they are passionate, enthusiastic, and to which they are willing to commit. After all, the law is not a “job,” it is a life.
James C. Kennedy
Class of 1976
UC College of Law: The law school was in the old building and had four main classrooms and a few much smaller seminar or small section rooms.There were not nearly as many course offerings then as now. Cincinnati was more the center of the region — more people worked and shopped downtown.
Faculty: We benefited from some of the legendary professors in the history of the school …I’m thinking of Professors Murphy, Rutter, Schwartz, Harper, Aplin and Goldstein. I enjoyed the Criminal Practice Clinic course, which exposed a few students at a time to genuine court room activity.
Classmates: My classmates were cordial and well-prepared. Most professors thought our class was over-serious!
James G. Keys, Jr.
Class of 1976
UC College of Law:I’ve served on the Board of Visitors because I feel it is important to stay in touch with the College and to try to give back at least a fraction of what the College has allowed me to do.
Classmates: I matriculated in 1974, which was quite a class. That class was comprised of such luminaries as Al Nippert whose family the stadium is named after… There was a guy by the name of Bob Taft in that class. He later went into public service…I think he ended up as the governor of Ohio. … His cousin Guy Taft was in that class. There was a guy by the name of Charlie Luken…. Charlie ended up as the mayor of the city of Cincinnati and later served a term, I believe, as a member of the U.S. Congress in the House of Representatives. There was a guy named by the name of Billy Martin. Billy represented Jason Williams, Monica Lewinsky, and I think he is currently representing Michael Vick.… It was really quite a unique and talented class.
Jean M. Einstein
Class of 1977
Faculty: There are … two professors I really remember. One was as a first year. In Torts we had Victor Schwartz… He was just an interesting person. And then I had a really quirky tax professor by the name of [Gersham] Goldstein, who just was interesting to take the classes from.
Being a Lawyer: What I like the most is the client interaction…the better service you can give, the more your clients will love you and stay with you.
Hon. Nancy K. Johnson
Class of 1978
UC College of Law: Although the law school at that time was about one third women…at least half of those women were older… So many guys my age were telling me, it isn’t right for you to go to law school…you’ll take the place of some man, you’ll drop out and have babies. When I got out of law school and I would be applying for lawyer jobs, I was told…we just don’t know what our clients would think about this. And by the way, we have an opening for a legal secretary position.
Faculty: I really liked Evidence with Dr. Weissenberger. Professor Lester was quite a character during my time….He was very good, but difficult. He looked like Colonel Sanders.
Social Life: We did have a Law Review vs. Moot Court touch football game. I think Law Review won. It was kind of muddy.
Being a Lawyer: Although in some respects stupid lawsuits irritate me, sometimes it’s the only way to enforce positive changes in business and in society. People are not going to do it willingly, and they are only going to do it if they have to….You need to be tenacious. You need to have, I think, a pretty strong sense of right and wrong.
Barbara G. Watts
Class of 1978
UC College of Law:I still think of my law school years as some of the best years of my life.
Law school really made me much more analytical…what are the facts we can change, and what are the facts we can’t change. And then how do we plan the next step from there.
Faculty: I was fond of a lot of my professors…I was extremely fortunate to have Ken Aplin and Stan Harper… John Murphy for Labor Law.
I had Wilbur Lester for Constitutional Law, and he was one of those faculty members who had a really traditional Socratic method, where he’d only ask questions. He would not answer questions. And he was one of those teachers who really made my mind move in ways that I thought were new and different.
Classmates: I started law school in ’75-’76 and I would say there were maybe a quarter to a third women in the class and some really outstanding women… I was very lucky to go to school with great, great women.
John T. Williams
Class of 1978
UC College of Law: The law school was a very small law school. There were about an even 100 people in my class….It was a small facility. It had a small lounge — student lounge — in the basement…One of the things that was memorable about our experience and maybe different from some of the other Ohio schools - it was so small one had the experience of having friends in all the other classes that were in the law school with us. First, because it was such a compact facility and we were all there together all the time. For a lot of us…the law school was basically our whole life. It was our family and our friendships and everything else.
We had a monthly newspaper that was called The Restatement….It was a student publication and there was absolutely no faculty involvement…It was actually printed on newsprint. When I started law school in 1975, online legal research was just in its infancy. The only computers that were in the law school were Lexis terminals.
I felt I received a very good basic foundation education from UC. I have never for a moment regretted attending… It was a small school which had, at least among the student body, a culture of friendship and support. I have retained over the years none of my friends from high school, none of my friends from college…but I have many friends from law school that I see all the time.
Faculty: I remember Torts which was extremely well-taught by Victor Schwartz, who is now a national figure in the products liability area.
One of my memories of Criminal Law was the day after the final game of the World Series in 1975 which was won by Cincinnati in an absolutely dramatic game. Prof. Kenneth Aplin did a replay of the whole game stated in terms of criminal law.
Wilbur Lester had been a young lawyer working in Washington for the New Deal. He and a professor by the name of Irv Rutter were both individuals in their late sixties…They brought a particular emphasis to the teaching of their classes.
Social Life: The infamous secured party was always at a Disabled American Veterans Hall down on Clifton Avenue…There were skits in which we lampooned our fellow students and particularly our professors. I know there was a lot of preparation. We wrote the skits, we acted them out, rehearsed them. It was a lot of fun….The secured party at that time was a much anticipated event.
Barbara J. Howard
Class of 1979
UC College of Law: Our class was the big class that had a sizable number of women in it. We were about 30%...much more than the other schools, because I remember when we [were] sworn in…women were at best 20% of all the ones being sworn in. Obviously, the other law schools had a lot fewer women than UC did.
I was in the last class that graduated before the current law school building… Literally as we were finishing our classes, the walls started coming down…We had a big accreditation issue, probably our first year, which I think was involved in the decision to build the new building, because it was so woefully inadequate.
Every work day, I am grateful that the law school decided to stay small and never became big when all the other law schools [did]….It’s one of those huge positives at UC Law School. I think it has a wonderful character and I think it has continued to keep that character throughout the years. I am just grateful to be an alumna from there and to be part of it.
Moot Court: I remember very vividly that my team, which was Ken Jameson, Bill Posey and I, were on the national Moot Court team our third year. We went to the finals in New York City. It was the first time that any UC team had done anything like that. Professor Carro came to New York while we were there in January 1979… We ended up tying for third place in the country. I do remember that…and all four of us walking down the street smoking cigars.
Faculty: Ken Aplin taught Criminal Law. I never wanted to be a criminal lawyer before, but boy he was good! We had great professors really for the most part, very challenging. Moot Court was a wonderful adjunct to that… I would have to say, probably Murphy more than anyone that I can think of, really would push us to think….prodding people in a wonderful way, a really intellectual way, to really think deeply.
Classmates: We were really a friendly close class. Our class actually was one of those classes that passed the bar exam 100%. There’s only been one other class that I know of that did it – fifteen years after we did – back in 1994. Ours was a lot of smart people who had a variety of different majors.
There was a group of women lawyers at the bar who kind of took us under their wings. That was a really neat thing for women…A bunch of us — maybe a dozen — decided that it was a good thing to have a potluck dinner once a month.
Being a Lawyer: What I admire about [the legal profession] is that we are the bedrock of our society and that we touch virtually every aspect of every person’s life, and hopefully we do it more positively than negatively. We are really instruments for an ordered society…It’s an honor to be able to be a lawyer.
Always be prepared, listen a lot and work hard. Ask questions, find mentors. You don’t have all the answers.
Mitzi P. Samples
Class of 1979
UC College of Law: UC was then a totally different place from what it is now, both in physical facilities and atmosphere. We were in the class when the ABA threatened to take away the accreditation of Cincinnati because the facilities were so bad… It was almost like being back in the sixties. We were threatening sit-ins…just trying to get the administration to listen to us.
The first winter we were there was the winter that we didn’t see the ground all winter there was so much snow. The Ohio River froze solid. Boats were frozen in the river; they drove cars across the river because it was frozen so solid. My car did not move for months.
I had decided that I would either go to Cincinnati because I got the Chapin Thomas scholarship or UT because those were the two that I could realistically graduate from without being so far in debt.
Faculty: [John Flanagan} taught Tax Procedure and some of the tax classes. He was excellent. Weissenberger, we had him for Property and Evidence. He was an excellent professor. Murphy taught Contracts — heavy Boston accent. He was great. We learned a lot about contracts from him.; We used to like to play jokes on him.
Classmates: Probably fewer than 10% of our class were women…at that time we really felt that we had to prove ourselves…It was definitely radical in the south for a woman to be a lawyer – we weren’t lawyers, we were “women lawyers.”
There was one guy who just basically lived at the law school. And it was a joke at first…we decided he really did! We would see him go to the grocery store and bring in bags of groceries and put them in the one student fridge and…he’d have his desk lamp in his briefcase…and pull it out in the library…The next thing we know, he’s brought in his own locker and put it down in the student lounge. So some of the guys took his locker and put it up atop the stalls in the women’s bathroom.
Social Life: Very little social life because we were in the old building… really derelict lounge downstairs, so the social life was, for the most part, either in the library in the middle of the night or the occasional parties that we would have…. You’ve never lived until you’ve played Monopoly or Risk with a bunch of law students.
Being a Lawyer: You go to law school to learn law and you go to law school to learn how to think like a lawyer… You always have to continue to learn law. Don’t think that once you get out of law school, you’re done with school…. I really think our system would work so much better for the lawyers and for the clients, if we could give new lawyers a two-year apprenticeship program… I think we have obligations as lawyers to give back, more so than a lot of other professions. People do depend on what we tell them for a life-changing decision.
John D. Holschuh, Jr.
Class of 1980
UC College of Law: My father, since it was his alma mater, kind of pushed me in that direction and I was accepted fortunately at UC. I just had a fantastic time, if you can have a fantastic time, while I was in law school.
Women, I am guessing, were maybe a third of our class….Minorities were not well represented in my class.
I distinctly remember no air conditioning. There was a huge, big lecture hall up on the third floor…The new law school was not completed until right after I graduated. Construction had begun during my third year in 1980. I do remember jack hammers going off during final exams.
Moot Court: Probably in my law school career, the Moot Court meant more to me than anything. It turns out there was this Mike Keating in my class and Mike was kind of always presumed to be the one that was the best in Moot Court… I remember in the competition it came down to the final argument…We argued in this little bitty room, no windows, air conditioner was right over our heads. I distinctly remember arguing that case against Mike and I beat Mike on that one.
Moot Court…gives you the confidence to argue and to present yourself in front of the court, in front of a jury…[It] prepared me for my career as a trial lawyer for twenty-five years.
Faculty: Over winter break I had gone down to Florida with some of my buddies. I came back with my hair a little blonder than it had been when I left. The first day of Contracts right after Christmas — a big class — I remember Murphy standing up and before he said a word to the class he looked at me and stated to the whole class, “What did you do to your hair?” in his Boston accent.
I guess the other professor I remember who had an impact on me was Jorge Carro, our librarian, who came from Cuba…Apparently before he came he was very high in the government and, of course, knew Fidel Castro. He escaped and came over here and joined the law school and was the librarian. But he was also the advisor to the Moot Court team.
Being a Lawyer: Your integrity and your reputation and your professionalism is more important than anything else in the practice…The judges respect that. Especially juries. Juries know when a lawyer is being sincere.
The law is always there, but my family has always come first… You have to balance the two as best you can. I think they actually complement each other, if you can balance them… [Young lawyers] don’t seem to want to work as hard or they want instant success. It doesn’t come quickly. It takes a lot of time, a lot of effort, but the rewards are great. But you’ve got to build that reputation.
Deborah R. Lydon
Class of 1981
UC College of Law: I thought it was an incredible experience. I also found everybody who attended there extremely fascinating. They were all so bright and so witty and interesting in a variety of ways. I loved being at UC. I loved being on the campus. There were a lot of great things that happened there.
The construction of the school was also occurring in my later years there at the school. That was rather disruptive. We had to go across campus to attend classes many times….but I also think it helped a lot of kids bond closer together because of what they were going through.
I remember 1983 when the school was finished. Sandra Day O’Conner came to speak and Todd Portune spoke as the Student Bar President. It was one of the best days I spent at the law school… I was so impressed with the education everyone was getting from the school. I feel like I got a fabulous education.
Moot Court: I would say my favorite experience was anything having to do with Moot Court and anything having to do with appellate advocacy. I liked the intramural mock trial competitions and the Moot Court competitions.
Faculty: Trial practice was probably one of my favorite classes. It was taught by Professor Wiesenberger who was pretty much a favorite of everybody every year.
I recall Professor Aplin in the criminal procedure class having a very lively discussion about the way things are performed in the criminal arena. One the students, Tim Rodenberg, who is now the Clermont County sheriff, raised his hand and said, “Sir that is not how it happens in the real world. Maybe you don’t get out there very often.” Professor Aplin responded …. “I do get out to the real world occasionally, but I run back as quickly as I can.”
Classmates: The one thing that stands out was that there were forty percent women and ten percent blacks. A lot of people felt that we were in there as part of a quota.& I had a few people come up to me and say, “You got my spot. I didn’t get into UC Law School…because of the women and minorities.”
I didn’t actually see this occur, but it was pretty much a legend. One of the students in my class was about to get called on and the window was open and he got up and dove out the window so the professor could not find him.
Being a Lawyer: [Be] passionate about [your] work and passionate as an advocate. My philosophy is that whether you are doing trial work or something else, you should represent every client as if the person was your best friend, your mother, father, brother, son.
Carol A. Martin
Class of 1982
UC College of Law: The destruction of the old structure meant that … some animals came out of hiding and we had a rat problem. We would be sitting in the library and if it was quiet or early morning or later evening, you would all of the sudden see [a rat] go scurrying along.
It was our third year and the last year of construction. There were some wooden panels in the room [where I was taking an exam] and they had decided to lacquer them with something with a strong smell.
Faculty: Some of the long-time professors were exceptional teachers and they, in particular, liked to not only teach us the theoretical aspects of the law, but also make us think about it in a practical way … Most of them also still taught by the Socratic method… Stanley Harper … Irv Rutter …Ken Aplin… They all were exceptional teachers.
Social Life:The student run newspaper - sometimes it was really good and sometimes it was really bad. Students enjoyed it. … We also did a spoof or talent show, more of a spoof on the teachers every spring and that was a lot of fun. …The students would pretend to be different faculty members who had reputations for one thing or another. They would put that on in the evening and it was always a lot of fun for everyone. Faculty members would come because we would be poking fun at them. It was just a lot of fun…and all meant in good humor.
Law School Marriage:Law Review involved a lot of time and big commitment and students took it seriously. …You had to be good friends with other Law Review people because you had to spend a lot of time together…I actually married one of them.
We hadn’t discussed marriage and there we were in our third year interviewing for jobs. We would ask each other, “So where are you interviewing?”…. We would sign up for interviews in the same city and hope we would get job offers in the same city. He popped the question in December of our third year and I said yes and we got married the following fall.
Melanie S. Tuttle
Class of 1982
UC College of Law: Our year was 1983, which was the sesquicentennial. We had as one of our projects [on Law Review]…to celebrate the sesquicentennial…all four issues that year had lead articles by people who had either been at the law school or had some connection with it.
You went to law school with dust and construction noise….one part of the building was removed the summer before we started. We never had the entire old building. Through that first year and second year, they essentially did build around it. You would never know where the old building was….Some of the faculty offices were across the street at Deaconness Hospital.
It was the 150th anniversary in my third year. Sandra Day O’Connor came and spoke. It was interesting because they said it was going to be limited in the number of people who could hear her. So they didn’t let any students come.
Faculty: Stan Harper taught Torts and Civil Procedure…An auto accident was never just an auto accident. You were in a glass and steel capsule hurtling through time and space… Weissenberger taught Property and Evidence…He was very good, very entertaining. Wilber Lester was the old Socratic method type and he could strike fear in the heart the first year…He looked exactly like Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame. He was so elderly at that point, so he was sort of slow walking through the hall, but in class he would sit at the front of the room and years were shed from him as he would bark questions at students. He really was an excellent professor.
Being a Lawyer: I think you just have to figure out what you really enjoy, where your strengths are and play to your strengths.
Eileen Cooper Reed
Class of 1984
UC College of Law: About half of my class were retreads like me…I was older than some of my professors….It was interesting that in my class they only had four black students. There had been a real drop from the year before.
I was clerking at UC, which was quite fun as well. You got to handle all different kinds of law, from civil rights to constitutional to who should be able to speak on campus, and all of that. Because I was older and had a bit of other experience, I had a lot of latitude in doing that.
Moot Court: I was on Moot Court. That was probably the most fun I had during all of law school. And learned at the same time!
Richard A. Chesley
Class of 1985
UC College of Law: I really liked the law school, really liked the size, I liked the feel. I liked the people I met, so that’s where I decided to go to law school.
It’s not a trade school, it’s a way of thinking and a way of approaching problems…I think you gained maturity, you gained patience, you learned how to engage in critical thought.
I have a good life — it’s great, and I sort of look back… at all the foundations that build up what I’ve become and … UC Law School’s a big, big part of it.
Faculty: Bill Rands was a great professor…he taught corporations and corporate tax. Sam Wilson was a great professor…he taught the property classes... Glen Weissenberger I thought was a great professor I took evidence and negotiations from him… Everybody brought something to the table…something different.
Social Life: It was a great social life because everyone sort of lived in the same general area, everyone had the same general hours…. Some of my best friends are from law school.
Theresa L. Groh
Class of 1985
UC College of Law: I knew I wanted to practice in Cincinnati [and] the prevailing advice at the time was it was good to go to law school in the city where you would eventually practice… it turned out to be a very good decision.
Moot Court: The International Law competition was being held in Denver, and I couldn’t believe that I might get a free trip to Denver. I was 22 years old and I had never traveled and never skied, and Denver sounded so exotic to me… But it wound up the joke was on me because international law arguments are forty-five minutes instead of fifteen…It was a bear of a competition.
Faculty:My Con Law professor came in one time to teach the freedom of speech issue and he came in with a jacket on that had a very explicit f-something on the back of it. We were all just shocked, couldn’t believe it. That’s what he was going for and it was a very good prop for the lesson, but I had never been anywhere where the teacher went out on the limb. I thought that was very remarkable.
My first year Torts professor was a man who was commuting from Washington D.C… In my section, to the person, we were all convinced and agreed that he was the scariest, most intimidating professor that we had. ….Yet he offered … $20 to any student who wanted to give him a ride to the airport after Thursday’s class because he was commuting. Nobody wanted to do it, but I jumped at it because I didn’t have any money. … This became a scheduled event and we did it every week. I realized how neat it was that he would pay $20 to a student rather than pay $20 to a cabbie. I believe I learned more …in that half-hour than I ever would just studying a half-hour.
Classmates: I made great friends in law school [with] whom I still keep in touch…. I think that the climate back when I was in law school — ‘82 to ’85 - was much different than it is today. When I was in law school, it did not seem to be cutthroat…. We were certainly serious, we were certainly under pressure and things were tense, but we had a lot of fun. We had a lot of fun in the break room. We hung out at the school. I lived with law students my second and third years. We lived in houses and guys lived downstairs and the women lived upstairs. We got together after classes on Fridays. We did a lot together.
Being a Lawyer: Law school prepared me for my career in all sorts of ways other than the actual substance of the law… We learn in law school a way of thinking, a way of tackling problems, a way of identifying issues. …Three years of law school taught me how to identify issues and to know what resources to [use] to find answers. Also, I think in a large way it helped to shape my mind so when I was confronted with all kinds of situations … I could be flexible.….It also prepared me to be under pressure.
W. Kelly Johnson
Class of 1986
UC College of Law: The law school was interesting because it had...just completed the renovation. I think I was the first class…to be in what was the new law school…One of the nice things about UC that I liked was the fact that it was a brand new building. It’s a small law school, but the facilities were state of the art and were wonderful at that time.
Computerized research and actually using PC’s was something that was just really starting to expand in the law school…Lexis and Nexis were really starting to take off…There were specialized standalone units and it printed off on attached printers.
Faculty:Stanley Harper was one of my favorite professors. He taught Civil Procedure. He really knew civil procedure because he was one of the authors of Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure. He was a very colorful gentleman. He was in his mid to late sixties by the time I started at the law school. He was a World War II veteran, graduated, I believe, right after World War II. He made Civil Procedure fun. There are things that the man said and phrases that he said, that I can still say today….When he wanted to ask a question, he would say, “A query, as they say in the large eastern law school and as far west across the Allegheny escarpment of Cincinnati.” When he talked about cars, he would say that they were hurtling through time and space in a capsule of steel and glass. And he would say, “I’m from Vinton County, where man and beast live alike.”
[One] of my favorite professors was John Murphy, who was the Labor Law professor. He was from Boston and had a very thick accent, Boston accent…He was also a wonderful teacher, so bright and so capable and so knowledgeable.
Professor Carro was one of my favorites. He was the law librarian, but he was also an expert on professionalism. He always taught professionalism and professional responsibilities courses. Everybody took them. He was from Havana, and actually went to law school with Fidel Castro. They were in the same law school class. He had a very thick Cuban accent.
One of the toughest teachers in the school was Wilbur Lester who was probably in his seventies or eighties, who taught Constitutional Law. He was tough...He had been a clerk for one of the United States Supreme Court Justices….He was just phenomenal. You had to read every footnote because probably the footnotes were as important to him as anything else.
One of my favorite teachers was a woman named Kathy Goldwasser. Anything she taught was one of my favorite subjects. She was a great teacher.
Being a Lawyer: You’ve got to like people. You’ve got to be willing to accept people as you find them. You can’t be judgmental. And you’ve got to be willing to work as hard as you can because that’s the right thing to do, as opposed to you’re going to work as hard as you can because you’re going to make the most money you can. You’ve got to have a certain amount of pride in the work that you are going, and knowledge that a lot of people, including your family members, may not understand why you do something or why you represent a certain individual. There is value and worth in what you do.
Stephanie J. Jones
Class of 1986
Urban Morgan Institute: I was planning to go to Georgetown Law School…. I talked to Dean Christensen…and Bert Lockwood…I was very interested in the work that he was doing there and he invited me to come in as a Fellow… There wouldn’t have been very many opportunities to do something like that.
Faculty: I thought the professors were very interesting. I enjoyed Contracts. I had Joe Tomain for Contracts….I really enjoyed Con Law. I had Michael Glennon. I learned a lot in his class, and to this very day...so much of what I learned comes back to me.
Bert Lockwood was a wonderful mentor. He was always very helpful.
Classmates: We had a fairly diverse student body. We didn’t have a lot of minority students, but enough that it was sort of a critical mass. I didn’t feel completely alone.
I had a significant number of women in my class. I had one classmate who very openly announced she was there to find a husband. Which I thought was interesting. And I had another classmate who told me her father did not want her to go to law school… It seemed strange to me that there was still that assumption that women shouldn’t pursue a higher education.
The camaraderie and that interaction with other students was very important and it’s something I always appreciated.
Social Life: We used to just go to Hardee’s and bring food back and hang out in the lounge. Eat those horrible burritos out of the machine.
Being a Lawyer: Careers today are no longer linear in the same way they were. When I first got out of law school and started practicing law at a law firm, I thought I was going to be there the rest of my career… You should always be open to different career opportunities because you never know where you will end up and the opportunities you can have…. You really have to think what you want to be doing very day. We all want to make money… But don’t let that be the deciding factor.
Andrew C. Osterbrock
Class of 1986
UC College of Law: I really got a big kick out of law school. I was there from fall 1983, graduated in May of 1986….I found law school incredibly intellectually stimulating. It was very interesting and I think a large part of that had to do with the faculty… It was three years of very interesting academic/intellectual pursuits. It also created these friendships that I still have to this day. It was an incredibly positive experience overall on a number of different levels.
I have the highest regard for the law school. The whole University meant a lot to me, because of my family background. It was a good place and it prepared me for what I was going to do… It’s really gratifying to know what a high quality legal education you can get there, and that it’s still producing really good lawyers that are my colleagues at the bar.
Faculty: Ken Aplin was just an incredible professor….I remember fondly having classes with Professor Squillante, Bill Rands, Sonny Peltier. I think they brought a lot of great knowledge and expertise, but also a lot of passion to what they did, which was always fun….It was Joe Tomain’s first year as a faculty member… I think if you asked any of us in 1983 if he would be a Dean, while he was very smart and intelligent, I don’t think any of us felt he would end up that way. He was actually a lot of fun. He spent quite a bit of time at Uncle Woody’s as well. Biancalana…that was also his first year of teaching. He was very intellectually talented and was also a pretty good instructor. But it took a while to warm up to him. I always remember he had this weird habit in the big classroom. He’d come charging down the steps every day to start his lecture. On the same hand, that made an impact on you… We did have a visiting professor, Mike Cioffi…he was a very good instructor… Stan Harper was our Civ Pro teacher and he was kind of a crazy man. I’m still using the stuff I learned from him twenty-four years ago.
Classmates:I developed some very good friendships at law school and now here we are twenty-one years later. These are people I’m still close with…There’s a core group of us that still see each other once or twice a year and stay in close contact.
Social Life: There was a group of us that participated in the law school basketball tournament. We won it all three years that we were there. We came back as alumni and won it three more years. So we won it six years in a row. That was a lot of fun. In fact, Cris Collinsworth was a law student when we were there. I remember him basically running out of the gym in frustration after we spanked his team pretty good. I remember a lot of Friday afternoons at Uncle Woody’s.
In the fall of our second year, we started a fantasy football league. I was the commissioner, and we’d actually put the stats every week in the mail slots that everybody has. To this day, we get together every Labor Day weekend to have our draft…I’m in Michigan, there’s one in Florida, one in Illinois, two in Columbus, and the rest are in Cincinnati.
Mary Jo Hudson
Class of 1988
UC College of Law: I’m very glad I went to UC because it was about half the size of Ohio State, and I think I got twice the education….I really enjoyed law school. Once I got going… I really enjoyed the challenge. I enjoyed the classes and the folks there. It was a great experience. The whole law school had kind of a small town feel to it.
I worked in the Dean’s office. I helped Dean Watts plan the lectures, like the Taft Lecture and alumni events. They had the very first Taft lecture when I was a third year. Senator Orrin Hatch was invited as the speaker… I wrote a letter…and asked people not to go. I felt like we shouldn’t be supporting someone that partisan. He had taken some controversial decisions, especially that affected women…the place was still packed. It was a good lesson for me…that folks like to know both sides of the story.
Somebody who was a big influence on me in law school was Dean Watts. She was a great role model to me. She talked to me a lot about what to look for in law firms and after law school… I still to this day am in rooms where I’m the only woman there. I watched her do that and do it with grace. I hope that I have half the grace and dignity that she does.
Law Review: My second year, our team developed an Elvis shrine…There was kind of a book shelf on the wall opposite the library. It kind of started as a joke…We had several velvet Elvis hangings and a variety of other Elvis material… We had three computers up there. You had to sign up to use them.
Faculty: I enjoyed Professor Harper. Pam Sears was our legal writing instructor. She hadn’t been out of law school very long and she was kind of tough…but she had kind of a coaching style that really fit for me. Also that first year, Professor Schneider was our Torts teacher…her classes were always very interesting and I really enjoyed them a lot.
We had a Professor Squilante…the way he taught secured transactions [was] just very, very helpful and very practical. I think one of the most interesting classes I took was Jurisprudence with Professor Christenson, who had been a Dean. It was more of a philosophy class and my brain doesn’t always work that way very well. It was very interesting.
Classmates: I remember my college advisor; her name was Lillian Santa-Maria. She was at Miami at the time and decided to go to law school. She applied and got into UC as well. We were in the same section per chance….my section was so nice and everybody was so nice. We worked together. I thought everybody was going to be cutthroat and competitive. We ended up all working together as a team really well.
Social Life: I was involved with a group called Law Women. It was kind of a networking group for women in the law. Also I did a short stint playing flag football in the UC intramural league. We had a little team from the law school.
Kelly J. McDonald
Class of 1988
UC College of Law: I really enjoyed nursing school, I really enjoyed coming back and finishing my Bachelor’s degree through the College of Education, Community Health/Nursing …but none of …my education experiences held a candle to law school. I thought law school was…the most fun you could possibly have while working or getting an education. It was just tremendous… the quality of the professors, the access to the professors. I’d heard that at the University of Cincinnati College of Law people looked out for one another — professors looked out for students, students looked out for students, there was very little, what at the time, anyway, was called sort of cutthroat attitude among the student body. The three years I was there, that was absolutely true.
Urban Morgan Institute: “You know, someday it’d be really cool to buy this building and have a little neighborhood law practice.” — That’s what I aspired to all through the first year of law school. Then I got involved in something at the law school that changed my perspective. Being exposed through [the Urban Morgan Institute] to people who were doing very, very interesting work — with law degrees and some without law degrees &mdsh; in the area of human rights around the world, I really began to think seriously about leaving Cincinnati.
Faculty: A professor in Civil Procedure and Federal Procedure, Ken Aplin…was modest but incredibly intelligent. At the hooding ceremony, I took a moment to go up to him and say, “You know, I can’t tell you how grateful I am….I appreciate the fact that you took the time to finally do what the Jesuits never could do with my thick Irish skull, that is, to train it to look at things from every perspective,.” I remember Professor Aplin saying, “And weren’t you surprised it didn’t hurt a bit?”
There was a Contracts professor whose name was Sunny Peltier. She had a way of instructing that certainly suited my way of learning and I never forgot a lot of… what I picked up in her class.
Someone should tell Joseph Biancalana that one of his students remembers that in the moment of frustration on the part of a student saying...that they couldn’t quite follow the gist of what was happening in a case… he said, “I understand” (or words to that effect). He then said, “Let me tell you the fundamental principle you have to remember in corporations law to follow these cases — follow the money." Follow the money and then get a sense for what the interest is of everyone in that case in that money... Then you can begin to get a sense of what the issues are in that case and begin to apply the law to it. …I think it was tremendous advice.
Classmates: I remember we had six groups of 15 or 16 students per group our first year... that was a great experience…it really gave you an opportunity to get together with enough people that there was an exchange of ideas and interests — scholarly and otherwise.
Social Life: Back then the law school had a rugby club called the X-Checkers… A lot of the law school students would come to the rugby matches and, more importantly, to the rugby parties because that was really the whole point to having a rugby team. Uncle Woody’s across the street sponsored the rugby club when it needed a little bit of money for T-shirts or to buy a keg of beer.
Andrew M. Savage
Class of 1988
UC College of Law: UC was a state school, as everyone knows, so cost was definitely an issue. And UC was a highly ranked school — I don’t know where it is now — but it was very well respected. I also liked the fact that the student body was small, the professor-student ratio was very small and very intimate.
I had so much fun at UC… the social aspect as well as the caliber of the students and the caliber of the professors… I went into it thinking that it was just going to be this drag… just studying…and reading all these stupid cases, and I had the opposite experience. I met some really cool guys, played some great rugby, and just had wonderful experiences… I learned a lot of law that impacted and continues to impact my life, and I took away some really cool memories. I have nothing but praise for UC Law, and a lot of it was shaped by the professors.
Faculty: Tomain was great — loved Professor Joe. John Murphy was just a kick — thought he was a blast… Some of my fondest memories were just going up to the floor where the professors were. What I loved about UC was the professors had an open door policy, and I could go in at anytime and just shoot the breeze with Tomain and Bert and everyone. Another professor that stands out is Biancalana — just his sheer brilliance was rather intimidating, but I learned a lot from him.
Murphy and Tomain would be [at Uncle Woody’s], and it was just so much fun... to get to know the professors outside of law school and see that they’re real people too.
Bert Lockwood was one of my best friends — my uncle, granted — but it’s really telling to me that we developed …this world class friendship… He’s just a really cool guy and one of the foremost human rights advocates in the world
Social Life: I played rugby for the University of Cincinnati College of Law rugby team and [I developed] friendships with Tommy Heekin and a bunch of the boys. You work very hard and study, and then you just needed a release. Kelly McDonald was on our team as well, and we would go out every Tuesday and Thursday after classes and practice, and then play matches on the weekend… After matches and after practice, we would gravitate toward Uncle Woody’s.
Being a Lawyer: …People skills, just being able to read people.Really trying a case is about reading a jury, from impaneling a jury to selecting the folks that you think are going to side with your client… Being honest… Listening skills are so critical - to truly listen and understand what people are saying, give them a chance to tell their stories… Having empathy and compassion for people … is very important… stepping into the shoes of your client and going for a good walk in that person’s shoes. Preparation… Doesn’t matter how good you are, if you don’t prepare exhaustively, you’re not going to win.
The one piece of advice that I would give to younger attorneys is… to find what really gets you jazzed in life… find what you want to do in the law, if you want to practice law…and focus on that… Don’t worry about the money because if you’re focused and you’re passionate about what you do, the money will come.&
SurvivorThe adventure of a lifetime… I love sports and being outdoors… and I just wanted to go test myself. I’m the kind of person that continually tests the boundaries of what I can accomplish, so I applied for Survivor and got on… People laugh and ask or suspect that they’re sneaking you Snickers bars and bottled water and they’re not… You either find your own food and boil your water, make fire, or else you’re going to be in a hospital… I lost 20 pounds and my tribe was, literally, on the verge of starvation. Survivor’s a 39-day shoot because medically you can survive for 39 days without food… It was so hard, so challenging and at the same time is it was an absolute blast.
We went into this village, and we bought a bunch of stuff — bottled water with all the trademarks clearly visible… I went up to the producer on our island and said, “You know what, you’re just going to have to blur out all these trademarks, unless you have a license, you may want to think about that.” And next thing I knew… the producers came over and they were tearing off all the labels on the bottled water…They said, “Thank you so much for the legal advice."
Gail T. King
Class of 1990
Faculty: Probably the most memorable [class] would be Civil Procedure with Professor Aplin. Criminal Procedure with Professor Aplin. Pretty much any class with Prof. Aplin. It was clear that he loved teaching the students.
Property with Professor Biancalana was very interesting. I believe that he is still at the law school and it was clear that he was very intelligent. He was leaps and bounds ahead of the class and he would really get frustrated if students couldn’t follow his line of reasoning as quickly as he wanted them to. He was also a chain smoker so he would bolt from the room right after class to go have a cigarette. Students could come out and talk to him when he was outside smoking.
Classmates: It was a very collegial environment. I think there were about 130 students in my entering class. It was a great group of students. We were all in the same position that first year. We were all terrified and bonded well as a class. Certainly, within my section we were very close.
Robert L. McLaurin, M.D.
Class of 1990
UC College of Law: I finished medical school in 1944….Then in the latter part of the 1980’s, I decided I would like to go back to school since all of my children were off and educated and were doing well. I was still practicing neurosurgery when I started law school and continued to practice neurosurgery during law school…The school was kind enough to allow me to have most of my classes in the morning. I had been doing a good deal of defense testifying…in personal injury and medical malpractice cases.
Faculty: The young lady I had, and I say young lady because from my standpoint she was just a girl Ronna Schneider, who taught Torts…she was very good. She was one of my favorite teachers…She became my mentor on my thesis that I wrote…She invited students over for dinner. I enjoyed her small classes…. Frankly, I enjoyed that English Law class with Biancalana.
Classmates: During law school, I had relatively little association with the other law students because I was much older than they were, and secondly because I had my responsibilities to practice neurosurgery in the afternoon, evening and weekends.
Glenn J. Dickinson
Class of 1991
UC College of Law: My undergraduate professor in Constitutional Law, Richard Claude said, “So you’re getting ready to graduate, what are you thinking of doing?” …And he took off his watch and put down his pen and looked right in my eye and said, “You should go to law school at the University of Cincinnati.”
Urban Morgan Institute: I enjoyed the culture of the Urban Morgan Institute a lot… it was definitely the center of my law school experience.
Faculty: A law school class is a process like no other thing I’ve ever been involved in… this sort of Socratic process … this idea of students teaching each other by the points we make.Bert Lockwood used to do this thing in Constitutional Law… It seemed so unobtrusive, but when I thought about it afterwards, I realized what an extraordinary thing it was. He would come in sometimes to class and he would …ask a question at the beginning of class about one of the cases we’d been assigned to read and then somebody would raise their hand and he’d… just point to them. And that person would make their comment, and of course, Con Law — very politically charged — so immediately we’d have an argument going. …I can remember him standing there with his arms crossed …his thumb on his chin, kind of listening and watching. He’d go for a half hour without saying anything…and then he would interject… summing up… and would move onto the next thing… to see a professor who doesn’t even lecture, who lets the students teach each other, that was…that was really unique.
Classmates: We had a…circle of friends [and] spent a lot of time together…we went to each other’s houses for dinner…we did fun things on the weekends…we just were a really good group of people supporting each other and helping each other out and just having fun together.
I didn’t realize the extraordinarily high quality of the other students there… Every one there is a straight A student… so if you’re going to stand out, you’ve got to step it up. But just being around people like that for a couple years, enormously raised my expectations and my sense of what it means to succeed … that kind of competitiveness is, I think, in the end a good and productive thing.
Being a Lawyer: People who are going to be successful as lawyers…have to have a set of learned time management skills…Loyalty to your clients is a non-negotiable; it has to be part of what you do, and it’s a great thing about being a lawyer.
Mark E. Hoch
Class of 1992
UC College of Law:When I decided to go to law school, I only looked at law schools that had human rights programs. At the time, the Urban Morgan Institute was the only school that had its own offices… I asked to speak to Mr. Watson about the Institute and he said, “You can call me Al.” I’d gone to two large schools, New York University and the University of Colorado. Nobody in a director position had ever said to me, "Call me by my first name."
Urban Morgan Institute: I went to a gathering of the returning second and third years and the incoming Fellows of the Institute at Nancy Ent’s house. I had a ready made family, a feeling of being home. People were extremely nice, very warm, very open and welcoming and just a fantastic group of people… They just took me in like I was somebody who was always meant to be there.
We started the Public Interest law loan repayment assistance program. I wrote the charter for that. We called it PILLRAP.
Faculty: I became very close with one of my Constitutional Law professors, Gordon Christenson… He gave me a schema to work with. I still teach that schema. I still work by the whole idea of a foundation, a framework, for legal analysis. I use that in all my teaching, both nationally and internationally.
Gordon Christensen, Joe Tomain, John Murphy, who was a Contracts and Labor Law professor, and occasionally Bert Lockwood and some other professors as well, would sort of “hold court” at Woody’s on the deck on Friday afternoons. Everybody would go over to Woody’s. It was a very tight school.
It was a very student oriented school, very small school, open door policy of faculty. You could go out and smoke cigarettes with Prof. Joseph Biancalana when he smoked.
Classmates: Third and second year students would act as mentors for the first year students…. We had a very tight section. We had about a dozen of us who would meet on Friday nights, played poker at this guy’s house… Everybody worked really hard. There was a high level of engagement and a high level of expectations… That was kind of above and beyond all the Institute stuff that was also going on.
Being a Lawyer: Do what you love…The law is a very encapsulating thing. People who go into the law are bright, intelligent, motivated individuals. They want to make a difference. They want to do something that’s good. They come in with idealistic ideas about changing the world or making a difference.
Scott A. Carroll
Class of 1993
UC College of Law: Nate Jones, the former Appellate Court Judge was going to Kenya to do a… program teaching them how to develop a constitution. So my summer job was preparing him to go do that.
Faculty: The first day of law school — and remember my Dad taught at UC for years. So he knew a lot of the professors… John Murphy… is talking and he asked this question and I raised my hand — first year, first day. I’m sitting about 20 rows up on the aisle in 114. I give my answer… He looks at me, hears my answer, doesn’t say a word, walks out around the desk, walks up the stairs to my desk, bends over and says, “No.” He turns around and walks back. He walked all the way up to say no. People around me, you could feel the mood…he is going to leave school tomorrow. At the end of the class, he looks at me and says, “Say hi to your father.”
Ken Aplin…By far, the best in class professor. He could take a 120 person class and turn it into a seminar. He was remarkable….He looked like a gigantic Papa Smurf…At the time, he was the guy who in 1960 had the highest GPA of anyone ever through law school.
Biancalana was entertaining.
Classmates: A guy in our class was a doctor, an emergency room physician who just thought he would go to law school to see how it was….He was in my section, he said… this is really hard….in medical school they hand you this book and they say memorize these 1400 pages and we’ll take a test on it. …Here, they ask me to read five pages, but then they want to know what I think about it. Then they want me to compare it to this other thing.
You can’t believe the number of law school people that we know are married. A guy named Joe Callow in our class was the SBA President…His wife is Amy Gasser Callow. She was a year or two behind us. Joe Callow wore that [green Miami of Ohio] sweatshirt every day….Rich Moore and Sally Moore, and Rick Landrum and Lori Landrum…Andy Berghausen and Monica Hamagami.
Jeff Teeters…grew up in a little town north of Dayton called Jackson Center…he was in my section…he realized that I was real big into basketball. One night I get home and on my answering machine is a radio broadcast of the 1985 high school boys basketball state championship…Jeff Teeters gets the ball and he makes the basket for his team to win the state championship. His number is on the water tower.
Social Life: There were lockers.There was the ping pong table in a room where several of the boys made up their own ping pong variations…. Socially, there were the rugby people.
In 1992, when UC went to the Final Four, we were second year law students. And a group of us, our little poker gang, we all got together and we rented a van, and we drove it from here to Kansas City for the Sweet Sixteen…We were the Bearcat Barristers and Channel 9 News spent five nights doing stories on us because they couldn’t believe that these law school geeks would go and be ridiculous fans and then study.
Being a Lawyer: In employment law, you’ve got to have more than a modicum of people skills….an enthusiasm for the job…able to read people very quickly and then respond in a way that’s going to help them…In my world, I’m eight-tenths a psychologist and two-tenths a lawyer….It’s people who are passionate about being customer service-oriented.
Jack B. Harrison
Class of 1993
UC College of Law: One of the issues for me, as it was for many students, was to avoid as much debt as I could. I was going to be pushing 40 when I graduated from law school. …There had been for a long time a relationship [between] the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and the University of Cincinnati law school through the Benwood Foundation. They had set up this endowment to send graduates of the University of Chattanooga to the University of Cincinnati law school. …I was chosen as one of the scholarship winners.
My friends around the country thought I was nuts being in Cincinnati as an openly gay man. While I was in law school, the gay politics of the city took a pretty nasty turn. So that made it difficult and it made it difficult in making a decision as to whether I would stay here or not. I always thought I was somewhat of an anomaly just because as a gay student at that time it was pretty isolating. It wasn’t that people were negative to me particularly; there weren’t any other people like me that I knew. Not that there weren’t any other gay and lesbian students; I’m sure there were, but they were pretty hidden and closeted.
Faculty:A contracts professor …Al Squillante was sort of an old-school, kind of Italian, Socratic sort of guy. Had a heart of gold…On the first day of class…our small section class…he would call on people to come down to the front to answer questions and talk about the case….They knew all the answers to everything. I remember us all looking at each other thinking… I don’t belong here. They are so much smarter than me. As it turns out, they were all ringers. They were all students who were practicing lawyers. He had set us all up.
John Applegate taught Torts and also taught some environmental policy types of courses. John was just a great teacher.
I had the good fortune as well of knowing a person who is still on the faculty now. He was doing a visiting year my last year in law school — Tom Eisele. Tom is without a doubt the best teacher I have ever seen in any area. I have taught and I’ve been in school for a big part of my life and Tom… is extraordinary in his ability to present complex material. He is the most organized person in the classroom I’ve ever seen. I just thought he was fabulous.
Richard L. Moore
Class of 1993
UC College of Law: As I looked at different opportunities, specifically an MBA versus law school, law school seemed to provide a better opportunity to explore a different area. My work experience gave me real world perspectives on some of the topics we discussed in law school… It helped me being disciplined as a law student.
I enjoyed my experience at the law school. I thought the environment was supportive. I thought that the professors were accessible.
Faculty: The one that was most memorable was my first semester first year Contracts professor. His name was Alphonse Squillante. We had our class in the mock trial room. He would sit as a judge. He would have us argue both sides of the cases we were prepared to present that day. That was always entertaining.
Being a Lawyer: I think law school certainly provided the basis in terms of the tools, research, writing. As I say, thinking like a lawyer. The biggest area law school really didn’t prepare for is kind of the business aspect, client development that becomes more and more important as you continue on in your career… The law profession is increasingly becoming more of a business. There’s more of a business drive to it than what it had in the past. So there is more pressure to develop clients, more pressure to deliver your services efficiently.
Erin E. O'Grady
Class of 1993
UC College of Law: For me, the quality of education was fascinating.To go in and sit down in a room where you listen to people talk. Very different…than going through a bunch of numbers.
Faculty: When you take a course like Corporate Tax or Advanced Corporate Tax, Rands sits there and makes it simple. There is method to that madness…You think it can’t be this black and white…I had conversations with Rands about draw this box that way and this box that way, and this is what will happen. Watching a large multinational execute those very basic steps and seeing the 827 other steps it takes to actually make that happen [is interesting].
Eisele…he was one of my favorites. Tomain was good.
Classmates:We all, especially in our first year, bonded with [our] section mates more than anything else There were five sections… You had the talkers in class. You had the people who never talked in class.
Social Life: Our first date Scott Carroll was Valentine’s Day in 1991. We had both gotten our Con Law grades that day.
Being a Lawyer: In my line of work, it is creativity and problem solving….The best lawyers are the ones that understand your business, understand what your issues are, and can help you work through them. That makes them better consultants.
Reeta H. Brandamour
Class of 1995
UC College of Law:One of things that happened when I was in law school was the O.J. Simpson trial. They brought a TV into the cafeteria…so when they read the verdict everybody could see it. What was so interesting to me was…the reaction of people and the reaction along race lines of people to the verdict.
That was the time when the Internet was first starting…I remember we could start looking up our grades on the computer in the office of the Registrar.
Law school doesn’t really teach you how to be a lawyer. It teaches you how to think…I think as a trial lawyer, you have to be able to do that.
I had a really great experience at that school. I’m really happy that they let me go to school there.
Faculty: Paul Caron...I took all the tax classes…he was my favorite teacher. Professor Rands, too. I liked him.
Dean Tomain was there. Professor Aplin…I had him for Civil Procedure. I had Professor Biancalana.
Professor Murphy taught my Contracts class…I actually got the book award in that class so I was happy. But I was scared to death of him.
Classmates: I started law school when my youngest son started first grade…my oldest son who just graduated from college…still remembers coming to class. One of my friends babysat for me…She read him Tort cases as a bedtime story. He still remembers the difference between trespass and nuisance.
Bertie Helmick was in the same position as I was….Her youngest and mine were the same age…. She was an opera singer before she went to law school. So for our Contracts class at the end of the year, she sang the twelve days of Contracts. It was so great. She has this incredible voice. So that was really fun.
They put all of us parents in one section…and scheduled our classes between 9 and 3… I think I was the only single parent.
The first year of law school, we had a final exam on the same day as my son’s school play. I was devastated…I’m talking to [Griffin] and she said…my mom would come to the dress rehearsal if she couldn’t be at my play. If she hadn't told me that, I never would have thought of doing that.
Being a Lawyer: Keep your timesheets on a daily basis. That was one of the best lessons I every learned from somebody….Put in as many hours as the job requires, even if you know you are not going to get paid for it…You need to just do a good job.
Class of 1995
Urban Morgan Institute: The first thing I remember was Bert Lockwood actually brought me down from Notre Dame to look at the program. I was…still a Catholic priest at that time. I later retired from active ministry to focus on the practice of human rights law…Bert had given me the wrong directions to the hotel where I was supposed to be staying. I was coming up the hill from the highway and I guess took a left instead of a right…and ended up at a motel that was really a “no-tell” motel. I walked in in my Catholic priest suit and said, “My name is Father Terry Coonan. I have reservations that were made either by Bert Lockwood or Nancy Ent for tonight.” And of course they could not find that. They looked at me and they said, “Father, do you want to pay by the night or by the hour?” I realized suddenly that perhaps I was in the wrong motel. But I wasn’t quite sure. Ever since then I’ve asked both Bert and Nancy, “Is that a motel where a lot of guests that come to the University of Cincinnati on the dime of the Urban Morgan Institute are actually put up?” The concept of paying for a motel by the hour was a new concept for me at the time. That was part of my great introduction to the Urban Morgan.
I went on to have a wonderful three years of studies there — three of the best years of my life. It meant such a great deal to me to first of all have that sort of small law school experience, just in terms of friendships with classmates. Even more so to have the support of the Urban Morgan Institute, of Bert and that whole constellation of human rights scholars and activists that really were part of the network that Bert has assembled over the years. It was a superlative law school experience, one that I am very grateful for because it really has kind of launched me into the career of human rights advocacy, which has just been a passion of mine.
I was also tremendously grateful for the writing experiences, getting to work on the Human Rights Quarterly, and also for the internships that the Urban Morgan made possible. I spent one summer working in Geneva for the UN High Commission for Refuges, and then another working with the UN Human Rights Commission.
Faculty: One of the wonderful things about Cincinnati was just the caliber of the law professors that were there. Starting with the people that taught us Contracts Law, like Professor Murphy, getting to study under Professor Carro with Immigration Law. There were just really, really remarkable scholars. Professor Aplin, who taught us Civil Procedure. We were extremely fortunate in the level of professor that we were able to get in very small courses there. I appreciated that even more so since graduating from law school when I talk to peers and colleagues in the law field for whom many of them law school was a not so wonderful experience. It was actually more of an ordeal.
Being a Lawyer: Legal changes happen slowly at times, especially when you think of policy, but when you think of the process of adjudication, which is one case at a time, what a difference you can make in people’s lives when you become an advocate that way… I find myself hopeful that within international law and increasingly within U.S. law, we have remedies that can actually help people. It can make unjust systems more just. I think it’s the ability to realize that we can make a difference, we can change the world. It’s really the great privilege that we have as lawyers.
Santonya C. Fair
Class of 1995
UC College of Law: There was an older woman who offered one scholarship each year to a student in need, and I had been selected for it….When I found that I had been selected for that scholarship, that really sealed it. I got a chance to talk to her and I really felt like it was a blessing.
Cincinnati was great. It was a nice big city, very progressive. Some really top law firms are there. I loved the University environment. While I was there, that was the phase where the University was going through a huge influx of money from very generous donors, from corporations and foundations. They were building everywhere. The basketball team was winning. The football team was winning.There was a lot on campus… Everyone was very positive. Just the fact that it was in growth mode… It was a good time to be there. The law school and the medical school students would kind of hang out, because it was a very select group of ostracized people.
Going to UC then, it was still the affirmative action time. You could have had a 4.3 coming out undergrad and everybody still thought if you were black and in law school it must be because someone gave you a pass… I came in with, I think, 15 other African American students out of a class of about 150.
I remember Al in the financial aid office, who was wonderful. The Deans were just really supportive…it was an environment that very quietly was very supportive….if it wasn’t for Associate Dean Barbara Watts, Dean Joe Tomain, I never would have made it through law school…. There were all these very quiet people throughout the law school. It wasn’t their job, but there were all these folks who always on a day when I didn’t think I could make it any more, would walk through the hallway and say something to me that would make me know that I could get through.
I had an externship with a federal judge. That was my first externship. That was incredible because he did all of the RICO cases, all the drug cases.
Faculty: I think Professor Weissenberger was probably my favorite. Right behind him, the man who was literally my nemesis…was Professor Lassiter.
Social Life: Socially, life was good. Your professors could walk across the street with you and go over to Woody’s, shoot some darts, win some Guinness, go to the juke box and play Red Hot Chili Peppers all night. It was a really a fun group.
Being a Lawyer: I tell people the best thing in the world to do is get a law degree and never practice law. The JD is instrumental, it gets you recognized… It should qualify you to be a better speaker, a better presenter, better research analyst, better at being able to effectively communicate, and many other things…I absolutely feel like it’s the best thing I ever did…It was an investment in me.
Bertha P. Helmick
Class of 1995
UC College of Law: I went to CCM and I got a degree in opera… My husband was an attorney. He was a judge at the time I entered into law school. I was always fascinated with his account of the cases and reasoning, and it was between that and nursing school because both were three year programs… I was solicited by 24 law schools, asking me to apply there and they would waive the fees, including Stanford and Cornell. But having two babies…I was pretty limited. I had been out of school for sixteen years by the time I went back to law school.
I remember distinctly waiting in line to get my picture for the picture ID and the class picture. And everybody on that first very nervous day bragging about…well I went to this university… I said CCM and opera, and everybody started laughing. I said, “Trust me — I will eat you for lunch in trial because I love a stage.”
Faculty: Every one of them is engraved indelibly in my mind. Of course, we cull from each the best that each has to offer, and they were all just invaluable for every one of the contributions, however great or small… I was simply extremely grateful for them imparting their knowledge.
Professor Biancalana was my professor [for Constitutional Law] that first semester, and I still think he, with all due respect to all the other professors, is just legions beyond any other professor or any other thinker that I have ever come across. I took every course he taught through my three years.
But there were other professors that taught me other types of abstract thinking – Ronna Schneider for one.
Professor Murphy for Contracts was the epitome of The Paper Chase. He was brutal and funny and wicked and difficult and a master at conveying the subject matter. He is just brilliant… I took the twelve days of Christmas and applied different words, provided a different text to it at the end of our Contracts class, for the twelve days of Contracts, applying [and] intertwining some of the cases that we had learned into the lyrics of the song….I actually sang at his retirement party….
Social Life: I was in a small section where a lot of what I would call the retreads were… People with different careers coming for a second chance at life. I would say at least 25% were retreads. We had a large group.We were older; we were not the drinking crowds at Uncle Woody’s.
There wasn’t that much camaraderie. It was kind of a strange mismosh. I…ended up studying most of my years there with a Russian immigrant and an Indian student. We became very fast friends. The Russian student is still my best friend and is a brilliant attorney.
Being a Lawyer: When I try to prepare people to go to law school, I always say read the footnotes. Because … you do not want to hire the attorney that barely got by, you want to go to the attorney who read the footnotes.
Heather A. Summey
Class of 1995
UC College of Law:I liked UC. I liked that it was small… a good class ratio, class-professor-student ratio… I really liked Al Watson… He just went out of his way to make me feel very welcome there and… getting me on the right path. I just remember walking in there and liking that it was a self-contained building and that it was in the corner of the campus and the library was beautiful.
Faculty: I pretty much loved everything that I could take with Professor Lassiter. We had a good time with him….As obnoxious and… entertaining as he could be, we gave it right back to him….I don’t know if he still starts his classes with, “Shall we begin?” but he did that back then… So at one point he did that and the entire class stood up and threw paper airplanes at him. One small class, I think it may have been Antitrust…he had a water gun and we had silly string and it became this huge thing… Every class I had with him, I very much enjoyed, and I learned a lot.
I liked copyright with Professor Dinwoody… Braucher was our Contracts professor my first year and she was really nice. I mean, she was entertaining and very passionate about the Commercial Code, so I really got along well with her.
I will forever remember that movie that Professor Schneider showed us in Torts on…The Tale of Mrs. Palsgraff …there’s a person dressed as the “Scales of Justice” falling in a train track… it was just a hoot. And Professor Murphy. He used to teach Labor Law and he was wonderful.
I also had Professor Christenson… There were nine people… we each had to be a Justice of the Supreme Court and discuss things from that Justice’s angle… It was really great; it was a cool class.
Classmates: Our class…was a really great class…Our class and the class below us were really nice and fun and everyone enjoyed being there and enjoyed each other’s company... There were a lot of people that worked really hard, but I think everyone really tried to make an effort to be friendly.
I very much enjoyed law school. I enjoyed the people that I met…I have a lot of friends still from law school that I see twice a year…We started — spring of our first year — a fantasy baseball draft at our law school and we… still meet every spring in one of their law offices…it’s been fifteen years that we’ve been doing it.
There are a lot of friendships forged, I think, in our class that still remain. I know there’s a group of people that I graduated with who still live in Cincinnati and they still do dinner club…once a month… It’s nice, we really genuinely liked each other.
Social Life: When you go into Woody’s next time, look on the wall as you walk in on the left, and there are plaques… engraved names of who made Bar Review from each class… After our end of classes party third year everyone would go over to Woody’s…they would stand up on the bar and announce who made Bar Review for that class…Basically it was if you spent an exorbitant amount of time at Woody’s throughout your law school career…We had all solidified that position first year…When graduation came, I took my parents into Woody’s and showed them my name on the plaque.