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2016 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients Announced

The Cincinnati Law Alumni Association announces the recipients of the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Awards: the Hon. Michael Barrett’77, Carolyn Taggart ’78, and Ken Patel ’90. This year’s honorees will be celebrated on Friday, May 20, 2016 at the Hall of Mirrors, Hilton Netherland Plaza. The event begins at 12:00 p.m. Meet the recipients now:

Hon. Michael Barrett ’77, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio

Cincinnati native the Hon. Michael Barrett is a double Bearcat, receiving both his bachelor’s and juris doctor degrees from the University of Cincinnati. After being admitted to the Ohio Bar, he served as an Administrative Hearing Officer for the State of Ohio. He then joined the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office as an assistant prosecutor and later was named a chief assistant prosecuting attorney, Felony Trial Division. Following the Prosecutor’s Office, Judge Barrett joined Graydon, Head & Ritchey LLP, first as an associate and later as a partner concentrating in general litigation. He worked at Graydon for 10 years, leaving to join Barrett & Weber as a shareholder where he remained until 2006.

On May 25, 2006, Judge Michael R. Barrett was sworn as a Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, a position he maintains today.

In addition to this work, Judge Barrett has served the university as a member of the UC Board of Trustees, including one term as chairman.

Carolyn Taggart ’78, Porter Wright

Carolyn “Candi” Taggart is a litigation partner at Porter Wright Morris and Arthur, where she focuses on product liability and complex commercial cases.  She graduated from Miami University in 1973, taught school in Cincinnati for 2 years, and then attended the University of Cincinnati College of Law, from which she graduated in 1978.  She began her legal career at Rendigs Fry Kiely & Dennis, where she was the first woman associate and then the first woman partner in that firm.  She joined Porter Wright in 2006.

As a trial attorney, Taggart has tried many cases in state and federal courts in Ohio and Kentucky.  She has been inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers as a Fellow, and is a Past President of the Ohio Association of Civil Trial Attorneys.  Last year she received OACTA’s Excellence in Advocacy Award.  She also serves as a faculty member for the National Institute of Trial Advocacy at the University of Cincinnati College of Law.

Taggart is involved in many community activities.  She is currently on the Board of the Good Samaritan Hospital Foundation, and serves on the University of Cincinnati College of Law’s Board of Visitors.  Her heart belongs to The Andy Caress Melanoma Foundation, started by her son, Andy, who died from melanoma in 2010.

The oldest of five sisters, Taggart grew up in Springfield, Ohio, where her father, Ted Taggart, was a trial attorney.  She and her husband, Bob Caress, live in Glendale, Ohio.  Their son, Rob, resides in Oakley, and their daughter, Courtney and her husband Jason, and children, Max and Molly, live in Indianapolis. 

Ken Patel ’90, Procter & Gamble

Ken Patel currently serves as vice president & general counsel for Procter & Gamble’s (P&G) business units where he leads a group of 65+ commercial attorneys located in Cincinnati and around the globe. Patel and the lawyers he leads advise P&G management on all aspects of product-related law including advertising, product liability, intellectual property, regulatory, safety and quality, brand acquisitions/divestitures, digital marketing and business-related litigation. He also serves as legal counsel to P&G’s Innovation & Technology Board Committee.

Patel joined P&G in 1993 and previously worked for a boutique IP law firm that is now part of Dinsmore & Shohl. He has had P&G legal assignments as a patent attorney and brand attorney in a variety of businesses, including an assignment in Japan leading P&G’s Asia legal practice for IP. He has taught International IP Law at the law school as an adjunct professor, and frequently speaks at conferences around the country on a variety of legal topics relevant to his practice at P&G.

He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Better Business Bureau in Washington D.C. He is also P&G’s Executive Liaison to the University of Cincinnati, and continues to coach high school mock trial at Seven Hills High School. Born and raised in Indianapolis to parents who emigrated from India in 1956, he earned a BS degree in chemical engineering from Purdue University in 1986 and a JD in 1990 from Cincinnati Law. When not working, he is devoted to his family (wife, Mala, and his collegiate daughter and son) and treasures vacation time with them.