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University of Cincinnati College of Law Receives $1 Million Gift

James B. Helmer, Jr.New Building to Benefit

Cincinnati, OH—James B. Helmer, Jr. ’75, president of Helmer, Martins, Rice & Popham Co., L.P.A, has pledged $1 million to the University of Cincinnati College of Law to support the Proudly Cincinnati Campaign.

The first seven-figure gift for the law school’s Cornerstones fundraising campaign, this leadership gift will benefit the law school’s $30 million building project.“Jim’s generosity is an outstanding example of true commitment and this gift’s impact will be felt for generations”, said Dean Louis D. Bilionis.

“I’m excited and honored to make this investment,” said Mr. Helmer, who is also co-chair of the law school’s Cornerstones Campaign committee. “The College of Law continues to make an impressive ascent in the upper ranks of American legal education. This can only continue if judicious investments in facilities are made.”

The Cornerstones Campaign, a multi-million dollar investment program recently launched by the law school, is critical to the continued success of the 176-year-old institution.

Helmer’s new commitment allows the College of Law to move toward providing a new home for the College that will sustain the work, study, development, and growth of our students, faculty, and community.

“We have never asked before for this level of giving from our alumni, friends, and the community. Now is a crucial time to ensure that the College of Law remains a civic asset.This College of Law is a gem; I see it as a diamond in the rough, if you will. Now it needs polishing and a new building is our most pressing need. The College needs our support so that it can shine brilliantly, attracting the brightest students and faculty.”

“The Cornerstones Campaign covers not only a new building but also builds on our existing programs and helps to open new frontiers,” said Dean Bilionis.

A longtime supporter of the College of Law, Mr. Helmer has always been motivated to support the law school by “giving back” to the place that has given him so much. In fact, he has been “giving back” to his alma mater for over 25 years through the creation of a professorship, student scholarship, and student prize award.

Previous gifts from Mr. Helmer have created opportunities for faculty and students alike.

Established almost 20 years ago, the James B. Helmer, Jr. Professorship of Law, is currently held by Professor Brad Mank who focuses his work on environmental issues that impact society. Mank has worked with the City of Cincinnati on a number of environmental ordinances and implementation matters, including climate change, environmental justice, recycling, and air pollution issues that have positively affected the lives of residents.

The James B. Helmer, Jr. Scholarship was established 12 years ago to encourage students to strive for high academic achievement. Eighteen outstanding law students have benefitted from this fund and graduates have gone on to excel at many prominent local and national firms and other positions – from Jones Day in Chicago, IL to the public defender’s office in Lexington, South Carolina.

Since 1989, thirty-one editors of the University of Cincinnati Law Review, a student-edited publication that makes significant contributions to national legal scholarship, have received the James B. Helmer, Jr. Prize. Mr. Helmer was the Law Review Editor while at UC Law and this generous Prize is awarded to the law review editor each year to help defray the cost of law school.

A Profile of Benefactor James B. Helmer, Jr.

A highly accomplished attorney for 34 years, Mr. Helmer has successfully represented clients in numerous civil rights, personal injury, securities fraud, admiralty, and business lawsuits. Approximately half of Mr. Helmer’s practice, which is exclusively devoted to litigation, involves the representation of employees “blowing the whistle” on fraudulent government contractors. Mr. Helmer has obtained several multi-million dollar jury verdicts and has been trial counsel in over 300 published legal decisions.

In 1985, 1986, and 1989 he testified before Congress concerning amendments to the False Claims Act and all of his suggested changes were ultimately enacted into law. Last year, Mr. Helmer argued and won the Allison Engine case before the United States Supreme Court in a 9-0 decision against former solicitor general, Theodore Olson. Congress again sought his help in 2008 and his testimony then helped shape the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act of 2009.

His hard work and dedication to the law has been awarded many times. He is a recipient of the College of Law’s Nicholas Longworth III Alumni Achievement Award for distinguished professional service and the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Committee, the premier national whistleblower organization.