Until she moved to Cincinnati to attend law school, Beth Mandel ‘05 lived within an hour of Detroit her entire life. She attended the University of Michigan as an undergraduate student and earned a bachelor’s degree in English and psychology. Mandel had planned on continuing her education to get a PhD in clinical psychology, until she took a class called “Women and the Law” in her junior year and was reminded of her interest in the law. “In sixth grade, my class had a mock trial and I was the prosecutor,” she explained. “I loved it. I worked for weeks to prepare my questions for the witnesses. I was so serious about it that I actually made one of witnesses cry on the stand.” At the same time, Mandel was volunteering as a patient escort at an abortion clinic and at a domestic violence shelter, and she felt that law school would provide the best opportunities for her to advocate for women’s rights.
Mandel went to law school directly after finishing her undergraduate education. “I was really excited about law school, and I couldn’t wait to start,” she stated. “I would advise prospective law students to work for a few years in between, though, because in retrospect I think it would have been nice to have that experience.” Mandel chose UC for law school for several reasons. When she was applying, she was focused on schools in Washington, D.C., but found the costs of tuition at D.C. schools to be prohibitive. The College of Law appealed to Mandel because of the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights, and because the faculty, staff, and students with whom she interacted during a visit to the school gave her the impression that the school provided a supportive environment for students.
Mandel found that those initial impressions were accurate. She was very involved with the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights (UMI) during her time at UC, and served as the managing editor for the Human Rights Quarterly as a 3L. She was also a member of the University of Cincinnati Law Review. She was able to make many important friendships with fellow law students and UC Law staff, and she is still in contact with several of them.
Summertime as a UC Law Student
During her first summer of law school, Mandel worked in Washington, D.C., at the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “One of the best aspects of the UMI is that Professor Bert Lockwood has many contacts in the human rights community and works hard to place students in internships that will best suit their skills and interests,” she said. The position at Planned Parenthood was in line with Mandel’s interests in reproductive rights and health equity, and Mandel stated she “couldn’t have picked a better way” to spend her first summer.
Mandel stayed in Cincinnati during her second summer in law school. She worked as a ssummer associate for Dinsmore & Shohl, LLP. Mandel stated that the experience allowed her the opportunity to “learn a lot about the actual practice of law.” She worked alongside several skilled attorneys and has maintained a connection with several of them.
Life after Passing the Bar
After graduating from law school and passing the bar, Mandel clerked for Judge James Gwin, an Article III federal judge for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. At that time, Judge Gwin held court in both Akron and Cleveland, and Mandel ended up working in both cities. “During that year, I got a ‘crash course’ in the inner workings of the federal court system,” she said. Currently, Mandel is serving as a career law clerk for Judge Susan Dlott, chief judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.
Mandel stated that there are many wonderful aspects of being a law clerk for a federal judge. “Both Judge Gwin and Judge Dlott are incredibly intelligent,” she said, “and it has been a great privilege to work with them both.” She also commented that her job is fast-paced and is never boring. “I am always exploring new areas of law, because with every case I seem to encounter a legal issue or question that I haven’t come across before.” Mandel also stated that she considers Judge Dlott to be one of her greatest mentors. “I have been so lucky to get the chance to work with her and to learn from her,” she said.
Giving Back to the Law Community
Currently, Mandel also teaches at the College of Law with Pamela Newport ’05. They have taught the International Women’s Human Rights Seminar for the past two years. “I have enjoyed teaching because it allows me to focus on issues that I don’t typically deal with as a federal law clerk, such as domestic violence, reproductive rights, human trafficking, and a number of other issues related to women’s rights,” said Mandel. “I also really enjoy working with the students, all of whom have impressed me.”
In her free time, Mandel enjoys reading, working out, going to see live band performances, and spending time with friends, family, and her fiancé Brian Driscoll. She also volunteers when she has the opportunity; she has worked with an organization called Friends of the Children, and she and her fiancé spent the holidays delivering food and gifts to elderly individuals in Cincinnati during the holidays through the Little Brothers: Friends of the Elderly organization.