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Professor Sandra Sperino’s Work Cited by Third Circuit, Creates Circuit Split


A decision out of the Third Circuit has created a circuit split with three other circuits. On January 10, 2017, the Third Circuit issued an opinion in Karlo v. Pittsburg Glass Works, LLC, No. 15-3435. The Third Circuit held that subgroup claims are allowed in ADEA disparate impact cases, creating a circuit split on the issue. A subgroup claim is when a group of workers tries to establish disparate impact by proving that a subset of older workers were disparately impacted by a decision. For example, in a reduction in force, the employees might argue that workers 50 and older were impacted by the reduction in force compared to workers younger than 50. Read the complete blog posting and Professor Sperino’s article The Sky Remains Intact: Why Allowing Subgroup Evidence is Consistent with the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 90 Marq. L. Rev. 227 (2006).
Read: Friend of the Court

University of Cincinnati College of Law Names Assistant Dean for Academics and Diversity


Staci Rucker has joined the College of Law in the newly created position of Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs, Student Affairs and Diversity.

Cincinnati, OH—The University of Cincinnati College of Law has named Staci Patterson Rucker its first-ever Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs, Student Affairs and Diversity. This new position reflects the law school’s continued commitment to fostering an intellectually challenging and diverse learning environment, a value that is embraced by the University of Cincinnati also.

“It is a true honor to appoint someone of Dean Staci Rucker’s high caliber as the first administrator at Cincinnati Law to have the word “diversity” in her title,” said Jennifer S. Bard, Dean and Nippert Professor of Law at the law school. “Dean Rucker’s role is also a new one in that she is focused on students. She has already improved the quality of life for students at the law school by developing, with Associate Dean Mank, a new system of subject matter based academic advising as well as streamlining some of the students administrative tasks in the areas of registration and exams. I also know that many students have already benefited from her good judgment and sound advice—I know I certainly have and look forward to working with her for many years to come.” As assistant dean, Rucker is responsible for the administration of student services and the hands-on management of student issues. “Whether it is academic planning, disability services, a leave of absence, or faculty/student relations, I strive to be students’ first stop for answers and support,” says Rucker. “I am also a resource for faculty and staff. If [a faculty or staff member] is concerned about a student, I will work with them to develop a plan to support a student who may be in crisis.”

While the college has always had an academic and student affairs dean or director, Rucker is the college’s first dean for diversity. “As the College’s first dean for diversity, I will have tremendous responsibilities to architect the college’s efforts to define, cultivate and support a more diverse and inclusive campus environment and legal community in Cincinnati,” she says. “These responsibilities will be interpreted and acted upon by collaborating with leaders of a variety centers, offices and initiatives within the College and the greater Cincinnati community that already support diversity and inclusion efforts.”

Rucker is an experienced leader in higher education. Prior to joining the College of Law, she was assistant dean for student affairs at the University of Dayton School of Law. In that role, Rucker was the visionary behind the development of Dayton Law’s learning communities, dean’s fellows and academic advising programs. She was also responsible for advising all student groups; overseeing the coordination of orientation and graduation; and counseling students on a range of issues including professional development, academic concerns, and incidents of bias and harassment. The opportunity to join the College of Law, however, was one she couldn’t pass up.

“The University of Cincinnati is an internationally-renowned university and impacts every aspect of the city. The university’s commitment to diversity is nationally and internationally respected. It is an exciting time to be at UC and I am honored to be a part of it.”

A summa cum laude graduate of Howard University and a graduate of Harvard Law School, Rucker began her career as an attorney at law firms in Washington, DC and Atlanta, GA. After transitioning to North Carolina, she joined the ranks of academia and administration, serving as interim director of Academic Support at North Carolina Central University School of Law, where she also taught an upper-level legal writing course. Later, she clerked for the Honorable James A. Wynn, Jr., formerly on the North Carolina Court of Appeals and now on the Fourth Circuit, before coming to the Ohio Valley.

Reflecting on the importance of and her personal philosophy about diversity and inclusion, Dean Rucker shared the following: “It is not just the presence of diversity on a campus or a practice of tolerance or acceptance of differences that makes a campus community inclusive; rather, it is an active strategy to harness and value differences to achieve an institution’s overall mission. I look forward to engaging in open and honest dialogue with students, faculty, staff and alumni to build an exemplary law school where diversity and inclusion are valued and interwoven seamlessly into every aspect of the College and the community it serves. ”

About the University of Cincinnati College of Law
Founded in 1833, the University of Cincinnati College of Law recognizes diversity as a core value. The law school introduced the nation’s first joint JD/MA Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies program in 1995 and continues to lead and innovate with initiatives such as the Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice. The school’s commitment to improving diversity in the legal profession includes introducing youth to careers in law at an early age through inclusion in the Law & Leadership Institute, a program to help increase minority representation in Ohio’s law schools, and Summer Work Experience in Law (SWEL), a program sponsored by the Black Lawyers Association of Cincinnati-Cincinnati Bar Association Round Table, to expose minority high school and college students to the legal field.

Professor Jacob Katz Cogan Named 2016 Harold C. Schott Scholarship Award Recipient


University of Cincinnati College of Law recognizes the scholarly achievements of international law expert Professor Jacob Katz Cogan with its annual Harold C. Schott Scholarship Award.

Cincinnati, OH—International law expert Jacob Katz Cogan, the Judge Joseph P. Kinneary Professor of Law, is the newest recipient of the Harold C. Schott Scholarship Award. Each year, this award recognizes outstanding research and scholarly achievement by a member of the faculty of the University of Cincinnati College of Law.

“Professor Cogan is an influential, internationally recognized scholar,” says Cincinnati Law Dean Jennifer S. Bard. “His current research is shedding new light on international law that will have a significant impact on the global legal community.”

An influential, internationally recognized scholar, Professor Cogan’s recent work has focused on international organizations, as well as “operational international law”—the informal (and sometimes hidden) rules that are created through the practices and understandings of states and international institutions. He is the co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of International Organizations (2016) and Looking to the Future: Essays on International Law in Honor of W. Michael Reisman (2011), and his articles and essays have appeared in the American Journal of International Law, the European Journal of International Law, the Harvard International Law Journal, and the Yale Journal of International Law, among other journals. One of his articles was awarded the prestigious Francis Deák Prize of the American Society of International Law.

Professor Cogan is an active member of the American Society of International Law and an elected member of the American Law Institute. He teaches a variety of international courses, as well as contracts, and has been awarded the College of Law’s Goldman Prize for Excellence in Teaching. Since 2007, he has edited the International Law Reporter, a widely read blog on scholarship, events, and ideas in international law, international relations, and associated disciplines.

Immediately prior to joining the College of Law, Professor Cogan served as an attorney-adviser in the Office of the Legal Adviser at the U.S. Department of State. He is a recipient of the Department’s Superior Honor Award. He earned his J.D. from the Yale Law School, his M.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton University, and his B.A., magna cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania.

As this year’s Schott Award recipient, Professor Cogan will present a public lecture during the upcoming year.

Cincinnati Moot Court Team To Go International


This coming March, a team from the University of Cincinnati College of Law will compete in an international arbitration moot in Hong Kong.

By John B. Pinney, Senior Trial Lawyer and Chair, International Practice Group, Graydon Head & Ritchey LLP. and Moot team coach

Over the past two years, the University of Cincinnati College of Law has been working towards fielding a team to compete “against the world” in Hong Kong in the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot. Now, all of the time and hard work has come to fruition as a team of UC College of Law students will represent the tri-state in late March at the 2017 international competition, becoming only the second Ohio school to compete in the Vis Moot in history.

Making the Cut
In October, a team of eight law students, including three 3Ls, three 2Ls, and two LLM attorney students, was selected. Currently, the entire team is working on researching and preparing written memoranda supporting each side of a hypothetical commercial dispute; only the top four participants will travel to Hong Kong to compete. While in Hong Kong, the team members will not only fight hard in competing against teams from all six continents, but will also meet and network with other law students, as well as attorneys practicing in international commercial arbitration, from all over the world.

What is the Vis Moot Competition?
In 1992, the Vis Moot was created for the promotion and study of international commercial arbitration and to train tomorrow’s legal leaders in the methods of dispute resolution of international business disputes. Named for Willem C. Vis, a law professor and United Nations diplomat dedicated to enhancing cross-border business transactions, the moot quickly became a success with hundreds of law schools from around the world coming to Vienna each spring. In fact, the moot was so successful that in 2003 a second venue in Hong Kong was established – the Vis East International Arbitration Moot. The 2016 moot attracted almost 400 teams to Vienna and Hong Kong. Competitors included teams from Harvard, Georgetown, Stanford, USC and Yale. This year’s competition, held at the City University of Hong Kong, is expected to host approximately 120 law school teams.

Each year, Vis Moot teams are given a “problem” in early October that is based on a hypothetical commercial dispute arising under the Convention for Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG)1. The problem for the 2017 moot involves the sale of jet engine parts from a seller located in “Equitoriana” and a buyer located in “Mediterraneo.” In their “contract,” the parties agreed to resolve any disputes by international commercial arbitration in the country of “Danubia” administered by a Brazilian arbitral institution. (The problem is always drafted to require an understanding of the 1958 New York Convention on Recognition and Enforcement of International Arbitration Awards and the UNCITRAL Model Arbitration Law, as well as the CISG.)

Built into each year’s problem are issues involving both the procedures of international arbitration practice and substantive breach of contract issues based on the CISG. The procedural issues this year are whether the seller’s arbitration notice was timely and whether the seller should be required to post security in order to proceed with the arbitration. The substantive issues deal with whether the buyer or seller should pay for losses arising from fluctuating currency exchange rates and large unexpected bank fees. During the competition, each team will argue both sides through written memoranda and in oral arguments before real-life international arbitrators who have volunteered to judge the competition.

Competition Supported throughout Tri-State
College of Law Dean Jennifer S. Bard is a strong advocate for the law school’s international programs and in enhancing the international proficiency of the school’s students. In addition, the school has helped to partially underwrite the costs of sending the team to the competition. Dean Bard said, “In a world where business in the Cincinnati region is increasingly becoming part of a globalized world economy, today’s lawyers need to know how to help clients resolve business disputes not only within the United States, but also in China, in Germany or, as a practical matter, anywhere in the world. We at the College of Law believe we must equip our graduates to have the skills required to practice law relevant in the 21st century, including international arbitration, which increasingly is becoming a necessity for today’s dispute resolution lawyers. The Vis Moot provides not only an exciting opportunity for our students to travel to Hong Kong and see first-hand another culture and legal system different from our own, but, more importantly, it introduces them to and allows them to learn from some of the world’s leading international dispute lawyers and arbitrators. We are extremely happy to support our students and their coach, Professor Pinney, as they compete in the 2017 Vis Moot competition.”

Additionally, Professor Rachel Smith, faculty advisor to the law school’s Moot Court program, and Assistant Dean for International Student Programs Nora Burke Wagner assisted with helping to coordinate the team and arrangements for the trip. Steve McDevitt, an associate at Frost Brown Todd, serves as the team’s assistant coach. McDevitt brings a wealth of experience to the team as he competed in the competition in 2013 and 2014 while at Georgetown Law School and has shared insights on writing winning memoranda and making effective oral arguments on an international competition level.

Why take this opportunity to participate in Vis Moot? Among the important benefits is their opportunity to join the Moot Alumni Association. All participants in both the Hong Kong and Vienna competitions are able to join the Vis Moot Alumni Association, which now has thousands of members. Through the association, team members can maintain their connections among their fellow competitors and the arbitrators, further enhancing their professional development and careers.

We’re confident that the Cincinnati legal community will enthusiastically support our “Cincinnati team” as they prepare for this rigorous challenge. By doing so, not only do we enhance ourselves, but also how the rest of the world views the tri-state and the University of Cincinnati College of Law.

 

1The CISG is a United Nations convention governing the cross-border sale of goods. The United States and 83 other countries have adopted and are parties to the CISG. Unless expressly disclaimed, the CISG automatically applies to contracts for the sale of goods where the parties to the contract (buyer and seller) are from different countries that are signatories to the CISG. For example, the CISG will apply, in lieu of the Uniform Commercial Code, to a contract specifying Ohio law because the CISG, as a convention to which the United States is a party, is part of Ohio law by virtue of the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Dean Emeritus Joseph P. Tomain Recognized for Faculty Excellence


Cincinnati, OH—Respected legal scholar and Dean Emeritus Joseph P. Tomain has been named the recipient of the Faculty Excellence Award. The award, supported by the Twenty-Fifth Reunion Faculty Excellence Fund, recognizes a faculty member in the College of Law who has made the greatest scholarly contribution to legal education within an academic year.

“Dean Emeritus and Wilbert and Helen Ziegler Professor of Law Joe Tomain is a distinguished scholar and this award is one of many he has received. But I am particularly glad that he is the inaugural recipient of the Faculty Excellence Award because it sets a standard of excellence for the future,” said Jennifer S. Bard, Dean and Nippert Professor of Law at the law school. “We are very fortunate to have Dean Tomain on our faculty, to acknowledge his high level of scholarship, and to publicize it to a wide audience of lawyers, academics, and policy makers.”

His teaching and research interests focus in the areas of energy law, law and the humanities, regulatory policy, and contracts. Dean Tomain has written extensively in the energy law field. His recent publications include:

  • Clean Power Politics: The Democratization of Energy (Cambridge University Press 2017)
  • Energy Law in the United States of America (Kluwer Publishing 2015)
  • Energy Law and Policy (West Publishing2015)
  • Achieving Democracy: The Future of Progressive Regulation (Oxford University Press 2014)

These publications build on an already impressive scholarly record that includes nine additional books, more than 50 articles, and numerous book chapters and essays.

In addition to his teaching and scholarship, Dean Tomain has served on a number of professional and civic organizations. He is Chair Emeritus of the Board of the KnowledgeWorks Foundation and has served on the Boards of the Ohio Justice and Policy Center, and the Center for Chemical Addictions Treatment among others. He has been actively involved with the ABA Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, as well as other state and local bar associations. Dean Tomain is a Life Member of the American Law Institute, the Sixth Circuit Judicial Conference, and a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

In his years in academia, Dean Tomain also has held positions as Visiting Environmental Scholar, Lewis & Clark Law School; Distinguished Visiting Energy Professor, Vermont Law School; Visiting Scholar in the Program of Liberal Studies, University of Notre Dame; Visiting Fellow, Harris Manchester College, Oxford University; Fulbright Senior Specialist in Law in Cambodia; and National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Fellow, Stanford University.

Before beginning his academic career, Dean Tomain practiced general litigation in New Jersey. He received his J.D. from George Washington University and his B.A. from the University of Notre Dame.

A Message for Dean Jennifer S. Bard


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Dear Friends,

I hope this finds all of you having enjoyed a healthy and happy 2016 and looking forward with anticipation to what is ahead in 2017.   As you know, we have had a very good year at the law school.  Our U.S. News & World Report ranking went up 22 points, our enrollment increased, and our bar passage remained very high, far exceeding the state average.

Also very important, the jobs data is in on the Class of 2015 and it puts us among the top 15 public law schools nationally for employment in full-time, J.D. required jobs and those for which a J.D. is an advantage. You can read the story here: jobs data.   Our final numbers for the class of 2016 won’t be in until 10 months after graduation, but they are on track to be similarly strong.

It has also been a year of considerable philanthropy.   You already know about the $15 million gift for the Ohio Innocence Project by Mr. Dick Rosenthal and the success of the Bruce B. & Ginny Conlan Whitman Fellowship, but many people have been very generous to the law school and our students.  I look forward to sharing a philanthropy report with specifics early next year.

As you know, it has been a year of many successes including the 22 point rise in US News ranking, the consistently very high bar passage rate, the return to a normal enrollment pattern with a class of 125 students, and continued strong employment numbers.  We also continue to get good publicity such as this International Jurist article about the short courses we offer students before the start of each semester: “A class during break?

We have also made considerable progress in bringing our international activities to greater prominence.  While it may not bear fruit for a few years, for the first time we submitted a report on our accomplishments to the international law professors at other schools who vote on U.S. News recognition of International Law Program.

As we close out the year, I want to thank you all for your support.  We are exceptionally lucky that so many people love this law school and give of their time to teach and mentor our students.  We are in the process of developing a more public way of recognizing those of you who teach, coach, and in so many other ways enhance the professional development of our students.

Meanwhile, as always, I hope that you will contact me if you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions about the law school.  I hope you are all telling the young adults you know about the opportunities in Cincinnati and the excellent education you received at the University of Cincinnati College of Law.

With warm best wishes to you and your families,

 

Jennifer S. Bard

Dean and Nippert Professor of Law

 

 

2017 Judge in Residence Program featuring Hon. Bernice B. Donald


Date: February 20-22, 2017

Schedule of Events

School Wide Talk: “Undermining Democracy through Felony Disenfranchisement Laws”
Date: February 20, 2017
Time: 12:10 p.m.
Location: Rm. 114

About the Speaker
Judge Donald was nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit by President Obama in 2010 and was confirmed by the Senate in September, 2011, becoming the first female African-American judge on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Prior to joining the Court of Appeals, Judge Donald served on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, where she was appointed by President Clinton in December 1995. Judge Donald served as Judge of U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Tennessee from June 1988 to January 1996, where she was the first African American woman to serve as a federal bankruptcy judge. When she was elected to the General Sessions Criminal Court in 1982, she became the first African American woman to serve as a judge in the history of the State of Tennessee. Judge Donald received her law degree from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law where she has served as an adjunct faculty member. Judge Donald was born in DeSoto County, Miss., in 1951, the sixth of 10 children of a domestic worker and a self-taught mechanic.

Judge Donald has lectured and trained judges around the world. She frequently serves as faculty for the Federal Judicial Center and the National Judicial College. She has taught at international programs in Romania, Mexico, Turkey, Brazil, Bosnia, Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, Senegal, Rwanda, Tanzania, Russia, Egypt, Morocco, Thailand, Armenia, Jamaica, and Manila. In 2003, Judge Donald led a People to People delegation to Johannesburg and Capetown, South Africa and traveled to Zimbabwe to monitor the trial of a judge accused of judicial misconduct.

Judge Donald has served as secretary of the American Bar Association (the first African-American woman to serve as an officer in the history of the association) and President of the American Bar Foundation. A longtime champion of civil rights and inclusion, she also chaired the ABA Commission on Opportunities for Minorities in the Profession, where she established the Spirit of Excellence Award. She also has served as President of the National Association of Women Judges, President of the Association of Women Attorneys, co-chair of the Task Force on Implicit Bias and Diversity for the ABA Section of Litigation, and co-chair of the Diversity Committee for the ABA’s Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section. In 2013, Judge Donald was elected to the Board of Directors of the American Judicature Society.

Judge Donald has been the recipient of over 100 awards for professional, civic, and community activities, including the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Memphis, the Martin Luther King Community Service Award, and the Benjamin Hooks Award presented in 2002 by the Memphis Bar Foundation. During the 2013 annual meeting of the National Bar Association, Judge Donald received the William H. Hastie Award, which recognizes excellence in legal and judicial scholarship and demonstrated commitment to justice under the law. In 2013, Judge Donald also received the Difference Makers Award from the Solo, Small Firm & General Practice Division of the American Bar Association, and the Pioneer Award from her fellow classmates at East Side High. In 2014, Judge Donald received both the University of Virginia’s Justice William Brennan Award and the American Bar Association’s John H. Pickering Award of Achievement, which recognizes dedication to the cause of equal justice for all and the highest standards of ethics and professionalism in the law.

Professor Jacob Katz Cogan Named 2016 Harold C. Schott Scholarship Award Recipient


University of Cincinnati College of Law recognizes the scholarly achievements of international law expert Professor Jacob Katz Cogan with its annual Harold C. Schott Scholarship Award.
Cincinnati, OH—International law expert Jacob Katz Cogan, the Judge Joseph P. Kinneary Professor of Law, is the newest recipient of the Harold C. Schott Scholarship Award. Each year, this award recognizes outstanding research and scholarly achievement by a member of the faculty of the University of Cincinnati College of Law.

“Professor Cogan is an influential, internationally recognized scholar,” says Cincinnati Law Dean Jennifer S. Bard. “His current research is shedding new light on international law that will have a significant impact on the global legal community.”

Professor Cogan’s research projects include:

  • A study of the changing scope of international law—how the purview of international law and institutions has shifted over time.
  • An exploration of “operational international law”—the informal (and sometimes hidden) rules that are created through the practices and understandings of states and international institutions.
  • A closer look at the structures of global governance, especially international organizations.

 

In the realm of scholarly publications, Professor Cogan served as co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of International Organizations (2016) and Looking to the Future: Essays on International Law in Honor of W. Michael Reisman (2011). His articles and essays have appeared in the American Journal of International Law, the European Journal of International Law, the Harvard International Law Journal, and the Yale Journal of International Law, among others. One of his published pieces was awarded the Francis Deák Prize of the American Society of International Law.

Professor Cogan is an active member of the American Society of International Law and an elected member of the American Law Institute. He teaches a variety of international courses, as well as contracts, and has been awarded the College of Law’s Goldman Prize for Excellence in Teaching. Since 2007, he has edited the International Law Reporter, a widely read blog on scholarship, events, and ideas in international law, international relations, and associated disciplines.

Professor Cogan earned his J.D. from the Yale Law School, his M.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton University, and his B.A., magna cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania. Before joining the College of Law, he served as an attorney-adviser in the Office of the Legal Adviser at the U.S. Department of State, where he received the Department’s Superior Honor Award.

As this year’s Schott Award recipient, Professor Cogan will present a public lecture during the upcoming academic year.

Cincinnati Law Gains Three new Faculty Positions to Support the Ohio Innocence Project


College of Law hires three faculty members to support the work of the Ohio Innocence Project. Jennifer Bergeron, Donald Caster and Brian Howe have been appointed to new professorships, further recognizing their work at the college.
Cincinnati, OH—The University of Cincinnati College of Law hires three new clinical faculty members for the Rosenthal Institute for Justice/Ohio Innocence Project (OIP) thanks to the exceptionally generous and visionary gift of philanthropist Dick Rosenthal.

Jennifer Bergeron, Donald Caster and Brian Howe, formerly OIP’s staff attorneys, are now Assistant Professors of Clinical Law. Their new positions involve teaching and supervising law students enrolled in the OIP Clinic, investigating and litigating claims of actual innocence by Ohio’s prisoners, and taking a public role in supporting the work of the Ohio Innocence Project.

“Adding three faculty positions to support the Ohio Innocence Project is a commitment to justice and to legal education at the University of Cincinnati College of Law” said Jennifer S. Bard, Dean and Nippert Professor of Law. “Not only do these three individuals bring a deep commitment to the mission of the Ohio Innocence Project, they are committed teachers and have already had a substantial impact on the education of hundreds of law students.

“Making them members of the faculty allows them to continue their important work representing clients while at the same time giving them the opportunity to expand their efforts in sharing the experience they have gained in representing the wrongfully accused with lawyers all over the world by supporting their already significant writing and public speaking activities. The impact of being able to hire three new faculty members of the same time represents the kind of big picture thinking that Dick Rosenthal and his family’s generosity to the law school has supported over the past twelve years.”

Added Mark Godsey, the Daniel P. and Judith L. Carmichael Professor of Law and Director, Lois and Richard Rosenthal Institute for Justice/Ohio Innocence Project, “ I am thrilled with the elevation of these three Ohio Innocence Project attorneys to the position of Assistant Clinical Professors of Law. Dick Rosenthal's gift, and the support of our many donors, made this possible. But the work of Jennifer, Donald and Brian, and their efforts to free the innocent, is what inspired Dick and many others to support our work. There could not be three more deserving lawyers and scholars."

Jennifer Paschen Bergeron ’02, Assistant Professor of Clinical Law
Jennifer Bergeron joined the OIP legal staff in 2007, wanting to refocus her career from litigation to public interest. A 2002 alumnae of the College of Law, she was a fellow with the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights while attending law school. She also was a member of the University of Cincinnati Law Review. Prior to law school, she earned a B.A from Centre College and an M.A. from the University of Virginia.

Upon graduation from the College of Law, Bergeron worked as an associate at Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease, and Ulmer & Berne LLP, focusing on employment litigation. Intrigued by the work of the OIP, she had followed the case of Clarence Elkins, one of its first exonerees, which impacted her decision to focus on social justice. When an opportunity to join the OIP legal staff presented itself, Bergeron decided to join the team. In an interview several years ago, she discussed why she enjoys her job as an attorney with the OIP—the clients. “When you believe a client is innocent, but he or she is stuck in prison with no one else to turn to, you can’t walk away from that,” she said. “It’s also a huge thrill when you actually exonerate someone.” In her role she also works closely with law students, training a new group of fellows each year.

Donald Caster ’03, Assistant Professor of Clinical Law
Donald Caster has the benefit of having worked on both sides of the aisle – as a prosecutor and, now, as a defense attorney. This experience has given him insight into a prosecutor’s point of view on post-conviction cases, which is invaluable as a staff attorney and teacher with the OIP.

A graduate of Youngstown State University, he received his J.D. from the College of Law. While a student here, Caster was a member of Moot Court and the University of Cincinnati Law Review. He was also a fellow with the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights. After graduating, he clerked for the Honorable Robert C. Chambers, Chief Judge, United States District Court, Southern District of West Virginia. Thereafter, he returned to Cincinnati to join Gerhardstein, Branch & Laufman, a civil rights firm, as an associate. Subsequently, he opened a solo practice, focusing on criminal defense and appellate litigation. He later worked in the Appellate Division of the Butler County Prosecutor’s office before joining the OIP as an attorney.

As an Assistant Professor of Clinical Law, Caster will continue his work teaching students and litigating cases. In addition, Caster and Assistant Clinical Professor Brian Howe deliver presentations and publish articles on aspects of the innocence field. The professors most recent work is scheduled for publishing this spring in the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law Review: Taking a Mulligan: The Special Challenges of Narrative Creation in the Post-conviction Context.

Brian Howe’10, Assistant Professor of Clinical Law
After graduating from The Ohio State University, Brian Howe pursued a career in advertising. However, recognizing that he wanted to find a more fulfilling career, he decided upon law school. And from the start he knew he wanted to work in the area of public interest.

While attending the College of Law, Howe worked on the University of Cincinnati Law Review and as a fellow with the OIP, researching and investigating cases he would have the opportunity to litigate years later. The recipient of numerous awards, he received the Gustavus Henry Wald Memorial Prize for Contracts, the Ernest Karam Book Award, and the Thompson Hine Flory Advocacy Prize.

Upon graduation, Howe was awarded an Equal Justice Works fellowship, representing consumers who faced predatory lending and servicing practices in rural southwest Ohio. After the two-year fellowship ended, he continued this work as a staff attorney with the Legal Aid Society of Southwest Ohio, defending foreclosures, handling evictions and assisting with other related cases. Howe joined the OIP as a staff attorney in 2014 and has helped litigate several exonerations, including the case of Derrick Wheatt, Laurese Glover and Eugene Johnson, who spent 20 years in prison for a crime they did not commit. Howe worked on this case as an OIP fellow.

Composing more than the Law: How a Piano Prodigy Combines Music and Law


A passion for music, education, and law brought Dr. Everett N. Jones to Cincinnati Law. Now a second-year law student, he is finding fulfillment combining these three distinct fields.

A Natural Talent for Music
Everett JonesAn active performer, educator and interpretive pianist, Dr. Jones showed a natural talent for music from an early age. Choosing to make music the focus of his academic career, Dr. Jones holds bachelors and masters of music degrees from Rowan University, as well as doctor of Musical Arts degree  in piano performance with a cognate in composition from the University of Cincinnati’s world-renowned College Conservatory of Music (CCM). Jones has also studied with music world greats Elizabeth and Eugene Pridonoff and the late Richard Fields, and received certificates from the Moscow State Conservatory Summer School, Prague Master Classes, and the Belgium International Piano Master Classes.

Dr. Jones is known today for playing traditional repertoire and music of African-American composers. He has been a soloist with the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra and the Mississippi Symphony, played solo recitals at the Kennedy Center, and has worked with many noted musicians including Grammy Award-winning gospel artist Donnie McClurkin. Dr. Jones also works as a music professor at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College.

Click here for performance videoDr. Jones says his love for music was what sparked his interest in law. “I’ve studied and worked professionally in the music world for many years. This led me to develop a strong interest in copyright law and labor and employment law.” All of this led him to Cincinnati Law.

Developing His Law Skills
During the summer between his first and second year, Dr. Jones had the opportunity to work in the General Counsel’s Office for Cincinnati Public Schools. He says he was drawn to this position because the General Counsel's Office handles a wide array of responsibilities, including labor and employment law, litigation, administrative, education and contracts law.

He says his favorite part of the experience was drafting legal documents, which included drafting a memorandum on Ohio’s Open Meetings Act that was presented to the Cincinnati Public Schools Board of Education; drafting a motion opposing a union’s motion to exclude drug and alcohol tests; and developing a cross examination outline for an expert witness.

While his experiences in the legal world have been radically different than those in his music career, Dr. Jones has enjoyed it nonetheless. The most rewarding part of law school, Jones says, has been “adjusting to a different way of thinking and writing.”

And he can appreciate how the music and law intertwine. “Reading music and reading legal cases are vastly different,” he said, “but both deal with subtleties, require complete focus, and take years to master.”

Authors: Michelle Flanagan and Sherry English