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100% Success: Faculty Staff Campaign Makes History


What an impact! For what is believed to be the first time in our history, the College of Law reached the 100% participation level for the 2014 Faculty Staff campaign. This means all UC Law faculty and staff members contributed at some level to the annual giving campaign.

 “Reaching 100 percent participation is a fabulous accomplishment that makes a difference and says a lot about our individual and collective dedication to the College,” wrote Dean Lou Bilionis in a congratulatory email to the college body.

Kimberly Danker, Assistant Director of Development, concurred. “This milestone demonstrates the commitment we all share to the law school, its students, and its mission.  We have done what very few colleges have ever done, and the message is clear – we’re an amazing TEAM!”  

Why Give

There are many reasons for giving: out of habit, support of the program, or love for the college. For Brian Howe, Assistant Director of Academics for the Lois and Richard Rosenthal Institute for Justice and a first-time participant, the reason is both personal and professional. “I've worked for several public interest organizations, and I understand the importance of people giving to causes they believe in.  I want to do whatever I can to help the law school continue to promote the public interest, and allow the school to be a magnet for good students-- whatever their means or background.  It was also nice to show solidarity among the faculty and staff by getting 100% participation.  

“And finally, I'll admit I have some self-interest too. OIP counts on students to take a big role in our case work.  If UC can attract great students who might not otherwise have the chance to attend law school, and some of those students end up at OIP, it will be well worth the donation!”

This year’s campaign success is a significant increase over last year’s participation rate of 64%. It can also be favorably compared to the university’s overall participation rate of 66.35%, which is an all-time high.

Best of all, the college’s contribution and complete participation is serving as a catalyst for support to UC Law by other groups and alumni, noted Danker. It is inspiring others to reach for this goal. Beyond funding, the goodwill engendered has had a positive ripple effect among the law school’s communities.

Special thanks to co-chairpersons Cheryl DelVecchio, Assistant Director, Curriculum and student Affairs, and Professor Christopher Bryant, without whom this success wouldn’t have been possible.

Update on Homecoming Tailgate


Homecoming 2014 will be celebrated on September 20, 2014 when the Bearcats play Miami (OH) University. Because of Nippert Stadium renovations this year’s Bearcats home football games will be played at Paul Brown Stadium (PBS).  So, homecoming will be hosted at PBS and The Banks.

With that in mind, the College of Law has decided to not host a separate tailgate this year.  With so many activities and events that highlight both our great football team and Cincinnati’s heritage (Okotoberfest and the Hudepohl 14K Brewery Run that weekend), we encourage you to immerse yourself in these great activities.  There will be a Bearcat Fanzone around the PBS concourse and The Holy Grail Tavern & Grille is the official UC Headquarters for all home games.  Take part in the Hudepohl 14K and you will receive a mini-history of Cincinnati’s former breweries along the way or visit Oktoberfest if the Chicken Dance is more your speed.

For more information about homecoming and the weekend’s events, check www.uc.edu/homecoming and www.bearcatsfootball.com. For information about Oktoberfest visit www.oktoberfestzinzinnati.com and for information about the Hudepohl race details, check out www.hudepohl14kbreweryrun.com.

Constitution Day 2014: The American Constitution in a changing America


Date: September 17, 2014

Time: 12:15 – 1:15 p.m.

Location: Room 114

CLE: Application for one (1) hour of general CLE has been submitted for Ohio and Kentucky. Approval is expected.

This event will be webcast.

About the Event

Polarization in Congress and the nation’s politics.  Elections, campaign contributions, and money.  Equality and liberty in an increasingly diverse nation.  Individual privacy in a digital age.  Free market freedoms in a complex society and an interconnected world.

These are among the foremost constitutional challenges of our day, provoking controversies and cases that have captured the nation’s headlines and attention.  In this Constitution Day 2014 program, three constitutional law experts will explore how they are testing and evolving the meaning of the United States Constitution in a changing America

About the Speakers

Louis D. Bilionis, Dean and Nippert Professor of Law,  is a nationally recognized scholar in the areas of constitutional law and criminal law and procedure, with his work published in leading law journals such as the Michigan Law Review, Texas Law Review, Georgetown Law Journal, University of California-Los Angeles Law Review, Emory Law Journal, North Carolina Law Review, and Law and Contemporary Problems. He has taught constitutional law, criminal law, criminal procedure, and evidence, as well as seminars on capital punishment, constitutional law and theory, criminal law and procedure, and sentencing. Read more about the Dean: Louis D. Bilionis 

A. Christopher Bryant, Rufus King Professor of Constitutional Law, has been a prolific scholar and an exceptionally skilled and award-winning teacher of constitutional law. His  numerous published articles and essays reach a wide range of issues of contemporary constitutional importance, including the separation of powers, judicial review, and the roles of the various branches of the national government in constitutional interpretation.  He is a recognized expert on the scope and exercise of national legislative power and the respect that Congressional action is owed from the federal judiciary, with leading articles on the subject published in the Cornell Law Review, George Washington Law Review, BYU Law Review, Notre Dame Journal of Legislation, and William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal. Read more about the professor: Chris Bryant 

Ronna Greff Schneider, Professor of Law, is an expert in constitutional law, with a focus on the First Amendment, and education law.  She is a frequent speaker and commentator on issues involving constitutional law, education law, and educational policy and is the author of the two volume legal treatise, Education Law: First Amendment, Due Process and Discrimination Litigation (Thomson Reuters), and its annual supplements (available in print and online in Westlaw). . Read more about the professor: Ronna Schneider 

 

Sperino Cited by Iowa Supreme Court and Quoted in Washington Post


Sandra SperinoJuly 2014 has been a great month for Professor Sandra Sperino. In addition to having her work cited several times by the Iowa Supreme Court in cases involving federal and state employment law and employment discrimination, she was quoted in a Washington Post article about punishments federal whistleblowers may receive on their jobs. And, she also was published in the Stanford Journal of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.

Iowa Supreme Court Cites Sperino’s Work

The Iowa Supreme Court cited articles by Professor Sperino in two opinions issued this summer. The two cases are Goodpaster v. Schwan's Home Serv., Inc., 13-0010, 2014 WL 2900950 (Iowa June 27, 2014) and Pippen v. State, 12-0913, 2014 WL 3537028 (Iowa July 18, 2014).

In both cases, the Iowa Supreme Court decided whether it should interpret the Iowa Civil Rights Act to be consistent with federal law. In both cases, the Iowa Supreme Court used Sperino’s work to support its conclusion that Iowa state law should be interpreted independently from federal law.

Sperino’s articles discuss how fractured federal discrimination law has become over time. Under federal law, discrimination protections are found in three main statutes: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). Prior to the 1990s, the federal courts tended to read these three statutes consistently. If a phrase was interpreted one way under Title VII, the courts would interpret the same or similar phrase in the ADEA to have the same meaning. However, in recent cases, the Supreme Court has interpreted these statutes differently.

Sperino’s work explains how many states have a single anti-discrimination statute. It is difficult for state law to continue to follow federal law because federal law now approaches some questions differently, depending on whether the underlying claim is one for age discrimination, sex discrimination, or disability discrimination. In many states, claims for age, sex, and disability discrimination would all be brought under the same state statute.

Her work also explains that Congressional amendments to Title VII and the ADA were largely in response to Supreme Court decisions interpreting these statutes narrowly. State laws may use different words than the federal statutes. Many state laws also do not have the same history of narrow court interpretation followed by subsequent amendment. It is now difficult to read many state laws in tandem with federal law. As the Iowa Supreme Court noted: “Congressional reaction to a specific case decided by the United States Supreme Court does not shed light on the meaning of state law when there has been no comparable narrow state court precedent to stimulate a legislative override.” Pippen v. State, 12-0913, 2014 WL 3537028, at *15 (Iowa July 18, 2014).

Here are links to the cited articles:

Washington Post Article Quotes Sperino

Professor Sperino was also quoted in the August 4, 2014 Washington Post article “For whistleblowers, a bold move can be followed by one to department basement.” The article follows the case of former Phoenix Veterans Affairs Hospital employee Paula Pedene who alleges she was reassigned to a new position after complaining to higher-ups about mismanagement at the hospital. In the article Sperino talks about the challenges employees often face when attempting to bring this type of case to court.

Finally, her article Fakers and Floodgates, co-authored by Professor Suja Thomas, University of Illinois College of Law, appeared in print at 10 Stanford Journal of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties 223 (2014).

Bunde, Gillotti, Mulroy & Shultz, P.C. (BGMS) Lawyer, Sophia P. Paul Recognized as 2014 Pennsylvania Super Lawyer


PITTSBURGH, PA - Bunde, Gillotti, Mulroy & Shultz, P.C. (BGMS) is pleased to announce that lawyer Sophia P. Paul was recently named a 2014 Pennsylvania Super Lawyer by Pennsylvania Super Lawyers Magazine.

Sophia P. Paul has been recognized as a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer for a fifth year. Sophia has over 20 years of experience in matrimonial law, and served as former counsel to the Domestic Relations Procedural Rules Committee of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, where she was actively involved in extensive revisions to the Pennsylvania Child Support Guidelines. She formerly clerked for the Honorable Lawrence W. Kaplan of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. An active member of the Family Law Sections of the Pennsylvania and Allegheny County Bar Associations, Sophia is also a Fellow of AAML and a frequent lecturer on family law matters.

Attorneys selected as Super Lawyers are among the top five percent of Pennsylvania's licensed attorneys. Pennsylvania Super Lawyers Magazine recognizes outstanding attorneys in more than 70 areas of practice using a rigorous, multiphase selection process that considers 12 separate indicators of peer recognition, professional achievement and high ethical standards.

"It is an honor to have Sophia recognized among the top lawyers in the state in the area of family law," stated Robb D. Bunde, a partner of BGMS.

"Our attorneys possess a wealth of experience in a breadth of family law matters and we are thrilled to have a great team providing outstanding service, value and a wealth of expertise to our clients every day."

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Bunde, Gillotti, Mulroy & Shultz, P.C. (BGMS) is a law firm dedicated to the representation of individuals in family law cases. The attorneys of BGMS deal exclusively with family law issues including divorce, custody, child support, equitable distribution of assets, exclusive possession, alimony, spousal support, pre and post-nuptial agreements, paternity, grandparents' rights and protection from abuse (PFA) matters. All of the attorneys at BGMS have spent the majority of their careers practicing in the area of family law and have extensive experience in handling family law matters. The attorneys of BGMS are also able to assist clients with alternative dispute resolution including mediation, arbitration, early neutral evaluation and collaborative law. BGMS is one of the only law firms in Western Pennsylvania in which three attorneys are fellows in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. For more information about BGMS, please call 412.391.4330 or visit www.bgms-law.com.

Katie Cornelius '16 Shares Why She Likes Cincinnati


Katie Cornelius

There is always something great to do in Cincinnati. I love the unique culture and atmosphere of the city. There are great museums and historic areas intertwined with new restaurants, shops, and sporting events. 

Katie is pictured in front of Cincinnati’s historic Music Hall.

Get to Know Remington Jackson ‘15


Remington Jackson

Why do you want to become a lawyer? Why the interest in law?

From an early age, my father conditioned my desire to become an attorney, even going as far as contemplating adding the title “Esq.” to my name before I even attended Kindergarten!  He expounded upon the prestige associated with being an attorney, especially as a minority, and that it would be more than a job but a career.  He impressed upon me that the heart of the legal profession is one of public service—promoting the rule of law and pursuing the common good. He also mentioned the potential financial stability it could provide and the ability to make use of a J.D. in many areas, even if I didn’t end up practicing law.

To find out just how much of this was true, I spent my summers throughout high school and college working at various legal entities such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the Allegheny County Law Department to get as much experience as possible at my “predetermined” life career. For my senior thesis at the College of Wooster, I focused on the arguments in favor and against the practice of the death penalty with the paper “The Necessary Criteria to Save a Dying Practice: An Attempt to Morally Justify Capital Punishment”.

Throughout these opportunities, I found that the satisfaction I experienced from trying to understand and debate complicated issues through my speech and writings intersect well with the legal profession. Most importantly, I feel that being an attorney—an act of serving and service to others—is, as Muhammad Ali put it, the rent we pay for our room here on earth. These experiences have all played a role in fueling my aspiration to become an attorney. In the end my father was right all along!

What area(s) of law are you interested in?

Currently I am getting experience with corporate law areas like securities fraud litigation, protecting shareholder rights, and corporate governance issues. I  am interested in labor and employment law, tax law, and I am open to learn from new arenas and challenges.

At my time with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office I had the opportunity to work with the Worker’s Compensation department and found that it was never a dull day. Sitting in on the settlement conferences to see the negotiation and cordial but zealous advocacy between the representatives for the employer and employee was intriguing. I found that the area involved complex relationships between people in the workplace and consequently had a very human component to it. You get a sense of who the individual is and their contribution to society.

What types of professional experiences have you had that will help you on your path to becoming an attorney?

During my 1L summer I worked as a summer associate with the Ohio Attorney General's Cincinnati Office and as a teacher with the Ohio Law and Leadership Institute. With LLI I taught youth from traditionally underserved communities about leadership, writing, self-expression, test taking, and study tactics while providing a basic understanding of the study and practice of law. During my 2L year, I worked as a legal extern for the General Counsel's Office for the University of Cincinnati.

I am currently the President of the College of Law’s chapter of Black Law Students Association (BLSA) and the Vice-Chair of the Midwest Region of the National Black Law Students Association (MWBLSA). I also serve as the Reprint Editor on the Immigration & Nationality Law Review and a Senior Article Editor for the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights’ Human Rights Quarterly. In the Fall I will be serving as a judicial extern to the Hon. Jeffery P. Hopkins, United States Bankruptcy Court – Southern District of Ohio and as a representative for the University in the Potter Stewart American Inn of Court. Finally, I am a student representative for Kaplan Test Prep.

A few final thoughts on career (and personal) preparation…

People hire people. No matter how great your grades or who you know, if you are a jerk or people just do not want to work with you, you are shooting yourself in the foot before you can even get it in the door. Be yourself, speak about your interests without reverting back to cookie cutter responses, and let your personality prove why you got to your current place in life. Never fear rejection but rather savor the opportunity to learn something from each experience you are given because each setback is only a setup for your next success.

Take full advantage of legal and judicial externships. While they do not pay, what they provide in terms of hands on experience and connections is priceless. There are few other opportunities available where you can get so much feedback without worrying about a grade or curve and get the kinks out while learning the right way to do your work.

Chase your passion, whatever it may be, and the money will follow rather than chasing after money and hoping the passion will come along. There are too many different paths to follow to happiness to end up hating the place you spend 8-10 hours of your day. Your career is a marathon, not a sprint, so go the extra mile to have coffee and lunch with those already doing the work that you are interested in to hear the good and the bad. Professionals are more than willing to "pay it forward" in remembrance of those that did it for them. Do not be discouraged if you do get a "No" reponse. There are 100 "Yes" responses out there just waiting for you to ask.

Dig your well before you are thirsty. That is something my closest mentor has always preached to me: network constantly so that I can reach out to a wealth of resources long before I need help with a reference or position. Not being from Cincinnati and not being in the top 20% of my class, any time not spent on studying and working goes towards networking and building relationships to ensure that I am never just a name on a piece of paper for any position I apply. Hard work will always prove your metal, and while you will almost certainly experience setbacks throughout law school, never let an exam result decide your fate.

An Interview With Attorney and LLM Student Lara Ringdahl


Lara Ringdahl, a lawyer from Switzerland, is a participant in the law school’s LLM program. A criminal attorney, she has a strong interest in classes in the criminal law program. She has found UC Law’s program a great complement to her background and professional goals. Here’s more of her story.

Nora Burke Wagner Named Director of LLM Program


Nora Burke Wagner has been named director of the law school’s LLM Program. A 2000 graduate of the College, she clerked for Judge Nathaniel R. Jones of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and spent seven years working in-house at a large non-profit social service agency as Director of Government Advocacy and Legal Affairs before returning to the College of Law community.

While at the College Wagner has assisted with many important projects including preparing for the accreditation visit, designing bar passage reporting strategies, and assisting with putting registration advising materials on the law school website.  She was instrumental in the design, approval, and implementation of current LLM program and has been focusing her time recently on recruiting and admitting the new class of LLM students.  In her new position, she will continue her work on admissions, but will also take on some of the advising and teaching responsibilities of the LL.M. program.

Downtown Faculty Teach-in for Scholarships Raises More Than $11K


This year's Downtown Teach-in for Student Scholarships, held Friday, March 7, 2014, was a rousing success! The event raised more than $11,000 for law student scholarships. According to Mike Hogan, Senior Director of Development, this is the equivalent of approximately four-and-a-half endowed scholarships, if done annually.

Attendees were able to take advantage of numerous seminars, ranging from ethics, the courts, and justice and truth, to cell phones, BITs, and amicus pressure. Topics included: The Challenges and Ethics of Changing Clients' Minds about Settlement, The Myth of Truth in American Justice, Topics of Economic Justice, 2013's Top Ten Cases from the Supreme Court of Ohio, The DMCA and Cell Phone Unlocking, Ethical Implications for the Internet Lawyer, and more. College of Law professors led the hour-long seminars, which were hosted at the downtown offices of Frost Brown Todd and Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease. This event was sponsored by the Center for Practice.