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College of Law Receives $100K Gift to Support Student Scholarships

Cincinnati, OH—Thanks to a $100,000 gift from Tom and Sally Cuni, students at the University of Cincinnati College of Law can worry a little less about law school financing. The Cuni family recently established the Tom and Sally Cuni Family Scholarship Fund which will provide financial support to any law student. This fund enables the College to continue to attract, build and support a diverse class of students. It is the sixth significant contribution donated to the law school during the 2017-2018 academic year.

“We truly appreciate this gift from Tom and Sally as well as their continued support of our programs. This gift will enable the College to build upon our mission, preparing leaders to make a difference in the world," said Verna Williams, Interim Dean and Nippert Professor of Law at the College of Law.

Cuni, a double Bearcat (BA 1969, JD 1975), has a history of giving back—to the local community and the College of Law. As a partner at Cuni, Ferguson & LaVay Co., LPA, he built a successful legal career, primarily representing small businesses. Today, Cuni no longer represents clients in his legal practice; instead, he volunteers at Hamilton County Juvenile Court as an attorney for ProKids’ Guardian ad Litem group. He also spends many hours helping local non-profits and mentoring law students through the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic (ECDC).  

“Tom’s support of our students is amazing.  He brings a vast amount of knowledge and experience, and passion to supervising and mentoring our students,” said Professor Lew Goldfarb, Director of the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic. “Our students love working with Tom and I think he feels the same.  We are so fortunate that Tom’s involved with the ECDC.”     

Tom Giffin, Senior Director of Development, agrees. “Tom and Sally Cuni have demonstrated a strong love for the College of Law through Tom’s support of the ECDC. Their generous gift ensures that the Cuni name remains an integral part of the law school for generations.”  

About the University of Cincinnati College of Law

As the fourth oldest continuously operating law school in the country, UC’s College of Law has a rich history. Its distinguished alumni include a U.S. president, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and six governors. The College cultivates an intimate learning experience with a 9:1 student to faculty ratio and offers a wealth of resources, such as more than 40 student organizations, five journals and seven centers and institutes. For more information, please visit




Bearcat Law Briefs Contribute to Important Supreme Court Decision

In the summer of 2017, students from the University of Cincinnati College of Law set out to convince the Supreme Court to hear a case involving a critical yet contentious question regarding the Fourth Amendment: does the driver of a rental car who is not listed on the rental agreement have a reasonable expectation of privacy in that vehicle under the Fourth Amendment?

In Byrd v. United States, the Third Circuit refused to recognize the existence of a Fourth Amendment privacy expectation in drivers who are not listed on a rental car’s agreement. Assisting the National Association for Public Defense (NAPD), the University of Cincinnati’s NAPD Bearcat Chapter worked alongside prominent defense attorneys to urge the Supreme Court to hear the case. Students researched the significance of the impact such a decision would have and highlighted the importance of the case to Fourth Amendment jurisprudence. Drawing on the increased reliance on shared modes of transportation among low-income and marginalized communities, as well as the rise of ridesharing services, the students wove their research into an amicus brief that was filed with the Supreme Court.

Early in the fall semester, the Court announced that it would hear the case. Thrilled that the case would move forward, the students wasted no time in delving into research to assist with an amicus brief on the merits stage of the case. Drawing on subjects ranging from Fourth Amendment jurisprudence to contract law, students assisted the NAPD with the drafting of an amicus brief submitted to the Court. Urging the Court to reverse the Third Circuit, the NAPD highlighted the changing societal expectations of privacy in an era where car ownership is essential to meaningful participation in modern civic life. Many low-income communities lack access to reliable transportation, instead relying on shared and borrowed transportation. Many younger generations are forgoing car ownership in favor of car rental services such as Zipcar and car2go. The amicus brief urged the Court to give its imprimatur to rapidly changing societal expectations of privacy in an era of flexible and shared vehicle ownership.

In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court reversed the Third Circuit. Rejecting the Third Circuit’s holding that an unlisted driver in a rental car cannot have a reasonable expectation of privacy in that vehicle, the Supreme Court found that irrespective a driver’s listing on a rental contract, if the driver is in lawful possession of the vehicle and has a right to exclude others, the driver enjoys a reasonable expectation of privacy in that vehicle.

The decision left the student with far more than a sense of excitement. “The process was just as valuable as the victory,” reflected rising third year law student David Wovrosh. Working with distinguished defense attorneys across the country, the students gained valuable insight into the strategy behind forming a winning argument.

“It was absolutely an eye-opening and humbling experience. Working alongside renowned names in the field, we were able to get an unvarnished view of how arguments are crafted and the entire strategy for building and researching a compelling brief,” Wovrosh said.

“It goes far beyond using convincing black letter law. Observing how great legal minds deliberated on the line of argumentation and anticipating just how judges would respond to the arguments was incredibly illuminating. The lessons I learned went far beyond what can be taught in a classroom. It’s something that I will carry with me throughout my career.”

The victory in Byrd comes off the heels of another victory in McWilliams v. Dunn, which saw the Supreme Court’s majority opinion cite to the NAPD amicus brief in which UC law students had participated. With another victory for the NAPD Bearcat Chapter, UC Law students continue to gain invaluable practical experience, learning from and working alongside distinguished legal experts in appellate advocacy and constitutional criminal procedures. The victory in Byrd also serves as a shining example of the meaningful contributions to the highest echelons of the legal field that UC Law students are capable of making.

Byrd vs. United States Merits Brief

SCOTUS Decision Byrd vs. United States

2018 Goldman Prize for Excellence in Teaching Awarded to Professors Bergeron, Mangan and McMahon

Advocate. Dedicated. Available. These are just a few of the adjectives used to describe the winners of the Goldman Prize for Excellence in Teaching. A high honor for faculty members, it brings an opportunity for students to celebrate their professors and shine a light on their commitment to the best in teaching.

Congratulations to this year’s recipients: Jennifer Bergeron, Sean Mangan and Stephanie McMahon. Following is a compilation of excerpts from the nominating letters.

Jennifer Bergeron, Assistant Professor of Clinical Law, Ohio Innocence Project
Jennifer Bergeron


Professor Bergeron was nominated by numerous students because of her practical teaching approach as well as her contributions to OIP. She is a fierce advocate in the innocence community and is widely praised for her contributions to the exoneration of three individuals who, combined, served over 54 years in prison for crimes of which they were wrongfully convicted. Recently celebrating her 10-year anniversary with the OIP, Professor Bergeron has mentored countless students and counseled them in the beginning of their careers as young attorney advocates. Her OIP students describe her as a mentor who is humble, hopeful, and kind. Notably, her students say her techniques, tips, and approaches are ones they will carry with them throughout their careers.





Sean Mangan, Associate Professor of Practice| Co-director, Corporate Law Center
Sean Mangan


Professor Mangan brings a much-needed practical perspective to the law school classroom. While many classes in the law school program emphasize legal theory over substance, Professor Mangan’s classes fill the practical gap left in the curriculum. His classes provide opportunities for students to cultivate and hone essential lawyering skills—such as drafting, negotiating with opposing counsel, and structuring a corporate deal. He prepares students for the everyday challenges they will face as new attorneys, and tasks them with refining the skills which promise to prove invaluable in the field. Professor Mangan does more, however, than guide students in the classroom. He consistently makes time for his students outside of his lectures, providing office hours and a flexible, open-door policy. Aside from being a fantastic professor, what really sets Professor Mangan apart is his commitment to mentoring students, both before and after graduation. Professor Mangan makes himself available to advise students on their specific career goals, and, in doing so, forges meaningful and lasting relationships with them.



Stephanie McMahon, Professor of Law
Stephanie McMahon


Professor McMahon distinguishes herself as a professor with her ability to take command of complex material, such as tax, and phrase it in a way that students can begin to understand. By giving her students tools and real world exposure to tax issues, she alleviates her students’ fears of tax law and the tax system. In an academic society where the cost of textbooks are skyrocketing, Professor McMahon illustrates her dedication by providing her classes with personally written handouts that take dense and abstract tax material and turn them into information that students can understand. Professor McMahon’s engaging teaching style incorporates her knowledge of tax into the minds of her students. And at the end of every semester, students leave her class with a basic understanding of tax law and the capacity to explain tax concepts to clients. Her commitment to making sure students understand the material is tremendous, which makes her one of the greatest assets the College of Law has to offer.

About the Goldman Prize for Excellence In Teaching
The Goldman Prize has been awarded for over 30 years. This award is unique because students nominate and choose the recipients—their professors. To make this decision the committee considers the professors’ research and public service as they contribute to superior performance in the classroom.

Cincinnati Law Graduates Celebrate What's "Next"

Graduation SpeechWhen you leave here, don’t forget why you came” - Adlai Stevenson

The College of Law’s 185th Hooding Ceremony was a time of celebration – of a job well done; thousands of hours of classwork completed; the end of a journey and the start of a new one. On Saturday, May 12, 2018, 107 students entered the ‘next’ phase of their journey – life after law school. Along the way they were treated to a rousing send-off by family, friends, faculty and staff.

Gerald Griggs Alumni Award RecepientThe College of Law conferred 91 juris doctor degrees, 14 LLM (master’s) degrees and two certificates. At the Hooding celebration, the graduates listened to the wisdom of graduation speaker Randall M. Comer, Partner at Martin, Browne, Hill & Harper, PLL. Comer, president of the Ohio State Bar Association, is a 2000 graduate. He works as a civil trial attorney specializing in labor and employment, workers’ compensation, and contract disputes.

This year’s recipient of the 2018 Nicholas J. Longworth III Alumni Achievement Award was Gerald A. Griggs, a 2004 graduate of the College of Law. Griggs, based in Atlanta, GA, is a well-respected litigator, who has handled numerous high-profile cases including representing clients involved in the Atlanta Public Schools Cheating trial. His most notable case, Jaheem Herrera, helped launch the National Anti-Bullying movement and changed anti-bullying law in Georgia.

#Next Lives Here
Every College of Law student travelled a journey to get to this moment – from wide-eyed first year student to confident third year graduate. They came from all walks of life and experience. And they learned many lessons along the way.

Here are a few of their stories:Graduates group

When asked “what was the best part of law school?”, 2018 graduate Rachelle Barr-Addair named two of her clinical experiences: the Ohio Innocence Project and the Indigent Defense Clinic. “Both allowed me to work with attorneys on real cases and represent clients in a real world capacity. The knowledge and experience I gained has prepared me for a successful career dedicated to helping others.”

She plans to take the California Bar Exam and begin work at the California Innocence Project later this year. “I came to law school because I wanted to be an attorney in the Innocence Network and now I have my dream job in California as a staff attorney.”

“The best part of my law school experience was participating in the Mind, Body, Skills Program,” said grad Christina Rogers. “I wouldn't have made it through my last year of law school without it.” After graduation Rogers plans to sit for the Ohio Bar Exam and then start work at law firm Graydon Head & Ritchey LLP this fall.

Graduates Rob Citak and Rachel (Hackle) Citak had a more personal response when asked about the best part of law school. “The best part of our law school experience was meeting my law school sweetheart. After being in the same school together for so long but never having met, we started dating while we were in Negotiations Class together in the Spring semester of our second year and got married the following Spring. We can’t wait to begin our lives together as Juris Doctors!”

Currently, both are working in positions in the area of public interest law and plan to use this in some form after taking both the Ohio and Kentucky bar exams.

Graduatesgrads with PresidentGraduate with FamilyHoodingAfter three years at Cincinnati Law, surely grads will miss something. Indeed they will—friendships, mentors, and even the building.

Graduate with victory gesture“What we will miss most about UC Law are the meaningful friendships that we have built with our fellow students, staff, and faculty. We are transitioning from students to professionals, and that wouldn’t have been possible without all that we have learned here,” said Rachel Citak. “Law school was the hardest thing many of us have ever done. We couldn’t have done it without coffee and Jesus. And we would still do it all over again just to find true love here.”

“I will miss my friends and seeing my mentors on a regular basis. The friendships and professional relationships I have developed in law school radiate from school into many aspects of my life,” said Barr. “Leaving one chapter to start another is never easy, but I know I have made some lifelong connections and will look back over the last three years fondly.” “The thing that I will miss most is the building,” said Rogers. “The law school was my safe space and a home away from home.”

Congratulations graduates! We wish you well on the next chapter of your lives!

Graduates group#NextLivesHere

Professor Jacob Cogan Elected to Executive Council of American Society of International Law

Jacob Katz Cogan, the Judge Joseph P. Kinneary Professor of Law, was recently elected a member of the Executive Council of the American Society of International Law. Founded in 1906, the Society, which is headquartered in Washington, DC, is the preeminent international law learned society in the United States. Its nearly 4,000 members from more than 100 nations include attorneys, academics, corporate counsel, judges, representatives of governments and non-governmental organizations, international civil servants, students, and others interested in international law. Professor Cogan recently co-chaired the Society’s 2018 Annual Meeting.

Immediately prior to joining the College of Law in 2006, he served for five years as an attorney-adviser in the Office of the Legal Adviser at the U.S. Department of State. Professor Cogan is an elected member of the American Law Institute and has received both the College’s Goldman Prize for Excellence in Teaching and its Harold C. Schott Scholarship Award.

Date: May 10, 2018

College of Law Celebrates its Graduates at the 185th Hooding Ceremony

The University of Cincinnati College of Law will celebrate the accomplishments of its graduates at the 185th Hooding Ceremony on Saturday, May 12, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. at Northern Kentucky Convention Center.

Cincinnati, OH – The University of Cincinnati College of Law will celebrate the accomplishments of its graduates at its 185th Hooding Ceremony. Verna L. Williams, Interim Dean and Nippert Professor of Law, will lead the ceremony, where 107 degrees will be conferred. This number includes 91 juris doctor degrees, 14 LLM (master’s) degrees and 2 certificates.

Randall ComerThe Hooding keynote speaker will be Randall M. Comer, Partner at Martin, Browne, Hill & Harper PLL. A Class of 2000 College of Law graduate, Comer is the president of the Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA). A civil trial attorney, he specializes in labor and employment, workers’ compensation, and contract disputes. In addition to the OSBA, he is a member of the Clark County Bar Association, the Dayton Bar Association and the Green County Bar Association. Comer was also selected for Ohio Super Lawyers 2011-2013 and for Ohio Super Lawyers Rising Stars 2005.

GriggsThis year’s recipient of the 2018 Nicholas J. Longworth, III Alumni Achievement Award, which recognizes graduates for their outstanding contributions to society, is Gerald A. Griggs. A 2004 graduate of the College of Law, Griggs is an Atlanta based litigator who has handled numerous high-profile cases including representing clients involved in the Atlanta Public Schools Cheating trial. His most notable case, Jaheem Herrera, helped launch the National Anti-Bullying Movement and changed anti-bullying law in Georgia.

All are invited to attend. Tickets are not required and there is no limit to the number of guests.

OIP Breakfast Raises Over $150K to Help Wrongly Convicted Persons

Cincinnati, OH— The Ohio Innocence Project (OIP) at Cincinnati Law raised over $153,570 at its third Annual Breakfast April 19, featuring stories of innocent persons who still would be incarcerated, were it not for OIP.

“The extreme generosity of this community allows us to have a tremendous impact,” said Verna L. Williams, Interim Dean and Nippert Professor of Law at Cincinnati Law. “OIP demonstrates how a law school can make strides for justice, while providing a transformational experience for students. Whether they choose careers focusing on social justice or corporate law, our law students learn valuable lessons about persevering in the face of unimaginable injustice, committing to excellence in client service, among other things, that will make them outstanding attorneys.” 

The centerpiece of this year’s event was the premiere of the newest OIP video, which featured persons freed by OIP since its founding in 2003.  Viewers heard about their struggles to remain whole while wrongly incarcerated and their joys upon finally being released.   At the end of the video, the OIP’s most recent exonerees Ru-El Sailor (freed several weeks ago after 15 years in prison) and Evin King (exonerated in 2017 after 23 years in prison), joined other exonerees on the stage to celebrate OIP’s success in freeing 26 people. 

“The 26 exonerees are a direct reflection of the gifts and support of our donors,” said Mindy Roy, Assistant Director of Development at Cincinnati Law. “We are so grateful for their commitment to OIP.”

Co-chairs for this year’s breakfast were Anne DeLyons and Jennie Rosenthal Berliant, members of the OIP Board of Advocates. Event sponsors included the following: 19/19 Investment Counsel; Barbara J. Howard Co., L.P.A.; Blank Rome LLP; Dinsmore & Shohl, LLP; Helmer, Martins, Rice & Popham Co, L.P.A.; Katz Teller; Loevy & Loevy; Murray & Agnes Seasongood Foundation; Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP / The Estabrook Trust; Rittgers & Rittgers; White Getgey Meyer Co., L.P.A.; Bahl & Gaynor; Candace Crouse and Martin Pinales; Frost Brown Todd LLC; Gerhardstein & Branch Co., LPA; John D. Smith Co., LPA,; The Spahr Foundation; and Squire Patton Boggs.



About Cincinnati Law

As the fourth oldest continuously operating law school in the country, Cincinnati Law has a rich history. Its distinguished alumni include a U.S. president, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and six governors. The College cultivates an intimate learning experience with a 9:1 student to faculty ratio and offers a wealth of resources, such as more than 40 student organizations, five journals and seven centers and institutes. For more information, please visit



Mark Godsey Receives University’s Faculty Research Mentoring Award

Cincinnati, OH—Congratulations to Professor Mark Godsey, the recipient of the University of Cincinnati’s Faculty-to-Faculty Research Mentoring Award.

This honor recognizes faculty members who use their time to support, counsel and mentor peers at various stages in their careers. Criteria for nomination include a history of demonstrated research mentorship; activities to support the success of peer faculty in clinical, translational or basic science research; and, evidence of mentee’s success in research endeavors.

“Professor Mark Godsey exemplifies the excellence of our law faculty, not only in making significant academic contributions, but also in building a community of scholars,” shared Verna L. Williams, Interim Dean and Nippert Professor of Law at the College of Law.

Awardees receive $1,000 in faculty development funding to expand their research efforts. This award is presented by the Office of the Provost and the Office of Research.

Cincinnati Law Faculty Celebrated For Excellence In And Out Of Classrooms

Cincinnati, OH—Congratulations to Kristin Kalsem, the Charles Hartsock Professor of Law and Co-director, Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice; and Felix Chang, Associate Professor of Law and Co-director, Corporate Law Center! Both recently received the University of Cincinnati’s prestigious “Award for Faculty Excellence.”

The award recognizes exemplary faculty because of their exceptional and significant service, outstanding research, innovations and accomplishments.

“I’m excited for and proud of my colleagues,” shared Verna L. Williams, Interim Dean and Nippert Professor of Law. “This award reflects the incredible work they do. We are lucky that Professors Kalsem and Chang are part of our community.”

UC’s Offices of the Provost and Vice President for Research distributes the award annually. Honorees will receive $2,000 in faculty development funds to use to enhance their work at the university. 

Publication Date: April 19, 201

Cincinnati Law Professors Honored at University Faculty Awards Celebration

The University of Cincinnati presented its All-University Faculty Awards to 15 faculty members and one team in a celebration of teaching excellence on Tuesday, April 17, 2018. Three College of Law faculty members were honored.

Professor Emily Houh, the Gustavus Henry Wald Professor of the Law and Contracts | Co-director, Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice

Presented with: the Distinguished Teaching Professor. This award represents the highest level of recognition for achievements and contributions in university teaching. It recognizes long-term commitment to excellence, and is awarded to instructors who represent the ideals of the educational profession and have made impactful contributions in teaching, curricular development, and the mentoring and supervision of students.

When Emily Houh, JD, first began teaching, her father, a university math professor known for his seemingly never-ending well of patience, offered her sage advice that’s come to be a guiding principal in how she approaches education.

In every class you teach, regardless of how good or bad a teacher you are, Houh’s father told her, there will be 10 percent of the class who will get the material and 10 percent who will not. The challenge, he said, is how to reach the 80 percent of students for whom it will matter how good of a teacher you are.

“You have to pay attention to the students at the ends, but you’ve got to pitch mostly to those in the middle, and it’s really challenging to do all three of those things simultaneously,” said Houh. “That advice carries me through in all of my teaching. That’s how you reach the most students.”

Reaching students across the spectrum has never been a challenge for Houh, say her students, who consistently give her among the highest teaching ratings and thrice awarded her the college’s Goldman Prize for Teaching Excellence. Two students even asked Houh to officiate their weddings.

Beyond the classroom, Houh works tirelessly to bring innovative programming to campus and create unique professional opportunities for students through her role as co-director of the college’s Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice.

Colleague Professor Kristin Kalsem, whose office is next to Houh’s, sees the dedicated law professor’s commitment to student success on a daily basis in the hours she spends with students — both current and former — discussing papers, exams, careers or just life.

“Professor Houh does much more than share her knowledge; she shares herself,” said Kalsem. “She is outstanding in the classroom, but truly extraordinary outside it.”


Janet Moore, Associate Professor of Law

Presented with: Mrs. A.B. "Dolly" Cohen Award for Excellence in Teaching. This award recognizes individuals committed to excellence in teaching, demonstrating creativity, respect for diverse opinions and experiences, and provides an atmosphere that fosters self-confidence, positive self-concept and mutual respect.

When the UC College of Law first asked Janet Moore, JD, to teach classes, the capital defense attorney and policy advocate decided to test a hypothesis: “Would I be able to accomplish more system change from this position than I was doing by case-by-case litigation or policy research and advocacy?”

It wasn’t long before Moore, now a law professor at UC, had her answer.

“I still get to do that policy-oriented research and advocacy, but now I get to teach it,” she said. “It’s such an honor to be a part of raising up the next generation of change-makers.”

For Moore, it’s that tireless dedication to pursuing justice that’s earned her a reputation as an exceptional educator who devotes an incredible amount of her time both in and outside of the classroom to ensure student engagement and success.

Students regularly say that Moore’s classes are among the most challenging — and memorable — of their law school careers.

Students prosecute houseplants and question stuffed animals on the witness stand. Lesson plans are supplemented with vintage film clips, card games and the opera Don Giovanni. Classes sing the Federal Rules of Evidence recorded to the tune of nursery rhymes.

Last year, Moore allowed first-year law students to work with her on an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court, which cited the brief in its majority opinion — an experience the jubilant students described as “surreal,” “profound,” and the “highlight” of their year.

“Janet is a professor who sets high expectations for her students, balancing both joy and rigor in the classroom. Her classes reflect the kind of deep learning that represents the highest standards of teaching,” said Verna Williams, the college’s interim dean and Nippert Professor of Law.


Professor Michael Solimine and Professor Emily Houh

Inductees: Fellows of the Graduate School

Professor Michael Solimine, the Donald P. Klekamp Professor of Law, and Professor Emily Houh also were inducted as Fellows of the Graduate School. This honor recognizes distinguished researchers and scholars from across the university. In addition to their outstanding individual accomplishments, Fellow are among the most accomplished graduate-student mentors at UC.


Writer: Rachel Richardson, UC Public Relations