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First-Year Students Win the College of Law ABA Negotiation Competition

First-year students win the College of Law ABA Negotiation Competition.  The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Club, which promotes negotiation and dispute resolution activities, hosted  a competition to determine which students will represent the University of Cincinnati at the American Bar Association Negotiation Competition.  Two teams – David Lopez and Ben White as well as Meg Franklin and Melissa Springer – will represent the College at the ABA Regional Competition in November which will be held at Nothwestern Law School.  Twelve teams participated and were judged by local attorneys.    Students are coached by Professor Marjorie Aaron and James K. Lawrence, Esq., an Adjunct Faculty member.

Mina Jones Jefferson Appointed to Ohio Commission on Professionalism

Mina Jones Jefferson (’90), Senior Assistant Dean and Chief of Staff, was recently appointed to the Ohio Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism for a term ending on December 31, 2017.  The Commission promotes professionalism among attorneys admitted to practice law in Ohio, devoting its attention to the law as a profession and to maintaining the highest standards of integrity and honor among members of the profession.

Associate Dean of Faculty Sandra Sperino to Speak at Alabama Bar Association

Associate Dean of Faculty Sandra Sperino will speak at the Alabama Bar Association Labor and Employment Annual Conference.  Her talk will explore the Supreme Court’s recent cases that connect discrimination law with tort law and what this means for the future of federal discrimination law.

Professor Jacob Cogan Publishes

Professor Jacob Cogan published an essay, Stabilization and the Expanding Scope of the Security Council’s Work, 109 AMERICAN JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL LAW 324 (2015).   He also had an article accepted for publication: The Two Codes on the Use of Force, EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL LAW (forthcoming) (co-authored with Monica Hakimi).  Professor Cogan is an active member of the American Society of International Law and an elected member of the American Law Institute. He edits the International Law Reporter, a widely read blog on scholarship, events, and ideas in international law, international relations, and associated disciplines.

Professors Vazquez and Moore Take Center Stage at LatCrit2015

Cincinnati Law Faculty take center stage at the LatCrit 2015: Twentieth Anniversary Conference, October 1-3 in Anaheim, California.  Professor Yolanda Vázquez presented "Nothing is Ever Black & White: Mass Incarceration and the Continued Denial of Recognition of Immigration Detention's Role in It" and Professor Janet Moore presented “Make Them Hear You: Participatory Defense and the Struggle for Criminal Justice Reform.   LatCrit marked its twentieth anniversary by convening critical thinkers pursuing the goal of creating a legal order where equal justice for all is reality, not aspiration.

Professor Janet Moore Serves as Guest at Symposium for Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law

Professor Janet Moore will serve as co-Guest Editor with Andrew Davies, Ph.D., for an upcoming symposium edition of the OHIO STATE JOURNAL OF CRIMINAL LAW.  This symposium will include new empirical analyses of indigent defense by researchers who will present their work at a two-day conference during the annual meeting of the American Society of Criminology in Washington, D.C. in November.  Professor Janet Moore also will serve as co-Guest Editor with Andrew Davies, Ph.D., for an upcoming symposium edition of the OHIO STATE JOURNAL OF CRIMINAL LAW.  This symposium will include new empirical analyses of indigent defense by researchers who will present their work at a two-day conference during the annual meeting of the American Society of Criminology in Washington, D.C. in November.

Zac Wertz '11 Uses Legal Background to Pursue Challenging Career

Cincinnati native and College of Law alumni Zac Wertz ‘11 has used his legal background to pursue an adventurous and challenging career as an entrepreneur, creating his own start-up with the Beluga Shave Company. Wertz, who has an MBA in Finance in addition to his law degree, always had an interest in going to law school, but expressed that he also loved investing and evaluating opportunity costs as well.

During his time at the College of Law, Wertz drew his entrepreneurial inspiration from his work participating in the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic (ECDC), an experience that allowed for practical skills training and exposure to private equity and venture capital work. As a budding entrepreneur himself, Wertz found this clinic particularly helpful for client communication practice, evaluating contracts, forming corporations, and getting that initial exposure to the field of entrepreneurship. 

As the end of law school was drawing near and career decisions coming to the forefront, Wertz saw entrepreneurship as a great opportunity to bring together both his legal and finance backgrounds to get creative with his career. “Why work 10 years in a law firm when from day one you can be an equity based partner right away?”

Now, as founder and CEO of Beluga Shave Company, Wertz has applied his legal and financial skills to develop and market a unique single blade razor that Wertz argues provides a closer and better quality shave.

Wertz acknowledged that the “logical reasoning” skills he developed in law school helped in his early product assessments, researching reasons why a single blade razor was capable of providing a better superior shave yet no one else was using it. Wertz learned that many people disfavor using a single blade razor because it’s “not easy to use.” Inspired by the effectiveness of a single blade shave, Wertz challenged himself to develop a product that could provide the single blade quality with the same ease of use found in modern razors.

Beluga Shave Company was selected by Cincinnati’s accelerator program, First Batch, to be a part of its 2015 class of start-up companies. With First Batch’s assistance, Wert hopes to gather local business support to advance Beluga’s product development and manufacturing efforts. 

Wertz hopes for Beluga to have a product prototype out by November this year and a first product launch in early 2016. Although the line currently has a masculine focus, Wertz plans to expand into a complete shaving and grooming line that includes female focused products as well.

For students interested in pursuing an entrepreneurial career Wertz challenges them to expand their legal studies, noting that there is opportunity to “learn much more than just the law in law school.”

OIP Celebrates the Launch of New OIP-u Program

The Ohio Innocence Project, borne out of the University of Cincinnati College of Law, and a branch of the national Innocence Network, launched a new organization on Oct. 2, called OIP-u. This program provides a way for Ohio undergraduate and graduate students to get more involved, and to come together to fight for freedom of wrongly incarcerated men and women in the state.

The launch coincided with the 2nd Annual International Wrongful Conviction Day, which is dedicated to recognizing those whose lives have been adversely impacted by wrongful conviction as well as educating the public on its causes, consequences, and complications.

Four Ohio universities have newly formed OIP-u chapters: John Carroll University, Ohio University, University of Dayton, and The Ohio State University, and each had events that featured OIP exonerees.

The OIP  has many upcoming events and opportunities, ,  such as the Oak Hills Girl Scout Troop earning their social justice badge by visiting the office to speak with attorneys on Oct. 19, and Jennifer Bergeron, an OIP attorney, presenting oral arguments at the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit for OIP client Karl Willis on Oct. 21.

On Nov. 13, the OIP will be honored by receiving the Outstanding Program or Organization Award by the Ohio Bar Association. 

OIP attorney Donald Caster and exoneree Dean Gillispie will be speaking to Kent State University students on Nov. 12, and on Nov. 17 OIP attorney Brian Howe, a UC Law graduate, will be presenting at a continuing legal education event in Cleveland,  discussing prisoner reintegration and post-release measures.

Wrapping up the calendar year will be the 21st Annual Rescuers of Humanity Awards Dinner, taking place on Dec. 1, sponsored by Project Love in Cleveland, OH. The OIP will receive the Rescuer of Humanity Award. 

Professor Stephanie McMahon Publishes

Congratulations to Stephanie McMahon on two recent publications:

Dean Emeritus and Professor Lou Bilionis Appointed Fellow with the Holloran Center at University of St. Thomas School of Law

The University of St. Thomas School of Law’s Holloran Center for Ethical Leadership in the Professions is pleased to announce the appointment of Louis Bilionis, Professor of Law and Dean Emeritus at the University of University of Cincinnati College of Law as a Fellow of the Holloran Center. Professor Bilionis will play a major role at the Center in terms of strategic planning, research, and outreach to deans, faculty, and staff interested in the professional formation of students.  

Prof. Neil Hamilton, Director of the Holloran Center, emphasized “We are very excited that Lou is joining the Holloran Center as our first Fellow based outside of the University of St. Thomas. In terms of helping deans, faculty, and administrators to understand the importance of both fostering the professional formation of each student and creating a professional formation curriculum and culture within a law school, Lou is world-class.”

Louis D. Bilionis is Dean Emeritus and Professor of Law at the University of Cincinnati College of Law. He received his A.B. from the University of North Carolina in 1979 and his J.D., magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 1982. A nationally recognized scholar in constitutional law and criminal procedure, he taught at the School of Law at UNC-Chapel Hill from 1988 until 2005, where he was the Samuel Ashe Distinguished Professor of Constitutional Law. He assumed the deanship of the University of Cincinnati College of Law in 2005 and served two terms as dean, concluding in 2015. While the dean at UC, he developed and taught Becoming a Professional: Exploring Skills and Transition into Practice – an experimental collaboration with the University of North Carolina School of Law, the Center for Creative Leadership, and practitioners that focuses on leadership and the formation of a student’s professional identity.