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Four UC Alums, Jim Burke '78, Lou Gilligan '68, Joe Trauth '73, Mark Weber '80, selected as "Lawyers of the Year" by The Best Lawyers in America

KMK Attorneys Recognized as "Lawyers of the Year" by The Best Lawyers in America

Keating Muething & Klekamp PLL (KMK Law) congratulates the firm’s five attorneys who have been recognized as “Lawyers of the Year,” a designation that is presented annually to a single attorney in each practice area and metropolitan area.  These attorneys will be recognized in the 2015 edition of The Best Lawyers in America©.  

  • James E. Burke was named the Best Lawyers 2015 Bet-the-Company Litigation “Lawyer of the Year” in Cincinnati.
  • Louis F. Gilligan was named the Best Lawyers 2015 Product Liability Litigation, Plaintiffs "Lawyer of the Year" in Cincinnati
  • Daniel E. Izenson was named the Best Lawyers 2015 Construction Litigation “Lawyer of the Year” in Cincinnati.
  • Joseph L. Trauth, Jr. was named the Best Lawyers 2015 Land Use & Zoning Law “Lawyer of the Year” in Cincinnati.
  • Mark J. Weber was named the Best Lawyers 2015 Real Estate Law “Lawyer of the Year” in Cincinnati.

Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers has become regarded as a definitive guide to legal excellence.  Best Lawyers is based on a peer-review survey in which more than 52,000 leading attorneys cast more than 5.5 million votes on the legal abilities of other lawyers in their practice areas. 

In addition to the recognition as 2015 "Lawyers of the Year," these five KMK attorneys have been recognized in the 2015 Best Lawyers publication for several areas of practice. The listings below include the year the attorney was first recognized by The Best Lawyers in America.

James E. Burke (2006) 

  • Bet-the-Company Litigation
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Corporate Law
  • Litigation – Securities 

Louis F. Gilligan (1989)

  • Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants
  • Product Liability Litigation – Defendants
  • Product Liability Litigation – Plaintiffs  

Daniel E. Izenson (2012) 

  • Commercial Litigation
  • Litigation – Construction 
  • Litigation – Real Estate

Joseph L. Trauth, Jr. (2007) 

  • Land Use & Zoning Law
  • Litigation – Land Use & Zoning
  • Litigation – Real Estate
  • Real Estate Law

Mark J. Weber (2007) 

  • Real Estate Law

Nine University of Cincinnati College of Law Alumni Selected for Inclusion in Best Lawyers in America 2015

Cincinnati, Ohio; Columbus, Ohio (October 9, 2014): Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP is pleased to announce that the following University of Cincinnati College of Law alumni were selected for inclusion in Best Lawyers in America 2015. The number in parentheses refers to the number of years (in five-year increments) that the attorney has been listed.

  • Doreen Canton , Employment Law – Management; Labor Law - Management
  • Ralph W. Kohnen, Criminal Defense: White-Collar
  • Eugene B. Lewis , Family Law
  • Stephen M. Nechemias, Litigation & Controversy – Tax; Tax Law
  • Timothy P. Reilly , Employment Law – Management; Labor Law – Management; Litigation – Labor & Employment
  • Laura A. Ringenbach 20, Environmental Law
  • Sara Simrall Rorer, Health Care Law
  • Timothy C. Sullivan, Commercial Litigation; Litigation – Banking & Finance; Litigation – Trusts & Estates
  • Mark S. Yurick, Energy Law; Energy Regulatory Law

Additionally the publication has designated Ms. Canton as Cincinnati “Lawyer of the Year” in the Labor Law – Management Practice area.

About Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession. The Best Lawyers lists of attorneys are compiled by conducting exhaustive peer-review surveys in which tens of thousands of leading lawyers confidentially evaluate their professional peers. If the votes for an attorney are positive enough for inclusion in Best Lawyers, that attorney must maintain those votes in subsequent polls to remain on the list for each edition. Lawyers are not permitted to pay any fee to participate in or be included on the lists.

About Taft

At Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP, delivering outstanding legal performance to help clients succeed is what drives and motivates our more than 400 attorneys every day. Taft has offices in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and Dayton, Ohio; Chicago; Illinois; Indianapolis, Indiana; Covington, Kentucky; and Phoenix, Arizona. The firm practices across a wide range of industries, in virtually every area of law, including Business and Finance; Litigation; Labor and Employment; Intellectual Property; Business Restructuring, Bankruptcy and Creditor Rights; Environmental; Health and Life Sciences; Private Client Services; Real Estate; and Tax. With a proven track record of experience since 1885, the firm offers breadth and depth of legal expertise coupled with a trusted business perspective to help our clients, big and small, regionally, nationally and internationally, reach their goals. For more information, please visit

AEterna Zentaris Inc.Hires Philip A. Theodore As Chief Management Executive

Boston, MA 10/08/2014  – AEterna Zentaris Inc. (USA) (NASDAQ:AEZS), which is a specialty biopharmaceutical company, announced the election of Philip A. Theodore as its Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Secretary. He will also act the company’s General Counsel, as well as corporate Secretary. According to the company’s press release, he will be engaged with managing several functions, including corporate development, human resources, legal as well as administrative operations.

Theodore’s Experiences

Before associating with AEterna Zentaris Inc. (USA) (NASDAQ:AEZS), Theodore was playing the role of Vice President at Zep, Inc. (NYSE:ZEP), which is a leading chemical packaged products’ company. At the previous company, he was also enjoying the roles of the General Counsel and Corporate Secretary. Before his tenure at Zep, he worked with BioReliance Corporation for a period of almost one year between Sept 2008 and April 2009. He was employed at BioReliance in the capacity of a VP of its Corporate Development, Compliance and Legal. From Sept 2006 to Sept 2007, he was the Senior VP and General Counsel at John H. Ahrland Company. Prior to that, from 2004 to Aug 2006, he was the VP, General Secretary and Corporate Secretary at Serologicals Corporation. Apart from this, Theodore had been a partner in the corporate practice of an Atlanta-based law firm, King & Spalding, LLP. He served at the firm for a long period spanning from 1986 to 2003.

Theodore has graduated from the University of Cincinnati College of Law. He gained the B.A. degree in Political Science from Chattanooga’s University of Tennessee. On the occasion of joining the new company, he said that he finds it an exciting opportunity to join AEterna Zentaris Inc. (USA) (NASDAQ:AEZS) during its transition phase. The company is transiting into an operating specialty biopharmaceutical company that develops and commercializes new treatments in endocrinology and oncology. Theodore said that the company is on the right track to becoming a commercial-focused entity and he seeks to pay his contribution in its becoming a sustainable, successful and competitive organization.

Dean Search Committee Formed

Dr. David Szymanski, Dean of the Carl H. Lindner College of Business, has been appointed to chair the search committee for the next College of Law dean.  Members of the decanal search committee are now available.

  • A. Christopher Bryant, Rufus King Professor of Constitutional Law
  • Sandra Sperino, Professor of Law
  • Verna Williams, Judge Joseph P. Kinneary Professor of Law
  • Elizabeth Lenhart, Associate Professor of Practice
  • Mark A. Godsey, Daniel P. and Judith L. Carmichael Professor of Law and Director, Lois and Richard Rosenthal Institute for Justice/Ohio Innocence Project
  • Elizabeth Thoman ’15, President, Student Legal Education Committee
  • Kenneth J. Hirsh, Director, Law Library and Information Technology and Professor of Practice
  • Nancy Oliver ‘90, Associate Dean for Curriculum and Student Affairs and Professor of Practice
  • Doloris Learmonth ‘78, Board of Visitors member
  • Robert E. Richardson, Jr. ’05, University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees member


The Provost Office has retained Jonathan Fortescue of Park Square Executive Search (Cambridge) as the search firm.

Updates about the status of the search will soon be available as a link on the law school’s website and regular updates about the search also will be provided in future issues of Updates@UC Law.

Class of 1974 Creates School’s Seventh Class Scholarship

The 1974 Class had a lot to celebrate at their reunion event last month—reconnecting with classmates, seeing the evolution of UC campus, and celebrating exceeding their scholarship fundraising goals!

Several months ago class agents Bruce Allman, Barbara Barden, Dan Buckley, Jim Hunt and Steve Wolnitzek proposed a goal to raise $25K for a student scholarship. Recognizing the even higher cost of education today (than when they were in school) and wanting to help students reduce their debt load, the group felt their peers would definitely be on board.

And they were indeed.

The class blew right past their initial $25K goal, raising more than $42,000 in pledges and gifts. Today, they only need $8,000 to reach the endowed scholarship level. “We discussed this as a group and believe our classmates would rather have a scholarship named for the class that lives on in perpetuity than one that disappears after a few years,” said Bruce Allman.  “This way, the UC Law Class of 1974 will be involved in providing scholarships to UC Law students for generations to come.”

Once completed this will be just the seventh endowed scholarship created by a graduation class. 

If you are a member of the 1974 Class and want to help complete the class scholarship, be on the lookout for a letter coming your way soon. Or, click here to donate.

UC Law alumni from other graduation years who are interested in creating a class scholarship should contact Kim Danker, Assistant Director of Development,  513.556.0066 or .

Work of OIP Gives Justin Jennewine Broader Perspective on Criminal Law

When it came to choosing between law schools, Cincinnati was an easy choice for Xenia, OH native Justin Jennewine ‘16.  He always had a connection with the Queen City and he wanted to stay in state to remain close to family and friends.  The College of Law was especially appealing because of the strong sense of community he felt when he visited and because of the small class sized, which he had learned to enjoy while at the University of Dayton.

At UD he majored in finance and economics, keeping his eye on a business career.  Jennewine strongly considered pursuing a MBA. In the end, however, he opted to seek his JD, something he had been interested in since high school.

The summer before coming to Cincinnati for law school, he worked at the Dayton firm Flanagan, Lieberman, Hoffman & Swaim.  There, he was able to employ his business background while gaining experience and learning about working at a law firm.  “Working at a law firm before law school was an excellent experience,” Jennewine shared, noting that he received useful advice and gained quality experience leading up to law school.        

His interest in OIP began when he took a tour of the College of Law.  His tour guide was working with OIP and they stopped in the office during their tour. Seeing the work close up, Jennewine was inspired to work there himself.  While he still has a strong interest in business law, Jennewine knew that working with the OIP would be an excellent opportunity. Additionally, he wanted to test the waters working in the criminal law context.  “It has been such a great experience,” Jennewine said, “but it has actually made my career decisions more difficult.  I still find the intersection of law and business very interesting, but I have also very much enjoyed my time with the OIP, and can tell that I would enjoy this kind of work down the road as well.                                

“From the short time I have spent so far with the OIP, my perspective on the status of individuals after they have been incarcerated has changed,” he shared.  “You really have to teach yourself that, no matter what they were accused and convicted of, these are human beings you are working with.  This is their life they are trying to regain, and if there is even the smallest chance that they were unjustly incarcerated, we have to do everything we can because we have the skills to help them.”

To current first-years and prospective law students, Jennewine strongly recommends OIP. “If you have even the slightest inclination you might have any interest in it, the OIP is the perfect experience to see what public interest and criminal law offers.  I haven’t met more passionate attorneys than the ones I work with at OIP.  It has been a wonderful experience thus far.  Give it a chance, that’s the one thing I will say.”

Wells Channels Life Experiences into Public Interest Work

Catlin Wells ’16, a Dayton, Ohio native born at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, spent her formative years as a military kid, travelling all over the United States with her family. She lived the “military lifestyle” throughout her childhood before returning to Ohio for her collegiate studies, graduating from The Ohio State University with a bachelor’s degree in communications. With a growing interest in the area of public interest, Wells decided to focus on a legal education and joined the UC Law community.

Now working with the Ohio Innocence Project, she had been engaged in public interest work for some time.  While in Dayton she was involved in an after school care program and worked with special needs children.  By the time she moved to Columbus for undergraduate school, Wells knew she wanted to stay involved in this area of work and did so as a Head Start teacher.  It was her experiences doing this work that, in part, inspired her to seek a legal education so that she could work to improve the situations for struggling families. 

“I was particularly drawn to the OIP from hearing what previous students had to say about it,” she shared.  Now several months into her time as an OIP fellow, she has benefitted enormously from her experiences thus far.  “It’s sometimes too easy to get lost in the cases you read for class.  But my time with the OIP has given me an outlet to apply the sometimes nebulous classroom lessons in a very real, practical setting.”

Wells admits, however, that her work is sometimes frustrating.  “The work at the OIP can feel like a losing battle some of the time,” she shared.  “I may spend all week calling witnesses who don’t want to talk with me, begging overworked public employees to send me records from dusty and unorganized file cabinets, and trying to find evidence that might not even exist.”  It’s at these difficult moments that she remembers her supervisor’s advice on how to channel her frustration:  “Don’t get mad for you, get mad for the inmate.”

When asked about her future, Wells shared that she plans to continue working to benefit the community. “I tell people I want to go into politics, but I think that’s a little bit misleading."

She continued, “I was blessed with access to good education, health care, and a house in a neighborhood that was safe enough for me to knock on a stranger’s door when it was time to sell Girl Scout cookies. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life begging for campaign donations and votes, but I’m serious about working with local government officials to make sure that the next generation can say the same thing about their community.”

Jackie Welp Likes Being a Truth-Seeker

“The Ohio Innocence Project was a big factor in my decision to come to UC Law,” shared Jackie Welp '16.  While attending the University of Cincinnati (for her two degrees) she was involved with the Pre-Law club.  There, she arranged to get an OIP exoneree to come speak to the club.  “It was a great experience, and afterwards I almost immediately wrote my personal statement and applied!”

Welp is a 2L working with the Ohio Innocence Project.  A Columbus, Oh native, she has strong family ties to the Queen City. After graduating from UC with majors in history and political science, she chose the College of Law as the place for her legal education.

Working on 20 twenty cases (a typical caseload for an OIP student) Welp has been truly immersed in her work.  “For one reason or another, myself and other OIP students sometimes have trouble pulling ourselves away from one particular case or another—whether it be the particular facts or our belief that the defendant is innocent,” she shared, noting that the experience is useful and educational from a time and caseload management standpoint. It is also work about which it is easy to become enthusiastic. 

Being a ‘Truth Seeker’

Since she began working at the OIP, Welp has found that her perspective on post-conviction work has evolved. “The prosecution (in these cases), in the midst of defending their convictions, look at us as ‘defense attorneys.’  We, however, see ourselves more as truth-seekers,” she explained.  She noted that while the prosecutors are simply doing their jobs, it can be frustrating at times when her truth-seeking efforts are resisted.

Welp has always been interested in criminal law, and, in particular, sees herself doing prosecution work after graduation.  OIP, while on a different side of the criminal law spectrum, has been an excellent experience for her, and has really reinforced for her the interest she has in practicing criminal law.

Her advice to any students potentially interested in criminal law is to check out OIP.  “Get involved in the OIP, even if you are just exploring criminal law.  While the experience has really reinforced my interests in criminal law, it has led other students to the important realization that this sort of thing isn’t for them.  Either way, you learn how to handle a large caseload and how to work with an office full of your classmates, which is really a valuable skill.” 

Donald Caster Talks About Experience, DNA and Making Connections

“My time there [at the Prosecutor’s Office], in part, served to truly eliminate any notion I had of there being ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ when it comes to defense attorneys and prosecutors,” said Donald Caster '03. In fact, his experience as a prosecutor benefitted him in several ways. First, it confirmed for him that he is best suited to appellate and post-conviction work; and second, it confirmed that he is more comfortable on the defense side.  Further, it gave him insight into a prosecutor’s point of view on post-conviction cases, which is invaluable in his current position as a staff attorney with the OIP.

A native of Buffalo, NY, Caster attended Youngstown State University before coming to the College as a student. Here, he was a member of Moot Court and the Law Review. Caster was also a fellow with the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights. 

After graduating, he began building his professional resume in earnest, beginning with a clerkship for the  the Honorable Robert C. Chambers, Chief Judge, United States District Court, Southern District of West Virginia. Thereafter, he returned to Cincinnati to work at a boutique civil rights firm for several years and then spent additional  years as a solo practitioner. Most recently, he worked in the Appellate Division of the Butler County Prosecutor’s office.


Training the Next Generation

Caster and the other attorneys supervise the OIP fellows, as well as represent clients in the courtroom.  Offering some insight as to how the work OIP does has changed over the past 10 years, he noted that today there is much better access to DNA than there was when the OIP started, largely because of  OIP’s work to get Ohio’s DNA testing statute passed.  That being said, he noted that there are fewer and fewer “easy” cases.  Instead, the majority of cases today involve smaller traces of DNA and, as such, it is often more difficult to convince a prosecutor that the DNA test will answer the question of who committed the crime.  Further, the general trend is that the cases are increasingly difficult and complicated.  “The work is just as important as ever,” he noted.  “I look forward to the challenge as well as working with this and future classes of OIP students.”

The Importance of Making Connections

Caster shared why he believes it is important to be kind to your peers in law school and beyond. His two most recent legal jobs came about in no small part due to his connections with former classmates. He also offered additional useful advice: “ I strongly recommend students take as many practice-oriented classes as possible.  Whether civil or criminal, the advocacy and writing skills you learn will be invaluable throughout your career. 

“And, to young practitioners, seek mentorship from an experienced attorney, especially if you are on your own practicing criminal law.  Those that have come before you can instill in you a wisdom that can help you enormously.”



No Longer a Student, Brian Howe’10 Returns to Work at OIP

Cincinnati native Brian Howe ’10 has never wandered too far from home—the College of Law and the city.  Now several years after his graduation, he is back at the hallowed halls of the College of Law – not as a student, but as a staff attorney with the Ohio Innocence Project.

Howe graduated from The Ohio State University in 2003 with majors in philosophy and Russian language.  As part of his degree program, he studied abroad in St. Petersburg, Russia for a summer (now that’s a long way from home!).  After graduating from OSU he found work as a media buyer for three years in Washington and Illinois.  It was around this time in 2007 that Howe made the decision to return to school for his JD.

“I knew from the start I wanted to do something in the area of public interest,” explained Howe when speaking about his student involvement with OIP.  “The opportunity to do something like this through the university is amazing -- it was such an easy decision to want to do this.  I was really hungry as a law student for actual, real clinical experience, and the opportunities at OIP are miles ahead of most other first summer experiences.”

Between graduating from UC Law and returning to the College of Law to work as a staff attorney with the OIP, Howe worked here in Cincinnati. He completed a two-year fellowship with Equal Justice Works hosted through the Legal Aid Society of Southwest Ohio.  After the fellowship, he was hired on as a full-time staff attorney with Legal Aid, continuing his work defending foreclosures, handling evictions, and assisting with other related cases.

He joined the OIP as a staff attorney in January of this year.  As opposed to the caseload that a student handles (about 20 cases), Howe now handles 60-75 cases as a staff attorney, though only about a dozen are in active litigation.  Reflecting on his time as a student with OIP and comparing it to his current experience, he noted that the ability to see cases through is something he is looking forward to.  “It’s interesting.  The cases take so long to develop, almost as a rule, and it is rare for a student to be able to see a case through to its conclusion during their one year with OIP.”  One example of this is that a case in his caseload now was one that he worked on as a student years ago.  “It is nice as an attorney to be able to know that I can see these cases through as opposed to just a one year window before handing it off to the next class.” 

Howe gave these words of advice to law students in the throes of school and looking forward to life after graduation: “It is important to enjoy what you are doing -- it is a luxury that not everyone will have,” he counseled.  “I have been really lucky to have the opportunity to do things that I enjoy doing on a day-to-day basis—both as a student and a professional.”