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Professor A. Christopher Bryant made two panel presentations at the AALS Annual Meeting

Professor A. Christopher Bryant made two panel presentations at the AALS Annual Meeting in New York City. On January 8, 2016, he presented "Constitutional Law from the Ground Up: How the Prohibition on 'Under-ruling' Distorts the Judicial Function" at the Federalist Society's works-in-progress session. On January 9, 2016, he spoke at the Law & Interpretation Section's panel addressing "The Empirics of Legal Interpretation."

Duane Morris partner Kevin E. Vance elected Interim Chairman of Sunrise Community, Inc. Board

Miami Attorney to Lead Board of Directors of National Non-Profit Organization Serving Individuals with Disabilities

Kevin VanceMiami, Fla. (March 21, 2016) – Duane Morris is pleased to announce that Kevin E. Vance, a partner in the Miami office, has been elected Interim Chairman of the Board of Directors of Sunrise Community, Inc., a national leader in providing residential and habilitation services for people with a wide range of intellectual and physical disabilities. Vance joined the organization’s Board in 2014.

For over 45 years, by means of advocacy and education directed toward acceptance, Sunrise has provided its individualized support and services to enable people with disabilities to live valued lives in the community. The Miami-based organization offers a growing range of services, including group home facilities, in-home support, residential habilitation services, respite care, supported employment, adult training, and transportation services, among others. At the heart of its mission are its residential group home facilities, which provide safe, comfortable, family-style caring homes anchored in the community. Currently, the organization has 214 residential group homes serving more than 1,000 individuals.

“I am honored to be elected chairman of such a remarkable organization that is devoted to strengthening communities and ensuring people with disabilities become full participants in community life,” said Vance. “I look forward to working alongside the Board to further the organization’s mission and continue to impact the lives of so many deserving individuals.”

A Florida Bar board-certified attorney, Vance focuses his practice on labor and employment litigation and other types of business litigation. Vance is AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell. He earned his J.D. from the University of Cincinnati College of Law, and his B. A. from Vanderbilt University. In addition to his Board position with Sunrise, Vance is the Vice Chair of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce’s Human Resources and Workforce Development Committee.


About Duane Morris
Duane Morris LLP, a law firm with more than 750 attorneys in offices across the United States and internationally, is asked by a broad array of clients to provide innovative solutions to today's legal and business challenges. In addition, Duane Morris affiliates have approximately 100 professionals engaged in ancillary service businesses.

Karen Kovach '92 Named UC's Interim General Counsel

Cincinnati Law graduate Karen Kovach has been named Interim General Counsel for the University of Cincinnati, effective April 1, 2016. She currently serves as UC's Deputy General Counsel.

With more than 23-and-a-half years of experience as an attorney, the last three of those years spent at the university, Ms. Kovach is familiar with the many aspects and issues affecting universities in the legal arena. In her interim role, she will serve as the key point of contact related to legal issues at the university.

US News Ranking Positions Cincinnati Law Within Top 50 Public Law Schools in the Nation

Cincinnati Law’s significant increase in employment and high bar passage earns results in its ranking among the top 50 public law schools by U.S. News & World Report.

Cincinnati, OH —The U.S. News & World Report has ranked Cincinnati Law #60 in the nation, up 22 places from last year.

Jennifer S. Bard, Dean and Nippert Professor of Law, remarked “We are very pleased by all the external recognition we received this year for producing meaningful outcomes. This includes specific programs such as our clinics, centers and other community collaborations. The U.S. News & World Report ranking reflects our high employment and bar passage rates as well as increased score in peer assessment. It is well deserved and due to the hard work of our faculty, staff, students and alumni.”

Mina Jones Jefferson, Senior Assistant Dean and Director of the Center for Professional Development, elaborated on last year’s 13 percent increase in employment. “For the Class of 2014, 88 percent found employment within 10 months of graduation, a placement above both state and national averages and we are on target to do just as well with the Class of 2015.”

Dean Bard further stated “These outcomes, combined with the high quality legal education our faculty and staff offers students, the strength of our first class research university, and the success and commitment of our wonderful alumni explain why Cincinnati Law is consistently recognized as an ‘A’ level ‘Best Value’ law school.”

The U.S. News ranking follows recent recognition by several similar publications that have assessed the strong Cincinnati Law program:

  • 3rd in the Nation for Prosecutor and Public Defender Careers. (preLaw magazine, Winter edition)
  • Among the Top 20 Schools for Law Students Interested in Prosecutorial/Public Defender Work. (National Jurist magazine)
  • Top 30 School for Super Lawyers. The college, which came in at 28* in the nation, had 13.1 percent of its alumni being considered a Super Lawyer. (*The National Jurist Fall 2015 edition).
  • 40th in the Nation and 10th in the Midwest for JD-Required Positions. (ChicagoINNO)
  • Among the top 50 Law Schools in the Country for Sending Graduates to the top 250 Law Firms. (National Law Journal)
  • Top School for Practical Training. Named to the 2016 honor roll for “Best School for Practical Training” (National Jurist magazine). Ranked a top law school for practical training (National Jurist magazine, 2015 and 2014)
  • Best Value Law School Ranking. Named a Best Value Law School for the third year and second consecutive year, respectively. (National Jurist and preLaw magazines)

Symposium: A Discussion of the Biomarkers for Violence and Criminality: The Hopes and Expectations for the Future

Date: March 10, 2016
Time: 5:00 – 6:30 p.m.
Location: UC Law, Rm. 118

CLE: 1.5 G/, OH & KY

Speaker: Dr. James Blair, Chief, Affective Cognitive Neuroscience Unit, National Institute for Mental Health

Dr. Blair will explore the links between violence antisocial behavior and the brain. His analysis will identify a number of mechanisms that, when dysfunctional, increase the risk for antisocial behavior. Recent advancements in neuroscience have provided important insights about the link between brain activity, antisocial behavior and, consequently, increased risk in criminal offense. Blair will provide a list of mechanisms that, when dysfunctional, increase the risk for antisocial behavior. He will suggest treatment options targeted to these mechanisms that could mitigate the negative consequences of antisocial behavior and offer better preventive and therapeutic opportunities. While he uses functional neuroimaging and other neuroscience techniques to understand the neuropsychology of antisocial behavior, he also will argue that neuroscience has little to say about population antisocial behavior. From a rational perspective, in fact, antisocial choices may be the best choice for any particular individual. Therefore, he will conclude, abnormal brain functioning or irrational thinking do not cause all forms of antisocial behavior.

Nominations Open for UCLAA Distinguished Alumni Award

The UC Law Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Award has been honoring outstanding law alumni since 1980. The recipients inspire all of us to make a difference in our chosen path. Nominations are now open for the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award. All nominations are due April 1.

Application Form

Intersections of Immigration Law and Reproductive Justice (CLE)

The March 2, 2016 program will shed light on the lived experiences of women caught at the intersection of reproductive health and immigration. The two-hour panel discussion will focus on two cases: Purvi Patel, convicted under Indiana’s feticide law, and Blanca Borrego, facing deportation. Time: 4:00 p.m. CLE: 2 hours/OH, KY.

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29th Annual Corporate Law Center Symposium

The 29th Annual Corporate Law Center Symposium will be held Friday, March 18, 2016. The topic will be “Corporate Social Responsibility and the Modern Enterprise.” Guest speakers include Clare Iery, the Procter and Gamble Company; Martha Cutright Sarra, The Kroger Co.; Tianlong Hu, Renmin University of China Law School, and more. The event is free; CLE: 5.0 hours, pending approval.

Learn More & Register

Building Understanding at the Intersection of Law and Psychiatry

“The Weaver Institute is actually the reason I came to UC Law, and I know that my law school education would not have been the same without it.” Olivia Luerhmann

For nearly two decades, students at the Cincinnati Law have been exploring the spaces where the not-so-disparate fields of law and psychiatry intersect, taking advantage of a rather unique opportunity offered by the college.

Dr. Glenn M. Weaver, who started at the law school in 1986 as an adjunct professor, founded the Institute of Law and Psychiatry in 1998 with the intention of furthering the understanding between the two fields.

“It is such a unique experience that very few law students are able to have across the nation,” said 3L student and Weaver Fellow Olivia Luehrmann in an email. “The Weaver Institute is actually the reason I came to UC Law, and I know that my law school education would not have been the same without it.”

Each spring, first-year law students can apply to be a Weaver Fellow, and are chosen based on academic merit, school performance and a demonstrated interest in mental health law. Beginning in the fall of 2016, the fellowship will be open to “uniquely qualified” law students who are beginning their first year, says James Hunt, the Administrative Director of the Weaver Institute.

Coursework Builds Understanding

Once chosen, Weaver Fellows are required to take three courses: Law and Psychiatry, which is a course open to all law students; Mental Health Law I and Mental Health Law II, both of which are open only to Weaver Fellows and taken in conjunction with the Medical School's Forensic Psychiatry Fellows.

“It is a very enlightening and symbiotic experience,” said 2L student and Weaver Fellow John D. Elleman in an email. “The law students, such as myself, and the doctors help one another learn and understand the different perspectives involved.”

“Professor Stephani [who teaches Mental Health Law I & II] is very passionate in instilling a sense of respect for the autonomy of the client,” said 3L Weaver Fellow Lacey Brewster.

Outside the classroom, Weaver Fellows further their understanding of law and psychiatry by attending monthly gatherings of the Forensic Psychiatry Journal Club. Weaver Fellows and Forensic Psychiatry Fellows attend the dinners, along with law professors, practicing attorneys, psychiatrists, psychologists, and, occasionally, magistrates, philosophers and mental health patients and advocates—discussing the latest research and trends.

“It is an amazing experience to be invited to the table (quite literally) in a discussion of recent research and issues in forensic psychiatry with such a broad and respected array of local professionals,” said Elleman. v

Community Works Builds Experience

Beginning in the spring of their second year, Weaver Fellows start the community placement portion of their fellowship. Structured as an independent research project, fellows work for two semesters with areas of the community where law and psychiatry intersect.

For her first semester of community placement, Brewster worked in the Competency Restoration Unit at the Summit Behavioral Healthcare. She would sit in on meetings, shadow psychiatrists, look through forensic files and review legal analyses—all activities geared toward determining if a patient was competent enough to stand trial.

“It amazed me some of the stuff you and I would take for granted,” said Brewster. “I ultimately got a very good perspective of what a client’s life would be like going through competency restoration.”

In her second semester of community placement, Brewster shadowed a social worker working with the Veterans Affairs Justice Outreach Program, which involved reaching into the legal system to find and help veterans in need, says Brewster.

Brewster sat in on Therapeutic Treatment Courts, which differ from regular trial courts. The court personnel constituted a treatment team, which met an hour before the trial to identify and discuss therapeutic needs of the defendant, who in these cases was a veteran. The defendant would then arrive to further discuss treatment options.

“I think that it addresses underlying needs of people more over just putting them in a box,” said Brewster. “And usually,” she continued, “that’s going to be more effective in the long run.”

Experience Gives Insight and Perspective

John Elleman is currently doing his community placement project at the Butler County Probate Court during Magistrate Patricia Hider’s civil commitment docket. So far, he says, he’s spent a lot of time in and out of court with the Magistrate, as well as with the prosecutor who represents the Mental Health Board. He also has plans to spend some time with the probate court monitor, respondent’s counsel and a forensic psychiatrist.

Though Elleman plans on practicing criminal law, a path different from the work he’s doing with Magistrate Hider, he says his time there has offered him insights that have changed his perspective in terms of how he views legal issues.

“Now, when I see criminal cases, particularly misdemeanors, I am much more likely to look at the defendant and consider whether there is potentially underlying mental health issues that may be affecting the defendant’s behavior,” says Elleman. “If instead of sending someone like that to jail for short stays behind bars, getting them psychiatric help may address the underlying issues once and for all, and break the cycle of deviant behavior, court dates, and jail time.”

For Olivia Luehrmann’s first semester of community involvement, she split her time between two areas, spending the first half of the semester observing Judge John Andrew West’s mental health docket.

Luehrmann says mental health dockets are a fairly new concept, in which eligible defendants are transferred from normal criminal court dockets to specialized ones, where they are treated for their specific illnesses, assigned case workers and treated “as individuals instead of ‘just another defendant.’”

The second half of her first semester of community placement was spent shadowing professionals in the “fast-paced environment” of The Christ Hospital Behavioral Unit. In her second semester of community placement, Luehrmann shadowed a treating psychiatrist at Summit Behavioral Healthcare Center.

“At both hospitals, I was able to observe a treating psychiatrist’s day-to-day activities, as well as the legal hurdles that they face with nearly every decision they make,” said Luehrmann in an email. “I want to be a felony prosecutor after graduation. The Weaver Institute has undoubtedly given me the tools I need to pursue such goals.”

Symposia is Opportunity to Learn and Share

In the spring of their third year, Weaver Fellows are responsible for presenting a symposium focusing on a specific issue in mental health law. This year, on March 10, Dr. James Blair, Chief of the unit on Affective Cognitive Neuroscience Unit at the National Institute for Mental Health, discussed and explored the links between violent anti-social behavior and the brain.

Author: Nick Ruma, Communication Intern

Alumnae Shares Secret to Career Success: Try Everything

“Don’t even try.” That’s what a seasoned tax attorney told Tina Varghese when she met with him to talk about working in New York City. “You’re wasting your time,” he’d told her. “None of these firms are even going to be interested in you as a potential candidate since you’re not from a top ten school.”

A few months later, while she was sitting in her criminal procedure class at the University of Cincinnati, Varghese received a job offer from a firm in New York City. The rest of the class was a bit of a blur,” she admitted. “I was happy that I did not get called on that day, because I would not have been able to focus!”

She graduated, sat for the bar, and signed the lease on a New York apartment on Wall Street. In October 2007, she started her job as an associate at Shearman & Sterling LLP.

Life as a New York Attorney

The firm work was intense. Varghese recalled long days spent laboring over complex issues for extraordinarily sophisticated clients, but the memory of this did not seem to bother her. She fondly remembered the experience as an exhilarating one, ripe with opportunity. “We were tightly staffed so you could do as much of the heavy lifting as you wanted,” she said. “By fifth year I was closing my own multi-million dollar debt deals.”

Of her coworkers at Shearman and Sterling, Varghese had only the kindest things to say. She described the friends she made during that time as some of her closest. “We worked around the clock and had all three meals at the office,” she said. “You bond very quickly when you work night and day with the same group of people.”

Five years after she arrived in New York City and in need of a change of pace, she decided to return to the Midwest. So, she packed her bags and moved back to Cincinnati, Ohio, accepting a position at Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP as an associate in their Corporate group. While there, she worked on mergers and acquisitions, securities offerings, and general corporate governance issues.

Finding Work-Life Balance, Varghese Takes Corporate Position

A year and a half later, she left her job at the firm to take on new challenges as in-house counsel for Abercrombie and Fitch Co. Ms. Varghese expressed her appreciation for the work-life balance that comes from working in an environment with no billable hours.

She enjoys working for a single client—her current company. While her firm work called for her to address individual issues for various clients, her position as Senior Legal Counsel has allowed her to develop an ongoing relationship with the company and to become totally immersed in the many different aspects of the business. “The retail industry is going through a period of tremendous change,” she said. “It’s exciting to be a part of it.”

It has been nine years since a New York tax attorney told Tina Varghese not to try. Three fulfilling corporate legal jobs later, Tina Varghese remembers his misguided advice as more of a catalyst than an obstacle.

“After that meeting, I hustled even harder,” she said. To current students, Varghese has a piece of wisdom: “I would have never had such a rich early legal career if I had taken that man’s advice to heart; try everything!”

Author: Catlin Wells'16