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From a Small Town in India to Bustling Cincinnati, Pradeep Kandambath Continue to Pursue a Legal Career


From the small town of Payyanur in a region of southern India known for its long, sandy beaches, coconut trees, monsoon rains, and exotic spices, Pradeepkumar Kandambath moved to the United States looking to pursue a legal career.  That was over 12 years ago. His circuitous journey, however, brought him to the College of Law as a student in the LLM program.

Kandambath attended Payyanur College (which is affiliated with Calicut University) and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history.  He then went on to attend Symbiosis Law School in Pune, a university town not too far from Mumbai.  Not done with academia yet, Kandambath also received a diploma in electronic commerce in Bangalore from Asset International, an institute renowned for its programs in e-commerce and computer and information technologies.

“I was, in fact, born in a family of lawyers! My father, the late K.U. Narayana Poduval, was a civil lawyer and freedom fighter who began his practice in the 1940’s with former state minister of law and education K. Chandrashekharan. My uncle, the late K.U. Kunhikrishna Poduval, and my elder brother, the late Jagdishchandran, were also lawyers who have inspired me to take the legal profession with utmost seriousness and a sense of dedication,” Kandambath said.

From 1997 to 2002, Kandambath practiced in the areas of property law, employment law, contracts, and company law in a small firm at Kochi and at the High Court of Kerala.  At Kochi, he had the opportunity to intern with former Judge of the Supreme Court of India and world renowned human rights activist, Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer, which he considers to be a milestone in his career.

“Cincinnati looked almost unreal to me when I first arrived,” said Kandambath.  He contrasted Cincinnati with what he knew about urban life in India, where poverty, noise, and pollution are integral parts of urban life.  “One thing noteworthy about the Cincinnati is that it is a bustling cosmopolitan city like any other major city in the U.S.,” shared Kandambath, “except for the rush and difficult commutes.” 

Having never cooked before moving to the U.S., cooking is now one of Kandambath hobbies along with travelling and music.  A notable difference culturally, Kandambath shared that the cooking back home was usually done by servants.   “It may sound strange to a Westerner” he laughed. “I had not even seen the whole kitchen in the house I was born in and lived at for more than 25 years!”

Having established his life in Cincinnati, Kandambath admittedly had almost given up his goal of establishing a legal practice here.  When he moved to the Queen City years ago, no LLM program existed, and impracticalities and cost prevented him and his family from moving to another city.  Then when he was online searching for short-term courses in law, he discovered UC Law’s new LLM program and jumped at the opportunity to pursue his dream.  “I always wanted to have a post graduate degree in legal studies,” he said.  “The LLM program has been the most exciting thing that has happened to me since I came to the United States.” 

Now nearing graduation, Kandambath hopes to work with a law firm or business establishment where he can utilize his unique, multinational educational background.  “I have benefitted immensely by doing the LLM program at UC,” he said.  “I would strongly recommend it to anyone who is interested in any career path in the legal field.

Faculty members at UC have extensive experience in legal practice and bring outstanding scholarship and teaching experience to the class. I would advise every student to take full advantage of this as well as the career support at the university.”

3L Caroline Hyatt Wins Second Place in National Writing Competition


Congratulations to third year law student Caroline Hyatt who placed second in the 2013-2014 Louis Jackson National Memorial Student Writing Competition in Labor and Employment Law for her paper, “The Legal Enforcement of 'Proper' Gender Performance Through Title VII.” 

The competition is sponsored by the national labor and employment law firm Jackson Lewis in memory of Mr. Jackson, one of the firm’s founders. The competition has been administered by IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law’s, Institute for Law and the Workplace.  Her essay will be published on the Institute for Law and the Workplace website and she will receive a $1,000 scholarship.

Hyatt, a native of Cincinnati, is a graduate of the university with a bachelor’s degree in International Affairs with certificates in Asian Studies and in International Human Rights.

What have been some of the best experiences at the law school and why?

“In the summer following my first year of law school, I worked at the EEOC in the Office of Federal Operations in Washington D.C. Federal employees with discrimination complaints go through a longer administrative process before they have the option of going to federal court and this office is responsible for the appellate decisions of these claims. About a month before I started working there, they issued an exciting decision in Macy v. Holder. This case established that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees from discrimination based on gender identity. Following this monumental decision, the EEOC had a panel that summer to discuss the impact of the case that I got to attend. This discussion triggered the nagging question in the back of my mind that eventually led to my MA/JD final project.

“That fall I started researching the topic of employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and the extent to which it might be protected under Title VII with the help of my MA/JD final project committee, made up of Professors Deb Meem from Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Sandra Sperino and Chris Bryant from the law school. Working on that project, a paper that utilized the theoretical concepts that I learned in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies MA program and applying them to a legal problem in a new and unique way, made my 2L year the most challenging and rewarding year of my academic career. The work I did with the EEOC and on my paper also led me to the specialty I plan to practice in when I graduate: LGBT employment discrimination.”

How did you get involved with the writing competition?

“When I finished the paper I wrote for my MA/JD final project, I knew that I wanted to rewrite it in a form that focused on the legal aspect of my work so that I could get the ideas out there in the legal field. While there have been huge gains in protecting the LGBT community from employment discrimination, there is a lot of work still to be done, and my research can help ensure that that work creates real change instead of just the appearance of change or even reinforcing the very societal norms that we are trying to shift. Professor Sperino recommended places to submit my work and all of my committee helped me edit and prepare my paper. I submitted my paper to the writing competition this past January and was just so excited to find out that my paper, “The Legal Enforcement of “Proper” Gender Performance Through Title VII,” had won second place!”

How will this experience help in your career?

“The opportunity to become so deeply knowledgeable in one area of law through the work I did on my article, which I spent a whole year on, has helped me focus my experiences toward a specialty in LGBT employment discrimination. This area of law is new and changing and it’s exciting to be a part of it.

Participating specifically in the writing competition and in winning second place puts my work and my ideas out there on a much larger scale. It’s accessible online to anyone who wants to see it and I hope that it can contribute to a larger conversation, in legal academia and among practitioners, about the direction the law is moving.”

Last Question: what did you think when you heard you won?

“I was so excited! I didn’t know when to expect an answer, so I was completely caught off guard. It was a great feeling after working so hard on something for so long to have that work recognized on a national scale.”

Hyatt plans to work in employment discrimination, doing litigation on behalf of employees, and specializing in working to protect the LGBT community from discrimination.

 

 

Sam Ginocchio ’15 Shares Thoughts for Small Business Owners


Sam Ginocchio ’15 is a former owner of A Tavola Bar and Trattoria, a Tri-state hotspot located in the revitalized downtown Over-The-Rhine community. He shares his thoughts on why law school is important for small business owners.

As a small business owner you can have a great idea, entrepreneurial drive and a willingness to work long hours, but to succeed you need to couple those with an understanding that you're operating in a larger world. It’s a world where there are many competing interests - from other businesses, suppliers, government entities and the larger community as a whole. Besides the traditional legal fields of property, contracts, and commercial transactions, law school trains you to ask questions that you might not have realized were a part of your business vision, and develops collaborative problem solving skills which hopefully enhance whatever practical abilities and gut instinct you bring to your business. My goals haven't changed as much as they've been refined; I still believe small businesses are key for our city's vibrancy and an important engine for Cincinnati's growth.

George Jonson '83 received the 2014 Eugene R. Weir Award for Ethics and Professionalism


George Jonson, a managing partner at the law office of Montgomery, Rennie & Jonson, received the 2014 Eugene R. Weir Award for Ethics and Professionalism from the Ohio State Bar Association.

The Weir Award recognizes exceptional professional responsibility among Ohio lawyers and was presented to Jonson during the Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA) Annual Convention in Columbus.

The OSBA Board of Governors established the Weir Award in 1998 to honor the memory of Eugene R. Weir, a former member of the board. Weir championed improvements in lawyer regulation and strongly advocated for the promotion of professionalism and legal ethics. Each year this award is given to one lawyer who has worked to promote and uphold legal professionalism and ethics.

Jonson's practice focuses on the defense of legal malpractice claims, as well as commercial litigation. He provides ethics advice to attorneys and judges and represents attorneys, judges and other professionals in disciplinary actions. He has represented clients in state and federal court for more than 30 years.

Jonson earned his undergraduate degree from Miami University at Oxford in 1979 and his law degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Law in 1983. He is admitted to practice in Ohio and Kentucky state courts as well as a number of federal trial and appellate courts.

George Jonson '83 received the 2014 Eugene R. Weir Award for Ethics and Professionalism


George Jonson, a managing partner at the law office of Montgomery, Rennie & Jonson, received the 2014 Eugene R. Weir Award for Ethics and Professionalism from the Ohio State Bar Association.

The Weir Award recognizes exceptional professional responsibility among Ohio lawyers and was presented to Jonson during the Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA) Annual Convention in Columbus.

The OSBA Board of Governors established the Weir Award in 1998 to honor the memory of Eugene R. Weir, a former member of the board. Weir championed improvements in lawyer regulation and strongly advocated for the promotion of professionalism and legal ethics. Each year this award is given to one lawyer who has worked to promote and uphold legal professionalism and ethics.

Jonson's practice focuses on the defense of legal malpractice claims, as well as commercial litigation. He provides ethics advice to attorneys and judges and represents attorneys, judges and other professionals in disciplinary actions. He has represented clients in state and federal court for more than 30 years.

Jonson earned his undergraduate degree from Miami University at Oxford in 1979 and his law degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Law in 1983. He is admitted to practice in Ohio and Kentucky state courts as well as a number of federal trial and appellate courts.

OIP Client Dewey Jones Exonerated; 17th Person Freed through Efforts of OIP


Congratulations to the OIP team and client Dewey Jones who was exonerated Thursday, January 30, 2014. Summit County (OH) Judge Mary Margaret Rowland dismissed aggravated murder, aggravated kidnapping, and aggravated robbery charges against Jones, who spent 20 years in prison. Jones was convicted in 1993 murder of 71-year-old Neil Rankin. The OIP’s investigation uncovered police misconduct, and DNA testing eventually came back and proved his innocence.

Jones is the 17th  person freed by OIP efforts.  Together, OIP clients have spent nearly 300 years in prison for crimes they did not commit.

Students who worked on this case over the years include: Shabby Allen, Amanda Bleiler, Julie Kathman, Eric Kmetz, Bryant Strayer, Scott Brenner and Sarvani Prasad, Eric Gooding and Brian Howe, Chris Brown and Matt Katz, Amanda Rieger and Nicole Billec, Ryan McGraw, and Stacey Skuza.

For more information about the case:

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. 

KMK Law Attorney Sophia R. Jannace '13 Admitted to Practice Law in Kentucky


Cincinnati, OH — Sophia R. Jannace, an attorney at Keating Muething & Klekamp PLL (KMK Law®), was recently admitted to practice law in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.  She had previously been admitted to practice law in Ohio.

Jannace joined KMK Law in September 2013 where she practices in the firm’s litigation group with a focus on commercial disputes.  Jannace earned her J.D. from the University of Cincinnati College of Law in 2013, Order of the Coif.  While in law school, she served as a judicial extern in the chambers of the Honorable David L. Bunning, District Judge for the Eastern District of Kentucky. She also acted as a legal extern at General Cable Corporation, a Fortune 500 company, where she drafted and reviewed commercial agreements and prepared due diligence materials for the issuance of high yield notes. Jannace worked during her summers in law school at a law firm in Lexington, Kentucky, where she drafted motions for summary judgment and administrative appeals. She was active in law school, serving as the Publications Editor for the University of Cincinnati Law Review, a member of the Cincinnati Trial Practice Team, volunteer with the Tenant Information Project, Class Representative on the Student Bar Association, and a member of the Student Court.

Prior to entering law school, Jannace served as an AmeriCorps VISTA member at the Homeless and Housing Coalition of Kentucky, a non-profit organization, where she spent a year as the Communications and Outreach Coordinator. The following year, she acted as the non-profit’s AmeriCorps Member Coordinator and served on the strategic planning committee for Lexington’s first Stand Down/Homeless Connect.  Jannace earned her B.A. from the University of Kentucky in 2008, magna cum laude.

About Keating Muething & Klekamp PLL

The law firm of Keating Muething & Klekamp PLL (KMK Law®), based in Cincinnati, Ohio, is a nationally-recognized law firm delivering sophisticated legal solutions to businesses of all sizes — from Fortune 100 corporations to start-up companies. Chambers USA: America’s Leading Business Lawyers® 2014 recognized KMK as a leading law firm in Ohio in Bankruptcy & Restructuring, Corporate and Mergers & Acquisitions, and General Commercial Litigation.  KMK earned three national rankings (Commercial Litigation, Corporate Law, and Venture Capital Law) and 36 metropolitan rankings in the 2014 “Best Law Firms” report by U.S. News and Best Lawyers.  Founded in 1954, KMK has approximately 110 lawyers and a support staff of 150 employees. Additional information is available at www.kmklaw.com. 

Michael J. Moeddel '02 named a winner of The 2014 M&A Advisor 40 Under 40 Recognition Awards


Cincinnati, OH — Keating Muething & Klekamp PLL (KMK Law) partner Michael J. Moeddel has been named a winner of The 2014 M&A Advisor 40 Under 40 Recognition Awards in the Legal Advisor category.  The awards program recognizes leading professionals working in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, turnaround, and financing who have reached a significant level of success in the industry while still under the age of 40. Winners are chosen for their accom
plishments and expertise from a pool of international nominees by an independent judging panel of distinguished business leaders.

Michael J. Moeddel head shotMichael J. Moeddel is a partner with KMK Law’s Business Representation & Transactions Group.  He represents public and private companies in a general counsel capacity on a broad range of corporate legal matters, with a particular emphasis on mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, capital market transactions and other complex business transactions.  In the negotiation of acquisitions, Moeddel represents clients in all aspects of the transactions, including structuring the transactions, negotiating financing terms and documentation, to transitioning the business into a company’s existing structure.  

Moeddel also regularly represents investors in structuring and negotiating private placements of securities, including venture capital and private equity transactions.  He has represented angel investors, venture capital firms, private equity investors, and mezzanine lenders in structuring investments in start-up enterprises and existing businesses.  Moeddel also has worked with investee companies and entrepreneurs in negotiating terms of investment and exit transactions, corporate governance, and operational matters.   His experience includes the representation of public companies regarding a wide variety of securities issues particular to public companies, including corporate governance matters and compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

Moeddel currently serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Law, on the Grants Committee of the Cincinnati Bar Foundation, as a Board Member of the Southwest Ohio Council on Child Abuse, and a member of the Ohio Bar Association's Corporate Law Committee.  He recently completed a seven year commitment as a Director (last two years as Chairman) of the Greater Cincinnati Sports Corporation, whose events annually generate 100,000 visitors to the region.  He also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitor's Bureau.  In 2006, Mike was appointed by Mayor Mallory to the Cincinnati Recreation Commission where he served for three years and was responsible for overseeing Cincinnati’s 27 recreation centers, 41 aquatic facilities, and 2,500+ acres of outdoor athletic facilities.  At KMK Law, Moeddel has served important roles in many firm committees and efforts, including the firm's Diversity Task Force, Hiring Committee, and Employee Benefits Committee.  Moeddel has been named to The Best Lawyers in America® and to Ohio Super Lawyers Rising Stars.

The 2014 M&A Advisor 40 Under 40 awards will be presented at a gala ceremony on June 24, 2014, in New York City in conjunction with the 2014 Emerging Leaders’ Summit.  This is the second consecutive year that a KMK Law partner has been named a winner in The M&A Advisors 40 Under 40 Recognition Awards.

About Keating Muething & Klekamp PLL

The law firm of Keating Muething & Klekamp PLL (KMK Law®), based in Cincinnati, Ohio, is a nationally-recognized law firm delivering sophisticated legal solutions to businesses of all sizes — from Fortune 100 corporations to start-up companies. Chambers USA: America’s Leading Business Lawyers® 2014 recognized KMK as a leading law firm in Ohio in Corporate and Mergers & Acquisitions, Bankruptcy & Restructuring, and General Commercial Litigation.  KMK earned three national rankings (Corporate Law, Commercial Litigation, and Venture Capital Law) and 36 metropolitan rankings in the 2014 “Best Law Firms” report by U.S. News and Best Lawyers.  Founded in 1954, KMK has approximately 110 lawyers and a support staff of 150 employees. Additional information is available at www.kmklaw.com. 

Law Student Places 2nd in Cincinnati’s Flying Pig Marathon


Donnie Warner, a 2014 College of Law graduate, placed second in the 15th Annual Marathon, held May 4, 2014. He says his next marathon will involve studying for the Ohio Bar.   

Law student Donnie Warner ’14 has a lot to celebrate this month. He’s completed three years of law school. He’s scheduled to graduate from the College on May 17th. And, oh yes, he just finished 2nd place in the 15th Annual Flying Pig Marathon, held Sunday, May 4, 2014 in Cincinnati. He finished the grueling race with a time of 2:28:39, besting third place winner Kota Reichart by 18 seconds; he was 1 minute and 18 seconds behind three-time winner Sergio Reyes.

Warner’s running career started when he was 8 or 9 years old, he said. He went on to run for his high school team in Michigan. Next, he ran for DePaul University, earning a scholarship for cross country and track along the way.  He ran his first Flying Pig marathon in 2010, placing fourth and running about eight minutes slower than he did this year. “It was a disappointing result for me,” Warner said. “The silver lining was that I gained experience.  This year that experience paid off with a smarter [running] strategy!” During law school he continued to race in marathons, placing seventh in the Columbus Marathon in 2012 and sixth in the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon in 2013.

The Reason He Runs

With over 20 years under his belt, Warner has many reasons for why he runs. What he likes most, however, is the opportunity to meet interesting people. “Through running I've had the opportunity to become friends with runners from around the world, including Ethiopia, Kenya, Ireland, England, Morocco, and South Africa. When I lived on the Navajo Nation, I learned that my student's uncle was a famous runner; before long I was visiting his house and learning about his career. I am fascinated by how running brings people together.” 

His wife is also a runner and the two enjoy running together to catch up on the day’s or week’s events.

Why This Year’s Race was so Important

The 2014 Flying Pig had special significant for Warner. This year he ran in support of a local organization – Elementz Hip-Hop Youth Center in Over-The-Rhine.  Elementz teaches and encourages art that comes out of urban life and experience.  Thus, through rap, spoken word, stepping, urban photography, music production and video production, youth are able to express themselves and communicate their message of respect, hope, and achieving success. “I think that Elementz does very important work in our community, so I was happy to find a way to help out.” He has raised $1300 to date. 

Warner isn’t sure when or where his next race will be. He’ll be a little occupied for the next few months preparing for the Ohio Bar Exam.  “I guess studying for the bar is kind of a marathon! I am going to start with that (the Bar Exam) and then see what (race) looks interesting. Someday, though, I’d really like to run an international marathon.” 

As for after the bar, Warner says he has enjoyed his experiences working in criminal defense and employment law. He hoping to find a career in one of those areas, or perhaps something else. He’s open to possibilities!