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Todd Wurzbacher Fulfills 25-Year Dream as First Year Law Student

For first-year law student Todd Wurzbacher, going to law school had been a dream of his for nearly 25 years.

Wurzbacher grew up in Cincinnati and attended Thomas More College before embarking on a career path that has ranged from work in the start-up world, to a four-year stint as a city councilman in Mason, Ohio, in the mid-2000s—a part of his life that he’s quick to downplay, calling it all “political stuff.” He says he’s also spent a lot of time doing lobbying work, along with some venture capital work and running his own consulting agency.

Since last February, however, Wurzbacher—through a company called Elevation Industries—has been focusing on finding employment solutions for individuals with a criminal record, or, “hard-to-hire individuals,” he explained. Wurzbacher said his work with Elevation has had an affect on his areas of interest in law school.

“Originally, for the last several years when I thought about law school, I really wanted to go do international type work. But, as I’ve gotten more involved in reentry work and prison work, it’s kind of shifted my focus a little bit on criminal justice issues and things of that nature,” said Wurzbacher. “Hopefully I’ll take everything that I learn in law school and use it in Elevation. That’s kind of the master plan.”

Aside from balancing his course load at the law school and his work with Elevation, Wurzbacher is also busy parenting five children.

“It’s tough trying to balance time with that kind of course load,” he said. “But the staff has been fantastic, the administrative staff has been great, the teachers have been wonderful—they definitely worked really to hard to understand the stuff I have going on outside of work.”

Even still, downtime seems like a foreign concept to Wurzbacher.

“Early in the semester, there were students coming into the lunchroom eating lunch. And I’m in the lunchroom running payroll, signing checks and doing all that kind of stuff,” he explained. “And at one point, I had three guys who had an interview—we were trying to place them in a company, and they didn’t have a way to get there. So, in between classes, I’m running these guys—two ex-convicts and a former pimp—down to the interview and I’m thinking, ‘Man, I didn’t think my life was going to look like this.’”

And, for Wurzbacher, it’s all “incredibly rewarding.”

Author: Nick Ruma, Communication Intern

College of Law Students Awarded Prestigious Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation Fellowships

Two Urban Morgan Institute Fellows have just been awarded fellowships with the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation. Suzy Firestone ’14 and Patrick Higgins ’16 will be working with the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation (OLAF) Fellowship program. The competitive fellowships bring to the legal aid community talented law school graduates, to focus on specific and urgent issues facing low-income individuals and families.

Suzy Firestone ’14 Will Focus on Immigration and Education Issues

Suzy Firestone plans to use the fellowship to work with Legal Aid of Greater Cincinnati to provide advocacy about immigration and education issues that affect low-income immigrant children and families in southwest Ohio. She says her project was created in response to the flood of children and families from Central America, who fled violence and poverty to come to the United States.

While at UC Law, Firestone focused on public interest and immigration law. As an Urban Morgan Institute Fellow, she worked on the Human Rights Quarterly all three years she was in school, saying it was “a good opportunity to connect to like-minded people.”

Firestone spent a semester with Su Casa, a Catholic charity in Cincinnati that serves Hispanic and Latino individuals by providing them with social, educational, language, employment and healthcare services. In addition to helping clients complete Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) forms, she also interned with Legal Aid.

Before coming to UC for law school, Firestone completed her undergraduate degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, majoring in Political Science while minoring in Social and Economic Justice.

After graduating, she worked with a branch of AmeriCorps in North Carolina at a crisis service center. Working with the Spanish language program there, Firestone said, helped her understand how immigration status was connected to and exacerbated problems faced by immigrants, such as poverty and the threat of domestic violence.

“It made me want to provide the type of relief that would impact and help provide people with greater stability,” she said.

Through her project, Firestone hopes to ensure that her clients can stay in the US, keeping them from being forced to return to the dangerous conditions that prompted them to risk the journey here. She also wants to be sure that children can access their right to a public education and make progress in school.

The achievement of her goals will come from providing direct representation in immigration and education cases, as well as offering outreach in immigrant communities. She also hopes to increase the capacity of her project and enlarge its overall impact through the use of student externs and volunteers, as well as pro bono attorneys.

Since graduating from the College of law, Firestone has been working as a clerk for Magistrate Judge Michael J. Newman, United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.

Patrick Higgins ’16 Will Focus on Reducing Barriers to Employment

Patrick Higgins, who will be graduating this spring, also has been awarded a two-year fellowship with the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation. He will be working at the Ohio Poverty Law Center in Columbus, Ohio. Specifically, he will be working with the Legal Aid Society of Columbus and Southeastern Ohio Legal Services to build coalitions aimed at reducing barriers to employment in central and southeast Ohio.

Before coming to UC for law school, Higgins studied at New York University, where he was part of the first graduating class of the university’s Global Liberal Studies program. His concentration within the program was Politics, Rights and Development. He also minored in Spanish.

The primary reason he chose to come to UC for law school, said Higgins, was the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights. He was awarded the Arthur Russell Morgan Fellowship, and works on the Human Rights Quarterly as the Senior Articles Editor with Portfolio.

“When I decided that law school was the best next step for my career, I knew that it had to retain a focus of bringing human rights home,” he said. He added that the presence of centers such as the Center for Race, Gender and Social Justice, as well as the college’s urban location made him feel comfortable knowing he would be studying in an environment “committed to using the law for good.”

Higgins says his law school career has been full of notable experiences. As early as his first summer at the College of Law, he was working for a human rights think tank in Bogotá, Colombia, called Dejusticia, where he conducted research on policy affecting Colombia and the rest of the Global South.

During his second year, Higgins was an extern at the Legal Aid Society of Southwest Ohio, where he worked with the immigration practice group. That summer, he worked with Advocates for Basic Legal Equality (ABLE) in Toledo, Ohio as an associate in the Agricultural Worker and Immigrant Rights practice group—an opportunity, he says, that exposed him to a wide array of legal experiences, including a trial for a racial profiling lawsuit filed against the United States Border Patrol.

“My experiences working civil legal aid and education at the College of Law have taught me that legal advocacy alone cannot solve every issue,” he says. With his fellowship—aside from the legal and policy work he’ll be doing—he hopes to build a coalition of people and groups so that the project’s impact is felt well beyond his two years there.

Currently, Higgins currently is interning with the Legal Aid Society of Southwest Ohio.

Author: Nick Ruma, Communication Intern

University of Cincinnati College of Law Named a Best School for Public Service Careers

Kate Cook ’14 interned with the Indigent Defense Clinic, learning to represent clients.

The College of Law was recognized among the top 20 law schools in the country for law students interested in prosecutorial/public defender work.

Cincinnati, OH— The accolades continue into 2016 as the University of Cincinnati College of Law was just recognized as a “Best School for Public Service Careers” by National Jurist magazine. The college is among the top 20 law schools in the country in the prosecutors/public defenders category.

“I am very happy to hear we have been recognized for our success in preparing students for careers in public service.  This is a reflection to the hard work and commitment of our faculty and staff,” said Dean Jennifer S. Bard.

National Jurist magazine conducted a study, which will be published in the winter edition of preLaw magazine that looked at the top schools in three categories – public interest, government and prosecutors/public defenders. The study examined curricular offerings, employment placement, debt, starting salary and loan repayment assistance programs. Twenty schools were recognized in each category; some schools appeared in more than one.

Over the past few months the College of Law has received numerous acknowledgements, including being ranked an A- Best Value Law School by National Jurist and preLaw magazines; a top school for practical training by National Jurist; a top 50 law school for sending graduates to the top 250 law firms by the National Law Journal; and a top 30 National Jurist Super Lawyer School.

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More Good News About the College of Law

College of Law Sees 38% First Year/JD Enrollment Jump

Dinsmore & Shohl LLP elects alumni Thomas M. Connor, Kristin Leinhart and Michael Proctor as partners

CINCINNATI (January 6, 2016) – Dinsmore & Shohl LLP is pleased to announce five Cincinnati attorneys have been named Partner. April L. Besl, Thomas M. Connor, Allison H. Kropp, Kristin M. Lenhart and Faith C. Whittaker were elected to partnership effective January 1, 2016. Fourteen attorneys across the firm have been promoted to Partner this year.
“I am proud to welcome the newest attorneys elected to partnership. They share a passion for the practice of law and a commitment to serving our clients that we value at Dinsmore,” said George H. Vincent, Managing Partner & Chairman. “It has been a pleasure to see them advance in our profession and achieve this accomplishment.”

Thomas M. Connor- Cincinnati, OH
Thomas M. ConnorA partner in the Litigation Department, Tom is an experienced litigator, having handled trials, mediations, negotiations, and client counseling in a wide variety of matters. These include product liability and mass tort litigation, toxic tort matters, natural resources and land use disputes, intellectual property litigation, software and information-technology related litigation, contract matters, as well as defense of health care providers and hospitals. Tom has extensive experience practicing in both state and federal courts throughout much of the Midwest, including experience in complex and multi-district litigation.

For nearly a decade prior to his law career, Tom worked in a series of information technology leadership roles at one of the world’s largest and most diverse technology and manufacturing corporations. He worked with business partners to design, develop and implement a wide variety of complex technology and business process reengineering solutions to address business challenges and opportunities. As an attorney, he has leveraged this background to better understand the operations and legal needs of his business clients. Tom also has worked with technical personnel leading sophisticated large-scale e-Discovery efforts involving traditional business documents as well as non-traditional e-Discovery involving structured enterprise systems data, CRM systems, and CAD engineering drawings. p>In the course of his litigation work, Tom has developed a thorough understanding of the Medicare Secondary Payer statute and has advised clients on all aspects of litigating and settling cases that may give rise to Medicare reimbursement or reporting obligations. He is a member of the firm’s Information Systems and e-Discovery committees. He earned his J.D. from the University of Cincinnati College of Law.

Kristin M. Lenhart- Cincinnati, OH
Kristin LeinhartA member of the Corporate Department, Kristin represents a variety of individuals in estate planning and probate and trust administration matters. Focusing largely on the planning side, Kristin leverages a practical, real-world approach to helping clients minimize the complications associated with the transfer of wealth. Understanding that estate planning sometimes involves an emotional component and complex family dynamics, Kristin tailors her approach to each client, quickly discerning their goals and laying out a strategy to help them get there. By building relationships with clients, Kristin is also able to advise them on other matters, including general business needs, business and LLC formation and implementing business succession plans.

Building on her past experience with a large accounting firm, Kristin also advises closely-held businesses, charitable organizations and family foundations on a variety of tax and business matters.

Beyond her practice, Kristin enjoys writing and in 2012 co-authored a children’s book called “The Notre Dame Spirit,” which highlights the picturesque and legendary South Bend campus through the eyes of a first-time visitor. She earned her J.D. from the University of Cincinnati College of Law.

Michael R. Proctor- Morgantown, WV
MIchael ProctorA member of the Litigation Department, Michael handles business disputes throughout Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Mike also has extensive bankruptcy experience, representing creditors in all phases of bankruptcy, including claim litigation, nondischargeability actions and preferential transfers.

Overall, Mike’s litigation experience is wide-ranging and includes UCC Article 9 litigation, litigation under the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act, deliberate intent and employment litigation, contractual disputes and oil and gas production disputes. Some specific examples of Mike’s experience include: administration of class action funds on behalf of a local governmental entity, immunity of governmental entities in performing administrative duties, litigation of the co-extensive jurisdiction of the bankruptcy courts and district courts, and providing advice to common carriers regarding Federal Transit Administration procurement regulations. He earned his J.D. from the University of Cincinnati College of Law.

About Dinsmore & Shohl
Dinsmore & Shohl is comprised of 625 attorneys with locations in 21 cities throughout California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C. and West Virginia. For more than a century, Dinsmore has provided a broad range of integrated services to meet the needs of both large and small businesses as well as institutions, associations, governments, professional firms and individuals. For more information, please visit

Tarik Haskins '03 Named Fellow of the American Bar Foundation

Wilmington, DE (August 26, 2015) – Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP partner Tarik J. Haskins has been named a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. An honorary organization of attorneys, judges, law faculty, and legal scholars, the Fellows demonstrate outstanding achievements and dedication to the welfare of their communities and to the highest principles of the legal profession.

Established in 1955 to support the research of the American Bar Foundation, membership is limited to less than one percent of lawyers licensed to practice in each jurisdiction. Members are nominated by Fellows in their jurisdiction and elected by the Board of the American Bar Foundation.

As a member of the Morris Nichols Commercial Law Counseling Group, Tarik’s practice covers a range of commercial transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, secured financings, joint ventures, and business counseling.

He serves on the Morris Nichols Executive Committee and chairs the firm’s Diversity Committee. A leader in the local community, Tarik was appointed by Governor Markell as a member of the Delaware Council on Development Finance and serves as a director of the Prestige Academy. He also serves on many committees of the American Bar Association and the Delaware State Bar Association.

About The American Bar Foundation
The American Bar Foundation’s mission is to serve the legal profession, the public, and the academy through empirical research, publications, and programs that advance justice and the understanding of law and its impact on society. Primary funding for the ABF is provided by the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation and the American Bar Endowment. Learn more at

About Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP
Morris Nichols combines a broad national practice of corporate, intellectual property, business reorganization and restructuring, commercial law and litigation with a general business, tax, estate planning and real estate practice within the State of Delaware. The firm is regularly involved as lead counsel or co-counsel in matters of national and international significance, as well as those affecting its immediate community.

Graydon Head & Ritchey LLP hires Maria Moyer '12

Maria K. Moyer has joined Graydon Head & Ritchey LLP as an Associate attorney. Maria will be working primarily in the Estate Planning and Administration group. Most recently, Maria was an associate practicing in estate and trust planning and administration with Vorys Sater, Seymour and Pease.  Previously, she practiced in that area with the law firm of Ritter and Randolph.

Maria is a 2012 graduate of the University of Cincinnati College of Law, where she earned her J.D., and a 2009 graduate of the University of Cincinnati College of Business, where she earned her BA of Business Administration in Marketing and Entrepreneurship. Visit our website for more information about Maria

Graydon Head attorneys serve clients in a variety of industries with particular experience working with clients in: banking and financial services; commercial real estate; media, communications and information; construction; health, education and human services; and manufacturing. The Firm’s personal planning group provides legal counsel to many local business owners and their executives and families in the estate planning and administration area. With offices Downtown on Fountain Square, in Northern Kentucky at the Chamber Center, and in the Butler/Warren area at University Pointe, the Firm provides convenient accessibility to clients in key areas of the growing Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky region.

Law Firm Strauss Troy Adds Attorney Christopher "Kit" Houston

CINCINNATI, OH--(Marketwired - October 27, 2015) - Strauss Troy, a leading law firm with offices in Ohio and Kentucky, announces that Attorney Christopher Houston has joined the firm. Houston has significant first-chair trial experience and strives to obtain fast and efficient results for his clients, whether at trial, through motions practice, mediation, arbitration -- or even avoiding the judicial process all together.

Christopher S. Houston"Kit brings valuable expertise to our Litigation Practice Group," said Marshall Dosker, Strauss Troy president. "His diverse experience in aviation; construction; financial services; healthcare; natural resources, and oil and gas makes him an excellent addition to our firm."

Houston focuses his practice in federal and state court, primarily in the areas of business, real estate and commercial litigation. He has represented clients in a vast-range of legal disputes including: breach of contract; collections; construction; personal injury; prosecuting and defending consumer claims, and many other areas where his clients encounter legal challenges in either their personal lives or business activities. He has spent substantial time working with local banks to protect their interests in distressed loans, both in state court and bankruptcy court.

Houston's experience isn't limited to the courtroom. He also serves many clients in the acquisition and sale of real estate. This work has included representing a commercial developer responsible for the purchase and development of more than 100 parcels throughout an eight-state region. Additionally, he has advised oil and gas exploration companies on issues related to development of the Utica Shale.

An experienced pilot, Houston holds his multi-engine commercial certificate, as well as various flight instructor ratings. His Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) 121 certificate gives him significant experience in the operating requirements for domestic, flag and supplemental operations. This makes him the ideal attorney for any aviation issue.

Houston is licensed to practice in Ohio; Kentucky; U.S. District Court - Southern District of Ohio; U.S. District Court -- Eastern District of Kentucky, and U.S. District Court -- Western District of Kentucky. He holds a J.D. from the University of Cincinnati, Taft College of Law and a bachelor's degree from the University of Tennessee.

About Strauss Troy
As a full-service law firm founded in 1953, Strauss Troy has diverse expertise and a history of proven success. No matter what issue you face, the firm has the right professionals, working together as a team, to get you the answers you need quickly and affordably. Strauss Troy's Practice Groups include: Corporate | Business, Criminal | White Collar Defense, Domestic Relations | Family Law, Labor | Employment, Litigation, Municipal | Government, Real Estate | Finance, Tax Planning | Compliance and Trust | Estate Planning.

Strauss Troy, a leading law firm in the Greater Cincinnati | Northern Kentucky region, is a Martindale-Hubbell Top Ranked Law Firm™ in Fortune Magazine and a U.S. News & World Report Best® Law Firm. Many of its attorneys are honored as peer-rated Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent™ Attorneys, Best Lawyers® in America, Super Lawyers® and Rising Stars.

Jennifer S. Gutmore '03 joins Knott Ebelini Hart

Jennifer S. Gutmore has joined the law firm of Knott Ebelini Hart as an associate. She will concentrate her practice in the areas of business and civil law. Previously, she served as an assistant state attorney in the Twentieth Judicial Circuit. She worked as a judicial law clerk for Ohio Supreme Court Justice Terrence O’Donnell and as an assistant prosecuting attorney prior to moving to Florida in 2007. Ms. Gutmore received her law degree from University of Cincinnati College of Law.

Jennifer S. Gutmore '03 joins Knott Ebelini Hart

Jennifer S. Gutmore has joined the law firm of Knott Ebelini Hart as an associate. She will concentrate her practice in the areas of business and civil law. Previously, she served as an assistant state attorney in the Twentieth Judicial Circuit. She worked as a judicial law clerk for Ohio Supreme Court Justice Terrence O’Donnell and as an assistant prosecuting attorney prior to moving to Florida in 2007. Ms. Gutmore received her law degree from University of Cincinnati College of Law.

Mark Stall '88 and Maria Rodell '96 hired at Escort, Inc. and Corporate Electronics

Maria Rodell – Hired as Director of Human Resources of Escort , Inc. and Cobra Electronics – Maria has her JD from the University of Cincinnati College of Law and her BS from St. Mary’s College. Maria was most recently with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

Mark Stall – Hired as General Counsel of Escort , Inc. and Cobra Electronics – Mark has his JD from the University of Cincinnati College of Law and his BS from Miami University. Mark most recently served as General Counsel of Toyota Industries North America based in Columbus, IN.

About Escort Inc. - ESCORT is the leading manufacturer of high-performance radar and laser detectors and the patented ESCORT Live™ real-time ticket protection network. ESCORT manufactures products under the ESCORT, PASSPORT, Max, REDLINE, SOLO, Pro and BELTRONICS brands. The company is headquartered in West Chester, Ohio, with its principal manufacturing facility located in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. Additional information about Escort, Inc. is available at For more information about ESCORT, visit ESCORT Inc. on Youtube, our website or call the company direct at 800-964-3138

About Cobra Electronics - Cobra Electronics is a leading global designer and marketer of communication and navigation products, with a track record of delivering innovative and award-winning products. Building upon its leadership position in the GMRS/FRS two-way radio, radar detector and Citizens Band radio industries, Cobra identified new growth opportunities and has aggressively expanded into the marine market and has expanded its European operations. To learn more about Cobra Electronics, please visit the Cobra site at Follow Cobra on Twitter at and Like Us at

Escort Inc. and Cobra Electronics are portfolio companies of Monomoy Capital Partners based in New York City.