Paul Taylor Talks Tort Reform at Cincinnati Law
On October 17, Paul B. Taylor, Chief Counsel in the House Committee on the Judiciary, delivered Cincinnati Law’s Schwartz Lecture. This annual lecture series brings in a distinguished speaker, one who plays an active role in understanding and shaping law and policy. Taylor shared his expertise and scholarship with the UC community in a speech entitled “Federal Tort Reform: Policy, Law and Practice.”
Taylor’s lecture explained tort reform and its role in encouraging innovation. He traced the origins of tort reform back to the framing of the Constitution. Madison and Hamilton observed inhibitive restrictions on trade and commerce between states and included the interstate commerce clause, giving Congress the power and duty of removing such barriers.
Taylor stated, “The public may ask their legislatures to enact tort reform which removes barriers that discourage private entities from taking actions that increase public benefits and reduce public risk. In this light, tort reform can provide this sort of check-and-balance that helps ensure the separation of powers the framers of the constitution insisted upon.”
He noted that excessive lawsuits against private companies can often result in adverse effects for the public. Class-action lawsuits are intended to benefit large segments of the public, but it is actually quite rare that individuals end up collecting their share of a settlement from such a suit. Taylor maintains that “while class action lawyers collect huge fees, their clients collect virtually nothing.”
Taylor celebrated successful instances of tort reform. He argued that post-9/11 innovations in cyber-security have benefited greatly from tort reform, as technological industries are protected from frivolous lawsuits. He also observed that Obama-era tort reforms allowed for the speedy development of vaccines to combat the Zika and Ebola viruses.
A fun note about the speaker:Victor Schwartz, the lecture series’ namesake introduced the speaker. Among other things he noted that Taylor is down-to-earth, despite Ivy League credentials, and that from a young age, Taylor spent much of his time drawing comic strips. His still draws political cartoons between law-review articles.
Professor Timothy Armstrong’s Article Discussed in SCOTUS Order
Professor Timothy Armstrong’s article “Chevron Deference and Agency Self-Interest” (published in the Cornell Journal of Law & Public Policy) was cited on October 16, 2017 in the Scenic America, Inc. v. Dep’t of Transp. statement of Justice Neil Gorsuch, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, respecting the denial of certiorari.
Here’s Professor Armstrong’s take on the development:
Although I no longer specialize in the area, I handled quite a few matters dealing with administrative law during my career in private practice. My clients in such cases had disagreements with federal government agencies over the terms of the statutes those agencies administered. As administrative-law specialists know, federal agencies enjoy a significant advantage in litigation over other parties where disputes arise over the meaning of an agency’s governing statute. Agencies usually win such disputes because, under the reasoning of Chevron USA Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 467 U.S. 837 (1984), courts are obliged to defer to an agency’s interpretation of its own statute in many instances, on the grounds that Congress meant for the agency itself to fill in the gaps and resolve any ambiguities in the legislation as enacted.
My article, “Chevron Deference and Agency Self-Interest,” argued that sometimes more important policies superseded the rationale of the Chevron decision. The article argued, specifically, that the courts should not defer to agencies’ legal interpretations when those interpretations tended to affect the scope of the agency’s regulatory authority or the agency’s financial interests, because in those scenarios, reasonable observers might doubt whether the agency’s action rested upon a dispassionate and impartial assessment of what the law actually required. The Court rejected my position, insofar as agencies’ regulatory authority is concerned, a few years ago in City of Arlington v. FCC, 133 S. Ct. 1863 (2013).
Monday’s Order, however, indicates that at least some of the Justices remain concerned about an agency’s reliance on the Chevron doctrine where the agency's legal interpretation redounds to its financial advantage. It is interesting that Justice Gorsuch drafted the order issued Monday, because his predecessor on the Court (the late Justice Antonin Scalia) wrote the majority opinion in City of Arlington and generally took a far more expansive view of the circumstances when Chevron deference was appropriate. For Justice Gorsuch to be signaling more discomfort with Chevron (as he also did during his years on the Court of Appeals) is a hint that the change in the composition of the Court in the few years since City of Arlington may become quite significant down the road if a new case raising the question of deference to agencies’ contractual interpretations should come before the Court.
Cincinnati Law Professor Takes on Legal Reform
Cincinnati Law’s Professor Betsy Lenhart has been appointed to the Ohio Commission on the Rules of Practice and Procedure. The Supreme Court of Ohio voted in favor of her appointment on October 6, 2017. As a part of this Commission, Lenhart will play an active role in enacting comprehensive changes to Ohio’s discovery rules.
Cincinnati, OH—This past August, Justice Patrick F. Fischer of the Supreme Court of Ohio contacted Professor Betsy Lenhart about serving on the Ohio Commission on the Rules of Practice and Procedure. On Friday, October 6, the Ohio Supreme Court voted in favor of her appointment.
The Commission’s 2018 agenda will be intensive. It will set out to make comprehensive changes to Ohio’s discovery rules, which will mirror amendments made to the analogous Federal Rules in 2015.
Lenhart is well equipped for this challenge. She practiced law for law firm Frost Brown Todd LLC from 2004 to 2009. Her work there gave her experience in many types of business litigation, ranging from antitrust suits to class action litigation. Lenhart’s expertise is further bolstered by her experience teaching at Cincinnati Law, where she has received numerous awards and grants, including the Goldman Prize for Excellence in Teaching.
Lenhart considers the appointment to be a great honor, and she is enthusiastic about beginning work for the Commission as it takes on its rigorous agenda.
About Professor Lenhart
Elizabeth “Betsy” Lenhart specializes in legal research and writing, drawing on a wealth of professional experience as she teaches JD candidates at the College of Law. Her years of study were long and varied. She earned a BA from Miami University in ‘87, double-majoring in History and Political Science. She then earned a master’s degree in ’93 and pursued doctoral studies at Indiana University, where her work focused on Colonial Latin American History. In 2004, she earned her JD from the University of Cincinnati College of Law.
After graduating, Lenhart practiced law for Frost Brown Todd LLC. As a member of the firm’s Complex Litigation Practice group, she handled antitrust and many other types of cases in federal courts, Ohio courts, and several other state courts. Lenhart also served on the firm’s recruiting committee and was a member of the women’s initiative steering committee, among other activities. She was named an Ohio Super Lawyer in 2009. Later that year, Lenhart became an Associate Professor of Practice at the College of Law.
Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot Team Information
The College of Law expects to field a team to compete in the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot in Hong Kong from Sunday, March 11th to Sunday, March 18th, 2018.
All 2L, 3L and LLM students are invited to apply for the team. Application information and materials can be found at bit.ly/VisMootTeam. Applications are due by October 9th, 2017.
Adjunct Prof. Pinney, who is teaching his course in International Internal Arbitration this fall and next fall, will coach and travel with the team to Hong Kong. The Vis is the leading international moot competition for law schools from all corners of the world. The Moot is named for Law Professor Willem C. Vis, who until his death in 1993, was a leading scholar on international commercial law and dispute resolution. The Moot was first held in Vienna in 1994 and had the twin objectives of providing a competition for law students learning about international commercial arbitration and promoting the then newly adopted Convention on Contracts for the International Sales of Goods (CISG). The annual Moot in Vienna became so successful that a second venue in Hong Kong was established in 2003.
The UC team is planning to compete in Hong Kong against approximately 120 other law schools from Asia, Europe, North and South America, Australia and Africa (all over the world). There were 19 teams from the United States at the 2017 Moot in Hong Kong, including for the first time a UC team consisting of Melena Siebert* (3L), Brendan Chisholm* (3L), Franklin Uwizera* (LLM), Abbey Aguilera* (2L), Ben White (2L), Ryan Denny (2L), Mickey Sutton (3L) and Belinda Seruhere (LLM). (Asterisk denotes those traveling to and competing at the Moot in Hong Kong.)
The competition consists of four arguments in the preliminary round beginning on Monday, March 18th, over four days. From the preliminary rounds, 32 teams (in the Hong Kong competition) are selected for the elimination rounds leading to the finals on Sunday morning, March 18th, followed by a banquet at a Hong Kong Hotel. The 2017 competition was won by West Bengal National University (India) over NALSAR University of Law (India).
It is currently expected that next year’s “team” will consist of eight current U/C law students, with four “team members” being selected to travel to Hong Kong from whom the oralists will be selected. All 2L and 3L students are eligible to be part of the “team,” as well as LLM students. Preference will be given to students who are taking Professor Pinney’s International Commercial Arbitration Course as well as members of the Moot Court Honor Board.
The Vis competition for both the Vienna and Hong Kong venues is based on a “Problem” issued annually around October 10th, that describes an international commercial dispute arising under the CISG that is being submitted to an international arbitration tribunal for resolution. Competing teams must prepare and submit by about December 10th a “Claimant’s Memorandum” in support of the hypothetical claimant’s position based on the Problem. Each team must also submit a “Respondent’s Memorandum” around January 28th. The team members who are not chosen for the traveling team will have primary responsibility for researching and writing the two memoranda, although all team members will be expected to be engaged in drafting and completing the memoranda. Also, the Claimant’s Memorandum, in penultimate form, subject only to final editing, will be due internally by November 30th so as not to conflict with fall term exams.
The cost for those traveling will be supported by the College of Law and the UC International Programs. It is expected that travel team members may incur about $500-750 in expense, over and above those scholarship funds provided by the college and university (although the actual amount required for next year’s Moot has not yet been determined).
The 2018 Moot coincides with the College of Law’s spring break week, which will minimize the number of classes missed. It is expected that team members (other than those on the Moot Court Board) will receive 1 hour of academic credit and those on the traveling team will receive 2 hours credit for the Spring 2018 term.
ECDC Collaborates with Latina/o Law Student Society to assist Latina Entrepreneurship Academy
UC Law’s Latina/o Law Student Society assisted the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic (ECDC) in providing legal training to the Latina Entrepreneurship Academy at the Hamilton County Business Center.
Cincinnati, OH – “We live in a world, country, and community that is becoming more and more diverse,” said Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic Director and Professor Lew Goldfarb. “It’s important that the ECDC provides access to legal services to all people who choose to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams but may have limited resources.”
This summer, the Hamilton County Business Center (HCBC) conducted their inaugural Latina Entrepreneur Academy (LEA), a 14-hour business certification entrepreneurship course offering a series of informational sessions to better prepare Latinas entering the world of entrepreneurship.
Karla Boldery, a business coach at the HCBC, sought ways to enhance the learning potential of LEA students, who all speak Spanish as a first language. Interested in collaborating with the ECDC and the Latina/o Law Student Society at UC Law, a conversation was under way between Prof. Goldfarb and Gibran Peña-Porras, president of the student organization.
“I became the president of the Latina/o Law Student Association this year,” said Peña-Porras. “Before that happened I reached out to a couple of different organizations here that work with the Hispanic community. I contacted Prof. Goldfarb and he said he’d be willing to meet and talk about it. After having coffee with Karla Boldery, I told her the Latina/o Law Student Association is ready to help out any way we can, in any way we could be of service.”
This is where the ECDC came in. The clinic is designed for students to gather hands-on experience representing local small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs on transactional legal issues critical to their success. The ECDC does not charge for it’s services to entrepreneurs, and gives students a tremendous learning experience while contributing to the economic development and revitalization of Cincinnati and the surrounding communities.
In their collaboration, the ECDC and the Latina/o Law Student Association assisted the LEA in providing legal training throughout the summer. In June, the LEA hosted the presentation “Choosing the Proper Legal Structure for Your Business.” With support from Prof. Goldfarb, Peña-Porras developed the presentation with a power-point in Spanish. The class of nearly 40 entrepreneurs responded with questions, for which Prof. Goldfarb was able to answer via Peña-Porras’ translation from English to Spanish.
“We have assimilated into the Cincinnati culture, and now we’re trying to contribute to it in any way we can,” said Peña-Porras. “It’s not necessarily about just accommodating people who don’t speak English. Alex Valdes (another UC Law student who assisted) and I are fortunate enough to know two languages, and we’re able to help them assimilate into the culture they’re living in. Even though you have someone living in the community, they can be isolated from what’s surrounding them because of the language barrier. We help them get out there and become a part of the community.”
After their initial success, the ECDC and UC Latina/o Law Student Society continued the collaborative efforts by assisting LEA students at four sessions over the summer. The ECDC students provided legal counsel under the supervision of Prof. Goldfarb and attorney Tom Cuni, with translation services provided by Peña-Porras and Valdes.
“Latina entrepreneurs kind of have two strikes against them,” said Valdes. “Entrepreneurs are trying to get their businesses off the ground and might not always have the means to pay for legal work, which is one difficulty where the ECDC helps a lot. Also, the language barrier can be difficult to overcome. If you have both elements working against you, it can be very difficult to get your foot in the door.”
The partnership ran successfully. According to Prof. Goldfarb, the only obstacle faced was “the air conditioning unit at the HCDC on a 95-degree day during the presentation. Gibran loosened his tie and handled it well, despite the hot conditions!”
Though this was the first time the ECDC and the Latina/o Law Student Association worked together, additional projects are already underway. Peña-Porras has made another legal presentation to a group of Latino entrepreneurs participating in training classes at the Greater Cincinnati Microenterprise Initiative. There’s also an effort by the ECDC and Latina/o Law Student Association to translate the application, website, and all other materials all to Spanish, to be more inclusive of their services offered.
“These are people who are trying their hardest to get out there and make something of themselves,” said Valdes. “It helps these people individually, but it also helps this community financially.”
“They’re trying to make it here and be an integrated part of the community,” added Peña-Porres.
The most rewarding part of the program, according to Prof. Goldfarb, was “the sense of fulfillment obtained from doing something that is new in the Cincinnati entrepreneurship community, making a difference in the lives of our clients, while providing a unique learning experience to our students.”
Writer: Kyler Davis, communication intern
Attorney, Scholar, Professor Michael Solimine’s 30+ Years in the Legal World
Before Professor Michael Solimine’s scholarship was cited by the Supreme Court of the United States, the Supreme Court of Ohio, and Iowa Supreme Court; before he became Cincinnati Law’s Donald P. Klekamp Professor of Law; and before he was awarded the University of Cincinnati’s 2017 Provost Faculty Career Award, he had developed an interest and passion for the law. Coming from a family of attorneys (both his dad and older brother were lawyers), Solimine felt a kinship with the legal world, deciding to major in political science when he attended Ohio’s Wright State University. He recalls his college years, remembering that “even back then I was interested in legal issues, and I was particularly interested in how political scientists . . . and other social scientists examine the legal system.”
Upon completing his undergraduate studies in 1978, Solimine was off to Northwestern University School of Law. While there, he made the dean’s list and served as Articles Editor for the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology.
Honing his Interest in Civil Litigation
Although his knowledge and expertise cover many areas of law and legal studies, Professor Solimine is most recognized for his scholarship on civil litigation. His interest in this field grew when he took relevant classes in law school and later when he “clerked for a federal judge (Judge Walter H. Rice, United States District Court, Southern District of Ohio) and worked for him on both criminal and civil matters. Most of my work for him was on the civil side. After I finished my clerkship I practiced law for a firm [Porter, Wright, Morris, and Arthur] and did civil litigation.”
In 1986 Solimine transitioned to academia. Over the last three decades he has built a career defined by a devotion to teaching, research and serving the academic and professional communities. As a teacher, he is known as a professor who can translate “legalese into English” as he has transformed seemingly abstract concepts into comprehensible lessons.
With regard to research, Professor Solimine is a nationally and internationally recognized scholar in the American civil litigation systems, including civil procedure, federal courts, conflict of laws, as well as election law. His scholarly work consists of six books (a monograph on federal courts (Greenwood Press), a casebook on appellate practice (West Publishing), two casebooks on election law (Carolina Academic Press), two books for judges and lawyers on civil practice in Ohio courts (LexisNexis), and over 60 substantial articles, as well as numerous book reviews and shorter essays. His articles have been published in both peer-reviewed journals (e.g., Journal of Legal Studies, Supreme Court Economic Review) and in the law reviews of the top-ranked law schools in the United States (e.g., Michigan Law Review; Wisconsin Law Review; North Carolina Law Review; Ohio State Law Journal; Cornell International Law Journal; Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy). He has been invited to participate in and has published in 20 symposia, delivered scholarly papers at annual meetings of the Association of American Law Schools, and the Midwest Political Science Association, and by invitation contributed essays to academic blogs.
Professor Solimine has received four separate recognition awards from the College of Law for his scholarship. And in spring 2017 he was honored with the university’s Faculty Career Award, presented to a member of the faculty who has worked to make UC a high-quality education and research-focused environment.
The character of his work is reflected in the numerous times his work has been cited and discussed in other books and articles-- over 2000 books and articles and counting. Also, his work has been cited in the decisions of numerous federal court decisions (including the U.S. Supreme Court), and by the state supreme courts of Ohio and Iowa.
Through all of his success Solimine has retained his passion for his studies in political science. He recently co-wrote an academic book, Understanding Election Law, with professors Michael Dimino, Commonwealth Law School, Widener University, and Bradley Smith, Capital University Law School. Solimine ‘s input for this book can be traced back to his college years. “I remember, all these years back in my undergraduate, that I took a really good class called ‘Political Parties.’ There was a segment in it that explored how the state and federal governments regulate parties, the campaign process, and fundraising. It was very interesting to me, and so when I came back into the academic world, I wrote on the subject. And to make a long story short, I ended up collaborating on a casebook.” Understanding Election Law was published by Carolina Academic Press in 2016.
Professor Solimine is always finding new subjects of interest. At present, he is working on an academic paper about the “three judge district court.” He explains that this a court that hears “a small number of cases, of a certain type, that are litigated at the trial level by three judges.” The three judges give a verdict, and if it is appealed, the case goes directly to the Supreme Court of the United States. Solimine’s work will illuminate the history and legal specifics of this little-known feature of the legal system.
Writer; Pete Mills
Help Center at Hamilton County Courthouse Opens Doors to Justice
On Monday, September 25, 2017 Aftab Pureval ’08, Hamilton County Clerk of Courts and the Hon. Brad Greenberg, Presiding and Administrative Judge, Hamilton County Municipal Court, launched the Help Center at the Hamilton County Courthouse. The Help Center will serve the citizens of Hamilton County by increasing access to justice in the municipal courts.
In his remarks, Pureval stated, “Today, we are launching a Help Center for municipal court that will assist people who do not have an attorney get the support and legal advice they need to represent themselves. Whether it’s a landlord-tenet issue or a small claim, this Help Center will enable people to access justice, so they can stay in their homes or get a job.” He addressed the need for such a center, noting that “Legal Aid, . . . an incredible organization . . . has said they can only represent one in five people who come in for representation.” The Help Center will provide information and access to representation for all.
Maureen O’Connor, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Ohio, attended the ceremony and congratulated the Center’s founders. “You are addressing a growing need in our society, working together to strengthen our justice system by making it available to the economically disadvantaged.” She then quipped, “You all get an big ‘A’ ,” specifying that it was an “A for access.”
Chief Justice O’Connor noted the importance of establishing a physical location with devoted staff. She lauded community leaders for not operating on the assumption that “technology alone can solve access to justice problems, that an app or a kiosk can open the doors of justice for the less fortunate in our communities.” She was “happy to learn that this Help Center will have an attorney-director, Robert Wall [Cincinnati Law Class of ’08 alum], and that law student volunteers from the University of Cincinnati and Chase law schools and attorneys working pro bono will volunteer here as well.”
The opening also was attended by several Hamilton County commissioners. Todd Portune, Commissioner, addressed the crowd gathered in the Help Center, pledging, “We will do all that we can to make this Help Center be what it can be for the people of Hamilton County and to make sure that the administration of the laws of Hamilton County goes beyond . . . access to the courts. There can be no access to the court without the understanding, the knowledge, and the know-how of how the courts and the judicial powers operate.” He affirmed, “that failure of duty ends today.”
Denise Driehaus, Commissioner, Hamilton County, recalled her time as a state representative during the foreclosure crisis. “[There were] all these organizations in the community doing all this good work, [but] they were overwhelmed, and so people did not have the access that they need to navigate the system, and many of them lost their homes.” She referred to the Help Center as “a symbol of how we can do better and how we are going to do better.”
Cincinnati Law’s Dean Verna Williams concluded the celebration with the following words: “There is no more pressing issue in the state than access to justice,” she asserted. “UC College of Law is thrilled to be part of this important project. We strive to provide our students with learning environments that inspire the pursuit of justice and foster collaborative relationships. Being involved from the ground up on this Help Center ensures that we fulfill that promise to our students.”
Williams made it clear that the College of Law would maintain a continuing role with the Help Center. “As we move from planning to implementation, our students will further that condition by working with staff attorney Rob Wall, as well as working with volunteers of such organizations as the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati, the Ohio Justice and Policy Center, attorneys from local law firms, and law students from across the river at Chase College of Law.”
The Help Center is located in Room 113 of the Hamilton County Courthouse. It is currently open daily from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm. These hours will be extended later in the year. The staff anticipates that most county residents will come to the center for assistance with landlord-tenet disputes, as well as many cases dealing with small claims.
This new Help Center is the first of its kind in Ohio. When asked what models the center would use now that it is up and running, Chief Justice O’Connor replied confidently, “This is the model.”
Cincinnati Law Announces the Help Center, a Joint Venture to Provide Access to Legal Services
The University of Cincinnati College of Law announces the opening of the Help Center, a resource to increase access to the legal system.
Cincinnati, OH—Hamilton County residents navigating the court system without a lawyer soon will have assistance, thanks to the Help Center, which launched today, September 25, 2017, at the Hamilton County Courthouse. The University of Cincinnati College of Law partnered with, the Hamilton County Clerk of Courts, Hamilton County Commissioners, and Hamilton County Municipal Court to establish the Help Center, which is charged with aiding people with their legal matters in civil cases at the court.
“This collaboration between the law school and the legal community will fill an important need,” said Verna Williams, interim dean of the law school. “Too many people lack the resources that could help them avoid bad outcomes, like being evicted, for example. The Help Center will go a long way toward increasing the public’s understanding of municipal court and making the legal system more accessible."
The idea for the center emerged from recommendations of the Ohio Supreme Court’s Task Force on Access to Justice, created by Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor. Transforming that notion into reality was the job of a committee of local stakeholders, including representatives from the Cincinnati Bar Association, the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati and its Volunteer Lawyers Project, local law firms, the Clerk of Courts, Cincinnati Law, and the Salmon P. Chase College of Law.
The Help Center will provide limited legal advice and other general information on various areas, from small claims, evictions, collections, and landlord/tenant issues, to informing patrons about the appropriate forms to use and how to complete them, and more. Directed by attorney and Cincinnati Law alum Robert Wall, the Help Center also will be staffed by volunteer lawyers from the community and UC law students.
“This program is an excellent fit for Cincinnati Law,” said Dean Williams. “It directly connects our students with the legal community and persons needing assistance, providing them opportunities to put into practice what they learn in the classroom.”
Located at the Hamilton County Courthouse, the Help Center officially opens for business September 26, 2017 for limited hours and then will run full-time by November.
A Summer Gig at the Courthouse: Alyssa Miller Shares her Experience
Alyssa Miller’s summer gig wasn’t spent working at a coffee shop, though lots of caffeine was probably involved. It wasn’t spent working at the library either – though research played a big role in her responsibilities. Miller’18 spent the summer working under Judge Melissa Powers, Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division. Miller’s experience gave her insight into juvenile law, society, and the way the legal system affects vulnerable youth.
Miller explains that she was responsible for reviewing and presenting to Judge Powers “what happened at the lower levels of the court.” Most juvenile cases are handled before a magistrate. These are usually “cases in dependency, child custody, child support, and juvenile delinquency.” The magistrate’s initial opinion can, however, meet an objection, and then these cases are bound for Judge Powers’ court. “My job,” Miller says “was to read the transcripts and let the judge in on what happened in the transcript and in the lower court so that she could make an informed decision when hearing oral arguments.”
Miller expresses that she is glad to have taken UC’s Family Law course. Through her studies she “learned a lot about custody, child support, and how the law works in those circumstances.” Although she was unfamiliar with delinquency when she began the job, the Advanced Legal Research course proved useful, she says. Completing the course gave her the skill set to research fields that were new to her.
Miller’s work was not limited to the courtroom, however. The Juvenile Court and Cincinnati Public Schools initiated a collaboration this summer to offer tutoring programs for children held in detention. Miller continues to visit and help teach these youths multiple times each week.
“I work with juvenile delinquents in the female division,” says Miller. She not only assists them with their homework but also offers substantive advice to help the detained youths better themselves. She states, “It’s been a very positive experience to meet these young women and realize that they’re not bad people. They come from bad circumstances—circumstances that you can’t even believe exist, and yet they still have positive outlooks on life.”
Miller believes that society experiences cycles of poverty and violence and that education is the key to reducing violent crime. She explains that for young offenders, “it’s hopefully not too late for them to turn their lives around, before they enter the adult system.
After completing her studies at Cincinnati Law, Miller aims to become an assistant United States Attorney. She says that this has been her goal since the age of three, “although she didn’t know what it was called then. I learned [the title] when I was seven, and I’ve been set on it ever since.” With her experience at the Juvenile Court, she is on the right track.
by: Pete Mills, Cincinnati Law writer
Six Years and Growing: An update on the LLM Program
Six years ago, the College of Law launched its first master’s degree program, the LLM in the US Legal System. It is a program for students who have earned a law degree outside of the United States and now seek graduate level education in in US law.
Nora Burke Wagner, Assistant Dean for International Student Programs and LLM Director, sat down with Updates to discuss the program’s first years, the successes of graduates, and its future.
Q: How has the LLM Program developed over the last six years?
A: We had imagined a diverse program that would bring many different backgrounds and perspectives to the College of Law—both in and out of classes. We’ve definitely been successful in this area. We’ve brought the world to UC Law.
The first year, we started with five or six students, and the growth has been steady. Since then, we’ve enrolled 60 students from 28 different countries, so we’ve actually exceeded our own expectations. Moving forward, we’re turning our attention to the Middle East and looking at firming up partnerships in Africa, which will open doors to many more international attorneys.
Q: How does the program collaborate with other universities?
A: We have at least a half dozen partner universities in a wide variety of countries, and we’re working on creating additional partnerships. We’re already seeing new opportunities opening for law students in terms of travel and overseas internships.
We’re also seeing new opportunities for faculty. They’ve been able to teach abroad and conduct research at partner universities. For example, Professor Jennifer Bergeron delivered a lecture on the innocence movement at the University of Graz in Austria earlier this year. Professor Lynn Bai gave a series of lectures on US business law topics at the University of Lorraine in France. And, Professor Marjorie Aaron had the opportunity to lecture at the University of Bordeaux, one of the top universities in France. (Professor Ronna Schneider will be lecturing there this fall.)
Professor Ildiko Szegedy-Maszak from Javeriana University, a very highly regarded university in Bogotá, Colombia, taught international trade to our students this year. She also lectured to the broader legal and business communities.
We’ve been able to launch our first dual-degree program with Javeriana University. This arrangement allows students who are in the fifth and final year of their bachelor’s of law program to come here and spend one year also earning their LLM. I’m excited to share that this year we have our first students from Javeriana. It’s great for our LLM program, because it brings several highly qualified students in each year, and hailing from Latin America, they further broaden our diversity. It is particularly exciting and promising given the existing business relationships between Cincinnati and Bogotá.
Q: What sorts of places are alumni of the LLM program now?
A: Students come to us with wide ranging goals, so unsurprisingly, their lives and careers after graduation run the gamut. We’ve had students from Africa who return home to pursue careers in academia. We’ve had students who stayed in North America and are pursuing additional degrees, both here and in Canada. We’ve also had students from Europe and the Middle East who have returned home and landed dream jobs with big companies or teaching.
We also have graduates working in Cincinnati area law offices. We think we’ll see more of this as the local legal community meets and gets to know our students. LLM students are attorneys in their home countries. Many of them have wide-ranging professional experiences. If you find yourself in need of technical language or cultural expertise, let us connect you with one of them.
Q: What are some plans for future development and growth?
A: Every year our recent graduates are helping us forge new networks, establish new contacts, reach out to new sets of students, and create new relationships with additional universities. Because of them we have a whole new set of opportunities, allowing us to grow not only in terms of our general international work and partnership opportunities , but also our recruitment efforts.
It’s hard to say exactly what the next six years will have in store, but if the last six are any indication, we know there’s always a host of opportunities right around the corner.