Dean Bard Teaches Short Course on Human Subject Research
During the first week of January, Dean Bard co-taught a week long course in human subject research with long-time adjunct and Dinsmore & Shohl partner, Dr. Frank Woodside, a first in short course history. Eight students participated in the class.
The course included lively discussion of the legal and ethical issues that govern research either funded by the federal government or intended to prove the safety & efficacy of new prescription drugs or devices. The students also enjoyed presentations from the Vice President for Research’s Office, including Dr. Jane Strasser, Associate Vice President for Research and Comparative Medicine at the University of Cincinnati, Mike Linke (the chair of the University of Cincinnati’s Institutional Review Board), Angela Braggs-Brown (the director of the Office of Human Subject Research) and Holly Bante, Director, Conflict of Interest & Asst. Professor, College of Medicine. Click here for more pictures from the class.
“It was a fun and energizing way to start the semester. Human Subject Research regulation has been one of my primary areas of scholarship.” It presents complex regulatory issues that are relevant to any program that gets federal funding but it also has interesting ethical issues about how much risk individuals should be allowed to take. Research compliance is also a growth area in terms of hiring lawyers so I wanted to introduce students to something that would open new career doors for them.”
Said Dr. Woodside “I appreciate that I was asked to participate; learned a great deal; enjoyed the interaction with the students.”
Angela Braggs-Brown is the Director of UC’s Human Research Protection Program (HRPP), she is also a member of the UC IRB. She has been involved with FDA regulated research in addition to social behavioral and policy research over the last 15 years. Ms. Braggs-Brown is Regulatory Affairs Certified (RAC) as well as a Certified IRB Professional (CIP).
Dr. Mike Linke has served on the University of Cincinnati IRB for over 20 years and was appointed Chair in 2004. Dr. Linke is a Health Science Officer at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center and an Associate Professor at the UC College of Medicine. In 2012, under his leadership the UC IRB Social and Behavioral IRB merged with the Medical IRB to form a single IRB that reviews all human subjects research conducted at UC. He now serves as Chair of the combined board. He led the formation of the National Institutes of Health StrokeNet Central IRB and serves as Chair of the Central IRB. StrokeNet is funded by the NIH to conduct clinical trials for stroke prevention, treatment, and recovery. UC serves as the National Clinical Coordinating Center and the network consists of 25 Regional Coordinating Centers with over 300 clinical sites. Awarded the Greater Cincinnati Health Council’s first ever Servant Leadership Award for his efforts in creating and leading the Consortium of Greater Cincinnati IRBs He also serves in various roles in the VA human subjects protection program and has been actively involved in the human subjects research accreditation processes at UC and the VA.
Jane Strasser is the Associate Vice President for Research and Comparative Medicine at UC. As UC’s Institutional Official she is responsible for ensuring that the Human Research Protection Program is supported and compliant. As the Research Integrity Officer she is responsible for investigating allegations of research misconduct and protecting the integrity of the research record. Dr. Strasser is an Associate Professor of Pediatric Infectious Diseases and the Director of the Office of Research Integrity.
Sarah Sijelmassi’s Attraction to Cincinnati Law’s LLM Program
Sarah Sijelmassi grew up in a place many people think of as a luxury vacation destination: the South of France. But these days, she’s more interested in soaking up legal knowledge in Cincinnati than sunshine in Toulouse.
Sijelmassi’s initial attraction to Cincinnati Law was the LL.M. program’s tailored approach. “The classes were so specific to what I wanted to learn,” she says, including courses in Copyright Law, Patent Law and Patent Office, Computer and Internet Law, Trademark and Unfair Competition Law, and Advertising Law. She also found the faculty roster at Cincinnati Law impressive, including Professor Timothy K. Armstrong, whose teaching and research interests focus on copyright and other intellectual property law.
Having graduated with a master’s degree in intellectual property law from Université de Montpellier in 2014, Sijelmassi wanted to deepen her knowledge and skills from a US perspective. The goal: To be able to practice IP law anywhere in the US or Europe.
“I wanted to be a doctor, but I couldn’t because I’m super bad at math,” she says with a laugh. Instead, Sijelmassi hopes she can contribute to the world of medicine using her legal savvy and passion for science—either at a US or EU-based pharmaceutical or medical research company.
Having spent a few months post-graduation living with family in Washington, DC, she improved her English and got the chance to observe how the American legal system works. “The atmosphere is very different,” she says, comparing the collaborative, team-based approach she witnessed in DC versus the more individual process of law firms where she worked in France.
Sijelmassi plans to finish her LL.M. studies at Cincinnati Law in May 2017. She’d like to stay on while preparing for her bar exams—potentially in both Ohio and New York—before making the next professional move. “Cincinnati is the perfect size. It’s a human-sized city,” she says.
Drew Lehmkuhl’s 8 Year Journey to Law School
“It’s not about what brought me here, it’s about what kept me here,” said triple Bearcat Drew Lehmkuhl about his decision to pursue three separate degrees at the same university.
Lehmkuhl, who will be a 1L this fall, is entering his eighth year at the University of Cincinnati. He earned his undergraduate degree in neuroscience, and recently completed his master’s degree in experimental psychology, defending his thesis at the end of June.
Growing up in Northern Kentucky as the son of a University of Cincinnati graduate, Lehmkuhl was always a huge fan of UC sports. Even so, attending UC was not the original plan. Set to start school at the University of Louisville, he changed his mind at the last second.
“I took a leap of faith,” he stated, recalling his last-minute decision to attend a school where he wouldn’t know anyone. After leaping, however, he landed on his own two feet
Lehmkuhl knew that he had made the right decision when he realized that what Cincinnati boasts about is true: a big school, but a tight-knit community. After becoming involved on-campus, particularly in the “unbelievable research” and interdisciplinary collaboration that was available as an undergraduate student, he felt right at home.
Four years simply was not enough time, and Lehmkuhl found himself wanting to continue on in the science field and to become more involved in research. He credits the university with focusing on practical skills to complement textbook learning, a balance that assured him UC was the right place for his graduate education.
Although the setting was the same, there were major differences between Lehmkuhl’s undergraduate and graduate education. Many of his peers had not attended the university for undergraduate, and he described showing them around campus as “being with a bunch of older freshmen.” A thirst for learning was more obvious in these “freshmen” than many of those with whom Lehmkuhl had entered UC, however.
Many undergraduate students, particularly in the beginning of their higher education careers, are more focused on passing a general education class or earning a specific grade on an exam than truly learning and absorbing the information presented to them. In graduate school, Lehmkuhl noticed, mindsets shifted towards truly learning materials in order to later apply them to practice. “It was awesome having a close group of driven students around me who are very passionate about what they do in their fields,” he said.
As a graduate student, Lehmkuhl was able to take a more involved role in research, and work more closely with faculty members. Between his undergraduate and graduate degrees, he has been able to work in many areas, including psychology, biology, and neurology, and worked at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in the area of human genetics.
Even with a positive atmosphere and attitude, eight years of continuous schooling, with three more to go, can seem daunting. But not to Lemkuhl.
Since he has had the past year and a half off of classes, working 40 hours a week on intensive research programs, Lemkuhl is ready to be a student again. “When you’re working, it doesn’t feel like school,” he said. “I think this break time, though, has served a purpose. I love being in the classroom and can’t wait to get back.”
In addition to his work, Lemkuhl has taught classes the past six semesters, most recently research methods and statistics in behavioral sciences. Whether it was seeing concepts click into place, or the journey from glassy-eyed at the start to engaged and excited at the end, he enjoyed his stint as a teacher, and would absolutely do it again in the future.
For law school, Lehmkuhl’s area of interest lies in intellectual property. This stems from his experiences at UC, where he worked with individuals who inspired and amazed him each day.
“I want to continue working with brilliant people,” Lehmkuhl asserted. “I want to be a facilitator, a legal advocate, for these brilliant people who are doing work like this, who have brilliant ideas. And I want to protect those ideas.”
Author: Michelle Flanagan, ‘18, Communication Intern
Professor Sandra Sperino’s Work Cited by Third Circuit, Creates Circuit Split
A decision out of the Third Circuit has created a circuit split with three other circuits. On January 10, 2017, the Third Circuit issued an opinion in Karlo v. Pittsburg Glass Works, LLC, No. 15-3435. The Third Circuit held that subgroup claims are allowed in ADEA disparate impact cases, creating a circuit split on the issue. A subgroup claim is when a group of workers tries to establish disparate impact by proving that a subset of older workers were disparately impacted by a decision. For example, in a reduction in force, the employees might argue that workers 50 and older were impacted by the reduction in force compared to workers younger than 50. Read the complete blog posting and Professor Sperino’s article The Sky Remains Intact: Why Allowing Subgroup Evidence is Consistent with the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 90 Marq. L. Rev. 227 (2006).
Read: Friend of the Court
University of Cincinnati College of Law Names Assistant Dean for Academics and Diversity
Staci Rucker has joined the College of Law in the newly created position of Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs, Student Affairs and Diversity.
Cincinnati, OH—The University of Cincinnati College of Law has named Staci Patterson Rucker its first-ever Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs, Student Affairs and Diversity. This new position reflects the law school’s continued commitment to fostering an intellectually challenging and diverse learning environment, a value that is embraced by the University of Cincinnati also.
“It is a true honor to appoint someone of Dean Staci Rucker’s high caliber as the first administrator at Cincinnati Law to have the word “diversity” in her title,” said Jennifer S. Bard, Dean and Nippert Professor of Law at the law school. “Dean Rucker’s role is also a new one in that she is focused on students. She has already improved the quality of life for students at the law school by developing, with Associate Dean Mank, a new system of subject matter based academic advising as well as streamlining some of the students administrative tasks in the areas of registration and exams. I also know that many students have already benefited from her good judgment and sound advice—I know I certainly have and look forward to working with her for many years to come.” As assistant dean, Rucker is responsible for the administration of student services and the hands-on management of student issues. “Whether it is academic planning, disability services, a leave of absence, or faculty/student relations, I strive to be students’ first stop for answers and support,” says Rucker. “I am also a resource for faculty and staff. If [a faculty or staff member] is concerned about a student, I will work with them to develop a plan to support a student who may be in crisis.”
While the college has always had an academic and student affairs dean or director, Rucker is the college’s first dean for diversity. “As the College’s first dean for diversity, I will have tremendous responsibilities to architect the college’s efforts to define, cultivate and support a more diverse and inclusive campus environment and legal community in Cincinnati,” she says. “These responsibilities will be interpreted and acted upon by collaborating with leaders of a variety centers, offices and initiatives within the College and the greater Cincinnati community that already support diversity and inclusion efforts.”
Rucker is an experienced leader in higher education. Prior to joining the College of Law, she was assistant dean for student affairs at the University of Dayton School of Law. In that role, Rucker was the visionary behind the development of Dayton Law’s learning communities, dean’s fellows and academic advising programs. She was also responsible for advising all student groups; overseeing the coordination of orientation and graduation; and counseling students on a range of issues including professional development, academic concerns, and incidents of bias and harassment. The opportunity to join the College of Law, however, was one she couldn’t pass up.
“The University of Cincinnati is an internationally-renowned university and impacts every aspect of the city. The university’s commitment to diversity is nationally and internationally respected. It is an exciting time to be at UC and I am honored to be a part of it.”
A summa cum laude graduate of Howard University and a graduate of Harvard Law School, Rucker began her career as an attorney at law firms in Washington, DC and Atlanta, GA. After transitioning to North Carolina, she joined the ranks of academia and administration, serving as interim director of Academic Support at North Carolina Central University School of Law, where she also taught an upper-level legal writing course. Later, she clerked for the Honorable James A. Wynn, Jr., formerly on the North Carolina Court of Appeals and now on the Fourth Circuit, before coming to the Ohio Valley.
Reflecting on the importance of and her personal philosophy about diversity and inclusion, Dean Rucker shared the following: “It is not just the presence of diversity on a campus or a practice of tolerance or acceptance of differences that makes a campus community inclusive; rather, it is an active strategy to harness and value differences to achieve an institution’s overall mission. I look forward to engaging in open and honest dialogue with students, faculty, staff and alumni to build an exemplary law school where diversity and inclusion are valued and interwoven seamlessly into every aspect of the College and the community it serves. ”
About the University of Cincinnati College of Law
Founded in 1833, the University of Cincinnati College of Law recognizes diversity as a core value. The law school introduced the nation’s first joint JD/MA Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies program in 1995 and continues to lead and innovate with initiatives such as the Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice. The school’s commitment to improving diversity in the legal profession includes introducing youth to careers in law at an early age through inclusion in the Law & Leadership Institute, a program to help increase minority representation in Ohio’s law schools, and Summer Work Experience in Law (SWEL), a program sponsored by the Black Lawyers Association of Cincinnati-Cincinnati Bar Association Round Table, to expose minority high school and college students to the legal field.
Professor Jacob Katz Cogan Named 2016 Harold C. Schott Scholarship Award Recipient
University of Cincinnati College of Law recognizes the scholarly achievements of international law expert Professor Jacob Katz Cogan with its annual Harold C. Schott Scholarship Award.
Cincinnati, OH—International law expert Jacob Katz Cogan, the Judge Joseph P. Kinneary Professor of Law, is the newest recipient of the Harold C. Schott Scholarship Award. Each year, this award recognizes outstanding research and scholarly achievement by a member of the faculty of the University of Cincinnati College of Law.
“Professor Cogan is an influential, internationally recognized scholar,” says Cincinnati Law Dean Jennifer S. Bard. “His current research is shedding new light on international law that will have a significant impact on the global legal community.”
An influential, internationally recognized scholar, Professor Cogan’s recent work has focused on international organizations, as well as “operational international law”—the informal (and sometimes hidden) rules that are created through the practices and understandings of states and international institutions. He is the co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of International Organizations (2016) and Looking to the Future: Essays on International Law in Honor of W. Michael Reisman (2011), and his articles and essays have appeared in the American Journal of International Law, the European Journal of International Law, the Harvard International Law Journal, and the Yale Journal of International Law, among other journals. One of his articles was awarded the prestigious Francis Deák Prize of the American Society of International Law.
Professor Cogan is an active member of the American Society of International Law and an elected member of the American Law Institute. He teaches a variety of international courses, as well as contracts, and has been awarded the College of Law’s Goldman Prize for Excellence in Teaching. Since 2007, he has edited the International Law Reporter, a widely read blog on scholarship, events, and ideas in international law, international relations, and associated disciplines.
Immediately prior to joining the College of Law, Professor Cogan served as an attorney-adviser in the Office of the Legal Adviser at the U.S. Department of State. He is a recipient of the Department’s Superior Honor Award. He earned his J.D. from the Yale Law School, his M.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton University, and his B.A., magna cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania.
As this year’s Schott Award recipient, Professor Cogan will present a public lecture during the upcoming year.
Cincinnati Moot Court Team To Go International
This coming March, a team from the University of Cincinnati College of Law will compete in an international arbitration moot in Hong Kong.
By John B. Pinney, Senior Trial Lawyer and Chair, International Practice Group, Graydon Head & Ritchey LLP. and Moot team coach
Over the past two years, the University of Cincinnati College of Law has been working towards fielding a team to compete “against the world” in Hong Kong in the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot. Now, all of the time and hard work has come to fruition as a team of UC College of Law students will represent the tri-state in late March at the 2017 international competition, becoming only the second Ohio school to compete in the Vis Moot in history.
Making the Cut
In October, a team of eight law students, including three 3Ls, three 2Ls, and two LLM attorney students, was selected. Currently, the entire team is working on researching and preparing written memoranda supporting each side of a hypothetical commercial dispute; only the top four participants will travel to Hong Kong to compete. While in Hong Kong, the team members will not only fight hard in competing against teams from all six continents, but will also meet and network with other law students, as well as attorneys practicing in international commercial arbitration, from all over the world.
What is the Vis Moot Competition?
In 1992, the Vis Moot was created for the promotion and study of international commercial arbitration and to train tomorrow’s legal leaders in the methods of dispute resolution of international business disputes. Named for Willem C. Vis, a law professor and United Nations diplomat dedicated to enhancing cross-border business transactions, the moot quickly became a success with hundreds of law schools from around the world coming to Vienna each spring. In fact, the moot was so successful that in 2003 a second venue in Hong Kong was established – the Vis East International Arbitration Moot. The 2016 moot attracted almost 400 teams to Vienna and Hong Kong. Competitors included teams from Harvard, Georgetown, Stanford, USC and Yale. This year’s competition, held at the City University of Hong Kong, is expected to host approximately 120 law school teams.
Each year, Vis Moot teams are given a “problem” in early October that is based on a hypothetical commercial dispute arising under the Convention for Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG)1. The problem for the 2017 moot involves the sale of jet engine parts from a seller located in “Equitoriana” and a buyer located in “Mediterraneo.” In their “contract,” the parties agreed to resolve any disputes by international commercial arbitration in the country of “Danubia” administered by a Brazilian arbitral institution. (The problem is always drafted to require an understanding of the 1958 New York Convention on Recognition and Enforcement of International Arbitration Awards and the UNCITRAL Model Arbitration Law, as well as the CISG.)
Built into each year’s problem are issues involving both the procedures of international arbitration practice and substantive breach of contract issues based on the CISG. The procedural issues this year are whether the seller’s arbitration notice was timely and whether the seller should be required to post security in order to proceed with the arbitration. The substantive issues deal with whether the buyer or seller should pay for losses arising from fluctuating currency exchange rates and large unexpected bank fees. During the competition, each team will argue both sides through written memoranda and in oral arguments before real-life international arbitrators who have volunteered to judge the competition.
Competition Supported throughout Tri-State
College of Law Dean Jennifer S. Bard is a strong advocate for the law school’s international programs and in enhancing the international proficiency of the school’s students. In addition, the school has helped to partially underwrite the costs of sending the team to the competition. Dean Bard said, “In a world where business in the Cincinnati region is increasingly becoming part of a globalized world economy, today’s lawyers need to know how to help clients resolve business disputes not only within the United States, but also in China, in Germany or, as a practical matter, anywhere in the world. We at the College of Law believe we must equip our graduates to have the skills required to practice law relevant in the 21st century, including international arbitration, which increasingly is becoming a necessity for today’s dispute resolution lawyers. The Vis Moot provides not only an exciting opportunity for our students to travel to Hong Kong and see first-hand another culture and legal system different from our own, but, more importantly, it introduces them to and allows them to learn from some of the world’s leading international dispute lawyers and arbitrators. We are extremely happy to support our students and their coach, Professor Pinney, as they compete in the 2017 Vis Moot competition.”
Additionally, Professor Rachel Smith, faculty advisor to the law school’s Moot Court program, and Assistant Dean for International Student Programs Nora Burke Wagner assisted with helping to coordinate the team and arrangements for the trip. Steve McDevitt, an associate at Frost Brown Todd, serves as the team’s assistant coach. McDevitt brings a wealth of experience to the team as he competed in the competition in 2013 and 2014 while at Georgetown Law School and has shared insights on writing winning memoranda and making effective oral arguments on an international competition level.
Why take this opportunity to participate in Vis Moot? Among the important benefits is their opportunity to join the Moot Alumni Association. All participants in both the Hong Kong and Vienna competitions are able to join the Vis Moot Alumni Association, which now has thousands of members. Through the association, team members can maintain their connections among their fellow competitors and the arbitrators, further enhancing their professional development and careers.
We’re confident that the Cincinnati legal community will enthusiastically support our “Cincinnati team” as they prepare for this rigorous challenge. By doing so, not only do we enhance ourselves, but also how the rest of the world views the tri-state and the University of Cincinnati College of Law.
1The CISG is a United Nations convention governing the cross-border sale of goods. The United States and 83 other countries have adopted and are parties to the CISG. Unless expressly disclaimed, the CISG automatically applies to contracts for the sale of goods where the parties to the contract (buyer and seller) are from different countries that are signatories to the CISG. For example, the CISG will apply, in lieu of the Uniform Commercial Code, to a contract specifying Ohio law because the CISG, as a convention to which the United States is a party, is part of Ohio law by virtue of the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Dean Emeritus Joseph P. Tomain Recognized for Faculty Excellence
Cincinnati, OH—Respected legal scholar and Dean Emeritus Joseph P. Tomain has been named the recipient of the Faculty Excellence Award. The award, supported by the Twenty-Fifth Reunion Faculty Excellence Fund, recognizes a faculty member in the College of Law who has made the greatest scholarly contribution to legal education within an academic year.
“Dean Emeritus and Wilbert and Helen Ziegler Professor of Law Joe Tomain is a distinguished scholar and this award is one of many he has received. But I am particularly glad that he is the inaugural recipient of the Faculty Excellence Award because it sets a standard of excellence for the future,” said Jennifer S. Bard, Dean and Nippert Professor of Law at the law school. “We are very fortunate to have Dean Tomain on our faculty, to acknowledge his high level of scholarship, and to publicize it to a wide audience of lawyers, academics, and policy makers.”
His teaching and research interests focus in the areas of energy law, law and the humanities, regulatory policy, and contracts. Dean Tomain has written extensively in the energy law field. His recent publications include:
- Clean Power Politics: The Democratization of Energy (Cambridge University Press 2017)
- Energy Law in the United States of America (Kluwer Publishing 2015)
- Energy Law and Policy (West Publishing2015)
- Achieving Democracy: The Future of Progressive Regulation (Oxford University Press 2014)
These publications build on an already impressive scholarly record that includes nine additional books, more than 50 articles, and numerous book chapters and essays.
In addition to his teaching and scholarship, Dean Tomain has served on a number of professional and civic organizations. He is Chair Emeritus of the Board of the KnowledgeWorks Foundation and has served on the Boards of the Ohio Justice and Policy Center, and the Center for Chemical Addictions Treatment among others. He has been actively involved with the ABA Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, as well as other state and local bar associations. Dean Tomain is a Life Member of the American Law Institute, the Sixth Circuit Judicial Conference, and a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.
In his years in academia, Dean Tomain also has held positions as Visiting Environmental Scholar, Lewis & Clark Law School; Distinguished Visiting Energy Professor, Vermont Law School; Visiting Scholar in the Program of Liberal Studies, University of Notre Dame; Visiting Fellow, Harris Manchester College, Oxford University; Fulbright Senior Specialist in Law in Cambodia; and National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Fellow, Stanford University.
Before beginning his academic career, Dean Tomain practiced general litigation in New Jersey. He received his J.D. from George Washington University and his B.A. from the University of Notre Dame.
A Message for Dean Jennifer S. Bard
I hope this finds all of you having enjoyed a healthy and happy 2016 and looking forward with anticipation to what is ahead in 2017. As you know, we have had a very good year at the law school. Our U.S. News & World Report ranking went up 22 points, our enrollment increased, and our bar passage remained very high, far exceeding the state average.
Also very important, the jobs data is in on the Class of 2015 and it puts us among the top 15 public law schools nationally for employment in full-time, J.D. required jobs and those for which a J.D. is an advantage. You can read the story here: jobs data. Our final numbers for the class of 2016 won’t be in until 10 months after graduation, but they are on track to be similarly strong.
It has also been a year of considerable philanthropy. You already know about the $15 million gift for the Ohio Innocence Project by Mr. Dick Rosenthal and the success of the Bruce B. & Ginny Conlan Whitman Fellowship, but many people have been very generous to the law school and our students. I look forward to sharing a philanthropy report with specifics early next year.
As you know, it has been a year of many successes including the 22 point rise in US News ranking, the consistently very high bar passage rate, the return to a normal enrollment pattern with a class of 125 students, and continued strong employment numbers. We also continue to get good publicity such as this International Jurist article about the short courses we offer students before the start of each semester: “A class during break?”
We have also made considerable progress in bringing our international activities to greater prominence. While it may not bear fruit for a few years, for the first time we submitted a report on our accomplishments to the international law professors at other schools who vote on U.S. News recognition of International Law Program.
As we close out the year, I want to thank you all for your support. We are exceptionally lucky that so many people love this law school and give of their time to teach and mentor our students. We are in the process of developing a more public way of recognizing those of you who teach, coach, and in so many other ways enhance the professional development of our students.
Meanwhile, as always, I hope that you will contact me if you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions about the law school. I hope you are all telling the young adults you know about the opportunities in Cincinnati and the excellent education you received at the University of Cincinnati College of Law.
With warm best wishes to you and your families,
Jennifer S. Bard
Dean and Nippert Professor of Law
2017 Judge in Residence Program featuring Hon. Bernice B. Donald
Date: February 20-22, 2017
School Wide Talk: “Undermining Democracy through Felony Disenfranchisement Laws”
Date: February 20, 2017
Time: 12:10 p.m.
Location: Rm. 114
Check out photos from her visit: Judge Donald
Check out the Judge Donald Interview video
About the Speaker
Judge Donald was nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit by President Obama in 2010 and was confirmed by the Senate in September, 2011, becoming the first female African-American judge on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Prior to joining the Court of Appeals, Judge Donald served on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, where she was appointed by President Clinton in December 1995. Judge Donald served as Judge of U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Tennessee from June 1988 to January 1996, where she was the first African American woman to serve as a federal bankruptcy judge. When she was elected to the General Sessions Criminal Court in 1982, she became the first African American woman to serve as a judge in the history of the State of Tennessee. Judge Donald received her law degree from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law where she has served as an adjunct faculty member. Judge Donald was born in DeSoto County, Miss., in 1951, the sixth of 10 children of a domestic worker and a self-taught mechanic.
Judge Donald has lectured and trained judges around the world. She frequently serves as faculty for the Federal Judicial Center and the National Judicial College. She has taught at international programs in Romania, Mexico, Turkey, Brazil, Bosnia, Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, Senegal, Rwanda, Tanzania, Russia, Egypt, Morocco, Thailand, Armenia, Jamaica, and Manila. In 2003, Judge Donald led a People to People delegation to Johannesburg and Capetown, South Africa and traveled to Zimbabwe to monitor the trial of a judge accused of judicial misconduct.
Judge Donald has served as secretary of the American Bar Association (the first African-American woman to serve as an officer in the history of the association) and President of the American Bar Foundation. A longtime champion of civil rights and inclusion, she also chaired the ABA Commission on Opportunities for Minorities in the Profession, where she established the Spirit of Excellence Award. She also has served as President of the National Association of Women Judges, President of the Association of Women Attorneys, co-chair of the Task Force on Implicit Bias and Diversity for the ABA Section of Litigation, and co-chair of the Diversity Committee for the ABA’s Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section. In 2013, Judge Donald was elected to the Board of Directors of the American Judicature Society.
Judge Donald has been the recipient of over 100 awards for professional, civic, and community activities, including the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Memphis, the Martin Luther King Community Service Award, and the Benjamin Hooks Award presented in 2002 by the Memphis Bar Foundation. During the 2013 annual meeting of the National Bar Association, Judge Donald received the William H. Hastie Award, which recognizes excellence in legal and judicial scholarship and demonstrated commitment to justice under the law. In 2013, Judge Donald also received the Difference Makers Award from the Solo, Small Firm & General Practice Division of the American Bar Association, and the Pioneer Award from her fellow classmates at East Side High. In 2014, Judge Donald received both the University of Virginia’s Justice William Brennan Award and the American Bar Association’s John H. Pickering Award of Achievement, which recognizes dedication to the cause of equal justice for all and the highest standards of ethics and professionalism in the law.