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Professor Mark Godsey Invited to Speak in Japan

Professor Mark Godsey was invited to present a closing lecture at the symposium launching the Japan Innocence Project in March, 2016.  He will present at events in Tokyo and Kyoto.

Dean Joseph Tomain Publishes Several Works

Dean Emeritus and Professor Joseph P. Tomain published a short article, Clean Power and the Democratization of Energy in the US, 17 Network Industries Quarterly 3 (No. 3 2015) (peer reviewed).

He also contributed to The Clean Power Plan: Issues to Watch (2015) (a White paper published by the Center for Progressive Reform) available here.

Finally, Dean Tomain’s peer reviewed article, Clean Power and the Future of US Energy Politics and Policy, was accepted for publication in Utilities Policy.

Dean Joseph Tomain Publishes New Book on Energy Law

Dean Emeritus and Professor Joseph P. Tomain’s book, Energy Law in the United States of America, co-authored with Lincoln L. Davies was published on December 18, 2015.

Dean Joseph Tomain Delivers Several Presentations

Dean Emeritus and Professor Joseph P. Tomain delivered a 3 hour seminar on Energy Law and Policy Past and Future to the trial and appellate attorneys at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. He also gave a lecture to the Law Faculty and to the Mining Faculty at the University of Lorraine in Nance, France titled Shale and Coal Gas Development in the United States.

Professor Mark Godsey Publishes on Global Innocence Movement

Professor Mark Godsey submitted a chapter entitled “The Global Innocence Movement” for the book, Wrongful Convictions and the DNA Revolution: Twenty-Five Years of Freeing the Innocent," to be published by the Cambridge University Press.

Professor Mark Godsey Appointed to State-wide Task Force Examining Grand Jury System

Professor Mark Godsey, director of the Ohio Innocence Project at the College of Law, has been appointed to a state-wide task force charged with recommending way to improve how grand juries function.

Mark GodseyCincinnati, OH – Professor Mark Godsey, director of the Ohio Innocence Project at the College of Law, has been appointed to a state-wide task force charged with recommending ways to improve how grand juries function.

Supreme Court of Ohio Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor announced on January 28, 2016 the formation of the Task Force to Examine Improvements to the Ohio Grand Jury System.

The concept of a grand jury has been part of the federal system since 1791 and a constant in the Ohio Constitution’s Bill of Rights as far back as 1802. Every state constitutional revision since has preserved the protection of the grand jury.

“To be clear, this task force is being asked to recommend ways to improve the functioning of grand juries and to see what additional steps can be taken to improve the public’s confidence in our justice system,” Chief Justice O’Connor said in a media release about the task force. “It is not being asked to determine whether the grand jury system should be eliminated.”

The task force will be chaired by Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge Stephen L. McIntosh. It includes a diverse group of 18 professionals who are judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, law professors, legislators, members of law enforcement, and community leaders.

The task force will hold its first meeting on Feb. 17, 2016 from 6-8 p.m. at the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center, 65 S. Front St., Columbus. The meeting is open to the public, but seating is limited. The task force has been asked to submit its final report and recommendations by June 15, 2016.

Task force members include:

  •  Judge Stephen L. McIntosh – Franklin County Common Pleas Court (chair) 
  • Prosecutor Daniel R. Lutz – Wayne County (vice chair)
  • Sen. Kevin Bacon – District 3 • Sen. Edna Brown – District 11
  •  Judge Joyce A. Campbell – Fairfield Municipal Court
  • Rep. Robert R. Cupp – District 4
  • Judge Michelle D. Earley – Cleveland Municipal Court
  • Judge William R. Finnegan – Marion County Common Pleas Court
  • Judge Steven E. Gall – Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court
  • Professor Mark A. Godsey – University of Cincinnati College of Law
  • Judge Michael R. Goulding – Lucas County Common Pleas Court
  • Colonel Chief Eliot Isaac – City of Cincinnati Police Department
  • President/CEO Janet E. Jackson – United Way of Central Ohio
  • Judge Melissa A. Powers – Hamilton County Municipal Court
  • Professor Ric Simmons – The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law
  • Rep. Fred Strahorn – District 39
  • Defense Attorney Roger Synenberg – Synenberg, Coletta & Moran, LLC
  • Judge Stephen A. Wolaver – Greene County Common Pleas Court

Looking at Health through the Human Rights Lens; Lecture Examines the Connection

Lecturer and Professor Alicia Ely Yamin, Harvard University, will discuss the power and potential of applying a human rights perspective to health and health-related issues at a lecture on Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016 at the College of Law. The event begins at 5:00 p.m. in Room 204; it is free and open to the public.

See photos from the event: Yamin Book Launch

Cincinnati, OH—“Patterns of health and ill-health are not just a result of biological or behavioral-factors, but they are also the results of … injustices,” said Professor Alicia Ely Yamin at a recent TEDxUConn talk describing the transformative power of applying human rights to health. Professor Yamin will share her thoughts on its potential for social transformation when she visits the College of Law on Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016 at 5:00 p.m. She will discuss her recently published book “Power, Suffering, and the Struggle for Dignity: Human Rights Frameworks for Health and Why They Matter.” Her book is part of Professor Bert Lockwood’s Human Rights Series at the University of Pennsylvania Press. Professor Lockwood, Distinguished Service Professor of Law, is the Director of the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights.

A Preview: Power, Suffering and the Struggle for Dignity
In Yamin’s book she examines human rights-based approaches to health and why it matters. She suggests that applying a human rights framework to health forces us to think about our own suffering and that of others, as well as fundamental causes of that suffering. She combines theory with personal examples of human rights-based approaches and shows the impact they have had on people’s lives and health outcomes.

About Professor Alicia Ely Yamin
Alicia Ely Yamin, JD, MPH is a Lecturer on Law and Global Health, Director of the JD/MPH program at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Policy Director at the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University. Trained in both law and public health at Harvard, Yamin’s career, at the intersection of health and human rights, has bridged academia and activism. From 2007 to 2011, Yamin held the prestigious Joseph H. Flom Fellowship on Global Health and Human Rights at Harvard Law School. Prior to that, she served as Director of Research and Investigations at Physicians for Human Rights, where she oversaw the organization’s field investigations, and was on the faculty of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University (1996-2003). Yamin is known globally for her pioneering scholarship and advocacy in relation to economic and social rights, and rights-based approaches to health, for which she has received multiple distinctions. She has contributed to the drafting of multiple General Comments by UN treaty bodies, as well as UN Human Rights Council resolutions. Yamin regularly advises UN bodies in relation to health and human rights, and has provided strategic guidance to NGOs as well as courts on landmark litigation relating to health- and sexual and reproductive rights, in various countries and regions, as well as in supra-national adjudication. In 2014, she was named as the 2015-2016 Visiting Gladstein Professor of Human Rights at the University of Connecticut, and she is currently serving on the Lancet-O’Neil Institute Commission on Global Health and the Law.

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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