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Professors and OIP Attorneys Donald Caster and Brian Howe's article, "Taking a Mulligan: The Special Challenges of Narrative Creation in the Post-Conviction Context" was published in print in 76 Md. L. Rev. 770 (2017).

Cincinnati Law Celebrates its 184th Hooding

Cincinnati Law celebrated the accomplishments of its graduates on May 13, 2017. Led by Interim Dean Verna Williams, 84 degrees were conferred, including 14 LLM degrees. Take a look at a few pictures from the ceremony and celebration.

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A Message from Verna Williams, Interim Dean


As the College of Law’s Interim Dean, I’m focused on our future, which is bright.  We continue to make strides in job placement, bar passage and making a difference.  In fact, as I write this, we have just graduated a brand new class of lawyers, who leave us with experience helping local entrepreneurs and businesses, representing survivors of domestic violence, and freeing wrongly convicted persons—most recently Evin King, who served 23 years for a murder he didn’t commit. 

This year’s admissions season is promising; applications were up and we are on our way to recruiting another crop of well credentialed and highly motivated students. 

We remain Cincinnati proud and Cincinnati strong. 

Thank you for your continued support of the College of Law. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. 

Best regards,
Verna Williams
Interim Dean

Michael Solimine Awarded 2017 Provost Faculty Career Award

Cincinnati, OH—In a career spanning three decades, Michael E. Solimine, JD, has built a firm career defined by a constant devotion to teaching, research and serving the academic and professional communities.

Over the course of his career he has developed a remarkable reputation as a researcher in the field of law, earning the distinction of being one of the most cited civil procedure professors in the United States for the last half decade. His work has seen publication across more than 70 law review articles, book chapters and book reviews.

His scholarship has been influential in the nation’s courts, with his works having been cited by Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg for a Supreme Court of the United States case. As a prominent figure in the College of Law, his colleagues and students have taken note of his constant professionalism, kindness and his role as a champion for the college’s core values of collegiality, due process and transparency.

Holding the title of Donald P. Klekamp Professor of Law, he has been known to his students as a professor who can translate “legalese into English” as he has transformed seemingly abstract concepts into comprehensible lessons.

He has served as a valuable mentor for the legal professionals under his tutelage, with his immense knowledge of all forms of federal courts and civil procedure making him an invaluable research source for his many students. In addition to his research and teaching service, he has shown a strong commitment to serving his community, helping newer faculty members as a key figure on the RPT committee and multiple decanal review boards and appearing as a consistent staple of the Faculty Senate.

Congratulations to Professor Michael Solimine!

College of Law Celebrates its Graduates at the 184th Hooding Ceremony

Cincinnati Law will celebrate the accomplishments of its graduates at the 184th Hooding Ceremony on Saturday, May 13, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. at Northern Kentucky Convention Center.

Cincinnati, OH – The University of Cincinnati College of Law will celebrate the accomplishments of its graduates at its 184th Hooding Ceremony. Interim Dean Verna L. Williams will lead the ceremonies, where 84 degrees will be conferred. This number includes 70 juris doctor degrees and 15 LLM (master’s) degrees.

The Hooding keynote speaker will be Robert E. Richardson Jr. ’05, Of Counsel at Branstetter, Stranch & Jennings. He recently ran a campaign for mayor of Cincinnati. A double Bearcat, Richardson served as the university’s Student Body President, was awarded the UC Presidential Leadership Medal of Excellence, and established the first college chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in the tristate. Later, he was appointed to the university’s Board of Trustees and was unanimously elected chairperson of the board in 2016, the youngest person to be elected to this position in the university’s history. His term has now ended.

This year’s recipient of the 2017 Nicholas Longworth, III Alumni Achievement Award is the Hon. Marilyn Zayas ‘97. This annual award recognizes law school graduates for their outstanding contributions to society. Prior to joining the First Appellate District of Ohio, Judge Zayas served her community as an attorney for nearly 20 years. Judge Zayas, who was born in New York to immigrant parents, earned a degree in computer science at City University of New York, training which helped her land a job with Procter & Gamble here in Cincinnati. But she carried with her a passion for law, born of her experiences as a teen who saw how the legal system worked when her parents divorced and she grew concerned about the custody and care of her younger brother.

She left her job as a P&G tech manager to pursue her law degree. After graduation, she spent time as a public defender before opening her own firm, MZD Law, in 2000. She now serves on the board of Beech Acres Parenting Center.

For more information about the ceremony, visit the Hooding web pages.

Cincinnati Law’s Trial Practice Team Advances to National Competition

3Ls Chris Diedling and Rob Jones took home their second win at the regional TYLA Trial Practice competition, putting them in contention for a national win.

Cincinnati, OH - Cincinnati Law’s Trial Practice Team recently competed at the regional Texas Young Lawyer’s Association competition. For the second year in a row, the team successfully advanced to the national level. Third year law students Chris Diedling and Rob Jones are headed to Fort Worth, Texas this week (March 20 – 26) to compete against 14 other regional winners.

“It should be exciting,” said Chris Diedling recently about the upcoming competition. “Last year we felt like the first win was maybe a bit of luck, but we’ve won regionals two years in a row now. We deserve to be there.”

“We’re going to do better this year,” added Rob Jones, “second time around.”

Though they seem confident, Diedling and Jones are not taking the victory for granted. Working alongside a trio of dedicated coaches and collaborative practice with the 2L trial team, they are more than prepared to take their skills to the national level. With long weekly practices, lengthy conference calls with coaches, and tiresome travelling, the entire team shows true dedication among their busy schedules and heavy course work.

“We’ve got some great coaches, Bill Markovits, Zach Schaengold, and Bill Blessings, who basically drop everything to help us do this,” said Jones. “The amount of work and preparation they put into this is mind-blowing, they really help us prepare.

“Specifically, we would do practice once a week. The last couple of weeks we ramped it up to two per week,” said Jones, “but we would also do conference calls between practices with our coaches, and those could be pretty lengthy. The 2L team—Kalisa Mora, Jefferson Kisor, and Jonathan Walker—were good. They’ve helped us immensely in preparing and bouncing ideas off of each other. Practice went for four hours. It was mind-numbing at points, and they were a good laugh. They kept it fun”

All in all, there is more to the trial practice team than tiresome competition with gruesome preparation. Students are benefiting from all of their hard work, whether they win or lose. The practical experience, according to Diedling and Jones, is one the most helpful exercises they can participate in to better their future in law.

“You can only learn so much in a classroom,” said Diedling. “We both want to go into litigation in our careers and this was a way for us to really develop those skills.”

Jones agreed. “It is the most practical thing you can do at law school, especially if you’ve got a practical setting to apply what you’ve been taught.”

About the Texas Young Lawyer’s Association National Trial Competition
Attracting nearly 140 law schools of over 1,000 law students each year, the Texas Young Lawyer’s Association National Trial Competition encourages and strengthens students' advocacy skills through quality competition and valuable interaction with members of the bench and bar. Established in 1975, the program intends to provide a meaningful contribution to the development of future trial lawyers.

Co-sponsored by the American College of Trial Lawyers, students have the opportunity to win the Kraft W. Eidman Award, consisting of $10,000 to the winning school thanks to the generous donation Fulbright & Jaworski. Beck Redden LLP presents a $5,000 award to the second place team, and each semifinalist team is awarded $1,500 by Polsinelli PC.

Author: Kyler Davis’19, communication intern

Urban Morgan Fellow Travels to the International Criminal Court

Luke Woolman became the first UC Law student to study abroad at The International Criminal Court during his externship with the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights.

Cincinnati, OH – After completing four years of undergrad at Texas Christian University and commissioned as an engineer officer with ROTC, Luke Woolman embarked on a new journey with the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights. With a military background and an interest in international relations, Woolman set his sights on traveling to The Hague, Netherlands to work at the International Criminal Court.

“I’ve always been interested in International relations,” said Woolman, “being with the Urban Morgan Institute, they kind of had different opportunities, and they’ve never had someone go to the ICC before, so I was able to work with them and find a way to get there.”

The International Criminal Court is an intergovernmental organization located in The Netherlands. The treaty that was signed to establish the ICC is called the Rome Statute, which was adopted at a diplomatic conference in Rome on July 17, 1998. This treaty gave the ICC jurisdiction to investigate crimes of aggression, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in an international setting. One hundred twenty-four (124) states are currently party to the statute, however, the US formally renounced their signature on May 6, 2002.

“First of all, I was the only American on my floor. Second of all, I was the youngest person by far,” said Woolman. “The court functions in English—English and French are the main languages there—but since America isn’t a party to the ICC, they’re just less Americans there in general. Of the two people that I spent time in the office with, the two visiting professionals, one was from Canada, the other was from Australia. You get a nice mix of people to work with.”

Though Woolman may have been an outsider at the ICC, this was not his first experience studying abroad. During his time at Texas Christian University, he spent a summer working and training with the Thai army. The main challenge at the ICC, according to Woolman, was the adjustment to working with law in the international environment.

“I studied abroad in undergrad and I’ve been fortunate enough to travel, but I’ve never worked abroad,” said Woolman. “It was kind of eye opening, because in your first year of law school you learn about law in the US. The system of law, the general formatting and stuff is completely different at the ICC. It’s pretty much like learning everything all over, but most people that actually go to work at the ICC worked within their country for probably over five years as a lawyer, but it was a good experience.”

After his time spent at the ICC, Woolman is prepared to take on bigger and bolder challenges. His time dedicated to traveling abroad, along with his interest in international relations, has led him on a path toward grand opportunities. Though he doesn’t see himself working at the ICC anytime soon given the tough requirements, his future is solid as he takes on his next summer experience with the Department of Justice.

“(The ICC) is a very competitive place to get a job at. Obviously you’re competing with people all over the world, but they do expect you to at least have five to 10 years of experience in your own country before they even consider hiring you. So maybe when I get to that point I’ll think about it,” said Woolman. “This summer I’m working in DC at the Department of Justice in their criminal section, so I’m looking forward to that. I have the military too, so we’ll see what happens. I hope to probably work for the government here to some degree, ideally the DOJ or some kind of federal agency.”

About the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights
The Urban Morgan Institute has educated and trained human rights lawyers, who promote and protect human rights all over the world. Established at the University of Cincinnati College of Law in 1979, the institute has become a model for other human rights programs throughout the country, based on the unique experiences students gain both inside and outside of the classroom.

Writer: Kyler Davis’19, communication intern

Emily Roberts Conducts Field Research in Durban, Africa

2L Emily Roberts reflects on her experience at the Legal Resource Center in Durban, Africa during her externship with The Urban Morgan Institute of Human Rights.

Cincinnati, OH- After their first year of law school, Urban Morgan Fellows are given the opportunity to spend their summer abroad through an externship program. Students work with international judges, human rights attorneys and organizations, governmental agencies, or U.N bodies. The externships provide invaluable hands-on training for the student and much needed assistance to the host organization. For an incoming law student planning on entering the human rights field, it is a chance to gain real-world experience, and begin making a difference before getting a degree.

This was the driving force in Emily Roberts’ decision to enroll in the College of Law, and become an Urban Morgan Institute of Human Rights fellow. As an undergraduate student at the University of Iowa, Roberts studied abroad in Botswana, Africa while obtaining her BA in International Studies and Global Health with a focus in African Studies and Human Rights. She immediately fell in love with South Africa while abroad, and knew she wanted to return. The Urban Morgan Institute was her ticket back.

“I wanted to make sure that I was able to go abroad as much as possible,” said Roberts. “If you’re admitted as a fellow, even before you start school, you’re guaranteed to go abroad after your 1L year.”

After her admittance into the program, Roberts’ dream of returning to South Africa came to fruition. Following her first year, she embarked on her externship at The Legal Resource Center in Durban, Africa. Established in 1979, the center promotes justice for marginalized populations, advocating for those suffering from discrimination regarding race, class, gender, disability, or historical circumstances.

“I was probably only at my desk in our office two out of the five days a week,” said Roberts. “The majority of the time was spent driving out to these far away farms in the middle of no where, and sitting down with these elders who could tell us the story about why the land is so important to them, and what the government is not doing to help them. That’s the type of experience I want as a career.”

Roberts enjoyed the fact that her externship was not a “typical” desk job. Much of her work involved investigating discrimination in land and housing, where she gathered data during numerous field visits. She talked directly to victims, listening first-hand to the stories of men and women who were affected by cases involving the unlawful destruction of their home and property. For Roberts, this was the exact career she hopes to one day pursue. However, her experiences came with many tough challenges and obstacles.

“One of the harder things was the language barrier,” said Roberts. “English is widely spoken, but then there’s also Zulu, which is the biggest tribal language in South Africa. When you’re out in the farms, the residents really don’t have a high level of education, so they most often don’t know English. Me and two other candidate attorneys would do the interview process; they would relay the information to me and translate it. I appreciated that they would take the time to do that.”

Conducting this field work in Durban called for very intimate and close discussion with people who have lived in these areas for generations. Roberts expressed difficulty not only by barrier of language, but also as an outsider to their culture. However, she added that the experience was humbling.

“If you are used to being the majority, go some place where you’re going to feel like the minority,” said Roberts. “Being in a completely different culture, it’s not only just that you’re white and you’re blonde and you’re a girl, but you’re obviously American. I always worry that when you go someplace, especially when you don’t look like everyone else, people are going to think that I’m sort of imposing on their life. I try to blend in as much as possible.”

Victims of Unlawful Destruction
Roberts most impactful project involved the unlawful destruction of an “informal settlement” in rural Durban. After collecting research via field visits, Roberts utilized her education to interpret the crimes against many of the victims in an international context in order to present a viable case to the Legal Resource Center.

“We were trying to bring a suit against the government, not only for damages of property destruction, but also for how it affected the kids that lived in those villages, who were sleeping or playing outside and pretty much saw their homes destroyed right in front of their eyes. I had to really use what I learned, constitutional law based on US Law, and try to apply it to a South African context.”

The service experience and knowledge Roberts gained during her three months spent in Durban will forever be cherished as she embarks on future pursuits to provide justice.

“It was amazing to see one woman who knew so much about her rights,” said Roberts. “You know, she barely knew English but she was able to articulate to me why this was so important to her. We were really thankful for being there and listening to them, because sometimes that’s really all you can do.”

About the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights
The Urban Morgan Institute has educated and trained human rights lawyers, who promote and protect human rights all over the world. Established at the University of Cincinnati College of Law in 1979, the institute has become a model for other human rights programs throughout the country, based on the unique experiences students gain both inside and outside of the classroom.

Michael Briach Named 2017 Whitman Fellowship

Michael Briach became the second student selected for the 2017 Whitman Fellowship, which includes a stipend and a summer of experience in civil litigation.

Cincinnati, OH – From early on, Michael Briach knew he wanted to be a lawyer, even as a high school student in his hometown of Youngstown, OH. He centered his coursework and studies around his future aspirations. At the University of Akron, Briach studied political science and criminal justice. After graduating, he was on his way to the University of Cincinnati’s College of Law on the next step to pursue his dreams.

An active member of Moot Court and a student leader with the Honor Council, Briach has dedicated himself to gaining as much knowledge and experience as possible. It paid off when he was awarded the Whitman Fellowship in March.

“I’m extremely happy and satisfied that I was awarded the Whitman,” said Briach. “I’m excited to work with Mark Smith. Just from our short interview, we hit it off. I think it’s going to be a great experience.”

The Whitman Fellowship allows Briach to internship with attorney Mark B. Smith at his firm Mark B. Smith Co., located in Carew Tower. The firm has represented individuals, families and businesses in matters involving bodily injury, wrongful death, general negligence, malpractice, insurance disputes, products and premises liability, and aviation. Briach will work a minimum of 300 hours during the summer and will receive a stipend.

Briach is ready to take on the challenges ahead of him. During his time spent at the College of Law, he’s made sure to dedicate much of his effort in the specific fields that are important for a future in litigation. “I think I’m prepared,” he said. “I took my research and writing classes very seriously. I know that research and writing are critical to being a lawyer in general and I think that will serve me well this summer during the fellowship.”

All in all, Briach is honest in his pursuit. After years of hard work and dedication, the fellowship is simply one more step in achieving a simple goal: to become a lawyer.

“I just want to advocate for my clients, whether that be an injured client, who needs significant representation, or whether that be a business. Whoever I’m advocating for I want to be zealous in my representation, fight hard for my clients, and just really enjoy being a lawyer.”

About the Whitman Fellowship
Through the generous support of Bruce B. & Ginny Conlan Whitman, the College of Law awards one law student with $7,000 stipend to work for an employer that specializes in representing individual plaintiffs and their families in personal rights litigation, tort and employment law, such as those injured by the negligence of another or wrongfully terminated from employment. The recipient will work a minimum of 300 hours on substantive legal assignments under attorney supervision, supporting the employer’s work. The work includes legal research, drafting memorandum, drafting pre-trial litigation documents, filing, and observing meetings/hearings.

Writer: Kyler Davis ’19, communication intern

UC Sports Law Club Competes at National Baseball Arbitration Competition

Two teams from UC Sports Law Club traveled to New Orleans to compete at the Tenth Annual National Baseball Arbitration Competition hosted by Tulane Sports Law Society.

Cincinnati, OH – Some go to New Orleans to party; these students went to compete. This spring semester, six members of UC Law’s Sports Law Club traveled to New Orleans to compete at Tulane University in New Orleans. Nick Kitko (3L), Mickey Sutton (3L), and Zach Johnson (2L) made up one team, while Matt Wagner (2L), Alex Spalding (2L), and Ken Westwood (2L) made the other.

Johnson, Kitko, and Sutton advanced to the quarter finals of the competition, succeeding to the final eight. (Kitko and Sutton competed as 2L’s, making this their second visit to the competition.) Johnson, vice president of the Sports Law Club, shared the team’s experience preparing for their first competition alongside their faculty advisor, Professor James Lawrence.

“The process begins with a written brief, just to make sure you’re doing the work. Tulane doesn’t want people to show up unprepared,” said Johnson. “After we submitted our written briefs, we came back from break a little early. We met with Professor James Lawrence at Frost Brown Todd to talk about our competition and what we were going to do. He helped us prepare, to know what an arbitrator looks for. Before you knew it, we were headed down on a plane the first week of school to compete.”

Professor Lawrence has been an adjunct professor at the law school since 1975. His current practice involves mediation and teaching dispute resolution. As a past chair of the firms’ Alternative Dispute Resolution Practice Group, he was able to equip the teams with the necessary knowledge and skills to compete.

“Professor Lawrence read our briefs and talked to us about our oral presentations. He gave us advice on what to do, what not to do, and how to present properly.” said Johnson.

At the 2017 National Baseball Arbitration Competition, the teams were excited to see the guest arbitrators and judges, who were all experts in the field of baseball arbitration proceedings. The assistant manager of the Cincinnati Reds, Nick Krall, was one of many special guests that the teams had the opportunity to meet. Other judges and arbitrators included special assistant to the Philadelphia Phillies, Bryan Minniti; partner of Turner-Gary Sports, Rex Gary; and general counsel to the Major League Baseball Players Association, Dave Prouty—who judged the quarter finals of the competition.

“It was an experience that I cherish,” said Johnson, “especially being a fan of baseball.”

“There’s so much money to be made. Those contracts are massive, I mean, it’s money you can’t even quantify,” said Johnson. “If you’ve reached arbitration, it’s kind of your chance at really making your career a baseball career, rather than something that you’re chasing for a while and moving forward from that.”

After this experience the Sports Law Club is considering attending again next year. “I think we’re going to try to make it more of an official tradition for our Sports Law Society,” said Johnson. The competition definitely serves as a practical and exciting opportunity to apply what is learned in the classroom to real-life situations future attorneys may face.

About the National Baseball Arbitration Competition
The National Baseball Arbitration Competition is a simulated salary arbitration competition held in the early Spring semester at Tulane University. Similar to moot court or practice trial, this arbitration competition is modeled closely to the procedures used by Major League Baseball. The competition’s main goal is to provide participants with the opportunity to sharpen their oral and written advocacy skills within the unique specialized context of Major League Baseball’s salary arbitration proceedings. In addition to the competition, a collection of experts in the field of baseball arbitration serve as judges and discuss legal issues related to baseball.

About Arbitration in MLB
After a player reaches his first three seasons in Major League Baseball, they are eligible for arbitration, meaning that the player has a chance to challenge the club over the amount of money in which they will be paid. These proceedings in Major League Baseball are crucial to the business aspect of the sport, by determining the quantifiable value of each player. Though these proceedings don’t directly deal with the rules and regulations of baseball, arbitration basically resolves disputes in salary between the player and the club. On both the players side, and the club side, evidence and arguments are presented outlining statistics of the player’s performance, comparing the player’s statistics against other players who may have received more or less money, and illustrating other factors such as injuries, temperament, and consistencies throughout the player’s career. After both sides present their best argument, a salary is determined by an objective third party, and a deal is made favoring either the player or the club.

Author: Kyler Davis ’19, communication intern