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Littler's Lisa Kathumbi named President-elect of the Ohio Women's Bar Association


COLUMBUS, Ohio (June 2, 2016) – Lisa M. Kathumbi, an attorney in the Columbus office of Littler Mendelson, the world’s largest employment and labor law practice representing management, has been named president-elect of the Ohio Women’s Bar Association (OWBA). When her term as president begins in May 2017, she will be the first African-American to lead the OWBA, a 25-year-old professional legal association. Until that time, Kathumbi will continue to serve on the board under the leadership of current OWBA President Marilyn McClure-Demers, associate vice president and associate general counsel, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company.

“I am delighted to continue serving the Ohio Women’s Bar Association and to continue working with President McClure-Demers and other board members. Our goal is to continue to grow the OWBA’s membership while upholding the organization’s mission of promoting the leadership, advancement and interests of all women attorneys. I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as president in 2017,” said Kathumbi.

The timing of Kathumbi’s election to president-elect coincided with the OWBA welcoming American Bar Association (ABA) President Paulette Brown to serve as the keynote speaker at its 2016 Annual Conference. Brown, a partner at Locke Lord, is the first woman of color to lead the prestigious ABA, a 136-year-old professional legal association. Brown and the OWBA’s strategic leadership attracted over 400 lawyers from across the state and inspired attendees at the 2016 Annual Conference.

Lisa KathumbiA steadfast advocate for OWBA since joining in 2011, Kathumbi was named the recipient of the association’s President’s Choice Award in 2014 for contributing ongoing support, energy, talent, time and vision.

An active member of the Columbus community, Kathumbi previously served on the editorial board for Better Lawyer, a publication of the Columbus Bar Association; as a founding board member of Ruling Our eXperiences (ROX), a nonprofit that provides evidence-based empowerment programming for girls; on the boards of the John Mercer Langston Bar Association and City Year Columbus; and as a volunteer for the YWCA Family Center and the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio.

At Littler, Kathumbi counsels and represents employers ranging from small businesses to Fortune 100 companies. Her practice extends nationally and includes representation of healthcare providers, retailers, hospitality companies, restaurants, insurance companies, and small business owners in state and federal litigation. Kathumbi also works with clients to navigate the legal risks of day-to-day employment decisions, and conducts litigation avoidance training and seminars. Her strong reputation has earned industry accolades, including 2014 and 2015 recognition as a Rising Star in Ohio Super Lawyers®.

Kathumbi earned her J.D. from the University of Cincinnati College of Law, her M.A. from the University of Chicago and her B.A. from the University of Cincinnati.

About Littler
Littler is the largest global employment and labor law practice, with over 1,000 attorneys in over 70 offices worldwide. Littler represents management in all aspects of employment and labor law and serves as a single-source solution provider to the global employer community. Consistently recognized in the industry as a leading and innovative law practice, Littler has been litigating, mediating and negotiating some of the most influential employment law cases and labor contracts on record for over 70 years. Littler Global is the collective trade name for an international legal practice, the practicing entities of which are separate and distinct professional firms. For more information visit: www.littler.com.

College of Law Chief of Staff Installed as National President


Mina JeffersonMina Jones Jefferson, Chief of Staff and Director of the Center for Professional Development, is now president of the National Association for Law Placement (NALP), an association of more than 2,500 legal career professionals dedicated to facilitating legal career counseling and planning, recruitment and retention, and the professional development of law students and lawyers. The 44-year-old organization advises law students, lawyers, law offices, and law schools across North America and beyond.

Jefferson was installed at the NALP annual conference in April 2016. Her term includes service as president-elect in 2015-16, president in 2016-2017 and immediate past president in 2017-2018.

“It’s a privilege to have a leadership role with the preeminent organization for legal career professionals,” Jefferson said. “I look forward to advancing the initiatives identified in NALP’s strategic plan and upholding its foundational beliefs that law students and lawyers should benefit from a fair and ethical hiring process; that law students and lawyers are more successful when supported by professional development and legal career professionals; and that a diverse and inclusive legal profession best serves clients and our communities.”

Jefferson, a University of Cincinnati 1990 College of Law graduate, has a strong background in the legal hiring field. As a former hiring partner at a National Law Journal Top 250 law firm, she is one of the few law-school career-services professionals in the country who has worked on both sides of the table. She practiced commercial litigation for almost a decade and was one of the first African American women in the region elected to partnership at a large firm.

A published author, Jefferson writes on the topic of careers and professional development for numerous legal publications and is a sought-after speaker on the topic of professionalism. She has also taught ethics courses at the college, as well as the legal extern course.

Active in the community, she currently serves on the Steering Committee for the Cincinnati Academy of Leadership for Lawyers (CALL). Jefferson, a former co-director of the Law and Leadership Institute at the College, also served by appointment on the Supreme Court of Ohio’s Continuing Legal Education Committee. Additionally she has been a member of the board of the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati, Children’s Law Center, ProKids, and the Cincinnati Bar Foundation.

Marianna Bettman, Law Professor and Alumnae, Receives University’s Distinguished Teaching Award


Professor Emerita of Practice Marianna Bettman received the University of Cincinnati Distinguished Teaching Professor Award on Tuesday, April 19, 2016.

Marianna BetmanCincinnati, OH—Congratulations to Cincinnati Law graduate and Professor Emerita of Practice Marianna Brown Bettman who received the University of Cincinnati’s Distinguished Teaching Professor Award. The award was presented at the university’s annual Faculty Awards Celebration, presided over by President Santa Ono, Provost Beverly Davenport, and the Faculty Senate.

"We are all exceptionally glad of the recognition Professor Bettman is receiving for being an exceptional educator. She has had a positive influence on the practice of law in Ohio and beyond through the hundreds of students she has taught. I look forward to her continued association with the law school even as she enjoys the much deserved freedom of retirement," said Jennifer S. Bard, Dean and Nippert Professor of Law at Cincinnati Law.

Professor Bettman started her professional career working in community development during the late 60’s, speaking to community members about school desegregation. Recognizing the role legal solutions could play to address racial injustice, she determined that her next career step would be law school at the university. While there, she excelled at school, winning the Constitutional Law Prize and becoming the first woman to be awarded first prize in Trial Advocacy.

After graduation in 1977, Professor Bettman began working in private practice. From there, she was elected Judge, First District Court of Appeals—the first woman elected to this position. She developed an expertise in separation of powers, state constitutional law, and the Ohio judicial system. After six years on the bench, the opportunity arose to join academia, leading her to College of Law in 1999; she remained at the school until recently. Her mastery of material and the high expectations set for students is legendary. Students, in turn, thrived under her style. Noted one, “Professor Bettman keeps us on our toes. You must be well-prepared at all times because you are called on every class!” In addition to teaching, she directed the Judge-In-Residence and Judicial Extern programs.

Professor Bettman is the recipient of numerous awards. They include the following: The Goldman Prize for Excellence in Teaching (2005, 2011, 2014), the Excellence in Education Award (Ohio Magazine, 2011), Cincinnati Attorney of the Year (Jewish National Fund, Judge Carl B. Rubin Legal Society, 2010), the Foot Soldiers in the Sand Award (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People-National Chapter, 2008), the A.B. “Dolly” Cohen Award for Excellence in Teaching (University of Cincinnati, 2008), the Nettie Cronies Lutes Award (Ohio State Bar Association, 2008), the University of Cincinnati Law Alumni Association Distinguished Alumna Award (2001), the Women’s Studies Distinguished Alumna Award (University of Cincinnati, 1998), the YWCA Career Woman of Achievement (1994), and many more. She authors the well-respected blog Legally Speaking Ohio and the monthly newspaper column Legally Speaking for the American Israelite, in addition to lecturing at numerous continuing legal education seminars, including an annual presentation at the Ohio Judicial Conference. Professor Bettman retired from teaching in December 2015. However, she is still committed to the law school and the education and training of future generations of attorneys.

Brandon Craig ’09 Presents Paper on Fighting Housing Discrimination


Brandon Craig ’09 presented his paper “Black Zip Codes matter: Fighting Housing Discrimination in the 21st Century,” at the recent David A. Clarke School of Law, University of the District of Columbia Law Review Symposium. The symposium’s theme was “From Protest Movements of the ‘60s to #BlackLivesMatter: Legal Strategies for an Emerging Civil Rights Movement.”

In his paper, Mr. Craig covers the historic change in the laws leading to the passage of the fair housing act in 1968. He then goes on to discuss the changes in the enforcement of the fair housing act up to the present, finishing with how we must change our arguments going forward in the 21st Century.

Here's a link to the symposium to view the presentation: Craig Presentation

Sue Erhart '96 promoted to General Counsel at Great American Insurance


Great American Insurance Group has named two new leaders for its legal team. Sue Erhart has been promoted to general counsel, while Eve Cutler Rosen has been named executive counsel within its Property and Casualty Legal Group.

Erhart will continue to have direct responsibility for the staff and operations of the Property and Casualty Group’s Legal Department in her new role. She joined Great American in June 2010 after she became a partner at Cincinnati’s Keating, Muething & Klekamp PLL. She received her bachelor’s degree from Xavier University and earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Law.

Rosen will oversee the company’s international operations in her new role and serve as senior counsel for the Property and Casualty Group. She has been general counsel since August 1999 and worked for Great American for 29 years. She previously worked at Aetna and was in private practice in Philadelphia. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Bryn Mawr College and Juris Doctor degree from Villanova University School of Law.

Great American primarily focuses on property and casualty insurance for businesses along with the sale of traditional fixed and fixed-indexed annuities in the retail, financial institutions and education markets. It’s a subsidiary of American Financial Group (NYSE: AFG), which is also based in Cincinnati.

As published in bizjournals.com

Eric Kearney Named CEO of African American Chamber


CEO Sean Rugless is leaving the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky African American Chamber of Commerce to start his own consulting firm and former state Sen. Eric Kearney will replace him, the group announced Thursday.

Eric KearneyKearney, an attorney, was the Democratic leader in the Ohio Senate and before entering politics Kearney co-owned owned Sesh Communications with his wife, Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney, which publishes the Cincinnati Herald, the Northern Kentucky Herald and the Dayton Defender newspapers.

“I am humbled and excited to work in this role,” Eric Kearney said. “I look forward to working with our stakeholders and membership to connect opportunities that drive positive business outcomes.”

Kearney was selected by Democratic gubernatorial nominee Ed FitzGerald to be his running mate in 2013, but later left the ticket after news reports about back taxes owed by Sesh Communications. The company disputed some of the taxes it was said to owe.

Rugless will launch the Katalyst Group, a strategic consulting and branding firm.

The African American chamber “has grown to be an important economic partner and is perfectly positioned to ensure success for its members,” Rugless said. “The same entrepreneurial spirit that ignites our members has fueled my dream of working with clients to enhance business models, connect with consumers and provide business solutions to their specific marketing challenges.”

As published on Cincinnati Business Courier on March 24, 2016

Law Alum, Cincinnati Bengals EVP Katie Blackburn featured in Cincinnati Enquirer Profile


BOCA RATON, Florida – In the annual National Football League meetings at the Boca Raton Resort and Club, which sits just off Lake Boca Raton, league coaches and executives conducted various forms of league business, from the consideration and institution of new rules to larger-scale topics such as the placement of a franchise in Europe.

When these topics are discussed formally within the offset meeting rooms inside the 90-year-old hotel, the talks come in the form of the league’s four labor committees, six football operations committees, seven finance committees and nine business committees.

The Cincinnati Bengals are represented within five of those groups. Owner and president Mike Brown sits on the management council executive committee for labor, while executive vice president Katie Blackburn is the chairwoman of the eight-person workplace diversity committee and the Super Bowl advisory committee. She also sits on the CBA player benefit plans committee. Vice president Troy Blackburn sits on the employee benefits committee.

Katie BlackbrunThe membership with those miniature associations may not seem that momentous on the surface in 2016, especially for Katie Blackburn. She is not the only woman in these groups – Dallas’ Charlotte Anderson (chair of the NFL Foundation and conduct), Cleveland’s Dee Haslam (legislative and conduct), Tennessee’s Jenneen Kaufman (employee benefits committee), Buffalo’s Kim Pegula (Super Bowl advisory, NFL Foundation) and Denise DeBartolo-York (Hall of Fame) all have prominent roles.

But, Blackburn’s role as chairwoman of two very important committees isn’t to be overlooked.“While I was in the league, I served on several committees, and it was quite apparent to me that the league puts considerable thought into who chairs its committees,” said Amy Trask, an NFL analyst for CBS Sports who was the first woman to be named chief executive officer of a franchise when she took that position in Oakland in 1997.

“Committees are very important within the structure of the league. And I don’t believe that the league would appoint as chairperson someone in whom it didn’t have tremendous faith.”

And it is Blackburn’s role on the workplace diversity committee that has earned her more attention than usual over the last two months. It began when NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said at the Super Bowl that the “Rooney rule,” in which at least one minority candidate must be interviewed for coaching and executive football positions, will also include women when it comes to openings in the league office.

According to an Enquirer profile in 2000, Blackburn became the first woman in NFL front offices to handle player contract negotiations, and her standing in the league has only grown in import since.“I think she is (an important voice),” said New York Giants owner John Mara, who is on the diversity committee.

“She does a great job heading up that committee. I think the diversity committee has made some great strides. The league has made some great strides over the last few years in terms of having a more diverse workforce, and I think she should get a lot credit for that.”

Blackburn has always been reticent to speak about herself, especially when the spotlight of league business turns her direction and highlights some pioneering aspects of her career. “No, I mean, I don’t look at it so much that way,” she told The Enquirer quietly in a foyer just off a breezeway at the resort. “I just view it as really trying to get people to do things that are in overall best interest of everyone. But I don’t like to think of it as pioneering because there are so many other people who have done way, so much more. I couldn’t even put myself in the same category.”

But make no mistake; she commands an important place in the league and is viewed that way in ownership circles.“I think she’s very respected around the league,” said Mara, who acknowledged that Brown remains active and vocal in league matters. “She’s been around long enough and has her own qualifications. She’s very bright. When she speaks, she’s always very articulate, very intelligent, so people know who she is and people respect her.” As for the inclusion of women as part of the Rooney Rule, Blackburn notes that it does not apply to each individual team – but it may serve each organization to think along those lines regardless.

“It’s a great best practice for every team to use because you’re going to look at a wider array of candidates and hopefully get a better person to fill any position that’s open,” she said. “So I think in the long run it does work best if people actually implement it. But I think it’s been put in front of people enough that people are doing wider searches and interviewing more diversely for openings, so I think they are doing it.”

With that, the conversation about her ended, and she smiled as she moved toward the elevator.But Blackburn’s role as the chair of such an important committee during a time when diversity and inclusion are at the forefront in many workplace discussions only indicates she will continue to be a strong presence within the league – even if her voice isn’t resonating publicly.

“Katie can be as important a voice as she chooses to be, and that’s entirely up to Katie – to state the obvious,” Trask said. “If Katie wishes to be a voice, she will be tremendous. If she opts not to, that’s her decision. “As Polonius said in Hamlet, he said to Laertes, ‘To thine own self be true,’ and Katie is going to make the decision that is best for her and the Bengals' franchise, as she should. Can she be a very important voice? Absolutely, positively. Whatever she chooses will be the right decision.”

This article was first published by Cincinnati.Com on March 23, 2015 and the same reserve all copyrights for this article.

Duane Morris partner Kevin E. Vance elected Interim Chairman of Sunrise Community, Inc. Board


Miami Attorney to Lead Board of Directors of National Non-Profit Organization Serving Individuals with Disabilities

Kevin VanceMiami, Fla. (March 21, 2016) – Duane Morris is pleased to announce that Kevin E. Vance, a partner in the Miami office, has been elected Interim Chairman of the Board of Directors of Sunrise Community, Inc., a national leader in providing residential and habilitation services for people with a wide range of intellectual and physical disabilities. Vance joined the organization’s Board in 2014.

For over 45 years, by means of advocacy and education directed toward acceptance, Sunrise has provided its individualized support and services to enable people with disabilities to live valued lives in the community. The Miami-based organization offers a growing range of services, including group home facilities, in-home support, residential habilitation services, respite care, supported employment, adult training, and transportation services, among others. At the heart of its mission are its residential group home facilities, which provide safe, comfortable, family-style caring homes anchored in the community. Currently, the organization has 214 residential group homes serving more than 1,000 individuals.

“I am honored to be elected chairman of such a remarkable organization that is devoted to strengthening communities and ensuring people with disabilities become full participants in community life,” said Vance. “I look forward to working alongside the Board to further the organization’s mission and continue to impact the lives of so many deserving individuals.”

A Florida Bar board-certified attorney, Vance focuses his practice on labor and employment litigation and other types of business litigation. Vance is AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell. He earned his J.D. from the University of Cincinnati College of Law, and his B. A. from Vanderbilt University. In addition to his Board position with Sunrise, Vance is the Vice Chair of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce’s Human Resources and Workforce Development Committee.

 

About Duane Morris
Duane Morris LLP, a law firm with more than 750 attorneys in offices across the United States and internationally, is asked by a broad array of clients to provide innovative solutions to today's legal and business challenges. In addition, Duane Morris affiliates have approximately 100 professionals engaged in ancillary service businesses.

Karen Kovach '92 Named UC's Interim General Counsel


Cincinnati Law graduate Karen Kovach has been named Interim General Counsel for the University of Cincinnati, effective April 1, 2016. She currently serves as UC's Deputy General Counsel.

With more than 23-and-a-half years of experience as an attorney, the last three of those years spent at the university, Ms. Kovach is familiar with the many aspects and issues affecting universities in the legal arena. In her interim role, she will serve as the key point of contact related to legal issues at the university.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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