Beth Mandel, '05 joins downtown law firm Dinsmore & Shohl as an attorney
Prior to Dinsmore, Mandel served as a judicial clerk for the Honorable Susan J. Dlott with the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. She managed approximately one-third of Chief Judge Dlott's civil and criminal docket as a full-time legal advisor to the Judge. In that role, Mandel researched and analyzed civil and criminal litigation issues and drafted court opinions in a variety of cases. She also assisted Chief Judge Dlott in mediating settlements and offering creative solutions to disputes in civil cases and serve as an advisor to Chief Judge Dlott prior to and during hearings in civil and criminal cases.
Mandel also serves as an adjunct professor for the University of Cincinnati College of Law. She teaches a seminar on International Women's Human Rights that compares domestic, regional, and international human rights law pertaining to issues such as discrimination against women in employment and education and health care equity and access.
Mandel earned her law degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Law and received her bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan.
Alumna Megan Gramke, '05 Named Partner at at Ulmer and Berne LLP
Ulmer & Berne Elects Six Outstanding New Partners and Promotes Three to Counsel
(January 2, 2015) – Ulmer & Berne LLP announces the promotion of six attorneys to the partnership effective January 1, 2015. The new partners are Megan B. Gramke, Elizabeth M. Hill, James D. Houston, Joshua A. Klarfeld, Nathan W. Lamb, and Robin D. Miller. In addition, the following three attorneys are being promoted to Counsel: Kristin W. Boose, Elise Balkin Ice, and Thomas G. McIntosh.
“We are pleased about these promotions,” said Kip Reader, managing partner of Ulmer & Berne. “Each of these attorneys has demonstrated exceptional legal knowledge and ability, a sharp focus on client service and client goals, and an active engagement with a collaborative work approach. We like to think that these characteristics are a significant part of our firm’s reputation for high quality client service and results.”
Megan Gramke of the firm’s Cincinnati office focuses her practice on product liability defense. She represents medical device, pharmaceutical, and other manufacturers on a local and national level. Her experience includes defense of claims pertaining to antidepressants, cancer medications, cardiac drugs, dietary supplements, and medical devices. Ms. Gramke has been named to the Ohio Super Lawyers Rising Stars list. She received her J.D. from the University of Cincinnati College of Law and her B.S.J., magna cum laude, from Ohio University.
Elizabeth Hill of the firm’s Cleveland office concentrates her practice on business litigation involving financial institutions. She represents national banks, broker-dealers, and financial advisory firms in court, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and the American Arbitration Association arbitration proceedings. She also represents financial institutions in FINRA and state regulatory investigations. Ms. Hill has been named to the Ohio Super Lawyers Rising Stars list. She received her J.D. from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and her B.S.B.A. from The Ohio State University.
James Houston of the firm’s Cincinnati office focuses his practice on construction law as well as labor and employment. His trial experience includes first chair representation of contractors, employers and sureties in both arbitration and traditional trial court settings (including actions for emergency injunctive relief). He has also successfully defended Ohio employers against various wrongful death and discrimination claims. He has drafted and argued appellate briefs for various courts, including the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, various Ohio District Courts of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Ohio. Mr. Houston received his J.D., cum laude, from the University of Dayton School of Law and his B.A. from Miami University.
Joshua Klarfeld of the firm’s Cleveland office focuses his practice on product liability litigation, pharmaceutical, medical device and mass tort litigation. He also is engaged in complex business litigation. He represents major corporations in the defense of multidistrict, coordinated, and consolidated litigation; putative class actions; mass torts; toxic torts; drug and medical device; employment-related torts; and premises liability actions. Mr. Klarfeld has been named to the Ohio Super Lawyers list. He received his J.D., summa cum laude, from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and his B.A., magna cum laude, from Yeshiva University.
Nathan Lamb of the firm’s Chicago office focuses his practice on securities-related litigation, FINRA, the United States Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), and state securities commission regulatory investigations and disputes. He defends brokers, broker-dealers, and investment advisors in FINRA arbitrations, SEC actions, and FINRA enforcement actions. Mr. Lamb’s practice also involves advising clients on how to navigate the complex financial services regulatory environment. Mr. Lamb has been named to the Illinois Super Lawyers Rising Stars list. He received his J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law and his B.B.A. from the University of Iowa.
Robin Miller of the firm’s Cincinnati office focuses her practice on complex commercial litigation. She successfully represents publicly traded corporations, as well as small private businesses, at all stages of litigation including requests for immediate injunctive relief, trials, and appeals. She has experience defending and pursuing a variety of cases involving breach of contract, fraud, non-compete agreements, trade secret misappropriation, construction, employment discrimination, and product liability. Ms. Miller has been named to the Ohio Super Lawyers Rising Stars list. She received her J.D. from the University of Dayton School of Law and her B.A., summa cum laude, from Ohio University.
Kristin Boose of the firm’s Cleveland office focuses her practice on assisting lenders, borrowers, and developers in financing matters. She represents clients in all facets of commercial real estate and commercial lending, including traditional mortgage lending, HUD-insured mortgage lending transactions, Fannie Mae Multifamily, and asset-based and cash flow credit facilities. Ms. Boose also represents developers in transactions utilizing New Markets Tax Credit, Low Income Tax Credit and/or Historic Tax Credit transactions. She also counsels clients on general real estate matters as well matters involving loan workouts and restructurings. Ms. Boose has been named to the Ohio Super Lawyers Rising Stars list. She received her J.D. from Case Western Reserve University School of Law, her M.B.A. from Case Western Reserve University Weatherhead School of Management, and her B.A., magna cum laude, from Baldwin-Wallace College.
Elise Ice of the firm’s Cleveland office focuses her practice on complex business litigation in both state and federal courts. She has successfully handled cases involving a variety of substantive areas, including ERISA, employment and labor, insurance, lead-based paint, class actions, product liability, securities, professional malpractice, and personal injury. In addition to her experience with these substantive areas of the law, she has solid experience taking fact and expert witness depositions, drafting and arguing motions, and preparing for trial. Ms. Ice received her J.D., magna cum laude, from the University of Baltimore School of Law and her B.A. from Mary Washington College.
Thomas McIntosh of the firm’s Cincinnati office concentrates his practice on product liability litigation with a focus on personal injury defense involving pharmaceutical products. He has experience defending drug companies in complex matters across the country in multidistrict litigation and state-court consolidated litigation as well as individual cases in state and federal courts. He has worked on matters involving a variety of different products including generic and brand-name pharmaceuticals, supplements, and medical devices. Mr. McIntosh has specialized experience in federal preemption of state-laws involving generic drugs, and has briefed the issue in numerous state and federal courts across the country. Mr. McIntosh has been named to the Ohio Super Lawyers Rising Stars list. He received his J.D. from the University of Kentucky College of Law and his B.S., magna cum laude, from the University of Kentucky.
About Ulmer & Berne LLP
Ulmer & Berne, established in 1908, is a full-service law firm focused on exceeding client expectations and delivering superior, customized legal solutions for an exceptional value. Its more than 190 attorneys, located in Cincinnati, Chicago, Cleveland and Columbus, serve as counselors and partners to a wide range of clients to help them solve their business challenges and achieve their goals. The firm represents publicly traded and privately held companies, financial institutions, hedge funds, private equity funds, pharmaceutical companies, international joint ventures and affiliations, investor groups, family offices, start-ups and emerging businesses, public bodies and nonprofit organizations. For more information, please visit ulmer.com.
From a Small Town in India to Bustling Cincinnati, Pradeep Kandambath Continue to Pursue a Legal Career
From the small town of Payyanur in a region of southern India known for its long, sandy beaches, coconut trees, monsoon rains, and exotic spices, Pradeepkumar Kandambath moved to the United States looking to pursue a legal career. That was over 12 years ago. His circuitous journey, however, brought him to the College of Law as a student in the LLM program.
Kandambath attended Payyanur College (which is affiliated with Calicut University) and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history. He then went on to attend Symbiosis Law School in Pune, a university town not too far from Mumbai. Not done with academia yet, Kandambath also received a diploma in electronic commerce in Bangalore from Asset International, an institute renowned for its programs in e-commerce and computer and information technologies.
From 1997 to 2002, Kandambath practiced in the areas of real estate, employment law, and arbitration in a small firm at Kochi and at the High Court of Kerala. When he moved to the US in 2002, Kandambath spent just over a decade working in the banking industry here in Cincinnati. Last year, however, he decided it was time to return to the legal profession. His first step was discovering and then joining the LLM program at UC Law.
“Cincinnati looked almost unreal to me when I first arrived,” said Kandambath. He contrasted Cincinnati with what he knew about urban life in India, where poverty, noise, and pollution are integral parts of urban life. “One thing noteworthy about the Cincinnati is that it is a bustling cosmopolitan city like any other major city in the U.S.,” shared Kandambath, “except for the rush and difficult commutes.”
Having never cooked before moving to the U.S., cooking is now one of Kandambath hobbies along with travelling and music. A notable difference culturally, Kandambath shared that the cooking back home was usually done by servants. “It may sound strange to a Westerner” he laughed. “I had not even seen the whole kitchen in the house I was born in and lived at for more than 25 years!”
Having established his life in Cincinnati, Kandambath admittedly had almost given up his goal of establishing a legal practice here. When he moved to the Queen City years ago, no LLM program existed, and impracticalities and cost prevented him and his family from moving to another city. Then when he was online searching for short-term courses in law, he discovered UC Law’s new LLM program and jumped at the opportunity to pursue his dream. “I always wanted to have a post graduate degree in legal studies,” he said. “The LLM program has been the most exciting thing that has happened to me since I came to the United States.”
Now nearing graduation, Kandambath hopes to work with a law firm or business establishment where he can utilize his unique, multinational educational background. “I have benefitted immensely by doing the LLM program at UC,” he said. “I would strongly recommend it to anyone who is interested in any career path in the legal field.
Faculty members at UC have extensive experience in legal practice and bring outstanding scholarship and teaching experience to the class. I would advise every student to take full advantage of this as well as the career support at the university.”
How Practical Experience and an Instinct for Challenges Helped Raul Rosado Build a Career
Originally from Ponce, Puerto Rico, Raul Rosado ’88 came from a bit further away than most students at the College of Law. Rosado had always wanted to attend college in the states, preferably at a smaller school where the difficulties he anticipated facing with his limited English would be mitigated. When his father was transferred to Toledo, OH for work, Rosado saw southwest Ohio as a suitable place for his studies. He attended Xavier University for his bachelor’s degree and then jumped to crosstown rival UC to study law. Among his involvements at UC Law, he was active in the Student Bar Association and in Student Court.
Rosado did not always plan to work as a corporate lawyer. In fact, he originally thought that litigation was where he would make his career. His first position out of law school was with the Ohio Attorney General’s office. “I found it to be a great place to start as a new lawyer,” he said. “I was given my own workload, did my own writing, and argued my own cases, including two at the Ohio Supreme Court. This experience and the excellent advisors I worked with really helped me learn how to be an attorney.”
After several years with the Attorney General’s office, Rosado sought to change gears and went into private practice with Manley, Burke & Fischer, a law firm here in Cincinnati. He did litigation work, including a lot of zoning and eminent domain work. While he found the work interesting, he was becoming more and more interested in finding an in-house career. “Corporations really need attorneys that have some practical experience,” Rosado explained. “As I had been practicing for several years, I felt that I was finally ready to jump into an in-house position.”
Jumping Into the Corporate World
His first corporate position was with LensCrafters. He entered the company in the Gvernment Relations section of the legal department, but additionally worked in the areas of labor and employment as well as commercial law. He took a year off from practicing law to run the charity at LensCrafters, but then decided to return to practice. Rosado then found a role as an Assistant General Counsel with Cognis, a global specialty chemicals manufacturing company with North American headquarters here in Cincinnati. After about four years, he was promoted to General Counsel. “This is when things really got interesting,” he said. “As the General Counsel, my job responsibilities included a little bit of everything. That is what I love about this type of work – every day is different. While it perhaps is not for everybody, I have truly enjoyed the work, becoming a ‘jack of all trades’ and learning to work on a broad spectrum of legal problems.”
After 12 years with Cognis, the company was acquired by a larger company and Rosado found himself needing to move on to another company. “It is the downside—what I call an ‘occupational hazard’—of working in the corporate realm. You are always one acquisition or one divestment away from potentially being cut or replaced!”
Creating a Global Footprint
After doing some consulting work for smaller companies for about a year, Rosado then landed his current position with Formica. He is the North America and Europe Chief Legal Counsel, and he again works in a variety of areas – compliance, mergers and acquisitions, commercial, and environmental. He also travels a lot for work, and it is an aspect of his job that he truly enjoys. “It is important in a company that has a global footprint to engage internationally on a personal level,” said Raul. “I’ve had to learn about customs in different countries, how the laws apply to our business, and I’ve also had to work really hard at building business and personal relationships, which is critical in this role.” Though he sometimes finds the international aspect of his work challenging, it is a challenge he enjoys facing.
Rosado advises that having a broad range of experiences can help those interested in a career similar to his. “At the end of the day, it is important to remember that a law degree is unique in that your platform is so wide that you can end up doing any number of things after graduation. There is not one specific path to take to get to the position of your dreams. Take the opportunities as they come along, try different things, and do not be afraid of change.”
Diane Dix’s Career Is a Story of Flexibility, Change, and Success
Diane Dix ’93 was born in Pittsburgh, PA and grew up in Huntington, WV. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Northern Kentucky University (NKU), and spent six years away from the classroom in various sales positions before coming to the College of Law. Having majored in literature and language at NKU, her love of writing nudged her towards pursuing her J.D. Further, her experience in the world of business prior to law school helped Dix decide to set out on a career path leading into the corporate realm. So, three years after she was the very first person called upon in her first-year class, Dix’s post-law school career began.
Dix spent two years in a clerkship with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. “It was in my time as a clerk that I became particularly interested in insolvency and restructuring,” she shared. “I wanted to explore this area after I left my job with the Court.”
Her next step was to take a position with Thompson Hine, where she was able to focus on the bankruptcy work she was interested in, but also do work in the areas of mergers and acquisitions and finance. Her time at the law firm reinforced the idea she had going into law school — she wanted to do corporate work.
Dix entered the corporate realm for the first time as a lawyer doing mergers and acquisitions for GE Aviation and served in that capacity for 18 months. “The work was challenging, but at that time, GE Aviation was not doing many acquisitions,” she explained, “so I began looking within GE for other opportunities and found an excellent role with GE Equity.” A part of GE Capital, GE Equity was Dix ‘s workplace for four years. While she gained valuable experience doing dozens of private equity transactions, she was juggling work and a commuting relationship with her husband who was working in Cincinnati while she worked in Connecticut. Interested in returning home after four years away, Dix once again kept an open mind about her next GE opportunity and found another position at GE Capital as general counsel of a business within the consumer finance division. “Though I had no real consumer finance experience, I was able to convince myself (and the company) that I could learn the substance and adapt to this unfamiliar setting,” said Dix. “It was a leap of faith, both for me and the company.”
Dix spent the next eight years in Cincinnati as the general counsel for the business. When she started in the role, the business did $200 million in net income, and within several years it had tripled to $600 million. While there were only three attorneys working under her to start, that number ballooned to as many as fifteen as the business grew. “My role grew as the business grew, and I found myself in a pretty significant general counsel role within GE Capital fairly quickly,” said Dix. “It goes to show that you need to be flexible in your career. When I started there I was learning as I went, and ultimately this is where I learned to become a general counsel for a business.”
Impact of the Financial Crisis
The financial crisis brought about, largely, an end to the growth of GE Capital. Continuing to consider career advancement, Dix saw that the future growth was on the industrial side of the corporation, and she sought to return to her industrial GE roots. Once again, she left Cincinnati, but this time for a temporary assignment with GE Oil & Gas in Houston. The position was truly a global assignment, and Dix found herself conducting business with people from all corners of the globe. Although the assignment was temporary, it enabled her to round out her experience with its industrial and international focus. Leveraging this focus after the 18-month assignment ended, she was able to return to Cincinnati and begin working in her current position as general counsel for Distributed Power, a company within GE Power & Water.
Distributed Power sells power generation equipment for use at or near the point of need. The company employs about 4500 people, does about $6 billion in revenue, and does business in over 100 countries around the world, including in emerging regions like Libya, Egypt, Honduras, Mexico, Russia, Turkmenistan, and Papua New Guinea, just to name a few. Dix finds the international aspect of her work to be interesting. “I work with ministers of electricity, ministers of defense, and legislators in many different countries, and I am always learning and working within a unique and culturally diverse setting,” she said.
The Career Hazard of Stubbornness
In reflection on the path she took to her current position (including 16 years with GE), Dix noted that a stubborn approach is not the best strategy. “As a lawyer whose career has been largely in-house, it has served me well to be open minded and flexible,” she explained. “Don’t expect each opportunity to take you up the ladder,” she advised. “I’ve taken some lateral moves, and over time it has helped me climb.”
Additionally, she explained, a broad skill set is vital in her line of work. “On any given day I could have 30 different matters on my desk, and each one can be in a different area,” she said. “The ability to change gears quickly and to pull from a broad array of experiences and expertise is invaluable.”
Mark L. Newmann named as 2015 Ohio Super Lawyers
CINCINNATI, OH( December 03, 2014)-The law firm of Barron Peck Bennie & Schlemmer Co., L.P.A. (BPBS) is pleased to announce that Mark L. Newman, a resident of Symmes Township, has been recognized as 2015 Ohio Super Lawyers®. This recognition continues the tradition of Super Lawyers designation for the attorneys of BPBS.
Ohio Super Lawyers showcases outstanding lawyers in Ohio who are recognized by their peers for professional accomplishments. Only five percent of Ohio lawyers are chosen as Ohio Super Lawyers. In selecting this year’s group of honorees, candidates were evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement.
For over 20 years, Mark Newman has devoted his practice to helping injured and disabled individuals pursue claims related to workers’ compensation and social security disability. Mark Newman was named an Ohio Super Lawyer in 2006, 2011 and now again in 2015 for Workers’ Compensation area of practice. Mark is an Ohio Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialist.
Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys. Only five percent of Ohio lawyers are chosen as Ohio Super Lawyers.
About Barron Peck Bennie & Schlemmer, Co., L.P.A.
With offices in Oakley, Over-the-Rhine and Northern Kentucky, BPBS provides comprehensive legal services for individual and commercial clients in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas. For more information on BPBS’s attorneys, practice areas and specific services, visit www.bpbslaw.com or call 513-721-1350.
Kathryn J. Bross '14 hired as associate by KMK Law
Cincinnati (November 11, 2014) — The Cincinnati law firm of Keating Muething & Klekamp PLL (KMK Law) has recently hired four new associates: Kathryn J. Bross, Meaghan K. FitzGerald, Shannon D. Lawson and Sarah A. Vonderbrink.
Kathryn J. Bross practices in the firm’s Real Estate Group. Bross’ practice includes a variety of real estate transactions, including the disposition or acquisition of real property and lease transactions of commercial or residential property. Before joining KMK Law, Bross worked for GE Aviation where she performed research, contract revision and drafting in several corporate transactional areas. Bross earned her J.D. from the University of Cincinnati College of Law in 2014, where she was a Notes and Comments Editor of the Cincinnati Law Review and was selected as a participant in the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic. Prior to attending law school Bross worked for an international non-profit as a site coordinator and project manager. She earned her B.A. from The Ohio State University in 2010. Bross is admitted to practice law in Ohio.
Meaghan K. FitzGerald practices in the firm’s Litigation Group. Prior to joining KMK Law, FitzGerald served as an intern in the Office of Congressional Affairs of the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) in Washington, D.C., designing and compiling databases for the candidate selection process of the First Responder Network Board. She also researched and prepared materials for Assistant Secretary of NTIA to use when testifying before Congress. FitzGerald earned her J.D. from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law in 2014, where she served as a Mentor in the Law and Leadership Program and as a Moritz Admissions Ambassador. She earned her B.A. from Duke University in 2011. FitzGerald is admitted to practice law in Ohio.
Shannon D. Lawson practices in the firm’s Business Representation & Transactions Group. He focuses his practice in the areas of mergers and acquisitions and business planning. Lawson earned his J.D. from the University of Kentucky in 2014, where he was a member of the Kentucky Journal of Equine, Agriculture & Natural Resources Law and served as vice president of the Black Law Student Association. While in law school, Lawson worked as a law clerk for Landrum & Shouse in Lexington, Kentucky, where he drafted motions for summary judgment and performed legal research. Prior to law school, Lawson worked several years as an internal auditor for Ashland Inc., where he led an array of financial and operational audits. He also worked as an internal auditor for E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., a Fortune 100 company, and was a corporate accountant at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, now a part of Pfizer. Lawson is a certified public accountant (Delaware, 2009). He earned his B.S. from Delaware State University in 2001, cum laude. Lawson is admitted to practice law in Ohio.
Sarah A. Vonderbrink practices in the firm’s Litigation Group. Prior to joining KMK Law, Vonderbrink was a co-mediator for the Family Alternative Dispute Clinic, Mediation Center of Charlottesville, Virginia, where she co-mediated parental disputes regarding custody, visitation and child support. Vonderbrink earned her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law in 2014. While attending law school, she spent her summers working at the Kentucky Court of Appeals and at regional law firms researching legal issues on appeal from Kentucky circuit courts and gaining experience in the legal skills of mediation, deposing parties, attending motion hours and trials. She earned her B.A. from the University of Richmond in 2010, cum laude. Vonderbrink is admitted to practice law in Kentucky.
About Keating Muething & Klekamp PLL
The law firm of Keating Muething & Klekamp PLL (KMK®), based in Cincinnati, Ohio, is a nationally-recognized law firm delivering sophisticated legal solutions to businesses of all sizes — from Fortune 100 corporations to start-up companies. Chambers USA: America’s Leading Business Lawyers® 2014 recognized KMK as a leading law firm in Ohio in Corporate and Mergers & Acquisitions, General Commercial Litigation, and Bankruptcy & Restructuring. KMK earned three national rankings in Commercial Litigation, Corporate Law, and Venture Capital Law and 37 metropolitan rankings in the 2015 “Best Law Firms” report by U.S. News and Best Lawyers. Founded in 1954, KMK has approximately 110 lawyers and a support staff of 150 employees. Additional information is available at www.kmklaw.com.
Oliver S. Howard '79 named 2015 Best Lawyers in America "Lawyer of the Year" for Appellate Law in Tulsa
Gable Gotwals shareholder Oliver S. Howard was recently named as 2015 Best Lawyers in America "Lawyer of the Year" for Appellate Law in Tulsa.
Howard received his JD from the University of Cincinnati in 1979, his PhD from Hebrew Union College in 1978, his masters from Abilene Christian College in 1970 and his BA from Oklahoma Christian College in 1967.
Only a single lawyer in each practice area and designated metropolitan area is honored as the “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers.
Honorees are selected based on particularly impressive voting averages received during peer-review assessments. Receiving this designation reflects the high level of respect a lawyer has earned among other leading lawyers in the same community and practice area for ability, professionalism and integrity.
GableGotwals is a full-service law firm of more than 90 attorneys representing a diversified client base in Oklahoma, the Southwest and across the nation.
Federal Prosecutor Kyle Healey Talks About Crime, Ethics, and Lessons Learned with the OIP
Originally from Cincinnati, Kyle Healey ’08 is currently working as a federal prosecutor with the Department of Justice. Healey grew up in Westwood, attending Oak Hills High School before heading to Oxford, Ohio to study economics at Miami University. After graduating, he worked for a consulting firm in Cincinnati for a year doing internal audit work. With the idea of eventually working for the federal government, Healey decided to return to the classroom and came to UC Law for his legal studies.
During his second and third years at the College of Law, Healey worked with the Ohio Innocence Project. A significant portion of his time with the OIP was spent working on examining DNA petitions for the potential merit to refile under Senate Bill 262 which became law in 2006 and expanded post-conviction DNA testing rights. “Working with the Innocence Project really piqued my interest in criminal investigations,” he shared, noting that the experience ultimately led him to apply for his current position with the Department of Justice.
Out of law school, Healey moved to Arizona where he spent about six years working in the U.S. Attorneys Office in Tucson. “I had never been to Arizona before,” he explained, “but the move was an excellent experience for me.” For an Ohioan, Healey remarked, Arizona has some stark cultural and climatic differences from the Midwest; but, he noted, that he was never really out of his comfort zone.
“While no crime is good, Arizona is a good place to be a prosecutor,” Healey said. “I’ve spent a lot of time prosecuting drug crimes, aliens, and alien smuggling – the work was always intriguing.” He further explained the ongoing problem in the region involving what are called “rip crews” – groups of people who go out into the desert robbing and killing migrants and drug dealers. “It was really eye-opening to see what the border is really like,” he shared. “Growing up in Ohio you hear a lot about immigration, but I never really experienced it or knew what it was like until I moved to Arizona.” Recently, he moved back to Ohio, but is still with the U.S. Attorneys Office, this time working out of the Dayton office.
In reflection, Healey acknowledged the utility of the lessons he learned while with the OIP. The experience he gained looking at where prosecutions go wrong, understanding the rules of discovery, and, in particular, recognizing the importance of disclosing exculpatory evidence has proved beneficial to his time as a federal prosecutor. He explained the application of his Innocence Project lessons to his work: “None of the prosecutors I’ve worked with want to convict somebody of a crime they didn’t commit. They want to prove a person’s guilt beyond all doubt when building a case, not just beyond a reasonable doubt. Because of this, it is important to have a foundation of where things can go wrong when investigating a crime and building a case.”
One-on-One Advice on Ethics
In advice to students interested in becoming a federal prosecutor, Healey emphasizes the importance of knowing and understanding a prosecutor’s ethical duties: “Often times in an interview, you will be asked some ethics questions, and the interviewers don’t want a soft answer. They are looking to see if you really know your stuff, and understandably so. Not only will having a mastery of ethics help you in an interview, but it will help you in your career as well.”
A Globe Spanning Career Helps FBI Instructor Michael Pettry as He Trains Future Agents
Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Michael Pettry ’89 moved down Interstate 71 to the Queen City for college. As a Bearcat, Pettry studied foreign affairs and Latin American studies before coming to UC Law for his legal studies. As a law student, he enjoyed his time on Moot Court and had an exceptional second summer experience studying and working in Mexico City.
After taking the Ohio bar, he worked for a year as a ski instructor in Colorado before returning to Ohio and landing a job with the Clermont County Prosecutor’s Office. “I always had an interest in criminal investigations and trial work,” shared Pettry. “The prosecutor’s office was a great experience given my interests,” he continued, noting that the interaction with police, witnesses, and court personnel were positive experiences for him. While a prosecutor, he worked with federal agents on several occasions, and eventually he decided to apply to the FBI.
Pettry started training as a new agent at Quantico, Virginia in 1997, and his first assignment was to the field office in Kansas City. “I was the type of prosecutor that really liked to get out from behind the desk,” he said. “Going to crime scenes and meeting with witnesses – this aspect of the work is something I really enjoyed as an agent.” He has had a diverse career investigating organized crime, drug trafficking, and national security threats as an agent. He later served as the Kansas City Field Office’s Chief Division Counsel, wherein he provided legal and policy advice to division personnel and management on a wide range of issues. Following his time in Kansas City, Michael joined the FBI’s Global Initiatives Unit, a position that involved travelling to numerous countries around the world and facilitating the exchange of biometric data relating to terrorists and transnational criminals with foreign partners.
Training Future Generations
Since working with the FBI, Pettry had always wanted to return to Quantico and become a legal instructor, a position he now holds. “I was very impressed with the legal instruction at Quantico,” he shared. “It was thorough and very relevant to the work we do as investigators, and when I put in for the next opening, I was fortunate enough to be selected.” For Pettry, it is gratifying to give real world, impactful legal instruction to agents who will soon be out in the field. “I really like the ability to impact people in the early parts of their careers because I know that if they start off on the right foot, understanding the importance of full compliance with the law, they will be better agents because of it.”
Pettry’s current position further gives him the opportunity to pursue academic endeavors. He still has the opportunity to travel, giving lectures at conferences and at training programs in various countries. Additionally, he writes the occasional academic article, his most recent to be published in the coming weeks. Look for his article in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin (http://leb.fbi.gov) discussing First Amendment constraints placed on public employees in the context of their use of social media.
The Importance of Public Servants
Pettry’s advice for those interested in prosecution work or the FBI is to embrace the importance of the role of the public servant. “Always continue to seek training and to hone your skills. While I could have made more money in private practice, the opportunity to work to make the system function at the highest level possible is something I take very seriously and enjoy doing, and has led to a fulfilling and rewarding career.”