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Kate Pongonis Escorts Supreme Court Justice Anthony Breyer During His Visit to South Africa

South Africa Constitutional Court Judges Lounge Photo November 16, 2012:  (from left to right) Justice Edwin Cameron, U.S. Ambassador Donald Gips, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, Justice Stephen Breyer, Justice van der Westhuizen

Justice Stephen Breyer, as part of the Pritzker Prize Jury, toured the Constitutional Court of South Africa on November 16. The group was hosted by Justice Johan van der Westhuizen and Justice Edwin Cameron. The tour of the court included an explanation of the history of the site, the architecture of the building, and the Court's art collection by Constitutional Court Trust Art Curator Stacey Vorster.Following the tour, the Court hosted an informal luncheon for the Jury and Jury members had a chance to meet Constitutional Court Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng. Justice Breyer had a pull aside with Justices Mogoeng, van der Westhuizen, Cameron, and U.S. Ambassador Donald Gips.

Kate Pognosis with Supreme Court Justice Anthony  Breyer

Daniel G. Dutro named to Board of Directors with Manifest Creative Research Gallery and Drawing Center

Daniel G. DutroCINCINNATI, April 2, 2013

The law firm of Barron Peck Bennie & Schlemmer Co., L.P.A. (BPBS) is pleased to announce that Daniel G. Dutro has been named a board member for the a local non-profit organization, Manifest Creative Research and Drawing Center (Manifest). This appointment continues Dutro’s commitment to involvement with his community and supporting local non-profits.

Dan Dutro, a partner at BPBS, focuses his practice on commercial and residential real estate law, contract drafting and negotiation, and assisting not-for-profit and tax-exempt organizations. He has also assisted clients with issues involving employment law, bank financing documentation, and collections.

Dutro is a long-time resident of Cincinnati and, in addition to his volunteer work with Manifest, is involved in various community service activities. He volunteers as a reader at the Cincinnati Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, a lector at the Community of the Good Shepherd Catholic Church, a volunteer at Montgomery Community Church, and as a tutor at John P. Parker Elementary School through the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative. He also sits on the Board of his neighborhood's homeowners' association and coaches his son’s youth basketball team.

Manifest was founded in 2004 and is located in East Walnut Hills. Manifest stands for the quality presentation, experience, and documentation of the visual arts, engaging students, professionals, and the public from around the world through accessible world-class exhibits, studio programs, and publications.

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 or call 513-721-1350.

John Peck '69 to Help Lead National Housing Trade Group

John Weld Peck '69CINCINNATI, Ohio, March 2013 – Peck Shaffer partner John Weld Peck '69 has been elected vice chairman of the board of directors of the National Housing & Rehabilitation Association (NH&RA).

The NH&RA is a professional association of companies and individuals involved in affordable housing, historic rehabilitation and New Markets Tax Credit development. Mr. Peck has served on its board since 1993.

Mr. Peck has been in the forefront of affordable housing finance in the United States for the past 40 years. He participated in the legislative hearings that gave birth to the Section 8 program in the 1970s, helped write the original Section 8 financing regulations and has helped develop innovative tax-exempt multifamily housing finance vehicles since that time.

Mr. Peck has served as bond counsel, underwriter counsel, disclosure counsel, borrower counsel, housing authority counsel and issuer counsel on thousands of multifamily housing transactions.

He is a frequent speaker and panelist on multifamily finance topics.


About Peck Shaffer

Peck Shaffer is a national leader in public finance law, with offices in Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio, Covington, Kentucky, Atlanta and Macon, Georgia, Chicago, Illinois, and Denver, Colorado. Peck Shaffer is regularly ranked among the top bond counsel firms in the country (based on principal amount) by information intelligence company Thomson Reuters. More information can be found at

Roetzel Appoints Robert B. Casarona '86 as Cleveland Office Partner-in-Charge

(Cleveland, OH, March 19, 2013) ― Roetzel is pleased to announce the appointment of Robert B. Casarona as Partner-In-Charge of the law firm’s Cleveland office, effective March 2013. Mr. Casarona succeeds Doug Spiker who will serve as the firm-wide Practice Group Manager of Roetzel’s Employment Services Group.

“Bob’s leadership and dedication to client service make him an outstanding choice for this position,” said Jeffrey J. Casto, Chairman and CEO of Roetzel. “We are pleased to have Bob take on this leadership role at the firm and look forward to his further contributions to our success. We thank Doug for his service to our Cleveland office and anticipate that his ongoing role as the head of our Employment Services Group will allow him to continue to exhibit his management expertise and strategic vision to further enhance the firm’s client service.”

“I look forward to this new role at the firm,” said Mr. Casarona. “Roetzel has many talented lawyers in Cleveland and I am fortunate to work with a strong office that is committed, not only to our clients, but the community as well.”

Mr. Casarona is a lifelong resident of Cleveland where he has practiced law for 27 years. His practice has focused on litigation with an emphasis on business, environmental and construction matters. He has served as the lead trial counsel in cases throughout Ohio, Florida, California and Utah, and has argued appeals in several districts and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Mr. Casarona has achieved the highest ranking from Martindale-Hubbell, and has been named to The Best Lawyers in America for both litigation and environmental law. He has been selected as an “Ohio Super Lawyer” by Ohio Super Lawyersmagazine since 2004, and Chambers USA has named him as one of the “Leaders in their Field” for Commercial Business Litigation.


About Roetzel

Roetzel is a full-service law firm that provides comprehensive, integrated legal counsel to national and international clients. For more information, visit&

Lorene Schaefer '90 invited to make recommendations to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

1990 UC Law Graduate Lorene Schaefer is 1 of 7 attorneys nationwide invited to make recommendations to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The EEOC has announced it will hold a public meeting at agency headquarters in Washington, D.C. to review the potential revision of the criteria to measure the quality of EEOC investigations and conciliations. EEOC Press Release Link:

The EEOC invited seven private practitioners from across the U.S. to provide their recommendations, including Lorene Schaefer, Esq. Ms. Schaefer is an attorney and full-time workplace neutral. At Workplace Investigations Group, she conducts impartial investigations nationwide into allegations of harassment, discrimination and workplace misconduct and delivers training on how to conduct an effective investigation. She is also a mediator with One Mediation, Inc.

Lorene blogs regularly at and is a trusted media resource providing a balanced perspective on workplace issues to various media outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, Corporate Counsel, Inside Counsel and Business Insurance.

Workplace Investigations Group has a national panel of professional workplace investigators who have a minimum of ten years of employment litigation experience and a law degree. As such, wherever the workplace issue arises, we provide you with an investigator who can respond to the regional need quickly and competently. Workplace Investigations Group, Inc. also provides training to in-house counsel, risk managers and human resources professionals on all aspects of internal investigations. Its website is

Jean M. Blanton '04 received top state recognition

Jean M. Blanton '04EVANSVILLE, (Ind.) – Two attorneys from the practice of Ziemer, Stayman, Weitzel & Shoulders, LLP have received top Indiana honors from Indiana Super Lawyers Magazine. The magazine annually rates attorneys based on their level of professional achievement.


Jean M. Blanton, Partner, was recognized for the fifth consecutive year. She was named a 2013 Super Lawyer and 2013 Rising Star, an honor bestowed on only 2.5% of Super Lawyers in the state.


Patrick A. Shoulders, Partner, was named a 2013 Super Lawyer. This marks the tenth consecutive year Shoulders has received the honor. He has twice been named by the magazine as one of Indiana’s top 50 attorneys.



Ziemer, Stayman, Weitzel & Shoulders, LLP is a full-service law firm in Evansville, Ind., providing legal counsel to local, regional and national businesses and institutions in a broad range of industries.


Daniel Bennie '73, Mark Newman '89 and Charles Hinegardner '95 Named 2013 Super Lawyers

Daniel Bennie '73CINCINNATI--The law firm of Barron Peck Bennie & Schlemmer Co., L.P.A. (BPBS) is pleased to announce that Daniel M. Bennie '73, Mark L. Newman '89 and Charles L. Hinegardner '95 have been recognized as 2013 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.

Mr. Bennie has extensive experience in the representation of real estate developers and entrepreneurs, builders, condominium and community associations, financial institutions and investors in real estate. Mr. Newman is an Ohio State Bar Association Certified Specialist in Workers’ Compensation Law. He devotes his practice to assisting injured and disabled individuals pursue workers’ compensation, social security disability, and personal injury claims. Mr. Hinegardner has been recognized as a Rising Star within Ohio Super Lawyers. Super Lawyers’ Rising Stars is a designation given to the legal industry’s best lawyers under the age of 40, as nominated by their peers.

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 or call 513-721-1350.

Corporate Attorney Makes Bold Move: David Specter Loves Making Wine

Looking back on it, David Specter ’99 doesn’t recall why he wanted to be a corporate attorney. “I kind of had this idea of what I thought I wanted to do,” Specter said of his decision to pursue a law degree. “I had a lot of people tell me that they thought I’d be good at it. [Looking back] I don’t think, at the time, I realized that my interests and desires would expand and grow over the course of my life.”

After graduating from Miami University in 1995 with a business degree, Specter earned his MBA in one year from UC’s College of Business. He then enrolled at the College of Law in the fall of 1996, ultimately “drifting towards the tax planning side of things” on his way toward earning his JD in 1999.

Specter worked for about two years after law school as an associate at Arthur Andersen, a global accounting firm. He then spent almost eight years with Ernst & Young, another global accounting firm, rising to the level of Senior Manager in its Transaction Advisory Services division.  

Today, Specter lives in Oregon, where he will be making a career out of making and selling wine.

Change in Career

Specter worked at Ernst & Young through March 2009. It was in 2007 and 2008 when he began asking himself what he really wanted to do long-term.

“Eventually, I came to the realization that just being in the legal profession for the rest of my life was not what I wanted to do,” Specter said. “My wife (Sara) and I had been talking for a couple years before that about, at some point – maybe way down the road – having a winery of our own, because we have always been wine enthusiasts.”

Around that same time, he and his wife were looking to start a family. They realized, if they wanted to do both of those things, they would need to begin sooner rather than later. So in 2009, Specter made a bold move: he left the legal profession and joined Henke Winery in the Westwood area of Cincinnati as an assistant winemaker. From March 2009 to June 2012, he aided Joe Henke in the full wine production process, learning the tricks of the trade that would allow him to eventually open his own winery.

“I had been making wine at home for several years before that, but Joe really showed me what it took to make wine at a professional level,” Specter said. “I’m truly indebted to him for that.”

Eventually Specter and his wife began targeting areas for potential relocation. They visited Oregon several times and fell in love with Portland and the nearby Willamette Valley, Specter said.

“We loved the people, the wine culture, the environment, and decided this is where we wanted to be,” he said.

New Beginnings

Specter grew up in Longwood, Fla., a suburb of Orlando. His family moved to Cincinnati just before his senior year of high school, and he had been in the region ever since.

He and his wife lived in a small area in Clermont County called Withamsville – basically between Anderson and Amelia, Specter said. They adopted a daughter, now four, who was born just before Christmas in 2008.

With the family started and a few years of professional winemaking under his belt, Specter said goodbye to many friends and family in Cincinnati. After selling their Cincinnati home last year, the Specters moved to the Willamette Valley in northwest Oregon last summer, settling into their new home.

“We’re really loving it up here,” Specter said. “The people are wonderful. We’ve had a lot of support from local folks here. We’ve made a lot of new friends. It’s really been a great experience and we’re really looking forward to getting started with the vineyard and the winery.”

The vineyard is not on the property yet, Specter said, but the property will eventually have a vineyard and a tasting room for the winery.  “We should be planting the first phase of the vineyard in the spring of 2014,” Specter said. “We’ll be buying grapes for our first “crush” (production run) this fall. In 2015, I’m anticipating having wine to sell.”

Putting His UC Law Degree to Use

Specter might be the first College of Law graduate ever to pursue winemaking as a full-time career. He is certainly the only one from his graduating class with that distinction.

But while most of his classmates are working in some legal capacity and he is now in Oregon making wine, that does not mean Specter’s legal education and experience are now irrelevant.

“What law school does is give you a skill set. Most importantly, you learn how to think critically,” Specter said. “That is a huge benefit. Not just in my business, but in any business – to be able to organize thoughts in a logical manner, to be able to write up a business plan. It’s just helpful to have that skill set.”

Specter said there are types of law he deals with that he had no experience with in Cincinnati. While Specter never learned about water rights laws, for example, he nevertheless has the ability to learn and understand the issues associated with it, without having to go and hire an attorney, he said.

“Yes, to the extent I need to hire someone to represent me in a hearing or whatever, I’ll do that,” Specter said. “But at the very least, I can walk in to a new situation here and learn enough to understand what I’m dealing with, and have intelligent conversations and represent our interests on my own.”

Starting a New Chapter

It has been more than six months since the Specters moved cross country, almost 2500 miles from Cincinnati. He has not been back since they settled in, although at some point would like to be able to return. Once the winery gets going, he hopes to exhibit at the Cincinnati International Wine Festival.

“I enjoyed my time there, but the reality was that (with) the kind of things I wanted to do with the winery, it would have been extremely difficult to do in Cincinnati,” he said. “There are some folks that have done it and have done a great job with it. But I think, really, for this part of our lives, this is where we wanted to be.”

No matter how far away the Specters are, he has a strong support base locally. He noted that about 85 percent of the people on the contact list for the winery are from the Cincinnati area. While they left “a lot of wonderful people behind,” Specter is appreciative of the continuing support.

Most of all, of course, Specter misses the relationships. “You miss your family. You miss your friends,” he said. “I (also) miss my Skyline Chili. That’s been a really hard thing!”

In his free time, Specter enjoys spending time with his wife and their daughter. They watch a lot of movies, go to the zoo, and he still tries to keep track of Miami University and UC sports. Being in the “Great Northwest,” the Specters also try to get outdoors a lot.

“Out here, you’ve really got a lot of state and national parks,” Specter said. “There are some really spectacular places out here.”

Looking Ahead

Specter had been talking about opening a winery for a long time. Finally, he is there. Although the name of the winery has not been formally announced, Specter said it will be called Bells Up, which is a reference to a dramatic moment in classical music where the composer instructs French horn players to lift the bells of their instruments upward and project their sound with maximum intensity.  Specter, a French horn player who played in bands and symphonic groups throughout high school and college, believes that the winery represents his “Bells Up” moment.

While making this bold move and career change obviously leaves some uncertainties, Specter knows he will always keep the winery small. One reason is to keep it manageable. The other reason is because it will be more intimate, and more who he is – more personable and fostering the one-on-one relationships with customers.

Specter said they have been keeping their goals achievable, both in the short-term and in the long-term. “I think that a lot of times, with respect to the winery business, people have a very romanticized view of what wine making is and how much money they can really make,” he said. “Our first goal is to find a way to break even on the winery. If we can do that in four to five years, I think that would be a successful start!”


By Jordan Cohen ‘13

Former Environmental and Labor Law Attorney Puts Legal Skills to Work at the Archdiocese

More than 30 years after earning his law degree from the College of Law, Tom Coz ’79 began work as the first Safe Environment Coordinator for Children and Youth at the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Coz joined the Archdiocese on Sept. 1, 2011, where he works with 214 Roman Catholic parishes and 116 Catholic schools. At the time of Coz’s hiring, the Archdiocese was the 38th largest diocese in the United States and home to the nation’s eighth largest Catholic school network.

In this role, Coz assures adherence to what is known as the Decree on Child Protection, overseeing all church employees and volunteers in order to ensure protection of children attending the Archdiocese’s parishes and schools.

“Between June 2012 and November 2012, I trained over 400 trainers on how to present a new child protection program called VIRTUS,” Coz said. “Those 400 trainers/facilitators have, to date, trained over 15,000 clerics, employees, volunteers, and others all across the 19 counties of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati by presenting three to three-and-a-half hour Child Awareness Sessions designed to make persons aware of the signs of child abuse, so that it does not happen in our church.”

Last month, Coz turned his focus to administering the new VIRTUS program, keeping in touch with the trainers and continuing to supervise the required fingerprinting and background check process for all persons who have contact with children in the Archdiocese.

“We manage two large databases of names: one has over 82,000 names on it; the other has approximately 16,000 names. Each new cleric, employee or volunteer in the Archdiocese must be fingerprinted, as well as those who have a ‘change in their locations of service,’” Coz said, noting this in-house work involving either Ohio and/or FBI background checks is done at 12 different fingerprint locations across the Archdiocese.”

Coz’s “wonderful” assistant Jackie Heinitz, does all database management and updating. He says he “could not do my job without her help.”

After working as an attorney from 1979 through 2010, Coz has been able to apply his past practice experience to his current position, which he refers to as “quasi-legal.”

“I use my law degree every day to interpret and author the Decree on Child Protection and author what I call ‘advisory opinions’ on it,” Coz said. “Since I started, there have been many requests, asking for clarifications of what various provisions of this Decree mean and how the Decree should be applied to given fact situations. I like to say that the Decree is our child protection ‘statute.’ My written advisory opinions are creating a body of administrative law. They construe the Decree in specific situations, just like state and federal regulations clarify and construe statutes.”

Childhood, Education and Work

Coz grew up in the northeast Ohio town of Ravenna (located between Akron and Youngstown), the second of five children. After attending high school in Canton, he moved to Cincinnati to attend Xavier University. After earning a bachelor of arts in history in 1976, Coz spent about a year working in the accounting department at Chemed Corporation in downtown Cincinnati.

The XU graduate then enrolled at the College of Law, attending UC on a full tuition scholarship. Coz, who said his interest in law school was piqued in the seventh grade, recalls the huge volumes of reading each night. His favorite classes included Criminal Law with Professor Ken Aplin, Contracts with Professor Alphonse Squillante, and Labor Law with Professor John Murphy.

Outside of the classroom and studying, Coz enjoyed playing on a law school softball team and playing board games with law school friends – several of whom are still good friends today. Coz also said he “talked (his) way into a clerkship” in Chemed’s legal department at the end of his 1L year. He worked there his first two summers and also part-time during the school years.

Upon graduating from the College of Law, Coz began working at ATE Management & Service Co., Inc. as a labor lawyer, where he did collective bargaining and grievance arbitration work in the urban mass transit industry. This position allowed him to travel across the country. In 1983, he decided to leave ATE when his wife (Maureen) was expecting.  

The Coz family moved to Fort Wayne, Ind., where he joined the PepsiCo, Inc. corporate legal department, working at its subsidiary NorthAmerican Van Lines, Inc. There, he expanded upon his labor law background by doing EEOC and U.S. Department of Labor work, corporate and general contract work, immigration law, and environmental law. 

In 1989, Coz left to pursue his budding interest in environmental law, and established northern Indiana’s first full-time environmental law practice, the Barrett & McNagny law firm. After three years with this firm, he and his wife (then parents of three) decided to return to Cincinnati to spend more time with Maureen’s aging parents.

“We ended up purchasing the home that my wife grew up in from her parents, in the Price Hill neighborhood, so our kids could grow up in the same house that their mother did,” Coz said.

In Cincinnati, Coz worked about three years at Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff, before he opened a solo practice. From 1995 to 2005, Coz continued to do environmental/Superfund work, picked up some grievance arbitration cases from the successor in interest to ATE, and began doing some real estate and estate planning/probate matters. In addition to his private practice work, the College of Law graduate began teaching at places such as Xavier, Cincinnati State, The University of Findlay and the Battelle Institute. He also was able to take on the occasional “supplemental” work, working for a legal publishing company and serving as part-time general counsel for another company.

In 2005, Coz began as a part-time attorney with WILD Flavors, Inc. in Northern Kentucky. In 2006, he became General Counsel, then Corporate Secretary and Senior Director of WILD’s Regulatory Department. Coz left this position in 2010, when WILD sold “a significant portion of its stock to a venture capital company.” Following one year of trying “early retirement,” Coz was hired by the Archdiocese.

Outside the Office

Today, Coz’s children are now all grown up: Joe, 29, is studying nursing at Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati; Elizabeth, 26, is pursuing a graduate degree from Seattle University in public policy and non-profit leadership; and Michael, 23, is studying economics at UC.

When not at work, Coz enjoys spending time with his family, including a three-year-old golden doodle dog, “Murphy,” and six-year-old cat, “Allie.” Coz enjoys watching high school, college and professional football (rooting on the Bengals) as well as baseball with the Reds. When the weather is warm, he enjoys golfing on weekends. He and his wife love to travel as well, whenever possible with “Murphy” in tow. Coz also remains in close contact with several College of Law friends and with his former French roommate from his time studying in Paris during college

“As I get older, I see more and more clearly that the most important things in one’s life are faith, family and friends,” Coz said. “I have been very blessed to have had all of these, especially a healthy family. I have also had many opportunities to do different things in my life, both personally and professionally. I have used my UC law degree in just about every imaginable professional setting, and learned so much along the way.”

In the future, Coz would like to teach full time at the college level, he said.

“Few things are more rewarding to me than seeing the ‘light go on’ when a student understands a concept for the first time,” the former adjunct professor, visiting faculty member and guest lecturer said. “My years of business and law practice experience allow me to bring many real world examples into the classroom to illustrate the theory that the book(s) try to teach. I always end up learning as much from the students as the students learn – hopefully – from me.”

By Jordan Cohen, ‘13

Graydon Head Attorney J. Stephen Smith '95 Elected to Kentucky Bar Association Board of Governors

J. Stephen Smith '95CINCINNATI & NORTHERN KENTUCKY– Graydon Head is pleased to announce the election of J. Stephen Smith to a second term on the Kentucky Bar Association Board of Governors, representing the 6th District. Smith has admirably served the KBA in a number of roles over the years. His previous involvement with the KBA includes serving on the Ethics Committee and Ethics Hotline (2005 - June 2011). As a Hotline member he provided ethics guidance to Kentucky attorneys in the 21 counties of the 6th Appellate District. Smith is also an adjunct professor at the University Of Cincinnati College Of Law, where he teaches Ethics. 

Licensed in Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana, Smith has a background in employment law and litigation, complex commercial disputes, construction, white collar crime, professional ethics, attorney discipline, and securities arbitration. His clients range from family businesses to multinational corporations in both state and federal courts. Smith practices in Graydon Head’s Northern Kentucky office and is a resident of Ft. Mitchell, Kentucky.

Graydon Head attorneys serve clients in a variety of industries with particular experience working with clients in: banking and financial services; commercial real estate; media, communications and information; construction; health, education and human services; and manufacturing. The Firm’s personal planning group provides legal counsel to many local business owners and their executives and families in the estate planning and administration area. With offices Downtown on Fountain Square, in Northern Kentucky at the Chamber Center, and in the Butler/Warren area at University Pointe, the Firm provides convenient accessibility to clients in key areas of the growing Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky region.