Zac Wertz '11 Uses Legal Background to Pursue Challenging Career
Cincinnati native and College of Law alumni Zac Wertz ‘11 has used his legal background to pursue an adventurous and challenging career as an entrepreneur, creating his own start-up with the Beluga Shave Company. Wertz, who has an MBA in Finance in addition to his law degree, always had an interest in going to law school, but expressed that he also loved investing and evaluating opportunity costs as well.
During his time at the College of Law, Wertz drew his entrepreneurial inspiration from his work participating in the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic (ECDC), an experience that allowed for practical skills training and exposure to private equity and venture capital work. As a budding entrepreneur himself, Wertz found this clinic particularly helpful for client communication practice, evaluating contracts, forming corporations, and getting that initial exposure to the field of entrepreneurship.
As the end of law school was drawing near and career decisions coming to the forefront, Wertz saw entrepreneurship as a great opportunity to bring together both his legal and finance backgrounds to get creative with his career. “Why work 10 years in a law firm when from day one you can be an equity based partner right away?”
Now, as founder and CEO of Beluga Shave Company, Wertz has applied his legal and financial skills to develop and market a unique single blade razor that Wertz argues provides a closer and better quality shave.
Wertz acknowledged that the “logical reasoning” skills he developed in law school helped in his early product assessments, researching reasons why a single blade razor was capable of providing a better superior shave yet no one else was using it. Wertz learned that many people disfavor using a single blade razor because it’s “not easy to use.” Inspired by the effectiveness of a single blade shave, Wertz challenged himself to develop a product that could provide the single blade quality with the same ease of use found in modern razors.
Beluga Shave Company was selected by Cincinnati’s accelerator program, First Batch, to be a part of its 2015 class of start-up companies. With First Batch’s assistance, Wert hopes to gather local business support to advance Beluga’s product development and manufacturing efforts.
Wertz hopes for Beluga to have a product prototype out by November this year and a first product launch in early 2016. Although the line currently has a masculine focus, Wertz plans to expand into a complete shaving and grooming line that includes female focused products as well.
For students interested in pursuing an entrepreneurial career Wertz challenges them to expand their legal studies, noting that there is opportunity to “learn much more than just the law in law school.”
Tarik Haskins '03 Named Fellow of the American Bar Foundation
Wilmington, DE (August 26, 2015) – Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP partner Tarik J. Haskins has been named a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. An honorary organization of attorneys, judges, law faculty, and legal scholars, the Fellows demonstrate outstanding achievements and dedication to the welfare of their communities and to the highest principles of the legal profession.
Established in 1955 to support the research of the American Bar Foundation, membership is limited to less than one percent of lawyers licensed to practice in each jurisdiction. Members are nominated by Fellows in their jurisdiction and elected by the Board of the American Bar Foundation.
As a member of the Morris Nichols Commercial Law Counseling Group, Tarik’s practice covers a range of commercial transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, secured financings, joint ventures, and business counseling.
He serves on the Morris Nichols Executive Committee and chairs the firm’s Diversity Committee. A leader in the local community, Tarik was appointed by Governor Markell as a member of the Delaware Council on Development Finance and serves as a director of the Prestige Academy. He also serves on many committees of the American Bar Association and the Delaware State Bar Association.
About The American Bar Foundation
The American Bar Foundation’s mission is to serve the legal profession, the public, and the academy through empirical research, publications, and programs that advance justice and the understanding of law and its impact on society. Primary funding for the ABF is provided by the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation and the American Bar Endowment. Learn more at www.americanbarfoundation.org.
About Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP Morris Nichols combines a broad national practice of corporate, intellectual property, business reorganization and restructuring, commercial law and litigation with a general business, tax, estate planning and real estate practice within the State of Delaware. The firm is regularly involved as lead counsel or co-counsel in matters of national and international significance, as well as those affecting its immediate community.
Dynda Thomas '86 Quoted in New York Times
Dynda Thomas (’86), former Urban Morgan Institute fellow and expert on conflict minerals quoted in the New York Times article “Complex Law on Conflict Minerals". Thomas is a partner at Squire Patton Boggs and leads the firms conflict minerals practice group.
Private Violence Emmy
Featuring Un Kyong Ho (Cincinnati Law - '10) (left)
And the Emmy goes to…
Private Violence, premiered last fall by the Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice at the Underground Railroad Freedom Center, just received an Emmy nomination and is one step closer to another award.
And more local Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice news: Community groups, originally formed at the Center’s premier, are moving forward on specific action items to improve the lives of survivors of intimate partner abuse in Cincinnati.
Changing the definition of abuse…
One action group is working to revise the definition of abuse under Ohio’s domestic violence statute to protect against more than physical abuse. The group is in the initial stages of making video featuring women who have been denied a civil protection order for lack of physical abuse, but who were experiencing intimidation, isolation and “coercive control,” and then later were physically abused. This happens all too often, and by broadening the language, the system will become much more proactively protective. The video should serve as a powerful advocacy tool to help bring about this important and much needed change in Ohio law.
Judicial Training, Preschoolers and Curricular Offerings…
Another action group is working to expand training for judges and magistrates in Ohio on intimate partner abuse. The group is researching training requirements in other states and exploring programming to address specific issues in Ohio courts that were identified at the Private Violence City Summit last October. Two other groups, one working on the development of programming for preschoolers impacted by domestic violence and the other on social work curricular offerings, have been formed and will be meeting regularly this fall.
Want to get involved? There is much important work to do! Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like additional information about any of these working groups.
Donald J. Mooney, Jr. '75 Receives Award from the Society of Professional Journalists, Greater Cincinnati Pro Chapter
Cincinnati-based attorney Donald J. Mooney, Jr. will receive the 2015 Excellence in Journalism in Written Communication “Editorial” award from the Society of Professional Journalists, Greater Cincinnati Pro Chapter. The award is in recognition for Mr. Mooney’s bi-monthly commentaries titled “Another View” written for Cincy Magazine. He will receive the award on June 18, 2015 at the Annual Excellence in Journalism Awards Program held in downtown Cincinnati.
The Society of Professional Journalists promotes and protects a free press and the highest standard of professional ethics, providing a climate in which journalism can be practiced freely and to unite Cincinnati journalists behind those goals. The Greater Cincinnati Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists works with community partners in the region to host events and recognize the best of Cincinnati journalism.
Mr. Mooney is a certified specialist in employment labor and law. With over 35 years of experience, his practice concentrates on civil trials and appeals; employment and labor relations; antitrust, trade secrets, securities and business litigation; and land use law. He represents employers in federal and state litigation involving noncompete agreements and discrimination. In SEC investigations and related securities litigation, he represents officers of companies.
In addition to his roles as a practicing attorney and columnist in Cincy Magazine, Mr. Mooney is a frequent writer and speaker. He has received the highest rating, AV Preeminent®, from Martindale-Hubbell® and has been named an Ohio Super Lawyer. He earned his B.A., cum laude, from University of Notre Dame and his J.D. from the University of Cincinnati.
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 180 attorneys, located in Chicago, Cincinnati, 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.
Patricia Kirkwood Burgess '94 returns to Northern Kentucky as a member of Frost Brown Todd in Florence
June 15, 2015 (Florence, KY) – Frost Brown Todd (FBT) is pleased to announce the relocation of Patricia (Trish) Kirkwood Burgess to the firm’s Florence office, after nine years of serving as a member in the Lexington, Kentucky, location. Burgess is a native of Northern Kentucky with strong ties in the region.
“It’s very exciting to be back in this area where I grew up, was educated all the way from grade school through law school, and still have many close connections. I look forward to serving this community the same way I have served clients and the wider community in Lexington,” she says.
As a trusted legal adviser for more than 20 years, Burgess places great emphasis on understanding all aspects of her clients’ businesses to focus not only on legal issues, but also the practical implications of those issues on their businesses and lives. She practices in business and commercial litigation, and bankruptcy and reorganization law, and helps individuals and companies of all sizes navigate financial difficulties and legal issues to reach innovative, cost-effective and efficient solutions. She is a member of the Kentucky, Ohio and American Bar Associations, and of the American Bankruptcy Institute. She received a bachelor’s degree from Thomas More College in 1991, and her law degree from the University of Cincinnati in 1994.
Burgess joins 12 other legal professionals as the only female member in FBT’s Florence office. The team is led by member-in-charge Wm. T. (Bill) Robinson III, who served as the 135th President of the American Bar Association. The attorneys in the office serve in community leadership roles throughout the region for companies and organizations such as the Kenton County Airport, Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Redwood School and Rehabilitation Center and The Kentucky Symphony Orchestra.
About Frost Brown Todd
Frost Brown Todd is a full-service law firm serving some of America’s top corporations and emerging companies. With attorneys regularly identified by clients, peers and industry organizations as leaders in their practice areas, the firm advises and protects clients in business transactions and litigation in industries including insurance, banking, financial services, manufacturing, transportation, real estate, construction, energy and healthcare. Its over 475 attorneys in ten offices throughout Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia provide unparalleled service to meet clients’ needs; deliver the insights and solutions available only from a diverse group of professionals; and support the communities in which they operate. To learn more, visit www.frostbrowntodd.com.
John Holschuh, Jr. Kicks Off Year as OSBA President
For College of Law alumnus John D. Holschuh, Jr. there’s no position he’s more excited, proud and honored to hold than that as president of the Ohio State Bar Association. His term begins July 1, 2015, and he already has begun thinking about the goals during his tenure.
“The local bar is phenomenal, and the Cincinnati Bar is outstanding, but on a state-wide level there is none better than the Ohio State Bar (OSBA),” Holschuh remarked, further noting that OSBA has been recognized as the number one bar association in the country (in member benefits and in representing the interests of its members). “It really is a phenomenal organization and I’m extremely honored and privileged to be the next president.”
He has served as president of the Cincinnati Bar Association as well as the Cincinnati Bar Foundation, is a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, an Advocate of the American Board of Trial Advocates, and fellow of the International Society of Barristers.
The journey leading up to this recent milestone has been nothing short of impressive, as Holschuh has received countless praise and honorable recognition throughout his legal career. He has served as president of the Cincinnati Bar Association as well as the Cincinnati Bar Foundation, a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, the American Board of Trial Advocates and the International Society of Barristers.
Holschuh’s desire to attend UC and to pursue a legal career derives from the influence of his father, who served as federal judge in 1980 and was the chief judge for the Southern District of Ohio for a number of years.
“Dad had always kind of encouraged me. My dad went to Miami, so I went to Miami. My dad went to UC Law, so I went to UC Law. He was the epitome of a lawyer. Total class. Respected by everybody and anybody you ever knew. Living up to that role model has been a challenge, but I’ve tried.”
Since graduating from UC Law in 1980, Holschuh has spent his legal career with the Cincinnati firm Santen & Hughes, L.P.A., where he has dedicated 35 years of practice in the areas of medical malpractice and personal injury litigation.
Holschuh notes that his devotion to the firm and success as a litigation attorney stems from the fortunate opportunity to have had Bill Santen as his mentor early in his career. He believes mentorship to be of utmost importance for young lawyers.
“For me [having a mentor] was invaluable. It took probably six or seven years before I was able to be a first-rate trial lawyer--probably longer than that. And Bill was always there to guide me along the way. Having a mentor to guide you and having someone you can go to anytime there’s an issue is absolutely critical.”
Finding ways to build mentorship opportunities and reaching out to young lawyers to increase their involvement with OSBA is one of Holschuh’s goals as OSBA president, in addition to providing more access to justice.
“Right now there’s a huge need in Ohio for people who need legal services and can’t afford it,” Holschuh explained. “So while the need has increased, the availability of lawyers and funding has decreased dramatically. And at the same time we’ve got a lot of young lawyers coming out of law school in debt and without jobs. There has got to be some way we can pair that up and mix that together. So we’re working on that.”
Building a better legal community through mentorship and access to justice are goals whole-heartedly aligned with Holschuh’s perspective on what it means to be a lawyer--making a difference in the lives of others.
“There’s no greater reward than doing something good for a person,” he explained. With several stories to share, Holschuh couldn’t settle on just one particular moment to capture the essence of being a lawyer, humbly stating that “fortunately I have a number of them,” as he recalls several phone calls and cards he has received from former clients, thanking him for taking on their cause. “That’s why I love what I do, when you get those kinds of moments. Those human interest stories that you get into, that’s what the law is about.”
Holschuh encourages students interested pursuing a legal career to find ways to open their perspective, and to get involved in things to distinguish themselves. “If you invest yourself in something that you love it will pay off in the future, there is no doubt about it. Get involved, get connected, join organizations, and have fun. I know it sounds so sophomoric but enjoy it. You know law school is not fun per-se, but you can make it fun, by getting involved with other things outside the classroom, meeting people and connecting.”
Author: Sarah Nelson’17
Michael Daevenport '93 newly invested to operate Grandville stamping firm as minority enterprise
GRANDVILLE, MI – Jireh Metal Products has been acquired by a group of local investors who plan to operate the metal stamping company as a Minority Business Enterprise.
The new owners include by Michael Davenport, Andy Otteman and Gregory VandenBosch, the company said in a news release on Tuesday, May 19. Jireh produces metal stampings and assemblies for the office furniture, hardware and automotive industry.
Davenport, a basketball star at Ottawa Hills High School in the 1980s who went on to star at Xavier University, will lead Jireh as president and CEO.
Seller Ron Wierenga, who has led the company since 2000, will retain an ownership share and have an active role in the development of customer relationships, the company said. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
As part of the new ownership structure, Jireh plans to pursue Minority Business Enterprise certification, the company said.
The certification "will allow Jireh to provide support to many companies, including current customers, that have supplier diversity programs in place and those that recognize that a diverse supply base offers a competitive advantage in today's multicultural business economy," the company said..
With more than 30 years in business, Jireh employs nearly 100 people and operates two manufacturing plants with 120,000 square feet. The company is headquartered at 3635 Nardin Street SW in Grandville and has a production facility at 864 Productions Place in Holland Township.
Davenport most recently served as the director of community development for First Financial Bank in Cincinnati, where he led the bank's community development strategy. Previously, he served as a regulatory attorney for First Financial, Fifth Third Bank and U.S. Bank, where he managed the implementation and review of consumer lending legislation.
"Jireh's current products and customer base provided our team with a solid platform and the potential to grow with existing customers. We have a great opportunity to extend our relationships with these partners," said Davenport in a news release.
"While we retained all of Jireh's employees in the transition, we are also looking forward to adding additional staff to expand our areas of expertise and industry knowledge."
"Our team has done extensive due diligence on Jireh and knows the business inside and out. With Ron's involvement and guidance, Jireh will be able to continue in the direction that has allowed Jireh to grow with its partners," said Davenport. "We're confident that we'll be able to reach the company's growth targets."
Otteman, a former employee of Herman Miller Inc. and tech start-up, Parnunu, will serve as director of new business development.
The deal was financed by Mercantile Bank. Grand Rapids-based StreamSong Advisors played a key role in the deal structure.
"Providing acquisition and growth capital for proven leaders like the new Jireh Metal Products team is a perfect fit for the Mercantile business model and our local focus, said Kevin Paul, senior vice president of commercial lending at Mercantile Bank.
Deborah Brenneman '93 recognized with the 2015 Glass Ceiling Award by the Ohio Diversity Council
Thompson Hine is proud to announce that Cincinnati Labor & Employment Partner, Deborah Brenneman has been recognized with the 2015 Glass Ceiling Award by the Ohio Diversity Council. This award recognizes women in the workplace who demonstrate leadership excellence, maintain a record of accomplishments in areas of expertise, display integrity and portray the highest ethical standards among colleagues and clients. Deborah has over 20 years of experience, focusing her practice on representing management in all areas of employment law. She has successfully tried cases in state and federal courts around the country for global companies, and is a recognized expert in the field of trade secret and noncompete litigation. She has been named an Ohio Super Lawyer since 2009. She currently serves as the Cincinnati co-chair for the Spotlight on Women Initiative, a firm-wide program designed to foster an energetic and supportive atmosphere for women at the firm and within the business community. Debbie is the Vice Chair of the board of the West Chester-Liberty Chamber Alliance, which awarded her its Women of Excellence Award in 2010. She is also a former Athena Award Finalist.
John S. Fronduti '97 Named Assistant Vice President of American Financial Group, Inc.
CINCINNATI, May 04, 2015 -- American Financial Group, Inc. AFG, +0.87% is pleased to welcome John S. Fronduti as Assistant Vice President. In addition, he will serve as Vice President of American Money Management, a wholly owned investment management subsidiary of AFG, where he will provide legal advice in connection with the Company’s investment portfolio. Prior to joining the Company, Mr. Fronduti was a partner with the Cincinnati-based law firm Keating, Muething and Klekamp.
John is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the University of Cincinnati College of Law.
About American Financial Group, Inc.
American Financial Group is an insurance holding company, based in Cincinnati, Ohio with assets in excess of $45 billion. Through the operations of Great American Insurance Group, AFG is engaged primarily in property and casualty insurance, focusing on specialized commercial products for businesses, and in the sale of fixed and fixed-indexed annuities in the retail, financial institutions and education markets. Great American Insurance Group’s roots go back to 1872 with the founding of its flagship company, Great American Insurance Company.