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Professor Sandra Sperino’s Work Cited by Third Circuit, Creates Circuit Split

A decision out of the Third Circuit has created a circuit split with three other circuits. On January 10, 2017, the Third Circuit issued an opinion in Karlo v. Pittsburg Glass Works, LLC, No. 15-3435. The Third Circuit held that subgroup claims are allowed in ADEA disparate impact cases, creating a circuit split on the issue. A subgroup claim is when a group of workers tries to establish disparate impact by proving that a subset of older workers were disparately impacted by a decision. For example, in a reduction in force, the employees might argue that workers 50 and older were impacted by the reduction in force compared to workers younger than 50. Read the complete blog posting and Professor Sperino’s article The Sky Remains Intact: Why Allowing Subgroup Evidence is Consistent with the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 90 Marq. L. Rev. 227 (2006).
Read: Friend of the Court

Professor Brad Mank Named Associate Dean of Academic Affairs

Cincinnati Law Dean Jennifer S. Bard announces the following leadership change: Professor Brad Mank has accepted the position of Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at the college. He will assume this role over the summer. After eight years in the position, Professor Nancy Oliver will return to teaching.

Bradford Mank“I look forward to improving our curriculum and to helping communicate about the great programs we already have,” says Professor Mank. He is also excited for the opportunity to working closely with both students and faculty and continuing to teach. “My favorite part of teaching at UC is the small classes, and getting to know very intelligent students,” he shares.

Professor Mank, the James B. Helmer, Jr. Professor of Law, earned his undergraduate degree at Harvard University, graduating summa cum laude, and completed his juris doctor at Yale University, where he was also editor of the Yale Law Journal. After graduating, he clerked for Justice David M. Shea of the Connecticut Supreme Court. Before joining the Cincinnati Law faculty in 1991, Professor Mank served as an assistant attorney general for the State of Connecticut, and an associate with the law firm Murtha, Cullina, Richter, and Pinney in Hartford, Conn., with an emphasis on environmental law.

At the college, Professor Mank teaches and writes in the areas of environmental law and administrative law. A prolific scholar, he has authored many article and book chapters on environmental justice, regulatory reform, and statutory interpretation. His work is frequently cited by courts, by other scholars, and in the press. Locally, he has worked with the City of Cincinnati on numerous environmental ordinances and implementation matters, including issues such as climate change, environmental justice, recycling, and air pollution. And, he has served as chair of the Environmental Advisory Council.

Finally, Professor Mank is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Goldman Prize for Excellence in Teaching, the Harold C. Schott Scholarship Award, and the Dean’s Award for Faculty Excellence, among others.

Author: Michelle Flanagan, Cincinnati Law Communication Intern

Cincinnati Law’s Entrepreneurship Clinic Director Named U.S. Small Business Administration’s “Legal Champion” for 2016

Cincinnati, OH—Lew Goldfarb, the Director of Cincinnati Law’s Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic (ECDC), has been named the U.S. Small Business Administration’s “Legal Champion” of 2016 for the Columbus District. Goldfarb will be honored at the SBA’s annual banquet in Columbus, Ohio, on May 5, 2016.

GoldfarbGoldfarb came to Cincinnati Law to create and manage the school’s business clinic, launching ECDC in 2011. Since that time, it has become a coveted learning opportunity for law students and a vital resource for Cincinnati area businesses that cannot afford legal help. Over 120 students have received hands on training, representing 180 business—adding up to nearly $1,000,000 of free legal services to the local economy.

“I’m proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish in a little over five years,” says Goldfarb. “The significant impact of the ECDC can be attributed in large part to community involvement and collaboration, including involvement of local lawyers who graciously volunteer to supervise students and collaborations with local business accelerators and incubators like The Brandery, Mortar Cincinnati, Bad Girl Ventures, Hamilton County Business Center, and First Batch. By working together, we can make a big difference in this community”.

Regarding his designation as the SBA’s “Legal Champion”, Goldfarb says that he will accept the award on behalf of many people — “the many students who’ve staffed the clinic over the years; the volunteers who’ve assisted along the way; the ECDC’s office manager, Lori Strait, who oversees the day-to-day operations of the ECDC office; the community partners who trust us enough to work with them and their companies; and, importantly, the aspiring entrepreneurs in the Cincinnati area who are risking a lot to pursue their dreams and to make Cincinnati a better place for all of us.”


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.

Professor Verna Williams participated in a Black Feminist panel

Verna WilliamsProfessor Verna Williams participated in a Black Feminist panel discussion on Black Lives Matter and advocacy around the unique experiences of African American Women hosted by the UC Women’s Center on April 6, 2016.

Associate Dean Sandra Sperino's Article Cited by the EEOC

Sandra SperinoAssociate Dean of Faculty and Professor Sandra Sperino's article, The Sky Remains Intact: Why Allowing Subgroup Evidence is Consistent with the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 90 Marquette L. Rev. 227 (2006), as cited by the EEOC on April 7, 2016 in an amicus brief filed with the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Professor Stephanie McMahon accepted an offer to publish “The Perfect Process Is the Enemy of the Good Tax: Tax’s Exceptional Regulatory Process,” at the Virginia Tax Review

Stephanie McMahonProfessor Stephanie McMahon accepted an offer to publish “The Perfect Process Is the Enemy of the Good Tax: Tax’s Exceptional Regulatory Process,” at the Virginia Tax Review.

Professor Lewis H. Goldfarb was selected as the winner of the 2016 Small Business Administration Award

Lewis GoldfarbProfessor Lewis H. Goldfarb was selected as the winner of the 2016 Small Business Administration Award for Small Business Legal Assistance for his significant contributions in helping small businesses with their legal needs. He, along with winners of other small business awards, will be honored at an SBA awards banquet in Columbus on the evening of May 5, 2016.

Constitutional Law Professor Verna Williams Pens Editorial on Merrick Garland Supreme Court Nomination

Verna WilliamsU.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell insists that Republican refusal to act on President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court is based on principle. Lawmakers merely are continuing to follow the Biden rule. This declaration suggests that, rather than engaging in unparalleled obstructionism, Republican senators are observing one of their esteemed traditions, like eating bean soup in the Capitol cafeteria.

But, the full text of Biden’s 1992 speech on the Senate floor suggests otherwise.

It was late June. The nation and Senate were recovering from bruising hearings to confirm Clarence Thomas. Re-examining the Judiciary Committee’s handling of professor Anita Hill’s allegations of sexual harassment, Biden explained that “many questioned whether we took professor Hill’s charges seriously, investigated them thoroughly, and disseminated them appropriately.” While Biden concluded that he and his colleagues had done their best, given Hill’s desire for confidentiality, he nonetheless believed a new set of rules should apply going forward. He announced that the committee would:

  • Advise sources that any information the committee obtained would be placed in a nominee’s FBI file and be available on a confidential basis to the Senate before voting on the nomination.
  • Hold closed, confidential sessions about all Supreme Court nominees.
  • Meet routinely with nominees in closed session, on the record, and under oath about any investigative charges.

Throughout the process, senators would be able to review any documents, reports or transcripts in a manner that protected confidentiality.

Those are the Biden rules; they appear toward the end of his speech.

Conspicuously absent in that context, in which Biden clearly is setting forth how the Judiciary Committee would do business, is any suggestion that it would abandon its constitutional duty to engage in the confirmation process during an election year. But, in discussing the history of such nominations, Biden noted that when a president sought to appoint a justice in the summer or fall of an election year – just a few months before the election – that typically resulted in failure. In contrast, when the president selected candidates before the summer, the Senate confirmed them.

Not a rule. An observation.

Assuming it applies to the current situation, as Republican senators suggest, Biden’s statement actually supports the Senate doing its job in this case.

Out of a 20-page speech, Republicans selected one sentence from a 20-page speech and declared it the Biden rule, the one they were following. But another playbook informs their actions.

Massive resistance.

That term refers to Southern refusal to abide by the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education, a particularly shameful chapter in our history.

Stunned by the court’s action finally striking down Jim Crow, the Virginia General Assembly met in special session to address what it viewed as an incursion on states’ rights. Columnist James Kilpatrick advised lawmakers that interposition supported repudiating federal authority. Gov. Thomas Stanley denounced the court’s actions as unlawful and unconstitutional. Buoyed by U.S. Sen. Harry Byrd, Stanley established a commission to determine how to respond. Just as today, the shutdown was a favored strategy. Virginia’s Prince Edward County, an A student in this regard, stopped levying taxes for education and kept its schools closed for five years.

Like Virginia’s post-Brown lawmakers, today’s Republicans confront the prospect of the social order upending. Obama, whom McConnell pledged to make a one-term president, now has the opportunity to change the highest court in the land for generations to come. Like Virginia’s lawmakers of that period, today’s senators responded to the threat Obama poses by declaring his actions as unconstitutional, illegitimate and overreaching. And, like those lawmakers of yore, senators threw a wrench in the workings of government instead of accepting an outcome they disliked.

And, just like Virginia’s lawmakers, these senators are wrong.

They would do themselves, the nation and the Supreme Court a service by turning to the right playbook this time. The one Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch has written about at length.

As published by on March 22, 2016.

Professor Stephanie McMahon Featured in Story Examining Whether Tax Rates Influence Where Families Live

Stephanie McMahonProfessor Stephanie McMahon was featured in WalletHub’s recent piece about 2016's states with the highest and lowest tax rates. She shares how taxes influence where families choose to live in a small way and why.

You can find the piece here.