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Bettman’s Legally Speaking Ohio Blog Cited by FindLaw

Kudos to Professor Marianna Bettman and her Legally Speaking Ohio blog, which was recently mentioned on FindLaw for Ohio v. Clark, Darius, a case from the Ohio Supreme Court which was taken up by the Supreme Court of the United States.  The writers of FindLaw noted that the Legally Speaking Ohio blog was a resource for information on the case. It was number 4 on the FindLaw list.

Professor Solimine Cited in Election Law Expert’s Blog

One of the country’s most well-known authorities on national and state election politics and blogger on legislation, Professor Rick Hasen at the University of California Irvine School of Law, commented on Professor Michael Solimine’s newest article “Rethinking District of Columbia Venues in Voting Rights Preclearance Actions,” recently published in the Georgetown Law Journal.  Professor Hasen noted he looked forward to reading it (Solimine’s article). “Michael leads the field in his writing on election law procedure.”

Welcome to A New Year

Dear friends,

A highpoint for me every year is welcoming our new students to the College of Law – sharing in their excitement, commemorating with them the start of their careers, and celebrating the good things about law and the legal profession that make both essential to a civil and prosperous society.

And Monday, August 18th  was as good as it gets.   We welcomed the Class of 2017 – a group of 75 students (a smaller class than usual, as is happening at law schools across the country).  Impressive, engaged, and rich with promise, they range in age from 21 to 50 and come from 13 states (and birthplaces in at least seven different nations).  Alumni of 43 different undergraduate institutions, they majored in 26 different undergraduate fields of study. 

We also welcomed five transfer students to the Class of 2016, as well as two exchange students from our New Zealand partner, the University of Canterbury School of Law.  And we welcomed 12 LL.M. students who hail from eight nations.  Our long-storied law school, now in its 182nd  year, is delighted to welcome all these new members into the fold.  We are now even stronger.

Going Forward

It’s an exciting year ahead.  There are victories to be won in moot courts, trial and negotiation competitions, and transactional meets.  Law reviews to publish and influential scholarship to produce.  Hundreds of clients to serve in our clinics.  Law to learn and skills to hone in our classes.  Major lectures and events – including a boundary-spanning program this October from the Center for Race, Gender and Social Justice – that you won’t want to miss.  Milestones to mark, including the Ohio Innocence Project’s 10th anniversary and the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights’ 35th.   

We’ll continue to excel – and  get even better – at providing an outstanding legal education.  (Did you know the College was recognized nationally for the strength of its experiential learning and practical training?)  We’ll provide that outstanding legal education as affordably as possible.  (Did you know the College ranks 25th in lowest average graduate student debt, and recently was recognized nationally for value?)  We’ll continue to do it all with great spirit and an enviable sense of true community.  (Did you know that the College was the only college at UC to attain 100% participation in the recent Faculty/Staff fundraising campaign, and leads UC’s west campus colleges with the highest percentage of alumni fundraising participation?)

Speaking of spirit, community, and the exciting year we’ve begun: The SBA kicked off the year with a Day of Service on September 6, bringing together students, faculty, staff, and alumni in community service projects throughout our city.  A great time was had by all.  Let’s continue that trend they’ve started.

Best wishes for a great year,

Lou Bilionis, Dean and Nippert Professor of Law


Professor Moore Invited to Participate at Criminal Defense Forum

Congratulations to Professor Janet Moore, who was invited to participate as one of 12 national experts on a new national working group on indigent criminal defense reform in early September. The working group is supported by the U.S. Department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance.

Professor Moore’s scholarship focuses on the legal and political conditions that empower stakeholders to obtain greater transparency and accountability from criminal justice systems.

Read more about Professor Moore:

From the Courtroom to the Classroom Janet Moore focuses on Policy Reform

UC Law Professor Janet Moore Wins Junior Scholarship Competition

Faculty Profile

Constitution Day 2014: The American Constitution in a Changing America

Date: September 17, 2014

Time: 12:15 – 1:15 p.m.

Location: Room 114

CLE: Application for one (1) hour of general CLE has been submitted for Ohio and Kentucky. Approval is expected.

Webcast (available 9/17): 2014 Constitution Day

About the Event

Polarization in Congress and the nation’s politics.  Elections, campaign contributions, and money.  Equality and liberty in an increasingly diverse nation.  Individual privacy in a digital age.  Free market freedoms in a complex society and an interconnected world.

These are among the foremost constitutional challenges of our day, provoking controversies and cases that have captured the nation’s headlines and attention.  In this Constitution Day 2014 program, three constitutional law experts will explore how they are testing and evolving the meaning of the United States Constitution in a changing America

About the Speakers

Louis D. Bilionis, Dean and Nippert Professor of Law,  is a nationally recognized scholar in the areas of constitutional law and criminal law and procedure, with his work published in leading law journals such as the Michigan Law Review, Texas Law Review, Georgetown Law Journal, University of California-Los Angeles Law Review, Emory Law Journal, North Carolina Law Review, and Law and Contemporary Problems. He has taught constitutional law, criminal law, criminal procedure, and evidence, as well as seminars on capital punishment, constitutional law and theory, criminal law and procedure, and sentencing.

A. Christopher Bryant, Rufus King Professor of Constitutional Law, has been a prolific scholar and an exceptionally skilled and award-winning teacher of constitutional law. His numerous published articles and essays reach a wide range of issues of contemporary constitutional importance, including the separation of powers, judicial review, and the roles of the various branches of the national government in constitutional interpretation.  He is a recognized expert on the scope and exercise of national legislative power and the respect that Congressional action is owed from the federal judiciary, with leading articles on the subject published in the Cornell Law Review, George Washington Law Review, BYU Law Review, Notre Dame Journal of Legislation, and William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal.

Ronna Greff Schneider, Professor of Law, is an expert in constitutional law, with a focus on the First Amendment, and education law.  She is a frequent speaker and commentator on issues involving constitutional law, education law, and educational policy and is the author of the two volume legal treatise, Education Law: First Amendment, Due Process and Discrimination Litigation (Thomson Reuters), and its annual supplements (available in print and online in Westlaw).


Sperino Cited by Iowa Supreme Court and Quoted in Washington Post

Sandra SperinoJuly 2014 has been a great month for Professor Sandra Sperino. In addition to having her work cited several times by the Iowa Supreme Court in cases involving federal and state employment law and employment discrimination, she was quoted in a Washington Post article about punishments federal whistleblowers may receive on their jobs. And, she also was published in the Stanford Journal of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.

Iowa Supreme Court Cites Sperino’s Work

The Iowa Supreme Court cited articles by Professor Sperino in two opinions issued this summer. The two cases are Goodpaster v. Schwan's Home Serv., Inc., 13-0010, 2014 WL 2900950 (Iowa June 27, 2014) and Pippen v. State, 12-0913, 2014 WL 3537028 (Iowa July 18, 2014).

In both cases, the Iowa Supreme Court decided whether it should interpret the Iowa Civil Rights Act to be consistent with federal law. In both cases, the Iowa Supreme Court used Sperino’s work to support its conclusion that Iowa state law should be interpreted independently from federal law.

Sperino’s articles discuss how fractured federal discrimination law has become over time. Under federal law, discrimination protections are found in three main statutes: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). Prior to the 1990s, the federal courts tended to read these three statutes consistently. If a phrase was interpreted one way under Title VII, the courts would interpret the same or similar phrase in the ADEA to have the same meaning. However, in recent cases, the Supreme Court has interpreted these statutes differently.

Sperino’s work explains how many states have a single anti-discrimination statute. It is difficult for state law to continue to follow federal law because federal law now approaches some questions differently, depending on whether the underlying claim is one for age discrimination, sex discrimination, or disability discrimination. In many states, claims for age, sex, and disability discrimination would all be brought under the same state statute.

Her work also explains that Congressional amendments to Title VII and the ADA were largely in response to Supreme Court decisions interpreting these statutes narrowly. State laws may use different words than the federal statutes. Many state laws also do not have the same history of narrow court interpretation followed by subsequent amendment. It is now difficult to read many state laws in tandem with federal law. As the Iowa Supreme Court noted: “Congressional reaction to a specific case decided by the United States Supreme Court does not shed light on the meaning of state law when there has been no comparable narrow state court precedent to stimulate a legislative override.” Pippen v. State, 12-0913, 2014 WL 3537028, at *15 (Iowa July 18, 2014).

Here are links to the cited articles:

Washington Post Article Quotes Sperino

Professor Sperino was also quoted in the August 4, 2014 Washington Post article “For whistleblowers, a bold move can be followed by one to department basement.” The article follows the case of former Phoenix Veterans Affairs Hospital employee Paula Pedene who alleges she was reassigned to a new position after complaining to higher-ups about mismanagement at the hospital. In the article Sperino talks about the challenges employees often face when attempting to bring this type of case to court.

Finally, her article Fakers and Floodgates, co-authored by Professor Suja Thomas, University of Illinois College of Law, appeared in print at 10 Stanford Journal of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties 223 (2014).

Professor Black Cited in Supreme Court Ruling and NY Times Story

Professor Barbara Black’s article “Fraud-on-the-Market” was recently cited in Halliburton Co.v. Erica P. John Fund. Available in the North Carolina Law Review, it was cited in Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion, decided on June 23.

Also, Professor Black was quote in the New York Times story “Taking a Broker to Arbitration”, published on July 19, 2014.  She discussed the advantage of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) model for investors.

From the Courtroom to the Classroom Janet Moore Focuses on Policy Reform

Originally from Midland, Michigan, Professor Janet Moore had no expectation of attending law school and later teaching law.  “People had told me that I should go to law school, but I thought it would be boring,” said Moore.  But as she contemplated career paths she followed the Bork hearings.  Robert Bork was nominated by President Ronald Reagan to the Supreme Court in 1987, but his nomination was ultimately shot down in the Senate.  The fierceness of the debates opened Moore’s eyes to the immense importance of the U.S. legal system.  She attended law school at Duke University, graduating with not only a JD, but also a MA in Philosophy.  There she was the editor-in- chief of the Law and Contemporary Problems law review, the nation’s first interdisciplinary law journal. 

Professor Moore first became interested in criminal law during her criminal procedure course.  “I was astonished at how easy it was, and is, for the government to get its teeth in people’s hides, and not let go,” she shared.  During this time, she saw a friend’s husband go through the horrifying experience of being wrongly accused of child abuse.  “It was a strange time,” she said.  There was a hysteria that gripped the country around that time where such accusations were abundant.  Professor  Moore did not discount the seriousness of the crime of child abuse, but seeing a friend go through the experience of being wrongfully accused left a big impression on her as she was in the midst of her legal studies. 

After graduating she clerked with Judge James Dickson Phillips, Jr. on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.  During her clerkship, she saw a case come through the court on a man’s second habeas petition (essentially his last chance to get his conviction reviewed).  It was a case where there were some serious concerns about his competence to stand trial, his confession, and—ultimately—his guilt.  Moore emotionally recalled the moment where she found out the court would not vote for the petitioner, and she shared that it was at this point that she knew she did not want to be involved with the side of the system sentencing people to death.

Taking a Hiatus from Legal Work

Following her clerkship, Moore and her family spent a few years in France, near Paris.  This period was a hiatus from any legal work, during which she immersed herself in the taking care of her children as well as the French culture.  During this same period, the habeas petitioner mentioned above was exonerated and freed from prison. The example set by lawyers in that case and other death penalty cases led to Moore’s involvement with capital litigation. When Moore and her family returned to the US, she passed the bar and began looking for work, which she found at the Office of the Appellate Defender in Durham and Asheville, North Carolina.  She was immediately assigned defense appeals in death penalty cases.  As Moore began winning the cases, it turned into a career.  The experience she had with various cases she worked on while in North Carolina is something Moore is able to utilize in the classroom in her courses, including Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, and Evidence.

After seven years working in North Carolina, Professor Moore and her family moved to Ohio, where she began working with the Ohio Justice and Policy Center concentrating on evidence-based criminal justice policy reform.  Her work focused on diverting the school-to-prison pipeline and other strategies to prevent criminal justice involvement at the front end rather than on appeals or post-conviction.  She also worked on matters regarding prison condition issues, including a class-action lawsuit focused on juvenile detention systems.  During this time she continued her own appellate and post-conviction defense practice.  After five years in Ohio, Professor Moore found herself at UC College of Law, first by helping to found the Indigent Defense Clinic, and later by becoming a professor at the College.

Empirical Research is the Foundation

Professor Moore is currently involved in numerous research projects.  One project involves co-chairing a task force on national discovery reform and drafting a model bill.  Additionally, she  is working to expanding the empirical research that she did with the assistance of some criminal justice researchers at Washington State University, using the Indigent Defense Clinic as a way to further that research.  “Every client that comes into the clinic is handed this ‘client’s bill of rights’,” explained Moore.  The “client’s bill of rights” explains what the clients can and should expect from their attorneys. 

Complementary research uses a client feedback survey, which was initially tested in Hamilton County, and may be expanded for use in Ohio, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Washington.   In addition to her research, Professor Moore works closely with her students and is involved with the Criminal Law Society, a student organization at the College of Law for students interested in criminal law practice.

Professor Kenneth Hirsh Recognized as a Top 50 Innovator in Law

Professor Ken Hirsh profile picture

Kenneth Hirsh, Director, Law Library and Information Technology and Professor of Practice, has been named a “2013 Fastcase 50” award recipient by legal publisher Fastcase. This award recognizes the top 50 innovators, techies, visionaries, and leaders in the law, as determined and chosen by Fastcase.  Noted Phil Rosenthal, president of Fastcase, in the announcement, “This is a notable moment for legal tech and the impact of these individuals are making on the shifting legal landscape...Along with the record number of nominees this year, we’re witnessing a rise in the boundary-pushers for big data, open government, and legal information.”

In addition to receiving this award, Hirsh was elected to the executive board of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL). His three-year term commenced July 2013.

A prominent leader in two of the foremost organizations in his field—the AALL and the Center for Computer Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI), Professor Hirsh has a reputation as an innovator, using his legal education, practice background, and technical expertise to bring new technologies to students and faculty. He has been honored by both organizations for his outstanding service and contribution.

Professor Hirsh is a graduate of the University of Miami and received his JD from the University of Florida. After practicing law in Florida for several years, he returned to school to obtain his MS in Library and Information Studies from Florida State University. He then joined the Law Library at Duke University School of Law, serving in numerous positions. He also has served as a Senior Lecturing Fellow at Duke, teaching courses in legal research and technology.

2014 Goldman Prize for Excellence in Teaching Awarded to Professors Bettman, Chang, and Lenhart

The Goldman Prize for Excellence in Teaching is a high honor for faculty members, a point of great pride for those fortunate enough to receive it, and an important expression of our commitment to the best in teaching.

Congratulations to the three recipients of this year's prize  – Professors Marianna Brown Bettman, Felix Chang, and Elizabeth (Betsy) Lenhart.


Marianna Brown Bettman, Professor of Law

Everyone knows that Professor Bettman’s first year Torts class was not the class for which one wanted to be unprepared, ever. In fact, second and third year students stressed one should avoid that at all costs. With that in mind, most incoming 1Ls expected this professor to be akin to a fire-breathing dragon. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Standing at the front of the classroom – well it could not possibly be the woman who had intimidated at least two generations of law students!

It did not take long for the class to catch on; the reasons for her reputation seemed quite clear.  Her years as an appellate judge carried over into her career as an educator.  Come prepared, counselor, or consequences would ensue.  She was tough and set incredibly high expectations, but more importantly, she struck such a chord with students that they wanted to meet those expectations.  What everyone learned, as had the classes before, was that she set the bar high but was also dedicated to making sure all could all reach it.  She is always prepared to answer questions or to explain a concept in a different way.

Teaching 1Ls is not necessarily the most coveted job, but it is one that Professor Bettman carries off with grace and aplomb. Everyone fortunate enough to take her class departs the College of Law well-versed in the subject of torts.  However, her impact goes far beyond that. The challenge she set served a more important purpose for the first year class: it served to teach them beyond all doubt that law school is a journey they are ready to face.

The College of Law is honored to have a woman who is so dedicated and invested in her students’ futures as a member of the faculty.

Link to Profile Page of Professor Marianna Brown Bettman


Felix Chang, Assistant Professor of Law and Director, Institute for the Global Practice of Law

                    “Fundamentals, fundamentals, fundamentals. 

                  You’ve got to get the fundamentals down because

                     otherwise, the fancy stuff isn’t going to work.”

                                             – Randy Pausch, “The Last Lecture”

The fundamentals of law (critical thinking, analytical reasoning, captivating arguing, and effective debunking) are the most basic – but important – tools with which law schools can equip students. Successful professors are able to instill these qualities in their students, ensuring they are transferable across the curriculum and in to practice. Professor Felix Chang is precisely such a professor.

Professor Chang has distinguished himself in the classroom by engaging students in discussion and challenging their critical analysis on a variety of topics ranging from torts, corporations, agency, partnerships, international business transactions, as well as wills, trusts, and future interests. Any student that has had or interacted with Professor Chang would attest to the command he possesses over the subjects that he teaches.  His ability to break down complex legal issues into understandable, workable, and manageable problems is difficult to match.  Professor Chang’s understanding and command of his subject matter is crystal clear in the real-life problems that he poses to students and the application of his teaching methods to extract reasonable, applicable, and material responses from them.  He takes his time to allow students to work through issues, and provides insight, feedback, and advice on problem-solving methods during the process.  As one student accurately reflected, “Professor Chang explains concepts well, has an interest in making sure the students understand the material, and his insight about how laws play out in real-life settings is compelling.”

Professor Chang also brings a light-hearted nature to his courses.  His jokes, wry humor, and quotable movie moments make him more approachable to students.  His attitude toward students directly reflects his desire to see them succeed.

In addition to Professor Chang’s exceptional work in the classroom and his extensive scholarship on financial reform, antitrust, and derivatives, he is the director of the Institute for the Global Practice of Law (IGPL), which seeks to increase the understanding of international law and business transactions, as well as facilitate relationships among leaders in the global legal and business communities.  Such a program allows international individuals to connect with U.S. lawyers and the Cincinnati community. It also offers students (particularly LL.M students) and attorneys an opportunity to build professional ties in this area of law.  IGPL’s innovative initiatives, headed by Professor Chang, work to create ties in the business law community across the world.

Professor Chang’s dedication to his work in and out of the classroom, his focus on instilling the fundamentals of good lawyering to his students, as well as his passionate investment into the lives of his students’ futures serves as a demonstration to his excellence in teaching.  The College of Law is honored to have such a dedicated and hard-working professor.  It is a pleasure to honor Professor Chang with the 2014 Goldman Prize for Excellence in Teaching.

Link to Profile Page of Professor Felix Chang



Elizabeth (Betsy) Lenhart, Associate Professor of Law

Professor Betsy Lenhart is an engaging professor who truly wants to see her students succeed. She is not only an exemplary professor in the classroom, but also a great mentor, advisor, and confidant outside the classroom. While talking about her, one student shared, “I want her to win all of the awards.” – a sentiment with which many students would agree.

She often combines legal theories with real world applications, striving not only to teach the required material, but to guarantee that her students will become successful attorneys. For example, in her Legal Research and Writing class, instead of merely lecturing to her students about professionalism, Professor Lenhart used actual examples of an email chain between a prospective employer and a 3L seeking employment as an example of what not to do. She combines her skills as an educator with her impressive practical experience to shape and mold aspiring attorneys.

Teaching classes that are traditionally dominated by 1Ls, such as Legal Research and Writing, Advocacy, and Civil Procedure, Professor Lenhart has created a comfortable classroom environment that makes the daunting transition into law school a little less scary. Her students, past and present, frequently describe her as intelligent, engaging, and enjoyable. It is her approachable and warm demeanor that makes her students feel comfortable asking questions both during class and outside of it.

Not only is she an exceptional professor because of her in-classroom teaching abilities, but Professor Lenhart also spends a considerable amount of time making herself available to students outside of class. Her door is always open and she is always available and willing to talk about issues with classes or to give life advice in general. One student shared that when she felt overwhelmed by law school, she went to Professor Lenhart to talk things through. It is because of her calming presence that many students feel this way and often go to her with questions, even after they are no longer in her classes.

Professor Lenhart continually demonstrates her commitment to the education of her students, as well as their personal and professional development. It is because of these qualities that she represents excellence as a professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Law.

Link to Profile Page of Professor Elizabeth Lenhart


About the Goldman Prize for Teaching Excellence

The Goldman Prize has been awarded for over 30 years to recognize excellence in teaching. This award is unique because students nominate and choose the recipients—their professors. To make this decision, the committee also considers the professors’ research and public service as they contribute to superior performance in the classroom.