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Professor Chris Bryant’s Sabbatical Brought Opportunity for In-depth Research, Writing and Professional Development

Do you recall that famous elementary school question, “What did you do last summer”? For law school professors, however, the question becomes “What did you do on sabbatical?” For Professor Christopher Bryant sabbatical brought an opportunity for research, reflection, analysis, and significant writing.

The popular professor applied for a year-long sabbatical for the 2010-11 school year, aspiring primarily to co-author a textbook. While, his application was accepted, his co-author asked to defer the project. Nevertheless, Professor Bryant – who is currently teaching Constitutional Law I and Conflicts of Law – was encouraged by Dean Lou Bilionis to use the sabbatical and pursue other scholarly opportunities. “A sabbatical presents an enormously valuable opportunity for concentrated research and writing and is indispensable to the continuing development of faculty as scholars,” Bryant said.

Although Bryant was not in the classroom last year, he spent much of his time working at the College of Law in his fourth-floor office during his sabbatical. Ultimately, he produced four articles and essays – all of which have already been accepted for publication by various law reviews.

In September 2010, Bryant’s “What McDonald Means for Unremunerated Rights,” was accepted by the Georgia Law Review. The essay, which reviewed the 2010 Supreme Court case McDonald v. City of Chicago, ran in Georgia’s Summer 2011 issue.  This past spring, the BYU Law Review and the University of Richmond Law Review also accepted Bryant’s articles for publication – “Foreign Law as Legislative Fact in Constitutional Cases” and “Constitutional Forbearance,” respectively.  Additionally, Bryant’s essay on the Supreme Court’s 1927 decision in Nigro v. United States will be included in the Nevada Law Journal’s forthcoming symposium issue devoted to identifying “The Worst Supreme Court Decision, Ever.”

While he will continue to pursue other scholarship and still plans to work on the aforementioned textbook, the Constitutional Law scholar is happy to be teaching again this school year.

“I love teaching. I find it very rewarding and I am very glad to be back in the classroom,” he said. “It has helped tremendously that I was able to have a break from it in that I feel very refreshed; I have a renewed excitement and energy and willingness to experiment and desire to try different teaching methods and different tools in the classroom.”

Professor Bryant added that stepping away from teaching for a year gave him “a perspective (he) otherwise would not have enjoyed. I think it’s likely over the long-term, it will make me a better teacher,” he continued. “I certainly hope so.”

In addition to teaching, Bryant has also been working on a legislative fact project, which he recently expanded to cover research into the practices of foreign constitutional courts. And on October 5, jumping right into the college’s extracurricular activities, he participated in one of the Federalist Society’s semester debates:  “A Debate on Judicial Engagement” with Clark Neily, a senior attorney at the Institute for Justice.

By Jordan Cohen, ’13

Computer Support Specialist Alan Wheeler helps Change Ohio Gun Rights Law

On June 30, 2011, Ohio Governor Kasich signed House Bill 54 into law, essentially providing certain Ohioans with a means of restoring their firearm rights. Ninety days later on September 30 that bill became effective.

For Alan Wheeler, the College of Law’s Computer Support Specialist, the signing of House Bill 54 marked a long time coming, as he began working towards this result since 2007.  Wheeler, who joined the College of Law around that same time, had learned that the Ohio law for restoring a person’s firearm rights – ORC § 2923.14 – was not valid under the 1998 Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Caron.

He realized that some of the people who might have had their gun rights restored nevertheless were still legally without those rights, based on the language of the Ohio statute. 

“(For example,) [w]e had police officers who had been ticketed many years ago for misdemeanor marijuana possession, and had their rights restored pursuant to Ohio law, but were unknowingly committing a federal felony every time they carried their duty weapon,” Wheeler said.

The South Point, Ohio, native was one of the first people who discovered the issue. When Wheeler became aware of it, he took advantage of the fact that he was employed at a law school.

Seeing that his office is adjacent to the Ohio Innocence Project, he began talking with Professor Mark Godsey, Director of the OIP, as well as Jenny Carroll, former Academic Director and Assistant Professor.

Carroll, now an Associate Professor at Seton Hall, helped Wheeler learn how to use WestLaw and had him make some phone calls to gain more information. Godsey, meanwhile, helped him develop an understanding of the court rulings and laws.

Others in and around the College of Law community, including (former) Professor Margret Drew and Susan Boland, Associate Director of Public and Research Services, also aided Wheeler along the way.

Professor Drew, for example, put Wheeler in touch with State Rep. Connie Pillich ’98, who met with him and discussed the issues with the law. Wheeler also met with State Senator Bill Seitz ’78, a big supporter on the Senate side, he said.

Additionally, Wheeler worked closely with Jim Irvine and the Buckeye Firearms Association, a political action committee that was instrumental in getting the law changed by pushing the issue to the members of the House and Senate.  “The first thing I had to do was tell people it existed, then find some people who would listen,” Wheeler said. “That’s when I got involved with Buckeye Firearms. “

Wheeler spoke with an attorney working with Buckeye Firearms, Ken Hanson, who was also aware of the issue. Buckeye Firearms eventually had Wheeler stand before the Senate Judiciary on Criminal Justice to testify in December 2008.

The bill was first introduced in 2009, but got stuck in the House after elections, said Wheeler, who later submitted written testimony in February of this year.

It began as a bi-partisan bill in the Senate, but it was ultimately the version introduced into the House – and passed by a House committee that included Pillich – that was signed into law by Governor Kasich.

The State Legislature’s website best explains the objectives of House Bill 54: To amend sections 2923.13 and 2923.14 of the Revised Code to conform the restoration of civil firearm rights with federal law and U.S. Supreme Court case law; to eliminate the prohibition against persons with certain misdemeanor drug offense convictions acquiring or possessing firearms or dangerous ordnance; and to allow restoration of civil firearm rights for firearms that are dangerous ordnance.”

As a guest of State Rep. Ron Maag, who co-sponsored House Bill 54, Wheeler was present when Governor Kasich signed it into law.

Although House Bill 54 became effective mere weeks ago, Wheeler is aware of the impact his efforts will make on many people. He also acknowledges the many people, both inside and outside of the College of Law,  that helped along the way.

“I’m just an IT person, with no legal background or experience, and I could not have done it without (them),” Wheeler said.

By Jordan Cohen, ‘13

Professor Caron Named One of the Most Influential in Tax and Accounting

Paul Caron, the Charles Hartsock Professor of Law, has been named one of the 100 Most Influential People in Tax and Accounting for the sixth year in a row by Accounting Today. Wrote the magazine about him “In seven years Caron has gone from an upstart exploring social media to one of the most important sources of tax news in any format, with close to three million visitors in 2010.”

The list of the 100 Most Influential include many notable people, such as President Barack Obama, Max Baucaus, chair, Senate Finance Committee; Orin Hatch, ranking member, Senate Finance Committee; Nina Olson, national tax payer advocate, IRS; Mary Schapiro, chair, SEC; and Douglas Shulman, commissioner, IRS.
Professor Caron is the publisher and editor of TaxProf Blog, the most popular tax blog on the Internet. He is also the publisher and editor-in-chief of the Law Professor Blogs Network of more than 50 blogs edited by law professors around the country in other areas of law.

In addition, Professor Caron was mentioned in the September 14, 2011 New Republic article  "Elizabeth Warren vs. GE" about the controversy whether GE pays (or has paid) taxes.

2011 William Howard Taft Lecture on Constitutional Law

Thursday, October 27, 2011
12:15 - 1:15 p.m.
College of Law - Room 114

The archived version of the webcast will be available soon.

Michael C. Dorf
Robert S. Stevens Professor of Law, Cornell University Law School

The University of Cincinnati College of Law is honored to present Michael C. Dorf, Robert S. Stevens Professor of Law at Cornell University College of Law, as the 2011 William Howard Taft lecturer. The title of his lecture is “Tainted Law.”

In his lecture, Professor Dorf’s will discuss circumstances in which a repealed provision of law “taints” current law. Drawing on examples of slavery, segregation, and women's equality, he will explore the implications of tainted law for constitutional interpretation. He will also discuss whether the Constitution as a whole is tainted by its past entanglements with injustice, and if so, what should be done about it. The abstract of Professor Dorf’s paper, “Tainted Law,” which will soon be printed in the University of Cincinnati Law Review, explains it well. He says:

Laws do not necessarily cease to have legal effect after they are fully repealed or superseded. A repealed law may form part of the pedigree of an operative law, and the operative law’s constitutionality may turn on that pedigree. For example, the constitutionality of a race-neutral public school pupil assignment system may depend on whether the school district’s law formerly assigned pupils by race. In addition, a repealed or otherwise superseded legal provision may shed light on the intentions or expectations of the persons originally responsible for adopting the legal provision. Under modes of interpretation that accord great significance to such intentions or expectations, that can lead to normatively unattractive results, such as the conclusion that the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause does not forbid most forms of official sex discrimination. Truly unthinkable results may thus taint the mode of interpretation that leads to those results, rather than vice-versa. A sufficiently horrific pedigree can even taint the entire legal order. Accordingly, the prospect of “tainted law” has potentially far-reaching implications for legal interpretation, including constitutional interpretation.

Michael C. Dorf has written dozens of law review articles on constitutional law and related subjects. He is the co-author (with Laurence Tribe) of On Reading the Constitution (Harvard University Press, 1991), the co-author (with Trevor Morrison) of The Oxford Introductions to U.S. Law: Constitutional Law (Oxford University Press, 2010), the editor of Constitutional Law Stories (Foundation Press 2004, second edition 2009), and the author of No Litmus Test: Law Versus Politics in the 21st Century (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006). Professor Dorf writes a bi-weekly column for Justia’s free web magazine Verdict and posts several times per week on his blog, Dorf on Law. A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, he spent the year between college and law school as a Rotary Scholar at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, playing rugby and co-authoring three articles for refereed physics journals. After law school, Professor Dorf served as a law clerk for Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and then Justice Anthony M. Kennedy of the Supreme Court of the United States. He has represented clients on a paid and pro bono basis, including a constitutional challenge to NAFTA in the D.C. Circuit and a defense of affirmative action on behalf of the Association of American Law Schools (“AALS”) as amicus curiae in Grutter v. Bollinger in the U.S. Supreme Court. He was the main author of the AALS amicus brief in support of the winning side in the 2010 Supreme Court case of Christian Legal Society v. Martinez. Before joining the Cornell faculty, Professor Dorf taught at Rutgers-Camden Law School for three years and at Columbia Law School for thirteen years. At Columbia, he was Vice Dean from 1998-2002 and when he left, was the Isidor & Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law.

About the Taft Lecture

The William Howard Taft Lecture on Constitutional Law was established in 1986 to honor the contributions of the only person to have served as both President (1909-1913) and Chief Justice (1921-1930) of the United States.

William Howard Taft was born in Cincinnati on Auburn Avenue in 1857. He is a graduate of the Cincinnati Law School, the predecessor of the University of Cincinnati College of Law. He served as Dean of the newly founded University of Cincinnati Law Department from 1896-1900 and was instrumental in the merger of this department and his alma mater in 1897.

Five Minutes with Professor Felix Chang

Visiting Professor of Law Felix Chang is one of the newest members of the law school’s faculty. Professor Chang was part of the team that established the College of Law’s Institute for the Global Practice of Law, which had its inaugural program this summer. During fall semester he will be teaching up-and-coming law students.

What’s on your nightstand?

I haven’t had the chance to do much nightly reading lately, but the last book I read was Elif Batuman’s The Possessed, which may still be on my nightstand.

What will be your area of focus at the law school?

My areas of focus, for the first year, will be Torts, Agency, and Corporations.  My current practice is securities and derivatives.

What are the big topics in your area?

The single biggest topic in my area of law – which I define as banking, securities, and investments – is the Financial Reform Bill.  The major components of this bill include capital markets reform (the Volcker Rule, clearing and margin requirements for derivatives), systemic risk (living wills, orderly resolution authority, prudential standards, and capital requirements), and retail banking (interchange fees, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and mortgage origination and securitization).

What sparked your interest in law?

My interest in law was sparked some years after college.  In 2002, when I was working in Central Asia as a journalist, I realized that journalists in post-Soviet societies weren’t useful as an instrument of change.  The government didn’t trust us, and people didn’t believe the newspapers.  I saw, however, that a number of lawyers attached to ABA legal reform initiatives were doing really cool work.  That’s when I became interested in law.

What’s the best part about the law/being a lawyer?

The novelty of issues you can encounter almost on a daily basis; the creativity that goes into devising solutions; and, especially in the financial area recently, the degree that lawyers can be the interface between business and government.

Why did you become a lawyer?

I always wanted to back to the former Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc as a mid- or late-career lawyer to work on legal reform initiatives.  I still hope to someday

Former Visiting Professor Sandra Sperino Joins College of Law Staff

While the name ‘Sandra Sperino’ may be unfamiliar to current students, the Civil Procedure and Employment Law professor is well-acquainted with the College of Law.

After spending three years as an Assistant Professor of Law at the Temple University Beasley School of Law in Philadelphia, Sperino is beginning her second stint as member of the College of Law faculty at UC.

Sperino, who spent the 2007-08 school year as a visiting professor at the College of Law, has rejoined the faculty as an Associate Professor and is looking forward to her return to UC.

“I had a wonderful experience here as a Visiting Professor,” Sperino said. “UC students are smart, enthusiastic and hardworking.”

The national reputation of the UC faculty, as well as the Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice, were “big draw(s)” for Sperino when she was given the opportunity to work at the College of Law.

Sperino attended the University of Illinois, where she graduated summa cum laude and was the Editor-in-Chief of the University of Illinois Law Review.   After graduating in 1999, Sperino spent two years as a law clerk for the Honorable Donald J. Stohr, a federal judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.  Sperino stayed in St. Louis until 2005, working in Lewis, Rice & Fingersh’s litigation and labor and employment departments.

The Lawless Fellowship Program gave Sperino an opportunity to return to the University of Illinois College of Law as a visiting professor, which she did from January 2005 to August 2006.

“Right away I knew I enjoyed teaching students and the opportunity to engage in scholarship,” she said.

By Jordan Cohen, '13

Sean Mangan Joins Law Faculty to Focus on the Practical

Among the sea of new faces at the College of Law this fall will be that of Sean Mangan, who has joined the College as an Assistant Professor of Law.

Mangan, a 2002 University of Virginia School of Law graduate, will be teaching Transactional Drafting on Tuesdays and Thursdays this semester. In the spring, meanwhile, the Cincinnati native will be instructing two courses, he said.

“I am a professor of practice – similar to (Professor) Marjorie Aaron – teaching more of the practical aspects of being an attorney, with a focus on non-litigation practice,” Mangan said.

In his days as a law student, Mangan foresaw the possibility of one day being a law professor. Nearly a decade after earning his J.D., he has become just that.

Mangan grew up in Montgomery and attended the University of Notre Dame. He completed his undergraduate studies as a government major, earning a degree in Notre Dame’s version of political science. After spending four years in the Marine Corps following his undergraduate days, Mangan followed in his brother’s footsteps by attending law school. While in law school, Mangan worked on the Virginia Law Review. During his first and second summers, Mangan was a summer associate at Frost Brown Todd and Washington D.C.’s Wiley Rein & Fielding, respectively. Subsequent to graduating from UVA and passing the bar, he practiced litigation in Northern Virginia, just outside of D.C.

About a year later, Mangan and his wife Elizabeth – a Georgetown Law grad and currently the general counsel at Miller-Valentine Group – returned to Cincinnati. After two years of practice locally, Mangan opted to focus on benefits law. From 2004 through 2010, Mangan worked downtown at Graf & Stiebel, doing employee benefits, estate planning, and representation of closely held companies, he said.

The next stop for Mangan was an in-house position with one of Graft & Stiebel’s clients – MED3000. After eight months, he decided he did not want to move to Pittsburgh – where MED3000 is headquartered – and before long joined the College of Law.

Focusing on the Practical

Having wanted to teach law for many years, Mangan will be helping students learn and develop skills in non-litigation areas such as corporate acquisitions and small business representation. While law school teaches students to think as a lawyer, but not entirely how to practice as one, Mangan feels there is “room to compliment that with practical curriculum.”

“That’s my goal – that when you walk out (as a College of Law graduate) you are more ready to practice law than you would have been if we didn’t have the position.”

Mangan spent many of the weeks prior to the fall semester preparing for his Legal Drafting class and getting a feel for the school and the other faculty members.

In his free time, meanwhile, he enjoys running, reading, and fishing. Of course, as a father of three, most of his time away from the College will be devoted to his family.

The current Mount Lookout resident is also a passionate Cincinnatian, enjoying the city’s people, its parks, Findlay Market and “of course the Reds.”

As summer comes to a close, Mangan is excited about his new position as a College of Law professor. “I couldn’t write a position better for me than this,” he said. “I think it will be a lot of fun and I think it will provide value to the students.”


 By Jordan Cohen, ‘13

Development & Alumni Affairs Position a ‘Rewarding’ Experience for Mike Hogan

As Mike Hogan pointed out, not many people wake up each morning excited about going to work. But Hogan, the College of Law’s Associate Director of Development, is among those passionate about his job.

He began his career with the University of Cincinnati Foundation in May 2007 and is approaching his one year anniversary working solely for the College of Law.

Since settling into his current position on July 1, 2010, Hogan has been actively working toward “increasing philanthropic support for the law school.”

While, naturally, there is no ‘typical day’ for Hogan, some days it might go something like this: having breakfast with an alum, grabbing lunch with a donor, and meeting someone at their office to talk about the current $50 million fundraising campaign.

“It’s getting out and seeing people,” Hogan said of his role with the College. “Our job is not done in this physical office.”

Prior to joining the College of Law exclusively, Hogan spent four years with the Foundation as a regional director of development. His focus was on alumni outreach in the Southeast region, covering Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Texas. He also spent a lot of time in the Cleveland area, where the university has more than 7,000 alumni.

While most of his travels now are more regionally-based, considering most of the UC Law alums reside in Greater Cincinnati and around Ohio, the goal is the same: “increasing the sense of giving back to the College, creating an environment of support within the law school, and just overall building engagement opportunities for the alumni.”

Hogan, who additionally works with the UC Law Alumni Association in an advisory role, has also spearheaded a number of internal initiatives. Most recently, he and John Stiles – the College’s Associate Director of Admissions and Financial Aid – led a faculty/staff fundraising campaign that saw participation more than double since last year.

But like his co-worker Karen Sieber, Hogan did not envision working in development.

He grew up on Cincinnati’s West Side, graduating from LaSalle High School before receiving a communications and journalism degree from Northern Kentucky University. Hogan briefly worked in public relations before spending nearly five years in non-profit work, including in a fundraising role with the Boy Scouts of America.

“That opened my eyes to philanthropy, and when I realized I wanted to raise money on a larger scale, I looked at higher education and that led me to UC,” he said.

Now that he is at UC, and specifically with the College of Law, Hogan has fully embraced his role and overall profession.

 “Very few people get to form as many relationships in their career as I have,” Hogan said. “I think that’s probably one of the most rewarding things about this job.”

Hogan, a life-long “avid golfer” has since become an “avid father.” He and his wife, Lori, who works in research and development at Procter & Gamble, both enjoy travelling.

Among their many destinations, the West Chester residents visit Walt Disney World at least once every year, and have done so for many years. In the fall, the Hogans will take their daughters – Abby, 4, and Kelsey, 2 – down to Florida for their latest Disney trip.

But then it will be back to visiting with alumni and donors, though Hogan will likely make some connections while on vacation. 

By Jordan Cohen, ‘13

Senior Director of Development Karen Sieber Always Working, Thinking about UC Law

On Sunday, July 3, Karen Sieber will be at the All-England Club in London, viewing the Wimbledon gentlemen’s singles championship match with a friend.

Of course, even when talking about the prospect of attending the finals at tennis’ most prestigious event, the College of Law’s Senior Director of Development still has her job on her mind.

“Now that I think about it, I’ll have to see if there are any donors in London.” Sieber said. “See if I can see anybody over there.”

A large part of Sieber’s position with the College of Law involves meeting with alumni and building relationships with hopes of identifying potential donors.

But even when Sieber is not in her office or in the United States for that matter, her mind is always focused on how she can help strengthen the College’s alumni base and increase donations toward the current $50 million campaign.

“I am always thinking about the College of Law,” she said.

Sieber, who has been with the College since 2007, often finds herself “connecting [with people] and giving our elevator speech” wherever she may be at a given time. But that does not bother her one bit.

“That’s the fun part for me,” she said.

Sieber grew up in Cincinnati and received a communications degree from The Ohio State University. At that point, however, Sieber never envisioned working in development.

She got her start while working in admissions at Franklin College, a small school south of Indianapolis. At the suggestion of Franklin’s vice president for development, she started combining some admissions trips with alumni visits. 

Sieber spent about 10 years working in central Indiana, including a stint with a non-profit organization that ran international work-exchange programs and study tours with companies in Europe.

Mike Hogan, Peggy Ruwe, Ryan Mabry, Karen SieberShe then moved to New York City, where she worked for two fundraising-connected magazines and also spent time with the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s Park Avenue-based fundraising office.

Family and friends brought Sieber back to Ohio, where she first held a position at OSU, similar to that of her current role with the College of Law.

Now that Sieber is back in Cincinnati, she not only enjoys meeting UC Law alums and building great relationships, she has embraced working alongside fellow development employees Mike Hogan and Peggy Ruwe.

“One of the reasons that we are able to be successful is that we’re a great team,” she said.

Sieber, a self-described energetic and enthusiastic person, said they are constantly brainstorming new ideas and opportunities “to get in front of alums and get their attention and have them learn about what great things are going on at the law school… and then support it.”

The Walnut Hills High School graduate said one of her favorite parts of her job is meeting with small groups of alumni.

“I love that small-group feel,” she said, reflecting on past events locally, as well as those in places such as Phoenix, Nashville, New York City, and Washington, D.C. 

While there is still a lot of progress to be made regarding the current fundraising campaign, Sieber recognizes the key to a successful campaign and is enjoying the entire process.

“People, people, people. It’s all about the people,” she said. “Building great relationships with people [and] feeding off of their passion for the place.”

By Jordan Cohen, ‘13

Celebrity Golf Scramble

Sponsored by the Sports & Entertainment Law Society Date: Saturday July 16, 2011 Time: Beginning at noon Location: California Golf Course (5924 Kellogg Avenue Cincinnati, OH 45228) Cost: $150 Single Player, $70 Student Includes: Sponsored Lunch and Complimentary Drink Tickets; Awards Banquet with Catered Dinner and Cash Bar; Silent Auction Registration Deadline: July 6, 2011 What is it? Join us as we combine our passion for Sports, Entertainment, and the Law to benefit Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. We’re bringing together local attorneys, celebrities, alumni, administrators, and students for a day of food, golf, and philanthropy, while coming together on behalf of a common cause. Tournament Specifics Format: Four-person best ball scramble 18 holes Event Schedule 12:00 p.m. Registration & Lunch 1:00 p.m. Shotgun Start 5:30 p.m. Awards Banquet & Silent Auction Prizes So Far… Brand New Nissan from Busam Nissan Cash prizes Sponsorship Opportunities $4,000 Awards Banquet Sponsor * Invitation for 4 to awards banquet *Invitation for 4 to golf & lunch *Corporate banner displayed at banquet $3,000 Lunch Sponsor *Invitation for 4 to golf, lunch, & banquet *Corporate banner displayed at lunch $1,500 Cart Sponsor (15 Carts) *Invitation for 4 to golf, lunch, & banquet *Corporate literature in carts *Corporate logo on all cart signs $1000 Score Card Sponsor *Invitation for 4 to golf, lunch, & banquet *Corporate logo on all score cards. $750 Foursome & Hole Sponsor *Invitation for 4 to golf, lunch, & banquet *Sign on designated hole $600 Foursome Sponsor *Invitation for 4 to golf, lunch, & banquet $350 Hole Sponsor * Sign on designated hole Contact: Brad Blevins at 330-540-0571 or with any questions or to make a donation to the Silent Auction.