Menu Toggle menu

Professor Kristin Kalsem Elected Section Secretary at AALS Meeting

Professor Kristin Kalsem attended the AALS conference in New York City in January, 2016. She was elected secretary of the Section on Law and Interpretation and to the Executive Boards of the Sections on Law and Humanities and Commercial and Related Consumer Law.

Professor Janet Moore Invited to Facilitate Meeting for Justice Department Fellows

Professor Janet Moore, with Andrew Davies, Ph.D., accepted an invitation to facilitate the first meeting of U.S. Department of Justice Smart Defense Fellows. The Fellows are public defenders and researchers who received approximately $2.5 million in federal grants to improve public defense.  Dr. Davies and Professor Moore will facilitate this meeting in Washington, D.C. on February 3, 2016.  This invitation resulted from Professor Moore’s work with Dr. Davies creating IDRA, the Indigent Defense Research Association.

Godsey Appointed to European Innocence Network Board

Professor Mark Godsey accepted a board position on the new European Innocence Network and will lecture at the Network's upcoming conference in Prague, Czech Republic in June, 2016.

Professor Mark Godsey Invited to Speak in Japan

Professor Mark Godsey was invited to present a closing lecture at the symposium launching the Japan Innocence Project in March, 2016.  He will present at events in Tokyo and Kyoto.

Dean Joseph Tomain Publishes Several Works

Dean Emeritus and Professor Joseph P. Tomain published a short article, Clean Power and the Democratization of Energy in the US, 17 Network Industries Quarterly 3 (No. 3 2015) (peer reviewed).

He also contributed to The Clean Power Plan: Issues to Watch (2015) (a White paper published by the Center for Progressive Reform) available here.

Finally, Dean Tomain’s peer reviewed article, Clean Power and the Future of US Energy Politics and Policy, was accepted for publication in Utilities Policy.

Dean Joseph Tomain Publishes New Book on Energy Law

Dean Emeritus and Professor Joseph P. Tomain’s book, Energy Law in the United States of America, co-authored with Lincoln L. Davies was published on December 18, 2015.

Dean Joseph Tomain Delivers Several Presentations

Dean Emeritus and Professor Joseph P. Tomain delivered a 3 hour seminar on Energy Law and Policy Past and Future to the trial and appellate attorneys at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. He also gave a lecture to the Law Faculty and to the Mining Faculty at the University of Lorraine in Nance, France titled Shale and Coal Gas Development in the United States.

Professor Mark Godsey Publishes on Global Innocence Movement

Professor Mark Godsey submitted a chapter entitled “The Global Innocence Movement” for the book, Wrongful Convictions and the DNA Revolution: Twenty-Five Years of Freeing the Innocent," to be published by the Cambridge University Press.

Professor Mark Godsey Appointed to State-wide Task Force Examining Grand Jury System

Professor Mark Godsey, director of the Ohio Innocence Project at the College of Law, has been appointed to a state-wide task force charged with recommending way to improve how grand juries function.

Mark GodseyCincinnati, OH – Professor Mark Godsey, director of the Ohio Innocence Project at the College of Law, has been appointed to a state-wide task force charged with recommending ways to improve how grand juries function.

Supreme Court of Ohio Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor announced on January 28, 2016 the formation of the Task Force to Examine Improvements to the Ohio Grand Jury System.

The concept of a grand jury has been part of the federal system since 1791 and a constant in the Ohio Constitution’s Bill of Rights as far back as 1802. Every state constitutional revision since has preserved the protection of the grand jury.

“To be clear, this task force is being asked to recommend ways to improve the functioning of grand juries and to see what additional steps can be taken to improve the public’s confidence in our justice system,” Chief Justice O’Connor said in a media release about the task force. “It is not being asked to determine whether the grand jury system should be eliminated.”

The task force will be chaired by Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge Stephen L. McIntosh. It includes a diverse group of 18 professionals who are judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, law professors, legislators, members of law enforcement, and community leaders.

The task force will hold its first meeting on Feb. 17, 2016 from 6-8 p.m. at the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center, 65 S. Front St., Columbus. The meeting is open to the public, but seating is limited. The task force has been asked to submit its final report and recommendations by June 15, 2016.

Task force members include:

  •  Judge Stephen L. McIntosh – Franklin County Common Pleas Court (chair) 
  • Prosecutor Daniel R. Lutz – Wayne County (vice chair)
  • Sen. Kevin Bacon – District 3 • Sen. Edna Brown – District 11
  •  Judge Joyce A. Campbell – Fairfield Municipal Court
  • Rep. Robert R. Cupp – District 4
  • Judge Michelle D. Earley – Cleveland Municipal Court
  • Judge William R. Finnegan – Marion County Common Pleas Court
  • Judge Steven E. Gall – Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court
  • Professor Mark A. Godsey – University of Cincinnati College of Law
  • Judge Michael R. Goulding – Lucas County Common Pleas Court
  • Colonel Chief Eliot Isaac – City of Cincinnati Police Department
  • President/CEO Janet E. Jackson – United Way of Central Ohio
  • Judge Melissa A. Powers – Hamilton County Municipal Court
  • Professor Ric Simmons – The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law
  • Rep. Fred Strahorn – District 39
  • Defense Attorney Roger Synenberg – Synenberg, Coletta & Moran, LLC
  • Judge Stephen A. Wolaver – Greene County Common Pleas Court

Saying Goodbye: Professor Marianna Brown Bettman Retires from College of Law

After 15 years of pushing University of Cincinnati Law Students to be better than they knew they could be, Professor Marianna Bettman is retiring this fall.

Since starting her professional career, she has been recognized at many levels—for teaching excellence, for her contributions to the legal profession, and for her advocacy.  Surprisingly, however, law was not always Professor Bettman’s goal when she graduated from the University of Cincinnati with honors 1966.

Allowing the idea of law school to take root was not an immediate process even after graduation. “My mother always thought that I should be a lawyer, but of course - and mothers are always right - it took me a while longer to realize it,” said Bettman.

Though for many people the decision to go to law school and applying is a momentous one, not so for Bettman. Professor Bettman decided to pick up an application while horseback riding through Glen Woods, she walked into the law school wearing a pair of blue jeans and an old pair of cowboy boots! She admits that, after being out of school for 10 years, taking the LSAT was difficult, but she received her admission offer on her 30th birthday.

“I almost didn’t go, because I thought I was too old at the time,” she laughed. “But then, I thought, you know, I know a lot of lawyers in their 80s who are still practicing, so maybe I’m not too old!”

Professor Bettman excelled while at law school, graduating in 1977. Here she was a winner of the Constitutional law Prize and was the first woman at the College to take first prize in Trial Advocacy. “There were truly, virtually no women trial lawyers then….there were almost no role models who were women, it was very difficult. Women really got a hard time from a lot of judges, it was like double duty, proving yourself, having to be better than the best.”

Legal Education Then and Now

Educating students today is different from when Bettman was in school in the 70s. Back then, clinical experiences weren’t offered. Now, there’s a greater focus on experiential, hands-on learning, which—she believes—today’s students benefit from.

Although Bettman is a “double Bearcat”, holding both her undergraduate and law degrees from the University, she doesn’t think a student’s undergraduate major influences his or her success as a law student. While she herself held a degree in history, what helped her most was the logical disciplined style she honed along the way, a skill that can be gained from any field of study.

After spending 15 years as a trial lawyer, Professor Bettman was elected to the Ohio First District Court of Appeals in 1992, a court which, at that time, was over 100 years old. She has the distinction of being the first woman elected to this Court.

“There were times when I was on that Court where we’d have certain subjects, like domestic relations cases come up. All of my colleagues would look at me and go, ‘Well?’ So some of those ways of  thinking got carried over. But once they got used to me, it was absolutely fine.”

She acknowledged that in the beginning there were rough patches, and some colleagues didn’t know how to deal with a woman being on the court, but that they came around and everything worked out.

Bettman says her favorite part about this Court was being involved in a wide variety of subject areas. She would kid people that being on the Court of Appeals was like being back in law school, but actually understanding what you were doing. Because of the broad interest scope, she was never bored.

After spending six years on the Ohio First District Court of Appeals, she returned to the University for a third time, but as a teacher rather than a student.

Educating Generations of Attorneys

When asked what’s the best part of teaching, Professor Bettman gave an interesting response “Teaching first year, first semester torts, but for two reasons,” she said. She loves seeing pieces fall into place for students who are just starting law school. And because torts has a lot of societal issues wrapped into it, the story behind them is usually interesting, giving students a way to enjoy the class even if they don’t love the subject.

“Just to see that light go on is so much fun for me. And in that semester, they’re just like sponges, they want to absorb everything,” she explained. 

In spite of her passion for teaching, or perhaps because of it, she’s also heard tell that students call her a highly demanding teacher, a rumor she won’t deny or dispute. She will, however, make clear the distinction between demanding and mean. She remarked that she was recently paid a huge compliment from a coworker, who told her “You made it okay to be demanding.”

“I’m very demanding of myself, so why would I expect anything less of anyone else? And as a result, I get tremendous effort from students,” she said.

In addition to teaching, Professor Bettman directed the College’s Judge-in-Residence Program as well as the Judicial Extern Program.

Celebrating the Professor

To mark her retirement, as is tradition at the College of Law, Bettman was celebrated during her last class. The day, December 3, 2015, was officially proclaimed “Marianna Brown Bettman Day” via a proclamation by Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley. In addition, she has been awarded Professor Emeritus status by the University’s Board of Trustees, cementing her lifelong relationship with the College and the University.

Although she’s retiring, no one should expect Professor Bettman to simply disappear, she says. She’s looking forward to having greater control over her time, but still plans to dedicate part of it to the law school. She wants students to know they can still keep in touch or ask her for help if needed.

Students can also keep up with her through her blog, Legally Speaking Ohio, and monthly newspaper column, Legally Speaking, which is featured in the American Israelite and the Cincinnati Herald.

She shared some parting words of wisdom, encouraging students to get outside their comfort zones and explore before settling into one area.

“Be open to trying as many different things as you can...You never know, something may spark your fancy that you knew absolutely nothing about or thought you would’ve had no interest in whatsoever,” she urged. “Engage in as broad a set of activities as you can before you settle down into the area you think you’re really interested in because it could be something very different from what you think when you arrive here.” 

Here’s What Others Are Saying About Professor Bettman

Judge Karen Nelson Moore, United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit: Marianna is an accomplished advocate, preeminent practitioner, judicious jurist, praised professor and talented teacher.

Judge Nathaniel Jones, Of Counsel, Blank Rome LLP: There’s no way I can adequately characterize Marianna. She is a civil rights advocate. She was for civil rights before civil rights were cool! And she never abandoned her commitment to that.

Professor Ronna Greff Schneider: She showed us that being a lawyer also means being a leader.

Samantha Rheingold, SBA President: Thanks Professor Bettman for being an integral part of all the students’ experience at UC Law.

Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, Ohio Supreme Court: Marianna Bettman is a ceiling ‘shatterer.’ 

Check out photos from her Last Class on Dec. 3, 2015!  Bettman's Last Class


Author: Michelle Flanagan'18, UC Honors Student