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OIP Exoneree Clarence Elkins Creates Clarence Elkins Scholarship for Top OIP Fellows


Clarence Elkins, who in 2005 was exonerated from a life sentence for murder by DNA testing with the help of the Ohio Innocence Project, has given a $5,000 gift to the Ohio Innocence Project (OIP) which hopes to renew annually. With this gift the OIP will establish the Clarence Elkins Fellows, which will be awarded each year to the OIP team the staff determines has worked the hardest and most diligently on its cases. OIP students work in teams of two, and each student in the winning team will receive $1,000.

Said Elkins, "When I was in prison, seeing how hard the OIP students worked on my case inspired me and gave me hope, something I had not had for years. Whenever they came to visit me in prison, it was a blessing. I created this scholarship to reward the hardest working team of students in the OIP each year, and to inspire future OIP fellows to work as hard on their cases as the OIP fellows did on my case years ago."

Today, Elkins and his wife Molly split their time between their home in New Lexington, Ohio and their log cabin on 20 acres in New Philadelphia, Ohio. He has engaged in significant public speaking and public awareness efforts for the OIP. In fact, his lobbying efforts were instrumental in getting SB77 passed. SB77, often called the "model" Innocence Protection Act anywhere in the United States, was passed in 2010. It contains numerous reforms in police procedures that reduce the risk of wrongful conviction.

The OIP has helped more than 10 individuals obtain their freedom on grounds of innocence since its founding in 2003.

The Law and Leadership Institute at the University of Cincinnati College of Law


June 29, 2015 - July 31, 2015
9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
The application is available here: Application for Law and Leadership Institute

Applications accepted until class is full. Space is limited!

About the Program

The Law and Leadership Institute, LLC is a state-wide initiative in collaboration with University of Cincinnati College of Law that inspires and prepares high school students for postsecondary and professional success through legally-based curricula and leadership training. 

In the first summer, students learn about criminal law, take field trips, meet attorneys and judges, and compete in a mock trial. Throughout the remaining four years, in addition to academic skill building, students gain SAT/ACT preparation and complete internships within local law offices.

Who is eligible for LLI? Eighth grade students can apply during the spring of their 8th grade year.

When does it start? The 2015 Summer Institute runs from June 29 – July 31 from 9:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. The Academic Year program begins September 2015.

What does it cost? The program, lunch and transportation are FREE. Additionally, students can earn a stipend upon successful completion of the program.

To learn more or to nominate a student for the program, visit www.lawandleadership.org!

The Law & Leadership Institute at the College of Law


June 27, 2011 – July 29, 2011
9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Application Deadline: April 8, 2011

The College of Law continues to accept applications for the 2011 Law & Leadership Institute (LLI), held June 27 – July 29, 2011.  Targeted to high school students, LLI—born out of collaboration with the Ohio State Bar Association, the Supreme Court of Ohio, and the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education—is designed to increase diversity in the legal profession. The program was recently recognized by the ABA for its pipeline work throughout the State of Ohio. LLI received an honorable mention in the Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Award Competition for Excellence in Pipeline Diversity. 

LLI, now in its third year at the College of Law, is directed by Assistant Dean for Professional Development Mina Jones Jefferson and Assistant Dean for Admissions & Financial Aid Al Watson. They are assisted by law student teachers and an educator from Cincinnati Public Schools. 

LLI begins the summer after the eighth grade year. Students attend class at the College of Law five (5) days a week learning basic legal constructs and theory, meeting with guest speakers from all areas of the legal profession, attending field trips, and completing a final project which involves conducting a mock trial competition. 

Successful participants are those students who are motivated to succeed once opportunity and access are provided. Participants may or may not want to become attorneys; however, they will learn skills that will help them continue to succeed in school and in life. 

This free program meets daily, 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., includes lunch and snacks and may include transportation.  Students who successfully conclude the program will earn $200! For more information and to apply, contact Dean Jefferson at 513/556-0075 or Dean Watson at 513/556-0077. For more information, visit the LLI website at http://www.lawandleadership.org/

The Law & Leadership Institute at the College of Law : History


July 6, 2010 - August 6, 2010

    9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

    Event Photos

    The Law and Leadership Summer Institute (LLI), sponsored by the Ohio State Bar Association and others, is a rigorous, five-week program held at UC Law, designed to provide a basic understanding of the study and practice of law. Participants learn skills in leadership, writing and self-expression, test-taking, and studying that will be crucial to their success as students and future professionals. In addition to making friends with like-minded, intelligent and talented students, LLI students will meet successful legal professionals, including judges and lawyers, who will not only inspire, but advise and support.

    The Summer Institute is held in six Ohio cities at eight law schools. Participating locations include the following:

    • University of Akron's C. Blake McDowell Law Center
    • University of Cincinnati College of Law
    • Case Western Reserve University School of Law(Cleveland)
    • Cleveland State University's Cleveland-Marshall School of Law
    • Capital University Law School(Columbus)
    • The Ohio University's Moritz College of Law(Columbus)
    • The University of Dayton School of Law
    • The University of Toledo College of Law

    The LLI program features course work in criminal law and court procedures taught by Ohio law students, with the assistance of high school teachers. The intensive program includes field trips to courtrooms and law offices. It concludes with a mock trial competition, giving participants a chance to test their skills in front of not only practicing judges and lawyers, but also their friends and family members.

    The program participants will continue to take Saturday and summer classes throughout high school, learning skills and concepts that will help if they pursue careers in the field. Along the way, they will get to spend four-day internships at law-firms, and receive assistance with studying for college admission tests and filling out college applications. 

    For more information, visit the LLI website at http://www.lawandleadership.org/

    The Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic Opens Its Doors to Students and Clients


    The start of spring semester marked the official kick off of the College of Law’s newest clinical experience for students: the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic (ECDC). In the works for several years, the ECDC is the result of several forces: Professor Barbara Black’s, Corporate Law Center director and Charles Hartsock Professor of Law, proposal to start a small business clinic and the desire to enhance clinical offerings for students. Last year after a national search, Professor Lewis Goldfarb, then a visiting clinical professor at Wayne State University,  was asked to lead and develop the clinic. On board since August 2010, he has spent a large portion of the fall semester conducting community outreach activities to “get the word out” about the ECDC and the services it would provide. 

    Clinic Brings Together Students and Professionals

    In its first semester of operation, the ECDC will be staffed by six 3L students who will work directly with clients using their certification as legal interns.  “The ECDC provides students with the opportunity for hands-on experiences in representing clients before they graduate,” said Goldfarb, “and, perhaps more significantly, it allows them to recognize the value that they bring to their clients in being able to relate to and connect with them while helping them solve their legal problems.”  Students participating in the clinic receive three out-of-classroom credits and one in-class credit.

    In addition to himself and the students participating in the ECDC, Goldfarb has also been reaching out to members of the private bar in an effort to recruit local lawyers for pro bono commitments.  “Local attorneys can act as clinic advisors, consulting with me and the students on various issues as they arise, particularly in nuanced legal areas in which their particular experiences may make them better equipped to provide the best learning experience for the students,” said Goldfarb.  Along that same line, local attorneys could also aid the clinic by volunteering to teach a class regarding their area of expertise to supplement the classroom component of the students’ experience.  “Ideally,” he said, “I’d like for this clinic to be both a student program and a pro bono assistance program so that we don’t end up having to turn away businesses who are otherwise eligible to receive assistance from the clinic.”  Goldfarb indicated that he already has commitments from several local attorneys to assist with the clinic. "Several lawyers have graciously agreed to be clinic advisors; however, we need more in order to meet the anticipated demand for our services and have the impact that I envision."

    Making a Difference in Cincinnati’s Small Business Community

    The clinic targets as clients small business owners, both for-profit and nonprofit, who are confronting legal issues but are unable to afford private attorneys.  “Their chances for success improve with legal services,” said Goldfarb, “so the ECDC seeks to help by providing free legal services.”  Goldfarb also indicated that, especially in difficult economic times, many people turn to starting their own businesses as a way for supporting themselves and their families.  "Our services are especially important in today’s economic climate. The business owners want to spend their money on revenue-producing activities, not attorneys,” said Goldfarb, “and this clinic allows them to do that while still receiving legal assistance.”  Goldfarb’s hope is that, as these businesses succeed and grow, they will be able to not only afford private legal counsel but also to hire additional employees, thus benefiting the entire community.  “In this way,” he said, “this clinic can make a real difference in Cincinnati.”

    Businesses can become involved with the clinic through its application process, which involves answering several questions about the business, its legal needs, and its financial situation.  For new businesses, Goldfarb expects that they have a business plan created, in order to show that they are truly dedicated to their business idea and making it succeed.  “Based on the application,” Goldfarb said, “I make a determination as to whether the applicant has the means to afford legal services, as well as whether the legal issues presented lend themselves to beneficial student learning experiences.”  Even before the clinic has officially opened for business, ten clients are lined up.  They are anxiously awaiting help from our students.

    In addition to directly serving local clients, Professor Goldfarb has also arranged public education opportunities for the students.  “There are many organizations in the community that provide training to small business owners; however, little of that training addresses the legal aspects of owning and operating a business," Goldfarb explained.  To meet this need, he has arranged for the students to make presentations to these organizations; Goldfarb already has commitments from a few local organizations, including teaching legal concepts to students majoring in "entrepreneurship" at UC's College of Business. "Based on my own experience, teaching is a great way to learn."

    The Work of the Clinic

    The ECDC is a transactional law clinic, meaning that instead of representing clients in court, the students will primarily be assisting them with business transactions.  This includes helping clients determine what type of entity to establish, and then helping them establish that entity; preparing, reviewing, and negotiating contracts; helping them obtain necessary licenses and permits, and meet other regulations that impact the business; providing trademark or copyright advice; and addressing other legal issues as they arise.  Goldfarb anticipates having two to three clients per student per semester, although at times students will work on projects in teams of two.  “I believe working in a team can be a really positive experience,” he said. “In addition, it’s another real-world-type aspect of the clinic, as many practicing attorneys work together in representing clients.” 

    Thinking toward the future, Goldfarb would love to expand the clinic to include more students each semester.  “I would love to increase the number of students who have the opportunity to experience what the ECDC has to offer them in terms of practical experiences,” he said.  This includes not only more 3L students, but possibly 2Ls one day, who might have the opportunity to participate in ways that do not involve direct client representation.  “I would also love to expand the number of clients the ECDC can serve at a time,” Goldfarb noted, “in order to enhance the impact on the local community.”  He also indicated that he would like to see the clinic become multi-disciplinary at some point in the future, so that businesses could get various types of assistance—beyond legal services—in one place. "My vision for the future of the clinic will require collaboration among the UC College of Law, other colleges at UC, and the local legal and business communities, including an investment of time, money, and resources.  I believe the impact on our students, local businesses, and the local economy will be well worth the investment."

    A Buckeye Native Comes Home

    A native Ohioan, he grew up in Sandusky, Ohio and is a self-described “double Buckeye:” attending the Ohio State University for both undergraduate and law school.  He had several careers before coming to the College of Law. He worked as a CPA for several years before attending law school. After graduating he worked at Baker & Hostetler in the business section. Next, he provided transactional legal services to Honda of America for 16 years as its Associate Chief Counsel; and he was an entrepreneur himself, running a tutoring company in central Ohio.  “I enjoyed the various jobs I held,” he says, “but I was never fulfilled enough; I hadn’t yet found the job I was passionate about.”   

    When his sister, also a law professor, told him of an opening at Lewis & Clark’s law school to teach its small business legal clinic, Goldfarb seized the opportunity and moved to Portland for a year.  He enjoyed his time in Portland and found self-fullillment in teaching the clinical experience.  His wife and two sons remained in Ohio, however; so when he heard about the position with the College of Law he quickly applied, recognizing that it would be a great career fit and would bring him closer to his family. 

    “I really feel privileged to be in this position,” he commented, “and to be able to share with students my knowledge and experience that I have accumulated over the years.  I think I have found a job I am truly passionate about.”

    Pro Bono Week Gives Students Inside Scoop on Clinics


    UC Law’s Public Interest Law Group (PILG) celebrated National Pro Bono Week, October 26-31, 2009, giving students a “behind-the-scenes” look at three of the law school’s clinical pro bono opportunities.  

    Sponsored by the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service, National Pro Bono Week is a coordinated national effort to showcase the great difference that pro bono lawyers make to the nation, its system of justice, its communities and, most of all, to the clients they serve. The week is also dedicated to the quest for more pro bono volunteers to meet the ever-growing legal needs of this country's most vulnerable citizens. During the week, interested 1Ls and 2Ls got the chance to shadow upper level students and pro bono lawyers working with three of the College of Law’s clinical experiences: the Domestic Violence & Civil Protection Order Clinic, the Ohio Innocence Project, and the Indigent Defense Clinic.

    Students got an inside look at domestic relations’ court proceedings and learned how the Domestic Violence Clinic assists victims and provides representation in civil protection order hearings. They also heard lawyers and students with the Ohio Innocence Project evaluate individual cases of wrongful conviction and see how they construct arguments for exoneration. Students that signed up for the Indigent Defense Clinic experience observed third year students utilizing their limited practice licenses representing indigent clients in felony and misdemeanor charges in Hamilton County Courts.  

    Here’s what three students thought about their experience:

    Lauren Cook“I had an opportunity to  shadow students involved in the Domestic Violence Clinic.  It was an invaluable experience because it gave me an inside look at how I could best use my legal education to make a real difference in my community. Being a first year law student can be overwhelming at times because there are so many opportunities to get involved and make a difference. The ability to shadow the various institutes and clinics the College of Law provides gave me the chance to reflect on what I want to do with my legal education.  By seeing what my peers are able to do with their talents and skills, I am slowly but surely figuring out where I might end up in a few short years.” Lauren Cook '12

     

    Angela Neyer “During Public Interest Week at the law school, I had the opportunity to talk with current members of the Ohio Innocence Project (OIP).  Over lunch, we discussed what the fellows in the project actually do, heard a bit about their caseload and past work, and discussed in detail a case that they are currently working on.  It was fascinating to hear about how their work not only helps to free innocent men who have been wrongly imprisoned, but also, in many cases, indicates the real perpetrator.  Far from the simple process depicted on TV shows, the work of the OIP fellows in releasing innocent men from prison involves complex legal and genetic issues. As an informal, conversational discussion, the meeting provided us with information tailored to our own questions, and thus was more informative than a lecture and put a real face on the problem of innocent men in prison.” Angela Neyer '12    

    Kaushiki Chowdhury“I shadowed a student interning at the Indigent Defense Clinic. During my visit, we made several client visits on several of the cases the student was working with. Talking with the student, I learned more of what an internship at the IDC is about. I was surprised that students have so much freedom and flexibility with their caseload. They actually get direct client interaction allowing them to put theory/law into practical experience. Criminal law, specifically public defense, is an area I am very interested in and I think the clinic would be very helpful to anyone who is interested in criminal law -- whether on the prosecution or defense side. It gives students practical, hands-on experience working with indigent clients. After shadowing a student, I am most definitely hoping to work at the IDC during my 3L year.” Kaushiki Chowdhury '11

    The Law & Leadership Institute at the College of Law : History


    July 6, 2010 - August 6, 2010
    9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

    The Law and Leadership Summer Institute (LLI), sponsored by the Ohio State Bar Association and others, is a rigorous, five-week program held at UC Law, designed to provide a basic understanding of the study and practice of law. Participants learn skills in leadership, writing and self-expression, test-taking, and studying that will be critical to their success as students and future professionals. In addition to making friends with like-minded, intelligent and talented students, LLI students will meet successful legal professionals, including judges and lawyers, who will not only inspire, but advise and support.

    The Summer Institute is held in six Ohio cities at eight Ohio law schools. Participating locations include the following:

    • University of Akron’s C. Blake McDowell Law Center
    • University of Cincinnati College of Law
    • Case Western Reserve University School of Law (Cleveland)
    • Cleveland State University’s Cleveland-Marshall School of Law
    • Capital University Law School (Columbus)
    • The Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law (Columbus)
    • The University of Dayton School of Law
    • The University of Toledo College of law

    The LLI program features course work in criminal law and court procedures taught by Ohio law students, with the assistance of high school teachers. The intensive program includes field trips to courtrooms and law offices. It concludes with a mock trial competition, giving participants a chance to test their skills in front of not only practicing judges and lawyers, but also their friends and family members.

    The program participants will continue to take Saturday and summer classes throughout high school, learning skills and concepts that will help if they purse careers in the field. Along the way, they will get to spend four-day internships at law firms, and receive assistance with studying for college admission tests and filling out college applications.

    For more information, visit the LLI website at http://www.lawandleadership.org/

    Pro Bono Week Gives Students Inside Scoop on Clinics


    UC Law’s Public Interest Law Group (PILG) celebrated National Pro Bono Week, October 26-31, 2009, giving students a “behind-the-scenes” look at three of the law school’s clinical pro bono opportunities.  

    Sponsored by the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service, National Pro Bono Week is a coordinated national effort to showcase the great difference that pro bono lawyers make to the nation, its system of justice, its communities and, most of all, to the clients they serve. The week is also dedicated to the quest for more pro bono volunteers to meet the ever-growing legal needs of this country's most vulnerable citizens. During the week, interested 1Ls and 2Ls got the chance to shadow upper level students and pro bono lawyers working with three of the College of Law’s clinical experiences: the Domestic Violence & Civil Protection Order Clinic, the Ohio Innocence Project, and the Indigent Defense Clinic.

    Students got an inside look at domestic relations’ court proceedings and learned how the Domestic Violence Clinic assists victims and provides representation in civil protection order hearings. They also heard lawyers and students with the Ohio Innocence Project evaluate individual cases of wrongful conviction and see how they construct arguments for exoneration. Students that signed up for the Indigent Defense Clinic experience observed third year students utilizing their limited practice licenses representing indigent clients in felony and misdemeanor charges in Hamilton County Courts.  

    Here’s what three students thought about their experience:

    Lauren Cook“I had an opportunity to  shadow students involved in the Domestic Violence Clinic.  It was an invaluable experience because it gave me an inside look at how I could best use my legal education to make a real difference in my community. Being a first year law student can be overwhelming at times because there are so many opportunities to get involved and make a difference. The ability to shadow the various institutes and clinics the College of Law provides gave me the chance to reflect on what I want to do with my legal education.  By seeing what my peers are able to do with their talents and skills, I am slowly but surely figuring out where I might end up in a few short years.” Lauren Cook '12

     

    Angela Neyer “During Public Interest Week at the law school, I had the opportunity to talk with current members of the Ohio Innocence Project (OIP).  Over lunch, we discussed what the fellows in the project actually do, heard a bit about their caseload and past work, and discussed in detail a case that they are currently working on.  It was fascinating to hear about how their work not only helps to free innocent men who have been wrongly imprisoned, but also, in many cases, indicates the real perpetrator.  Far from the simple process depicted on TV shows, the work of the OIP fellows in releasing innocent men from prison involves complex legal and genetic issues. As an informal, conversational discussion, the meeting provided us with information tailored to our own questions, and thus was more informative than a lecture and put a real face on the problem of innocent men in prison.” Angela Neyer '12    

    Kaushiki Chowdhury“I shadowed a student interning at the Indigent Defense Clinic. During my visit, we made several client visits on several of the cases the student was working with. Talking with the student, I learned more of what an internship at the IDC is about. I was surprised that students have so much freedom and flexibility with their caseload. They actually get direct client interaction allowing them to put theory/law into practical experience. Criminal law, specifically public defense, is an area I am very interested in and I think the clinic would be very helpful to anyone who is interested in criminal law -- whether on the prosecution or defense side. It gives students practical, hands-on experience working with indigent clients. After shadowing a student, I am most definitely hoping to work at the IDC during my 3L year.” Kaushiki Chowdhury '11

    Ohio Innocence Project Helps Man Clear His Name After Wrongful Conviction


    Date: 3/6/2009 12:00:00 AM
    By: Carey Hoffman
    Phone: (513) 556-1825

    Joseph R. Fears, Jr., has been incarcerated since being convicted in connection to a pair of rapes committed in Columbus, Ohio, in 1983. Recently identified DNA evidence from one of the rapes found during a records review not only ruled out Fears as having committed that crime, but also showed the DNA to be a match to material in a national FBI DNA database. That DNA came from a felon, since deceased, from Michigan, who further investigation by Franklin County authorities showed was in the Columbus area at the time of the crime.
    Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien has prepared a motion to the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas to vacate Fears’ convictions related to that rape, which should pave the way for Fears immediate release from prison.

    Read More Here.