Cincinnati Law Professors Honored at University Faculty Awards Celebration
The University of Cincinnati presented its All-University Faculty Awards to 15 faculty members and one team in a celebration of teaching excellence on Tuesday, April 17, 2018. Three College of Law faculty members were honored.
Professor Emily Houh, the Gustavus Henry Wald Professor of the Law and Contracts | Co-director, Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice
Presented with: the Distinguished Teaching Professor. This award represents the highest level of recognition for achievements and contributions in university teaching. It recognizes long-term commitment to excellence, and is awarded to instructors who represent the ideals of the educational profession and have made impactful contributions in teaching, curricular development, and the mentoring and supervision of students.
When Emily Houh, JD, first began teaching, her father, a university math professor known for his seemingly never-ending well of patience, offered her sage advice that’s come to be a guiding principal in how she approaches education.
In every class you teach, regardless of how good or bad a teacher you are, Houh’s father told her, there will be 10 percent of the class who will get the material and 10 percent who will not. The challenge, he said, is how to reach the 80 percent of students for whom it will matter how good of a teacher you are.
“You have to pay attention to the students at the ends, but you’ve got to pitch mostly to those in the middle, and it’s really challenging to do all three of those things simultaneously,” said Houh. “That advice carries me through in all of my teaching. That’s how you reach the most students.”
Reaching students across the spectrum has never been a challenge for Houh, say her students, who consistently give her among the highest teaching ratings and thrice awarded her the college’s Goldman Prize for Teaching Excellence. Two students even asked Houh to officiate their weddings.
Beyond the classroom, Houh works tirelessly to bring innovative programming to campus and create unique professional opportunities for students through her role as co-director of the college’s Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice.
Colleague Professor Kristin Kalsem, whose office is next to Houh’s, sees the dedicated law professor’s commitment to student success on a daily basis in the hours she spends with students — both current and former — discussing papers, exams, careers or just life.
“Professor Houh does much more than share her knowledge; she shares herself,” said Kalsem. “She is outstanding in the classroom, but truly extraordinary outside it.”
Janet Moore, Associate Professor of Law
Presented with: Mrs. A.B. "Dolly" Cohen Award for Excellence in Teaching. This award recognizes individuals committed to excellence in teaching, demonstrating creativity, respect for diverse opinions and experiences, and provides an atmosphere that fosters self-confidence, positive self-concept and mutual respect.
When the UC College of Law first asked Janet Moore, JD, to teach classes, the capital defense attorney and policy advocate decided to test a hypothesis: “Would I be able to accomplish more system change from this position than I was doing by case-by-case litigation or policy research and advocacy?”
It wasn’t long before Moore, now a law professor at UC, had her answer.
“I still get to do that policy-oriented research and advocacy, but now I get to teach it,” she said. “It’s such an honor to be a part of raising up the next generation of change-makers.”
For Moore, it’s that tireless dedication to pursuing justice that’s earned her a reputation as an exceptional educator who devotes an incredible amount of her time both in and outside of the classroom to ensure student engagement and success.
Students regularly say that Moore’s classes are among the most challenging — and memorable — of their law school careers.
Students prosecute houseplants and question stuffed animals on the witness stand. Lesson plans are supplemented with vintage film clips, card games and the opera Don Giovanni. Classes sing the Federal Rules of Evidence recorded to the tune of nursery rhymes.
Last year, Moore allowed first-year law students to work with her on an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court, which cited the brief in its majority opinion — an experience the jubilant students described as “surreal,” “profound,” and the “highlight” of their year.
“Janet is a professor who sets high expectations for her students, balancing both joy and rigor in the classroom. Her classes reflect the kind of deep learning that represents the highest standards of teaching,” said Verna Williams, the college’s interim dean and Nippert Professor of Law.
Professor Michael Solimine and Professor Emily Houh
Inductees: Fellows of the Graduate School
Professor Michael Solimine, the Donald P. Klekamp Professor of Law, and Professor Emily Houh also were inducted as Fellows of the Graduate School. This honor recognizes distinguished researchers and scholars from across the university. In addition to their outstanding individual accomplishments, Fellow are among the most accomplished graduate-student mentors at UC.
Writer: Rachel Richardson, UC Public Relations
Perspective: My Time with Judge Shira Scheindlin
Want to hear more from Judge Scheindlin? Check out the video
Before attending law school, I asked every lawyer I met what to expect. Nobody could condense the experience into one conversation, but one UC Law graduate’s words stuck with me. “Learning the law,” he said, “is like learning a whole new language. It’s a different world.” That has been the most apt description of my experience so far. Law school is a whole new world, one full of dense and oftentimes dissonant concepts that students must grow to not just understand, but synthesize and draw upon to form our own arguments. Immersing myself in these new concepts has been rewarding, but has left me feeling somewhat disconnected from the “real” world. Judge Scheindlin’s visit was a much-needed reminder of what brought me to law school, and what is waiting on the other side.
I was fortunate to attend several of Judge Scheindlin’s presentations. She, along with Judge Michael Barrett, explained to the first-year Lawyering classes what federal district judges look for in advocates. The judges both pressed the importance of brevity when discussing the commonalities of great briefs. Briefs, they explained, are 75% of an advocate’s argument—by the time oral arguments take place, it can be difficult to shift a judge’s mind. Great briefs are simple, clear, and organized. Great advocates speak slowly, answer the question asked, and never show disrespect to opposing counsel.
The traits both judges placed the most importance on helped me to understand the reality of the courtroom. As a 29-year old first-year, I am well acquainted with the working world. Still, listening to these judges discuss what they value in their courtrooms gave me a sense of awed recognition, akin to the feelings evoked by a photo of Mila Kunis buying ice cream at midnight—Stars! They’re just like us! Being thoughtful, succinct, and respectful will serve me as well in the courtroom as it has in every other position I’ve held. “Trust what you know,” one of my professors often says, and it seems that will hold true in all areas.
The judges, while eminently respectable, were also disarmingly candid. They shared tips for conquering nerves (write your argument longhand; practice in the mirror until you can’t stand the sight of yourself) and relatable stories from their own law school days (Judge Barrett, like most of us at UC Law, has been known to head straight to Woody’s after an exam). As a layperson, I’d always considered judges one step below deities in their power and presence. Spending time with Judges Scheindlin and Barrett wasn’t just a welcome glimpse of judges’ humanity, but also a reminder that I could be sitting in their seats one day. They have been where I am, they told me, and I can make it to where they are now.
Judge Schiendlin also gave a presentation to my civil procedure class regarding electronic discovery. I came into law school certain I wanted to work in the criminal field, and though I’ve enjoyed my civil procedure classes, it’s not a topic that has particularly moved me. Judge Schiendlin’s revolutionary work in the field of electronic discovery was riveting, and that is not an overstatement. She fleshed out a case that my class had extensively studied—a case that she presided over! In Zubulake, Judge Schiendlin was able to propose new standards for electronic discovery. Learning about the plaintiff’s indefatigable spirit in her search for justice in this sexual harassment case gave civil procedure a human face, and helped me to understand how these wordy, circuitous federal rules truly affect people’s lives. Because the plaintiff in Zubulake was able to provide countless examples of intentional withholding of discovery on the part of the defendant, Judge Schiendlin decided to sanction the depriving party. Her insistence that the discovering party act in good faith, as well as the new proportionality analysis Judge Schiendling included in the scope of discovery standard, ensure that weaker parties will be offered protection by the FRCP, and that the interests of justice are truly served.
The final and most fascinating presentation given by Judge Scheindlin was centered on her most famous court case, Floyd v. City of New York, or simply the “stop and frisk” case. Even before entering law school, I had heard about this case, and the famous final ruling. Judge Scheindlin offhandedly mentioned the death threats that were made after her ruling, but still cited this case as the most important and fulfilling moment of her career. Throughout the presentation, she skillfully led her listeners through 250 years of American history in order to illustrate how race has defined so many people’s relationships with law enforcement, for good or ill.
The uncontested facts of Floyd v. New York showed that over 8 years, the NYPD made 4.4 million Terry stops. 52 percent of those stopped were Black, 31 percent were Hispanic, and 10 percent were White. In 2010, New York’s population was 23 percent Black, 29 percent Hispanic, and 33 percent White. No further law enforcement action was taken in 88 percent of stops. Between 2004-09, when further action was taken, Black people were 30 percent more likely to be arrested than Whites, for the same suspected crime. In this same period, with all else equal, the odds of further enforcement actions were 8 percent lower if the person stopped was Black than if the person was White.
Analyzing the facts in this case, Judge Scheindlin found clear proof that unconscious racial bias, as opposed to objective facts, often dictates the decisions made by police officers or citizen watch committees. To remedy this, Judge Scheindlin imposed several regulatory actions, such as requiring officers to wear body cameras; improving training regarding stop and frisks; and keeping better records of stops, as well as ensuring oversight of those records. After Judge Scheindlin’s ruling, unlawful stops decreased by 96 percent, while crime statistics remained unchanged. Judge Scheindlin called for law enforcement agencies all across the country to closely examine their policing, and to weed out the unconscious racial biases that permeate many police officer’s actions.
Judge Scheindlin’s actions and final ruling in the Floyd case affirmed everything I had hoped law school could be. Though all lawyers follow their own paths, it remains true that each of us chose law school in order to change other people’s lives. Judge Scheindlin’s path may not be typical—she raised two children while attending law school, and most law students don’t have the honor of taking a class from Justice Ginsberg— but what binds lawyers together is not our real-world experiences, but our willingness to enter this intimidating new world, and leave it as a fierce advocate. I signed up for this, I often say to myself when faced with an unending collection of impending deadlines, and Judge Scheindlin’s visit reminded me why I did, and what I can accomplish once I finish.
By: Rachael Herrle, Class of 2018
College of Law Receives $103K Gift to Target Gender Equality
Cincinnati, OH—Thanks to an anonymous donor, future University of Cincinnati College of Law students committed to working toward gender equality will benefit from a new scholarship fund. This most recent planned gift of $103,000 is the third significant contribution to student scholarships for the 2017-2018 academic year, enabling the law school to continue to attract, encourage, and support a diverse student body. This donation is the College’s first scholarship specifically dedicated to addressing gender barriers.
“We deeply appreciate this alumna’s gift,” said Verna Williams, Interim Dean and Nippert Professor of Law. “Recent headlines make crystal clear that much work remains to eliminate gender bias in society. This scholarship will enable the College to prepare the next generation of leaders who will dismantle the many ways traditional notions about men and women constrain all of us.”
The new scholarship will support students enrolled in the Joint Degree program in Law and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, as well as those who plan to study or address gender barriers to full participation in society.
The College of Law provides multiple opportunities for students to explore the interaction of gender and the law. Its Joint Degree program launched in 1995, the first of its kind in the nation. It provides students a unique opportunity to engage in a rigorous, interdisciplinary, and feminist study of law and social justice and remains on the cutting edge in the studies of gender, sexuality, race, and social justice. Students also may explore gender issues through the College’s Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice, which provides experiential learning, research, and other opportunities across disciplines to have an impact in this arena.
“This latest gift enhances the ability of the College of Law to support students seeking to make a difference,” said Thomas Giffin, Senior Director of Development at the law school.
About the University of Cincinnati College of Law
As the fourth oldest continuously operating law school in the country, UC’s College of Law has a rich history. Its distinguished alumni include a U.S. president, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and six governors. The College cultivates an intimate learning experience with a 9:1 student to faculty ratio and offers a wealth of resources, such as more than 40 student organizations, five journals and seven centers and institutes. For more information, please visit www.law.uc.edu. Date: April 9, 2018
Cincinnati Law, KMK Law Launch First Law School Diversity Case Competition
Cincinnati, OH (April 9, 2018)—The Center for Professional Development at the University of Cincinnati College of Law and Cincinnati law firm Keating Muething & Klekamp PLL have partnered to create the first ever Diversity Case Competition for minority law students. The competition, targeted for law students in the Greater Cincinnati region, will be held in early 2019.
“This competition is likely the first of its kind in the law school arena and promises to become the gold standard for inclusion activities in the legal career space,” said Mina Jones Jefferson, Associate Dean, Chief of Staff, and Director of the Center for Professional Development (CPD) at the University of Cincinnati College of Law. “We’re excited to a part of this innovative initiative and look forward to seeing its growth for years to come.”
Jefferson first pitched the idea to KMK Law because the firm was seeking a creative way to recruit diverse legal talent. As one of the key players in the legal talent field and a former president of the National Association for Law Placement (NALP), Jefferson remains on the forefront of the industry.
This inaugural competition will provide a premier learning experience through a challenging case competition. In addition, participants will have opportunities to network and connect with legal and non-legal professionals from around the Greater Cincinnati area. The program will include students from the following law schools: University of Cincinnati College of Law, University of Dayton School of Law, the University of Northern Kentucky Salmon P. Chase College of Law, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, and the University of Kentucky College of Law. Additional information about the program will be available in Fall 2018.
“Becoming a truly diverse and inclusive law firm is a journey,” said Bethany P. Recht, KMK Partner and Chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee. “We hope that this program will not only reflect KMK’s ongoing commitment to the journey, but also support the growth of diversity in the legal profession.”
About the University of Cincinnati College of Law
As the fourth oldest continuously operating law school in the country and a top 35 public law school as ranked by US News & World Report, UC’s College of Law has a rich history. Its distinguished alumni include a U.S. president, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and six governors. The College cultivates an intimate learning experience with a 9:1 student to faculty ratio and offers a wealth of resources, such as more than 40 student organizations, five journals and seven centers and institutes. For more information, please visit www.law.uc.edu.
Elif Dalboy Learns About US Law As First Law Student at Hamilton County Legal Help Center
At many universities in this country, opportunities for international students can be hard to come by. Fortunately, Cincinnati Law’s LLM program encourages and enables its students from around the world to gain practical experience in the American legal system. One such student, Elif Dalboy, has become the first LLM students to volunteer Hamilton County Municipal Court Help Center.
Dalboy was raised in Izmir, Turkey. She is a graduate of Dokuz Eylul University, where she earned her Bachelor’s of Law. She is now pursuing her Masters at Ankara University, focusing on private international law, particularly where it pertains to conflict-of-law issues, refugee law, and citizenship law.
She is now here at UC to learn more about the American legal system.
The Help Center was established in fall 2017 in order to provide more access to the legal system for low-income Cincinnatians who cannot afford expensive legal advice. It has already provided cost-free assistance to thousands.
Dalboy speaks directly to these citizens-in-need, ensuring that they are given the proper paperwork. She learns from the center’s director, attorney Rob Wall (a Cincinnati Law graduate). Most of the cases Dalboy deals with involve landlord-tenant disputes and small claims.
Dalboy calls her experiences in the Help Center have been “eye opening.”
She says, “as a foreign LLM student I chose to volunteer at the Help Center to learn the judicial system firsthand. I can now confidently say that I know how to file a small claims complaint, I know the main steps of an eviction, and I’ve learned other procedural issues and some details that you cannot learn at law school.
At the Help Center, Dalboy has the opportunity to speak directly to citizens in need of assistance, ensuring that they are given the proper materials or paperwork to address their questions. She works closely with the Center's director, attorney Rob Wall (a Cincinnati Law graduate), learning the intricacies of the law. Most of the cases Dalboy handles involve landlord-tenant disputes and small claims. "I encounter a wide range of legal issues and have a chance to see real-life legal disputes. I prepare written informational resources that deal with a wide range of legal issues. I provide forms and help self-represented people understand and easily navigate the complex court system.
Overall, I highly recommend volunteering at the Help Center for future LLMs.”
Dalboy says her experiences at the Help Center have been "eye opening." She was once asked to sit with a magistrate and observe a proceeding. She notes that in Turkey, "we don't have that much leniency. You cannot just go and sit next to the judge."
Once she has completed the LLM program, Dalboy has her eyes set on making major inroads in the legal field. She plans to stay in the United States, preferably in New York City. She would like to practice American law and is also interested in providing legal advice to startups and businesses involved with venture capital.
Her expertise in international law, studies here at Cincinnati Law, and experience in the Help Center have readied her and will certainly give her an advantage!
Opportunities and Knowledge Abound at Ms. JD Leadership Conference; Ayesha Haq Shares Thought on her Experience
Ms. JD is nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that is “dedicated to the success of women in law school and the legal profession.” Last fall, the organization hosted its inaugural National Women’s Law Students Organization (NWLSO) Leadership Academy at Harvard Law School, inviting a small group of law students with outstanding achievements to come and learn about the challenges and opportunities facing women in the legal community.
Second-year law student Ayesha Haq was one of the 45 individuals (selected from over 200 applicants) from across the country to attend the event.
On March 4, 2017 she gave a TEDx talk, “Unpacking the Meaning of Oppression” that examined the identities of Muslim women and the pervasive cultural narratives that surround these identities. See the full talk: UCTEDX
Haq is an active leader in the student body: she serves as president of UC’s chapter of the American Constitution Society; she founded and serves as president of the Muslim Lawyers’ Association; she acts as Diversity Chair for UC Law Women. She is also a Fellow with the Ohio Innocence Project.
The NWLSO required applicants to explain how they seek to affect the condition of women within their particular community. Haq’s application highlighted similar concerns to those given in her recent TEDx talk, expressing how she “wanted to change the narrative of understanding Muslim women.” She recalls first coming to the College of Law, and initially feeling worried that she was the only JD student wearing a hijab. As she began dialogue with other students, however, she gained confidence and founded the school’s chapter of the Muslim Lawyer’s Association, where she leads students with concerns similar to her own.
The NWLSO was impressed with Haq’s application, and, thus, she began her journey.
At the Leadership Academy Haq took advantage of many opportunities to learn about how to address challenges women face in the legal field. She learned about the urgent need for women to negotiate better salaries in order to address the issue of gender pay-gaps. Haq also learned from experts with a range of expertise. For instance, she participated in a seminar hosted by Diane Darling, a fulltime networking specialist, who guided the students in learning how to use body language to exude confidence and control professional situations.
Haq learned that men tend to “make themselves larger” in rooms, while women tend to contract. Women in professional settings benefit from breaking the habit of contracting, as taking about more space allows them to nonverbally display their confidence and expertise.
Haq remains committed as ever to social justice and the narratives of Muslims. Her views on these issues are highly nuanced as she observes historical tensions between liberalism and religion. She notes that in a nation like France, secularism is a potent force, making Muslim integration a difficult matter. Still, she focuses primarily on the condition of Muslim American women, as her own experience lends her authority on the subject, and she can relate to others.
3L Ashton Tucker Shares What it’s Like to Win Her First Jury Trial
Working at the City of Cincinnati’s Prosecutor’s Office has been the most rewarding experience of my law school career. This is especially true after I received my limited license in July. When my office asked me to try a case to a jury, I jumped at the chance. Not only is this a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a law student, I’d also had a number of near misses – missed opportunities to work on a jury trial due to last minute plea deals and other unforeseen reasons. It felt like a great honor to be asked; that they would trust me with such immense responsibility was humbling. My supervisor (another Cincinnati Law grad, Chris Liu) handed me the file, promised me we’d try the case together (I still have to be supervised, naturally), and sent me on my way.
Of course, reality set in soon. I was terrified. I’d had bench trials before, but the stakes are higher with a jury. You have to make eight people believe in your theory – in your interpretation of the facts. I’m a third-year law student and only two semesters removed from a Criminal Procedure class. What do I even know about the law anyway?
Well, the truth is, I knew more than I thought. I knew that preparation was key and so, I spent two days coming up with questions for direct examination. I knew from first year Advocacy not to read from a script, but instead, to remember an outline and speak authoritatively – even when your hands are shaking. I learned how and when to object from Evidence.
In the end, it was what I learned at Cincinnati Law that helped me win over the jury and get a conviction.
From Working on the Human Rights Quarterly to Working Inside the International Criminal Court… Erin Rosenberg’s Winding Career
From January 8 through 12, Cincinnati Law had the pleasure of seeing one of its alumni, Erin Rosenberg (Class of ’11) return to teach JD students a specialized week-long course in international criminal law, a relatively new and fascinating field.
When Rosenberg graduated Cincinnati Law, she embarked on a different journey than the one she had intended to undertake when she began her legal studies. She recalls:
“I worked the decade before I came to law school in politics, the legislative side of things. I didn’t have any interest in international criminal law whatsoever. None. I [came] to the University of Cincinnati specifically for the Urban Morgan Institute.”
There, she had been selected as a Fellow, and she saw great opportunity in the exciting, meaningful summer internships offered by the Institute. She wanted to get involved with human rights worldwide, not criminals worldwide.
Rosenberg’s first internship was in the Republic of Botswana, where she worked for Botswana’s first female Judge, Unity Dow at the High Court. All was going according to plan, and she was gaining valuable experience in the sort of international law she intended to pursue professionally.
Her second summer, however, saw her initial internship plans fall through. Rosenberg was exploring potential alternatives when Professor Bert B. Lockwood suggested working for the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). She “didn’t have anything else set up,” so she took the suggestion, not yet realizing what a pivotal step this would be (she knew, of course, that it sounded pretty cool for a plan B).
Through this work, Rosenberg “fell in love with international criminal law.” She finished her JD, passed the bar exam, and immediately returned to the ICTY, where she worked for one more year.
She was then recruited to the International Criminal Court (ICC), where she has worked since 2012.
The ICC serves a different purpose than many might expect. Its functions are separate from those within the Human Right’s field, like dealing with shortages of food and water. Its purpose is instead to bring to justice and make reparations for international crimes. States must voluntarily agree to become member states, and at present, 123 from around the world have agreed to do so.
Rosenberg works as an Associate Legal Officer, which she explains is essentially the equivalent of a law clerk for a judge.
Almost immediately after she arrived at the ICC, the first reparations case in the court’s history had come to the Appeals Chamber. It was an entirely new type of case for the ICC, and it became Rosenberg’s responsibility to make sense of it. She recalls that she “developed a unique background and expertise in reparations simply because I was there.”
In 2015, Silvia Fernández became President of the ICC and asked Rosenberg to become her legal officer in the Appeals Division—a great honor and an immense responsibility. Fernández decided that the Trust Fund for Victims (a part of the ICC that serves to implement reparations) needed legal support. For the past two years, Rosenberg “has been on loan,” as she puts it, from the Appeals Division to the Trust Fund.
Rosenberg’s work at the Trust Fund has been to figure out how to take court ordered reparations and figure out how they can be implemented. Sometimes this task calls for creativity and communication.
For instance, in the case of Lubanga Dyilo, a man convicted for crimes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the trial chamber asked Rosenberg to explore “symbolic, commemorative restorations.” The trial chamber suggested a statue that would commemorate former child soldiers.
Rosenberg spoke with the community that had been plagued by Dyilo’s activities. They were not fond of the statue idea; in their culture, statues are only for heroes, not for victims or painful memories. They stated that they would prefer something interactive to something static. In consulting them, Rosenberg found that the community would prefer a center where former child soldiers could come together and heal through programs in which “art, dance, and painting give them a chance to tell their own stories.”
Rosenberg presented the community’s view to the Trial Chamber, and the center was built.
Rosenberg brings wisdom to UC Law students who are looking for opportunities abroad. Her course provided an introduction to international criminal law and also explored reparations, examining what they are in a criminal context and how they are implemented in that context.
She advises UC Law students not to assume that members of the European legal community will be familiar with UC or even the Urban Morgan Institute. Rather, she says, “If you say, ‘I worked on the Human Rights Quarterly,’ everyone knows what that is. When I was hired at the ICC and went to the interview, on the bookshelf of the person who was interviewing me was the most recent copy of HRQ.” Rosenberg insists that if you take advantage of the opportunity to work for the journal, read the
articles, and attend the dinners, more doors will open up for you. “It is one of the most well-known and well-respected publications in the field.”
By: Pete Mills, communication graduate assistant
Learning from a Legal Giant: My Week with Professor Arthur Miller
By: Connor Organ, Third-year Law Student
Few law students have the opportunity to learn from a professor who wrote the leading casebooks and treatises on the course’s subject. Even fewer students are fortunate enough to learn from a professor who argued in nearly every landmark case related to the case over the last several decades. And even fewer law students have the opportunity to learn from a professor who can tell stories about sharing jokes and arguments with almost every Supreme Court justice in the last 25 years. But the Chesley Lecture at the College of Law granted less than a dozen students with an intimate learning experience from that professor, Arthur R. Miller.
Professor Miller, University Professor at New York University Law School, is the nation’s leading scholar in the field of civil procedure. He is co-author, with the late Chares Wright, of Federal Practice and Procedure. Miller and Wright are among the most-often cited and well-regarded law treatise writers in the field.
Over a five-day short course on aggregate litigation, Professor Miller discussed class actions and multidistrict litigation. More specifically, the course covered class certification, class types, class counsel, forum selection and rival proceedings, class settlements, and alternative dispute resolution related to aggregate litigation (only a fraction of which is summarized below).
He tied the course together with the theme of diminishing access to courts. As Professor Miller explained, “only a fool or an idiot sues for $30.” At the same time, however, how do you make a group of plaintiffs who individually lack feasible lawsuits whole? For one, plaintiffs might never be made “whole” since, as he explained, “the quest for the perfect is the enemy of the good.” Nonetheless, the law must support aggregate litigation that provides finality for the liable defendant and an adequate remedy for the wronged plaintiff. In Professor Miller’s view, Rule 23 and its case law no longer do that, which effectively denies wronged parties their day in court.
To illustrate his point, Professor Miller explained that although the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a) lists four prerequisites, there are two additional, unmentioned requirements that a class must satisfy to become certified: the class must be definable; and the representative has to be a member of the class. Those seemed pretty straightforward.
But then Miller pointed out several less obvious, yet critical prerequisites within Rule 23, which he helped write. He showed that while Rule 23 does not classify any other sections as prerequisites for class certification, in practice Rule 23(b) (which categorizes types of class actions) becomes a significantly difficult prerequisite. The difficulty derives from strategic implications that attorneys must consider when packaging their clients into one or more of Rule 23(b)’s three types. These implications involve preclusion, damages, opting out, and choice of law, among others. In effect, class type is critical because it sets parameters for class certification, the driving force of all class action litigation. And while this oversimplified summary is just one facet of Professor Miller’s course, it built the foundation for additional discussion on other important topics within the areas of class actions and MDLs.
Beyond explaining how policies shaped the laws of class actions and MDLs, how the law has developed, and how attorneys and courts apply the current law, Professor Miller interwove fascinating personal experience to draw the class’s attention and encourage unique perspectives. In doing so, he transformed the course from a difficult analysis of complex law to a consumable storyline from which practical application logically followed. I am grateful to Professor Miller for his time and insight into his area of expertise. As a down-to-earth intellectual, he entertained us and at the same time taught several practical, valuable areas of the law in just five days. My only complaint is that the course wasn’t longer.
Call to Action: Connecting Students to the Profession
Now more than ever, alumni play a pivotal role in student career development. When it comes to careers “experience matters,” says Mina Jones Jefferson '90, Chief of Staff, Associate Dean and Director, Center for Professional Development (CPD). Connecting students to alumni is an active pursuit among the CPD, six-attorney team because they know that through networking students refine their career aspirations and make informed employment decisions. “We need your time and your experiences,” says Dean Jefferson. “When students call, be responsive. You may feel that you have little to offer, but your time is everything. If appropriate let them visit your office or attend a function with you…show them what lawyers do.”
The CPD strikes a balance between introducing students to alumni on campus as well as integrating students into the broader legal community. On any given day you will find an alumnus/a on campus serving as a panelist, interviewing students or networking with students at a Coffee Corner or lunchtime event. The CPD also enjoys formalized alumni support through the College’s Board of Visitors (BOV). Led by Dan Buckley ’74, the BOV Professional Development Committee actively partners with CPD to identify and cultivate experiences for students, be it symposia or the expansion of an existing program like C-Start.
Making An Impact
The CPD hosts a variety of programs that expose students to the workplace and two of the most impactful thrive on alumni support – Catalyst and C-Start.
Catalyst is an eight week, micro-mentoring program that delivers a big impact with a small investment of time. Catalyst folds our students into the lives of attorneys and provides practical exposure to the profession. Typically, attorneys introduce students to their work setting and attend an additional event such as a bar association event, a community-based event/program, or a committee meeting; however, you determine what works best.
Although Catalyst draws volunteers from the entire legal community, it is very popular with by Cincinnati Law alumni.
Catalyst 2018 begins on Friday, February 16, 2018, 3:30-5:00 p.m. at the College of Law and concludes the week of April 16, 2018. More than 300 students have benefitted from the program and the impact on our legal community is just as strong. The February Kickoff is devoted to planning. There you will meet your student group. Based on their interests and stated goals and your calendar, you determine when to meet again. In general you are paired with another attorney and together you are assigned three to four students to mentor.
Alumni partnerships increasingly differentiate law schools in the graduate employment arena. Enter C-START, a corporate graduate fellowship program. These one-year, full-time opportunities are as competitive as judicial clerkships and provide a strong foundation on which graduates can build a career in corporate law. During the year, the fellow develops a valuable skill set which allows them to become more qualified for future employment opportunities.
With the help of alumnus Steve Ewald ’94, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Medpace, Inc., Cincinnati Law launched C-START as a pilot opportunity in 2015. Brian Higgins ’15 was the first C-START fellow and worked at Medpace, Inc. for a period of one year, following graduation. He is now an associate in Frost Brown Todd’s Health Law Practice.
“This is a mutually beneficial program that provides new UC Law graduates with great opportunities to gain valuable, supervised in-house legal experience, while providing us as an employer with bright, motivated and enthusiastic new lawyers. We have been so pleased with the program and we have seen strong competition from the soon to be graduating class and very high ranking candidates who have applied. This is not a program of last resort for students seeking jobs, it is an affirmative choice, and that comes through clearly in the quality and quantity of candidates we have seen”. --Steve Ewald, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Medpace, Inc.
Jefferson said that the College is actively seeking alumni participants for both programs – Catalyst and C-Start. The deadline for Catalyst is quickly approaching. If you are unable to participate perhaps you know someone who can. Similarly If you are interested in learning more about C-Start, please contact her (email@example.com) or Paula Lampley ‘92 (firstname.lastname@example.org).