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Cincinnati Law Hosts Founder of Multi-Million Dollar Real Estate Tech Company as First Entrepreneur-in-Residence


Austin Allison, founder and CEO of multi-million dollar real estate tech company Dotloop will share his inspiring story at the law school on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 at 12:15 p.m. in Rm. 114. All are invited to this free event. Food will be provided; rsvp to Lori Strait at lori.strait@uc.edu.

Cincinnati, OH— Hear this inspiring story of how UC graduate Austin Allison took a leave of absence after his second year at Cincinnati Law to begin his new start-up, DotLoop - a real estate technology venture. DotLoop has become one of the most successful start-ups ever in Cincinnati, surpassing $1 trillion in real estate closings and was purchased by real estate giant Zillow Group in 2015 for over $108 million.

Allison co-authored Peoplework, a best-selling business book about putting people first in a digital-first world. Among his many accomplishments, Allison was named to Forbes 30 under 30 list and Inman News’ Innovator of the Year and Entrepreneur of the Year. He has also been featured on the cover of several major national publications, including Entrepreneur Magazine’s Young Millionaire’s Edition. Allison has earned his success through hard work, innovation, and treating people with respect.

Allison has been named Cincinnati Law’s first “Entrepreneur-in-Residence” due to his tremendous entrepreneurial success and for his willingness to engage with his alma mater. Allison will be involved from time to time in the future with Cincinnati Law’s business law and entrepreneurship programs.

The Entrepreneur-in-Residence is a new initiative at the University of Cincinnati College of Law. Individuals are chosen based on their entrepreneurial success and engagement with the law school. This event is sponsored by the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic and the Entrepreneurship Law Club.

30 Day Snapshot @ Cincinnati Law


The Ohio Innocence Project hosted Jennifer Thompson, the co-author of the memoir Picking Cotton: Our Memoir of Injustice and Redemption. Picking Cotton is the true story of the friendship that developed between Jennifer Thompson, a rape victim, and Ronald Cotton, the accused rapist, who was wrongly convicted. 9/8/2016


The Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights and the College of Law’s Master’s in Law Program for Foreign Trained Attorneys co-sponsored a visit by guest scholar Dr. Ildiko Szegedy-Maszak, affiliated with Universidad Pontificia Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia University. Dr. Szegedy-Maszak discussed the significance of the Colombian peace process, which was the result of four years of negotiations between the Colombian government and the FARC-EP (the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia). 9/14/16


The Student Bar Association hosted former Ohio Governor Robert Taft at the law school. Governor Taft, who began his career in public service as a volunteer teacher for the Peace Corps in East Africa, served Ohioans as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives, as a Hamilton County Commissioner and as Ohio’s Secretary of State. 9/15/2016


The Constitution Day lecture featured the Honorable David F. Hamilton, Circuit Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Judge Hamilton’s lecture, Liberty, Politics, and Human Nature; Protecting the Constitution and the Rule of Law, delved into our constitutional form of government—with its divided powers, checks and balances, and commitment to the rule of law— and how it might be easy to take for granted in the 21st century. He discussed how frustration with political outcomes and stalemates, and temptations inherent in human nature, put constant pressure on the vital constitutional protections of our liberty. Those protections require constant attention and enforcement, for without them, we risk losing the liberties we have inherited. 9/16/2016


The Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice co-sponsored a movie screening of the documentary Race to Execution. This documentary explores the deep and disturbing link between race and the death penalty in America. Following the stories of two Death Row inmates—Madison Hobley of Chicago, Illinois and Robert Tarver of Russell County, Alabama—the film wove their compelling personal stories together with groundbreaking scholarship on the racialized carceral state. The screening was followed by an insightful panel discussion, with representatives from the Ohio Innocence Project, the Ohio Public Defender’s Office, the Ohio Justice and Policy Center, an OIP exoneree, and the filmmaker. 9/21/2016


The Ohio Innocence Project hosted an event at the House of Blues (Cleveland, Ohio), featuring the Exoneree Band, a touring group of wrongfully convicted prisoners-turned-musicians. Band member and OIP exoneree Raymond Towler shared billing with local musical groups composed of judges and attorneys. The next day the John Carroll University chapter of OIP-u hosted band members and others for a panel discussion on wrongful conviction.9/22/2016


The Master’s in Law Program for Foreign Trained Attorneys (LLM program) hosted Olivier DuBos, Professor of Public Law, University of Bordeaux and Sciences Po Bordeaux (France) and Jean Monnet Chair, for a weeklong visit at the law school. In addition to attending classes, Professor DuBos toured various law school clinics and the Hamilton County Public Defender’s Office, as well as observed Indigent Defense Clinic students in court. 9/26/2016


The Ohio First District Court of Appeals held oral arguments at the College of Law. Afterwards, the judges and lawyers discussed the cases and spoke with students. Visiting judges include the Honorable Patrick Fischer, the Honorable Patrick DeWine, and the Honorable Russell Mock. 9/27/2016


The American Bar Association’s Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division (GPSolo) hosted a panel discussion at the College of Law, where the discussion centered on “How to Become Practice Ready as a Solo or Small Firm Attorney.” The panelists—representing area small firms—shared their experiences, provided advice and answered students’ questions about solo life. 9/29/2016


The Federalist Society hosted Professor Derek T. Muller, Pepperdine School of Law, who led the discussion “Can Trump or Clinton Graduate from the Electoral College?” Professor Muller talked about the Electoral College and ways it might thwart both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, if legislatures and electors so desire. Commentary was provided by the College of Law’s Professor Michael Solimine. 9/29/2016


The College of Law hosted the inaugural Bearcat Dash and Bash Race to benefit the OIP and the university’s Athletics Department’s scholarship fund. Nearly 2,000 runners and walkers crisscrossed campus and the surrounding community for the race. The OIP to date has helped 23 individuals obtain freedom, many of whom were on-hand to participate in the Freedom Walk on the university’s campus. 10/2/2016


The Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice co-sponsored the panel “Department of Justice Report on Policing: What it Means for Cincinnati.” After fatal police encounters with Black citizens sparked a national conversation on the state of American policing, the U.S. Department of Justice prepared reports on policing practices in Baltimore and Ferguson. These reports described patterns of unfair treatment of citizens, particularly against poor and Black citizens. The panel discussed the reports and how the findings from these reports can be used to create a more equitable society, particularly in the city of Cincinnati. 10/4/2016


The Ohio Innocence Project celebrated International Wrongful Conviction Day at the law school and at OIP-u events across the state. Events included discussion groups about wrongful conviction, incorporating the Netflix series “Making a Murderer”; developing information tables to promote awareness among university students about wrongful conviction and the OIP; and the lighting of Cincinnati’s Duke Energy Building in the colors symbolic of the wrongful conviction movement. 10/4/2016


Recognized as a Best Value Law School, College of Law Receives A- Grade


The University of Cincinnati College of Law stands out as a consistent leader providing quality affordable legal education.  Cincinnati Law has earned A- level recognition as a “Best Value Law School” by National Jurist magazine for the fourth consecutive year and preLaw magazine for the third consecutive year. This is the second highest Best Value ranking by the magazines.

Ranked #60 by U.S. News & World Report—positioning it among the top 50 public law schools in the nation—Cincinnati Law’s “Best Value” accomplishment is indicative of the exciting changes happening at the law school. Notably, this fall first year enrollment saw a 26% increase over 2015, which had a 38% increase in enrollment. The college’s Ohio Innocence Project/Lois and Richard Rosenthal Institute for Justice recently received a $15 million gift from benefactor Richard Rosenthal, the largest for the college and any innocence program in the country, which will provide for the program in perpetuity.  And the University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees approved monies to fund a concept design for a new building, development of a probable cost for new construction and a relocation study while construction is underway.

“Our consistent recognition as a top 40 “Best Value” law school reflects a Cincinnati Law degree’s high return on investment,” says College of Law Dean Jennifer S. Bard, Nippert Professor of Law. “Our students succeed at the highest level in passing the bar and in getting good jobs while at the same time enjoying low debt levels that reflect our affordable tuition and the low cost of living in our region. We are honored to be recognized and proud of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni.  We are also fortunate to be part of such a successful research university which enhances the value of our students’ education.”

How the ranking is determined:

Each year, the magazines release rankings of law schools across the nation, identifying those schools where graduates have excellent chances of passing the bar and getting a legal job without taking on a significant debt. Rankings are based on several determining factors:

  • bar passage
  • affordability
  • employment success
  • tuition
  • cost of living in the surrounding communities

Looking at Cincinnati Law’s numbers, 80.7% of 2015 graduates obtained full-time, JD-required jobs within 10 months of graduation. The law school beat the state’s average, ranking second in Ohio as 86% of first-time takers passed the July 2016 Ohio Bar Exam; and ranking first in the state in the state as 76% of takers passed the February 2016 Bar Exam.  And, the school has actively worked to reduce student debt by introducing a low tuition rate program ($24K), reciprocity programs with surrounding counties, and low non-resident tuition fees.

Several Cincinnati Law programs have been recognized for excellence:

  • Public Interest/Criminal Law - The law school is ranked an A- school for students interested in public interest law or criminal law, based on the depth of our curricular offerings.
  • Business/Corporate Law - The law school is ranked an A- school for students interested in business or corporate law, based on the depth of our curricular offerings.
  • Prosecutorial/Public Defender Work - Cincinnati Law was named among the top 20 schools for law students interested in prosecutorial/public defender work.
  • Prosecutor/Public Defender Careers - The law school was ranked third in the nation for prosecutor and public defender careers, based on the percentage of graduates who landed jobs in public interest and government positions combined.  
  • Learning By Doing - For the third consecutive year we have been named a top school for practical training, a testament to the work and impact of the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic.  

 

Fulbright Scholar Joins Cincinnati Law’s LLM Program


NatiaNatia Mezvrishvili wants to bring two things back to her native country of Georgia when she finishes the LL.M. program at UC Law in May 2017: a better understanding of the US criminal justice system, and new teaching methods for her own classroom.

Prior to being selected as a Fulbright Scholar (UC Law’s first), Mezvrishvili spent most of the last decade working for the Chief Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia. She also taught classes in criminal law at several universities, including as an assistant professor at East European University in Tbilisi, Georgia. She hopes that this year-long program in Cincinnati will give her new insights and skills to use back home—as a supervisor of prosecutorial work (“quality control”) and law professor.

“The US and Georgia criminal justice systems have a lot in common,” she says. Her country’s interrogation procedures, jury selection, plea bargaining, and more are based on the US system. “That’s why I’m here,” she adds.

While Cincinnati hadn’t been on her radar before, Mezvrishvili now considers her Fulbright placement a fortuitous one. “I’m glad to be here, because the school is so practical-oriented and focused on working with students individually,” she says.

Though getting a master’s degree in the US might seem like a nice break from her full-time job, this is no carefree “year off” for Mezvrishvili. “It’s difficult being the student again,” she says, after spending so many years working and teaching others. Add the complexity of English as a second language (she also speaks native Georgian, Russian, and French), to absorbing all the case law background needed for US legal practice, and she feels like she’s working harder than ever. 

Living in the US takes some adjustment, though the people and programs at Fulbright and UC Law have helped prepare Mezvrishvili well, she says. Having visited and lived in various parts of the US previously, this time around she’s fairly acclimated to life in America. “Everyone here is so open and willing to help you,” she says, from the dean to her fellow students.

Cincinnati Law Bar Results Announced; Students Exceed State Average by 15%


Bar Pass

Today the results of the July 2016 Ohio Bar Exam were released and the University of Cincinnati College of Law, recognized as a “Best Value Law School” by National Jurist and preLaw magazines, recorded an 86 percent passage rate for all Cincinnati Law exam takers, second among Ohio’s law schools and 15 percentage points higher than the state-wide average of 70.5 percent. These numbers put the law school two percentage points behind our nearest competitor in Ohio and 10 percentage points ahead of all other Ohio law schools. 

The passage rate for Cincinnati Law first-time takers also was 86 percent, second in the state. This rate exceeds the state-wide average passing rate of 76 percent.  Almost 1,000 aspiring attorneys from across the state and the country took the July exam.

In addition, for those out-of-state jurisdictions that have released their outcomes, Class of 2016 results are very strong, representing a 90% pass rate, including a 100% pass rate in Indiana, Montana and West Virginia.

“Passing the bar exam is one of the singular events in every lawyer’s professional life and I warmly congratulate our students and everyone else who passed the Ohio Bar examination,” said Cincinnati Law’s Dean Jennifer S. Bard.

“Although in the end passing the bar exam is a test of an individual student’s knowledge, stamina, and analytical ability, it starts with strong teaching and support that our Cincinnati Law students get from every faculty and staff member.  We have had a great year here and it reflects a truly exceptional group of faculty, staff and students strongly supported by the faculty, staff, students, and trustees of the University of Cincinnati.   Thank you to everyone who has worked so hard to help our students succeed.  Go Bearcats!”  

Applicants who successfully passed the examination and who satisfied all of the Supreme Court’s other requirements for admission will be admitted on November 7, 2016 at 10:30 a.m. during a special session of the Supreme Court at the historic Ohio Theatre in Columbus, OH. The session will be streamed live via the Supreme Court and Ohio Channel websites at www.supremecourt.ohio.gov and www.ohiochannel.org.  It will also be available statewide on the Ohio Channel’s local public broadcasting stations.

 

Recognized as a Best Value Law School, College of Law Receives A- Grade


University of Cincinnati College of Law cited by two publications for affordability, employment outcomes, and other factors.

Cincinnati, OH—The University of Cincinnati College of Law stands out as a consistent leader providing quality affordable legal education. Cincinnati Law has earned an A- level recognition and listing as a “Best Value Law School” by National Jurist magazine for the fourth consecutive year and preLaw magazine for the third consecutive year.

UC Law ClassroomRanked #60 by U.S. News & World Report—positioning it among the top 50 public law schools in the nation—Cincinnati Law’s “Best Value” accomplishment is indicative of the exciting changes happening at the law school. Notably, this fall first year enrollment saw a 26% increase over 2015, which had a 38% increase in enrollment. The college’s Ohio Innocence Project/Lois and Richard Rosenthal Institute for Justice recently received a $15 million gift from benefactor Richard Rosenthal, the largest for the college and any innocence program in the country, which will provide for the program in perpetuity. And the University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees approved monies to fund a concept design for a new building, development of a probable cost for new construction and a relocation study while construction is underway.

“Our consistent recognition as a top 40 “Best Value” law school reflects a Cincinnati Law degree’s high return on investment,” says College of Law Dean Jennifer S. Bard, Nippert Professor of Law. “Our students succeed at the highest level in passing the bar and in getting good jobs while at the same time enjoying low debt levels that reflect our affordable tuition and the low cost of living in our region. We are honored to be recognized and proud of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni. We are also fortunate to be part of such a successful research university which enhances the value of our students’ education.”

How the ranking is determined:
Each year, the magazines release rankings of law schools across the nation, identifying those schools where graduates have excellent chances of passing the bar and getting a legal job without taking on a significant debt. Rankings are based on several determining factors:

  • bar passage
  • affordability
  • employment success
  • tuition
  • cost of living in the surrounding communities

Looking at Cincinnati Law’s numbers, 80.7% of 2015 graduates obtained full-time, JD-required jobs within 10 months of graduation. The law school beat the state’s average, ranking second in Ohio as 88% of first-time takers passed the July 2015 Ohio Bar Exam; and ranking first in the state in the state as 76% of takers passed the February 2016 Bar Exam. And, the school has actively worked to reduce student debt by introducing a low tuition rate program ($24K), reciprocity programs with surrounding counties, and low non-resident tuition fees.

Several Cincinnati Law programs have been recognized for excellence:

  • Public Interest/Criminal Law. The law school is ranked an A- school for students interested in public interest law or criminal law, based on the depth of our curricular offerings.
  • Business/Corporate Law. The law school is ranked an A- school for students interested in business or corporate law, based on the depth of our curricular offerings.
  • Prosecutorial/Public Defender Work. Cincinnati Law was named among the top 20 schools for law students interested in prosecutorial/public defender work.
  • Prosecutor/Public Defender Careers. The law school was ranked third in the nation for prosecutor and public defender careers, based on the percentage of graduates who landed jobs in public interest and government positions combined.
  • Learning By Doing. For the third consecutive year we have been named a top school for practical training, a testament to the work and impact of the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic.

Finding opportunity, growth and potential of living in Cincinnati


Betsy Emmert has deep Cincinnati roots and decided to stay here for her undergraduate and law school studies.

To be honest, my decision to stay in Cincinnati was probably predetermined for me. In true Cincinnati fashion, my parents are both from Cincinnati, and so are my grandparents – and their parents. The most exotic place from which my lineage draws back for 150 years is Bethel, Ohio.

I, too, fit the stereotypical mold in that I went to a private, all-girls high school, Skyline flows through my veins, and I say “Please?” instead of “Excuse me?” when I can’t hear what you just said. However, I would be remiss in saying I did not have the option to leave the city – for college and now for law school. I was tempted by scholarship dollars, the thought of warmer weather (or perhaps colder), and the glamour of big cities, yet my decision to begin and sustain my career in Cincinnati has evolved since I sent in my seat deposit for the University of Cincinnati in 2011.

Since high school, I have heard “I want to get out of Cincinnati” more times than John Matarese has told us, “Don’t waste your money,” on Channel 9 News. Some argue it is a “right of passage” to fly the proverbial nest and start an exciting journey at University of XYZ or take a job in Big City, USA. My reasons for staying in Cincinnati were not groundbreaking or earthshattering, and probably were more practical than they were strategic when I first entered the doors of the Lindner College of Business in September 2011. When I was 18, I chose to stay in Cincinnati for college to join the Lindner Honors-PLUS Program at UC, to be near my family, and to save money rather than venture out of state. As I look back on the past five years, I realize that staying in Cincinnati opened more doors and revealed opportunities I could never have imagined possible had I left the Queen City.

Cincinnati falls into that sweet spot. As a big small city, Cincinnati has the benefits of a larger city: sports and cultural attractions, research universities, great restaurants, outstanding parks, and strong business – without the overwhelming traffic, long commutes, high cost of living, or coastal snobbery. Most importantly, Cincinnati is resilient. Despite disappointing Bengals’ performances year after year, violent weather swings, and impossible hills, our city is proud, united and rejuvenating. Ask the “boomerang” Cincinnatians who did their five-year stints in Chicago or New York City. After living in a closet, riding the subway, and suffering from Skyline withdrawal, suddenly, Cincinnati doesn’t sound so bad after all. This is not to say that Cincinnati has it all figured out – far from it actually, but that’s why I want to stay here.

In Cincinnati, I see opportunity, growth, and potential. Behind our share of political and economic issues are leaders, professionals, and businesses united to propel Cincinnati forward. As I have learned through my co-op rotations, internships, and college courses, the necessary ingredient to our city’s future success is strong talent dedicated to the future of our city. Maybe it’s attributable to the German Catholic heritage or to the industrial roots, but nevertheless, Cincinnati welcomes and embraces natives and newcomers alike, to join a thriving community proud of its history and anticipating a bright future.

Mark Twain once said, “[w]hen the end of the world comes, I want to be in Cincinnati because it’s always 20 years behind the times.” Despite whether or not this held entirely true in the context of 1883, Twain’s comment may explain the apparent stigma of staying in Cincinnati ad vitum. However, I am still confident with my decision to stay in Cincinnati ... that is, of course, until I get lost on the West Side and find myself in Indiana.

Editorial published in the Cincinnati Enquirer, May 2016.

26% Increase Returns Cincinnati Law to Historic Enrollment Levels


Cincinnati, OH— It’s official. This fall, first-year enrollment at the University of Cincinnati College of Law, among the top 50 public law schools in the nation, saw a 26% increase over last year.*  With a first year class of 126 JD students, not only is this group the biggest class entering the law school since 2010, it is also representative of a six percent increase in applications over the past year.

“I am very pleased to welcome a diverse and highly qualified class to join our law school community.   Our students come from 21 different states, 62 different colleges and 41 different majors.   In particular, I’m excited about our growing ties with the University of Cincinnati’s study body that has resulted in the enrollment of 25 “Double Bearcats” with two degrees from the University of Cincinnati and three “Triple Bearcats,” says Dean and Nippert Professor of Law Jennifer S. Bard.

In addition to the JD, the LLM Program, a year-long master’s degree program for internationally-trained attorneys and law graduates, continues to grow in size and in the quality and diversity of our students.  Now in its fifth year, this year the program has enrolled 18 attorneys from ten different countries including our first ever Fulbright Scholar. Since its inception, 50 attorneys from 23 countries have come to the law school to immerse themselves in the US legal system.

All of this positive enrollment news comes on the heels of recent notable accomplishments at the law school. The college’s Ohio Innocence Project/Lois and Richard Rosenthal Institute for Justice has just received a $15 million gift from Richard Rosenthal, the largest for the College and any innocence program in the country, which will provide for the program in perpetuity.  The University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees recently approved $1 million to fund a concept design for a new building, development of a probable cost for new construction and a relocation study while construction is underway.

“I attribute the increase in enrollment to an increase in awareness of the value of a Cincinnati Law degree,” explains Dean Bard.  “This is the third year in a row that we have been recognized as a best value school.  Employment outcomes continue to be strong; 80.7% of 2015 graduates obtained full-time, JD-required jobs within 10 months of graduation.  Moreover, our students are well prepared by our high quality faculty and our nationally recognized ‘learn by doing’ program.”

Indeed, for three consecutive years Cincinnati Law has been named a top school for practical training. The law school is ranked an A- school for students interested in public interest or criminal law, based on the depth of our curricular offerings. And, “the strength of our program is evident,” says Dean Bard. “Our high quality program reflects the strides we have made over the last several years in academic and career preparation. We are excited that others are also recognizing what is happening at Cincinnati Law.”

* Final enrollment numbers submitted for certification by the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar and the Law School Admissions Council as of October 5, 2016

The Ohio Innocence Project Honors International Wrongful Conviction Day


Tonight, October 4, 2016, the Duke Energy Building will be lit in the colors yellow and white in honor of International Wrongful Conviction Day.

Cincinnati, OH—The Ohio Innocence Project/Rosenthal Institute for Justice at the University of Cincinnati College of Law is celebrating International Wrongful Conviction Day by lighting up the city’s Duke Energy Building this evening in yellow and white—the colors symbolic of the wrongful conviction movement.  

In addition to the lighting event, OIP-u chapters throughout the state have hosted activities over the last few weeks to commemorate the day. Events included:

  • The John Carroll University chapter welcomed members of the Exoneree Band, a touring group of former prisoners-turned musicians, to participate in a panel discussion about wrongful conviction. Participants included Raymond Towler, an OIP exoneree, as well as exonerees from across the country.  
  • The University of Day chapter led a discussion by Dr. Melissa Berry about the causes of wrongful conviction, incorporating examples from the Netflix series “Making a Murderer” and the personal experiences of Ohio’s exonerees.
  • The Ohio State University chapter hosted an information table to promote awareness among students about wrongful conviction and the OIP.
  • And, the University of Cincinnati chapter assisted with the inaugural Bearcat Dash & Bash event.

OIP-u is a college network of innocence advocates that provides an avenue for Ohio undergraduate and graduate students to get more involved in the fight for freedom of wrongfully incarcerated people. Launched just last year, six OIP-u chapters have been created: John Carroll University, Ohio University, University of Dayton, the Ohio State University, Xavier University and the University of Cincinnati.

Today’s celebration and event comes on the heels of the successful inaugural Bearcat Dash & Bash, the OIP’s walk/run event to raise awareness and funds for the organization and for the university’s Athletics Department. The event, held Sunday, October 2, involved more than 1800 participants—with nearly 1400 in the 5K walk and nearly 500 in the 18.19K run. The 5K walk, which also included nine exonerees walking in the Freedom Walk, took participants through the university’s award-winning campus. The 18.19K run, which represents the average time that the OIP’s 24 clients spent in prison for crimes they didn’t commit, as well as the year of the University of Cincinnati’s founding, took participants through campus and the historic Clifton community.

International Wrongful Conviction Day recognizes the personal, social and legal costs associated with wrongful conviction. Launched by Win Wahren of the Association in Defense of the Wrongfully Convicted and a small group of like-minded individuals, the day is dedicated to recognizing those whose lives have been adversely impacted by wrongful conviction as well as educating the broader community on its causes, consequences and complications. Recognizing that wrongful convictions are not limited to one jurisdiction or nation, the group sought to unite individuals and organizations around the world in the effort to eradicate wrongful convictions. 

Record-Breaking $15M Gift to Benefit the Ohio Innocence Project at Cincinnati Law


Richard Rosenthal’s $15M Gift is the Largest for the College and Any Innocence Program

Dick Rosenthal_Ricky JacksonCINCINNATI - September 13, 2016 – A $15 million gift from long-time Cincinnati benefactor Richard “Dick” Rosenthal to the University of Cincinnati College of Law will help free countless wrongfully convicted individuals. The Ohio Innocence Project (OIP) at UC’s Lois and Richard Rosenthal Institute for Justice at the College of Law will use the generous gift – the largest ever for the college and any innocence program – to provide for the program in perpetuity.

“The Ohio Innocence Project has a laudable mission: to free every innocent person in Ohio. I’m proud to help ensure its life-saving work continues now and forever,” Rosenthal said. “Thank you to everyone who has helped make the OIP so successful in its mission – I’m inspired daily by the students, faculty and staff who work tirelessly in the pursuit of justice.”

“The University of Cincinnati is proud to be home to the world-class Ohio Innocence Project, where students work side-by-side with professionals to help free the innocent. Donors like Dick Rosenthal make this life-changing work possible, and we can’t thank him enough,” said UC Interim President Beverly J. Davenport.

Rosenthal’s investment will boost recruitment of top students and faculty, both nationally and internationally, and support vital programming at the OIP. In recognition of the monumental gift, the law school will add three Lois and Richard Rosenthal Clinical Professors of Law. Students will be identified as Rosenthal Student Fellows. Finally, the OIP will occupy custom-designed, named space in the new building with upgraded work spaces, offices and technology.

“The University of Cincinnati College of Law is deeply grateful to Mr. Rosenthal for his longstanding support of our faculty, staff and students who do such wonderful work addressing the injustice of wrongful convictions. This gift is the largest the law school has ever received,” said Jennifer S. Bard, Dean and Nippert Professor of Law at the UC College of Law. “The Ohio Innocence Project is an important component of our experiential, ‘learn by doing’ curriculum and by training the next generation of prosecutors, defense attorneys, legislators, and judges is already advancing one of our nation’s core Constitutional protections: the right to a fair trial.”

Founded in 2003, the OIP is Ohio’s only law school-based innocence organization dedicated to freeing innocent people in prison and preventing wrongful convictions. To date, the program has freed 24 people who combined served nearly 450 years in prison for crimes they did not commit.

“Student idealism and passion is the lifeblood of the OIP. The energy of our students gives us an advantage over other legal organizations, but it’s our generous donors who make their work possible,” said OIP Director Mark Godsey. “Thank you Dick Rosenthal for providing much more than financial support of the OIP. When John Cranley and I founded the organization, we were just a couple of young lawyers, but Lois and Dick knew how to build institutions. They had a vision, and helped teach John and me how to take our ideas and passion to the next level. From event planning, to public awareness, to fundraising, Lois and Dick taught us how to build a top-notch organization.”

“The Ohio Innocence Project has quickly become a national model for innocence organizations, and it has taken a leading role in expanding the movement internationally, assisting the startup of new programs across the globe,” said Barry Scheck, co-founder and director of the New York City-based Innocence Project. “Thank you to Dick Rosenthal for your incredible support of the innocent.”

Each year, about 20 students spend a full year working on cases, digging through files, interviewing witnesses, writing case briefs and applying their knowledge of forensic techniques like DNA testing. Through hands-on learning, they discover how to build a case and what can make a case go wrong, resulting in a tragic injustice.

“The incredible success of UC’s Ohio Innocence Project has been made possible through the vision and generosity of Dick Rosenthal,” said UC Foundation President Rodney Grabowski. “He has helped provide a life-changing service to our community and freed 24 individuals from wrongful imprisonment. We are forever grateful.”

In 2004, Dick and his late wife, Lois, gave $1 million to create and endow the Lois and Richard Rosenthal Institute for Justice. The primary component of the Institute is the OIP, which ultimately aims to free every innocent person in Ohio.

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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 of educating and inspiring leaders who pursue justice and advance the role of law in society. Its ranks include many distinguished alumni including a U.S. president, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and six governors. The college cultivates an intimate learning experience with an 8.6:1 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 law.uc.edu.

About the University of Cincinnati Foundation

Established in 1975, the University of Cincinnati Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation and is the private sector fundraising entity for the University of Cincinnati and UC Health. The foundation supports UC’s aspirations through philanthropic collaboration with the colleges, the Academic Health Center, UC Health and other units to maximize private support. The foundation’s advancement efforts promote the development of productive, enduring relationships with alumni, friends, colleagues, students, foundations, corporations and the Greater Cincinnati community. For more information, please visit uc.edu/foundation.