2017 Judge in Residence Lecture Focuses on State Laws Prohibiting Felons from Voting
Cincinnati, OH –Recipient of over 100 awards, including the American Bar Association’s John H. Pickering Award of Achievement recognizing dedication to equal justice for all, and the Martin Luther King Community Service Award, Judge Bernice Donald has had an impressive professional journey, which she will share with the law community during her visit as the 2017 Judge in Residence. In addition to visiting classes and meeting with law students, Judge Donald will present several lectures:
- “Undermining Democracy Through Felony Disenfranchisement Laws” will be presented on Monday, February 20. During her lecture she will discuss state laws prohibiting millions of Americans with felony convictions from voting, and how these laws exist as barriers to democratic participation. Judge Donald will explore this pressing issue that implicates civil rights, social justice, and prison reform. The lecture will be presented on February 20, 2017 at 12:15 p.m. in Rm. 114.
- “Implicit Bias” will be presented on Tuesday, February 21 for the university community. Implicit bias is the process by which the brain uses mental associations that are so well-established as to operate without our awareness, intention, or control. Judge Donald will discuss implicit bias and the way it manifests itself in our criminal justice system. The lecture will be presented February 21, 2017 at 3:30 p.m. in Rm. 118. All events are free and open to the public.
About Hon. Bernice B. Donald
Judge Donald has served in courts at some of the highest levels of the United States Judicial system. In 2010, Judge Donald was nominated by then President Barack Obama to serve on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. In 1995, then President Bill Clinton nominated her to the U.S District Court for the Western District of Tennessee. Prior to these judgeships, she served the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Tennessee and State of Tennessee General Sessions Criminal Court.
Barriers have been broken by Judge Donald’s appointments which have been history making. Indeed, when accepting the position for the General Sessions Criminal Court, she became the first African American woman to serve as a judge in the history of the state of Tennessee. She was also the first African American woman to serve on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, U.S District Court, and the U.S Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Tennessee.
Judge Donald’s resume of appointments and achievements include notable positions, such as secretary of the American Bar Association, president of the American Bar Foundation, president of the National Association of Women Judges, and president of the Association of Women Attorneys. She chaired the ABA Commission on Opportunities for Minorities; co-chaired the Task Force on Implicit Bias and Diversity for the ABA Section of Litigation; and in 2013, was elected to the Board of Directors of the American Judicature Society.
Event Details: Februrary 20, 2017 | 12:15-1:15 PM | Room 114
These events are brought by the University of Cincinnati College of Law’s Judge In Residence Program, which brings renowned judges into the academic and legal communities, sharing the theoretical and practical aspects of judicial decision-making.
TIME Magazine Special Edition Features the Ohio Innocence Project, an Extraordinary Honor for the Organization
The Ohio Innocence Project has received an unprecedented honor – a feature in TIME magazine’s special edition examining wrongful convictions. The issue, which is anticipated to sell over a half a million copies, was recently published (Feb 2017) and is available at newsstands across the country.
Says Professor Mark Godsey, Director of the Ohio Innocence Project, “I’m thrilled that Time has dedicated an entire issue to the Innocence Movement, which demonstrates the enormous impact it has had on our criminal justice system. We at OIP are honored to have been highlighted as a central player in what is now becoming a global human rights movement. And we are thankful to the University of Cincinnati and our many donors for making it all possible.
The issue, “Innocent: The Fight Against Wrongful Convictions,” takes a look at 25 years of the innocence movement. The Ohio Innocence Project (OIP) is highlighted with a multi-page spread. In a ten-page feature, the edition shares the stories of
- Ricky Jackson, the OIP exoneree who holds the record for the most years an exonerated American has served in prison, taking a “behind the scenes” look at his case, beginning in 1975 to today.
- Clarence Elkins, the OIP’s first successful exoneration, his battle for freedom, and the lengths he and the OIP students went through to help secure his release.
- Roger Dean Gillispie, the first case for the fledgling OIP in 2003, and the continuing obstacles in his case.
- OIP Director Mark Godsey’s unique career as an award-winning prosecutor turned champion for the innocent, and his emergence as a global leader in the movement. It also features his forthcoming book Blind Injustice: A Former Prosecutor Exposes the Psychology and Politics of Wrongful Convictions.
Dean Jennifer S. Bard, Nippert Professor of Law at the law school, also comments “It’s an honor to have the Rosenthal Institute for Justice/ Ohio Innocence Project at the University of Cincinnati College of Law. The work Mark Godsey, Jennifer Bergeron, Donald Caster, and Brian Howe do is absolutely remarkable as are the opportunities the students involved have to learn how much influence lawyers have in changing the lives of both individuals and society. The work OIP does in making sure the legal system continues to work hard to avoid error infuses our entire law school and makes every student we graduate a better lawyer.”
Dean Bard Teaches Short Course on Human Subject Research
During the first week of January, Dean Bard co-taught a week long course in human subject research with long-time adjunct and Dinsmore & Shohl partner, Dr. Frank Woodside, a first in short course history. Eight students participated in the class.
The course included lively discussion of the legal and ethical issues that govern research either funded by the federal government or intended to prove the safety & efficacy of new prescription drugs or devices. The students also enjoyed presentations from the Vice President for Research’s Office, including Dr. Jane Strasser, Associate Vice President for Research and Comparative Medicine at the University of Cincinnati, Mike Linke (the chair of the University of Cincinnati’s Institutional Review Board), Angela Braggs-Brown (the director of the Office of Human Subject Research) and Holly Bante, Director, Conflict of Interest & Asst. Professor, College of Medicine. Click here for more pictures from the class.
“It was a fun and energizing way to start the semester. Human Subject Research regulation has been one of my primary areas of scholarship.” It presents complex regulatory issues that are relevant to any program that gets federal funding but it also has interesting ethical issues about how much risk individuals should be allowed to take. Research compliance is also a growth area in terms of hiring lawyers so I wanted to introduce students to something that would open new career doors for them.”
Said Dr. Woodside “I appreciate that I was asked to participate; learned a great deal; enjoyed the interaction with the students.”
Angela Braggs-Brown is the Director of UC’s Human Research Protection Program (HRPP), she is also a member of the UC IRB. She has been involved with FDA regulated research in addition to social behavioral and policy research over the last 15 years. Ms. Braggs-Brown is Regulatory Affairs Certified (RAC) as well as a Certified IRB Professional (CIP).
Dr. Mike Linke has served on the University of Cincinnati IRB for over 20 years and was appointed Chair in 2004. Dr. Linke is a Health Science Officer at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center and an Associate Professor at the UC College of Medicine. In 2012, under his leadership the UC IRB Social and Behavioral IRB merged with the Medical IRB to form a single IRB that reviews all human subjects research conducted at UC. He now serves as Chair of the combined board. He led the formation of the National Institutes of Health StrokeNet Central IRB and serves as Chair of the Central IRB. StrokeNet is funded by the NIH to conduct clinical trials for stroke prevention, treatment, and recovery. UC serves as the National Clinical Coordinating Center and the network consists of 25 Regional Coordinating Centers with over 300 clinical sites. Awarded the Greater Cincinnati Health Council’s first ever Servant Leadership Award for his efforts in creating and leading the Consortium of Greater Cincinnati IRBs He also serves in various roles in the VA human subjects protection program and has been actively involved in the human subjects research accreditation processes at UC and the VA.
Jane Strasser is the Associate Vice President for Research and Comparative Medicine at UC. As UC’s Institutional Official she is responsible for ensuring that the Human Research Protection Program is supported and compliant. As the Research Integrity Officer she is responsible for investigating allegations of research misconduct and protecting the integrity of the research record. Dr. Strasser is an Associate Professor of Pediatric Infectious Diseases and the Director of the Office of Research Integrity.
Sarah Sijelmassi’s Attraction to Cincinnati Law’s LLM Program
Sarah Sijelmassi grew up in a place many people think of as a luxury vacation destination: the South of France. But these days, she’s more interested in soaking up legal knowledge in Cincinnati than sunshine in Toulouse.
Sijelmassi’s initial attraction to Cincinnati Law was the LL.M. program’s tailored approach. “The classes were so specific to what I wanted to learn,” she says, including courses in Copyright Law, Patent Law and Patent Office, Computer and Internet Law, Trademark and Unfair Competition Law, and Advertising Law. She also found the faculty roster at Cincinnati Law impressive, including Professor Timothy K. Armstrong, whose teaching and research interests focus on copyright and other intellectual property law.
Having graduated with a master’s degree in intellectual property law from Université de Montpellier in 2014, Sijelmassi wanted to deepen her knowledge and skills from a US perspective. The goal: To be able to practice IP law anywhere in the US or Europe.
“I wanted to be a doctor, but I couldn’t because I’m super bad at math,” she says with a laugh. Instead, Sijelmassi hopes she can contribute to the world of medicine using her legal savvy and passion for science—either at a US or EU-based pharmaceutical or medical research company.
Having spent a few months post-graduation living with family in Washington, DC, she improved her English and got the chance to observe how the American legal system works. “The atmosphere is very different,” she says, comparing the collaborative, team-based approach she witnessed in DC versus the more individual process of law firms where she worked in France.
Sijelmassi plans to finish her LL.M. studies at Cincinnati Law in May 2017. She’d like to stay on while preparing for her bar exams—potentially in both Ohio and New York—before making the next professional move. “Cincinnati is the perfect size. It’s a human-sized city,” she says.
Drew Lehmkuhl’s 8 Year Journey to Law School
“It’s not about what brought me here, it’s about what kept me here,” said triple Bearcat Drew Lehmkuhl about his decision to pursue three separate degrees at the same university.
Lehmkuhl, who will be a 1L this fall, is entering his eighth year at the University of Cincinnati. He earned his undergraduate degree in neuroscience, and recently completed his master’s degree in experimental psychology, defending his thesis at the end of June.
Growing up in Northern Kentucky as the son of a University of Cincinnati graduate, Lehmkuhl was always a huge fan of UC sports. Even so, attending UC was not the original plan. Set to start school at the University of Louisville, he changed his mind at the last second.
“I took a leap of faith,” he stated, recalling his last-minute decision to attend a school where he wouldn’t know anyone. After leaping, however, he landed on his own two feet
Lehmkuhl knew that he had made the right decision when he realized that what Cincinnati boasts about is true: a big school, but a tight-knit community. After becoming involved on-campus, particularly in the “unbelievable research” and interdisciplinary collaboration that was available as an undergraduate student, he felt right at home.
Four years simply was not enough time, and Lehmkuhl found himself wanting to continue on in the science field and to become more involved in research. He credits the university with focusing on practical skills to complement textbook learning, a balance that assured him UC was the right place for his graduate education.
Although the setting was the same, there were major differences between Lehmkuhl’s undergraduate and graduate education. Many of his peers had not attended the university for undergraduate, and he described showing them around campus as “being with a bunch of older freshmen.” A thirst for learning was more obvious in these “freshmen” than many of those with whom Lehmkuhl had entered UC, however.
Many undergraduate students, particularly in the beginning of their higher education careers, are more focused on passing a general education class or earning a specific grade on an exam than truly learning and absorbing the information presented to them. In graduate school, Lehmkuhl noticed, mindsets shifted towards truly learning materials in order to later apply them to practice. “It was awesome having a close group of driven students around me who are very passionate about what they do in their fields,” he said.
As a graduate student, Lehmkuhl was able to take a more involved role in research, and work more closely with faculty members. Between his undergraduate and graduate degrees, he has been able to work in many areas, including psychology, biology, and neurology, and worked at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in the area of human genetics.
Even with a positive atmosphere and attitude, eight years of continuous schooling, with three more to go, can seem daunting. But not to Lemkuhl.
Since he has had the past year and a half off of classes, working 40 hours a week on intensive research programs, Lemkuhl is ready to be a student again. “When you’re working, it doesn’t feel like school,” he said. “I think this break time, though, has served a purpose. I love being in the classroom and can’t wait to get back.”
In addition to his work, Lemkuhl has taught classes the past six semesters, most recently research methods and statistics in behavioral sciences. Whether it was seeing concepts click into place, or the journey from glassy-eyed at the start to engaged and excited at the end, he enjoyed his stint as a teacher, and would absolutely do it again in the future.
For law school, Lehmkuhl’s area of interest lies in intellectual property. This stems from his experiences at UC, where he worked with individuals who inspired and amazed him each day.
“I want to continue working with brilliant people,” Lehmkuhl asserted. “I want to be a facilitator, a legal advocate, for these brilliant people who are doing work like this, who have brilliant ideas. And I want to protect those ideas.”
Author: Michelle Flanagan, ‘18, Communication Intern
2017 Judge in Residence Program featuring Hon. Bernice B. Donald
Date: February 20-22, 2017
School Wide Talk: “Undermining Democracy through Felony Disenfranchisement Laws”
Date: February 20, 2017
Time: 12:10 p.m.
Location: Rm. 114
Check out photos from her visit: Judge Donald
Check out the Judge Donald Interview video
About the Speaker
Judge Donald was nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit by President Obama in 2010 and was confirmed by the Senate in September, 2011, becoming the first female African-American judge on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Prior to joining the Court of Appeals, Judge Donald served on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, where she was appointed by President Clinton in December 1995. Judge Donald served as Judge of U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Tennessee from June 1988 to January 1996, where she was the first African American woman to serve as a federal bankruptcy judge. When she was elected to the General Sessions Criminal Court in 1982, she became the first African American woman to serve as a judge in the history of the State of Tennessee. Judge Donald received her law degree from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law where she has served as an adjunct faculty member. Judge Donald was born in DeSoto County, Miss., in 1951, the sixth of 10 children of a domestic worker and a self-taught mechanic.
Judge Donald has lectured and trained judges around the world. She frequently serves as faculty for the Federal Judicial Center and the National Judicial College. She has taught at international programs in Romania, Mexico, Turkey, Brazil, Bosnia, Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, Senegal, Rwanda, Tanzania, Russia, Egypt, Morocco, Thailand, Armenia, Jamaica, and Manila. In 2003, Judge Donald led a People to People delegation to Johannesburg and Capetown, South Africa and traveled to Zimbabwe to monitor the trial of a judge accused of judicial misconduct.
Judge Donald has served as secretary of the American Bar Association (the first African-American woman to serve as an officer in the history of the association) and President of the American Bar Foundation. A longtime champion of civil rights and inclusion, she also chaired the ABA Commission on Opportunities for Minorities in the Profession, where she established the Spirit of Excellence Award. She also has served as President of the National Association of Women Judges, President of the Association of Women Attorneys, co-chair of the Task Force on Implicit Bias and Diversity for the ABA Section of Litigation, and co-chair of the Diversity Committee for the ABA’s Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section. In 2013, Judge Donald was elected to the Board of Directors of the American Judicature Society.
Judge Donald has been the recipient of over 100 awards for professional, civic, and community activities, including the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Memphis, the Martin Luther King Community Service Award, and the Benjamin Hooks Award presented in 2002 by the Memphis Bar Foundation. During the 2013 annual meeting of the National Bar Association, Judge Donald received the William H. Hastie Award, which recognizes excellence in legal and judicial scholarship and demonstrated commitment to justice under the law. In 2013, Judge Donald also received the Difference Makers Award from the Solo, Small Firm & General Practice Division of the American Bar Association, and the Pioneer Award from her fellow classmates at East Side High. In 2014, Judge Donald received both the University of Virginia’s Justice William Brennan Award and the American Bar Association’s John H. Pickering Award of Achievement, which recognizes dedication to the cause of equal justice for all and the highest standards of ethics and professionalism in the law.
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 email@example.com.
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
- employment success
- 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
Natia 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.