Toggle menu

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.  

 

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.

 

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.

###

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.

Man Regains Freedom After 23 Years Thanks to OIP


In February 1981, the Parsons family suffered a tragic loss. Barbara Parsons, the 41-year-old wife of Jim Parsons, was found dead inside her bedroom, having been beaten 15 times in the head by someone using a large, heavy object. No suspect was found at first. Then, 12 years later, Jim Parsons was arrested for the murder. Parsons was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. After 23 years incarcerated, however, his conviction was overturned thanks to the Ohio Innocence Program (OIP).

"The Ohio Innocence Project plays an important role in the legal education of all of our students. Not only do the students who directly represent the clients with Professor Mark Godsey and the staff attorneys learn valuable litigation skills, all of our students benefit from its commitment to justice and the rule of law that are at the heart of the U.S. Legal system,” says Cincinnati Law’s Dean Jennifer S. Bard, Nippert Professor of Law.

Parsons was recently released and is now living with family. His story, however, is a frightening one.

An Unfair Advantage
Immediately after Barbara Parsons’ murder, an investigation began. A just hour after the body was found at their Norwalk, OH home, Jim Parsons was with the police; he showed no signs of a struggle and his alibi was solid. The case went cold after it became obvious that he was not the criminal.

Years later, a new detective was assigned to the case and sent the suspected murder weapon and bed sheets to forensic scientist Michele Yezzo, who worked on the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, asking her to look for any matching patterns of blood.

While running these tests, Yezzo failed to fully document her procedures. She used a chemical on the sheets which she claimed makes blood stains easier to see. However, it fades after several hours and she neglected to photograph each piece of evidence. Yezzo said she found matching patterns between the weapon and the sheets, but due to lack of documentation, she is the only one who ever saw it.

Even so, the court ruled against Parsons. He was found guilty and was sent to jail.

What the defense did not know at the time was that the State was withholding information. Around the same time that she was testifying, Yezzo was under severe job pressure. A few months prior to her testimony against Mr. Parsons, she was suspended from work for making threats against co-workers. She also displayed other signs that called her mental stability into question.

“About three years before she testified against Parsons,” said Parsons’ OIP attorney Donald Caster, ’03, “there was a memo that was written by her supervisor that said the consensus in the lab is that her mental health issues are affecting her work in the lab and that she would stretch the truth to satisfy a law enforcement agency.”

When Caster found that information, he placed a call to Dr. Scott Bresler, Clinical Director of Forensic Psychiatry at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

Bresler, who routinely conducts fitness-for-duty evaluations, evaluated Yezzo’s likely mental state at the time of the trial and through this determined her ability to work should have been called into question long before the Parsons trial.

The law requires that the State must turn over everything that could help a defendant before trial. Withholding this information about Yezzo was breaking the law, resulting in an unfair trial. Twenty-three years later, Jim Parsons finally got the hearing he deserved.

“Our star witness, whose subjective judgements are entirely what the case is about, is perhaps mentally unstable. And not only that, when we brought her in and she testified at the hearing in the Parsons’ case, she agreed that every day she was coming in thinking that she was going to be disciplined for her erratic conduct,” Caster said. “So what better way for a forensic scientist to help save their job than to solve a cold murder case?”

Alex Barengo, ’17, an OIP Fellow who worked on the case, seconded this reasoning. He stated that the prosecution was “riddled with reasonable doubts” due to the late arrest of Mr. Parsons and Yezzo’s precarious position with her employer.

Fighting for Freedom
OIP investigations can take years to complete, and often the fellows working on the cases pass them down to others. In fact, Parsons’ case spanned ten years, 21 law students, and predated Caster’s time with the OIP.

Former OIP Fellow Jackie Welp, ’16, said this was the most frustrating aspect. “He is and was very sick and growing older as the process continued,” she said, recalling how slow the procedure sometimes moved. “It was very challenging to stay upbeat when it seemed like the testing would never be done.”

Barengo gave credit to the previous fellows, saying that the investigation of the case was already completed and he and his partner, Miranda Anandappa, ’17, had the responsibility of making sure everything was in place so nothing would go wrong in court.

After all the information was gathered, Caster filed for post-conviction relief and a new trial motion, telling the judge that Mr. Parsons was actually innocent and his trial was made unfair by the withholding of evidence by the state of Ohio.

The hearing, which lasted about a day, included testimony from witnesses, scientists, one of Mr. Parsons’ daughters, and several people from the State. A week later, Caster learned that the judge had ruled to overturn the verdict.

“The most rewarding part came a few weeks after the hearing up in Huron County,” Barengo expressed. “One of Mr. Parsons’ daughters sent us a picture of him at home with his family.”

Author: Michelle Flanagan ’18, Communication Intern

OIP Receives Spirit of America Award


OIP AwardCongratulations to the Ohio Innocence Project (OIP), honored with the Donald and Marian Spencer Spirit of America Award on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. The award, which was presented by the Cincinnatus Association, recognizes the OIP’s contributions to creating greater inclusion and prompting diversity in the community.

The OIP was honored for its work in freeing more innocent people than any other state-based innocence organization in the country, as well as its work in drafting and helping to pass groundbreaking reform legislation to decrease the chance that innocence Ohioans will be wrongfully convicted in the future.

The Spirit of America award was named for Donald and Marian Spencer, called the “first couple of civil rights in Cincinnati.” Donald Spencer, who died several years ago, was the first African American to serve on the Cincinnati Park Board, the first African American broker on the Cincinnati Board of Realtors, and the first African American trustee of Ohio University. Marian Spencer integrated Coney Island many years ago, was the first African American president of the Woman’s City Club, and was the first African American woman to serve on Cincinnati City Council.

US News Ranking Positions Cincinnati Law Within Top 50 Public Law Schools in the Nation


Cincinnati Law’s significant increase in employment and high bar passage earns results in its ranking among the top 50 public law schools by U.S. News & World Report.

Cincinnati, OH —The U.S. News & World Report has ranked Cincinnati Law #60 in the nation, up 22 places from last year.

Jennifer S. Bard, Dean and Nippert Professor of Law, remarked “We are very pleased by all the external recognition we received this year for producing meaningful outcomes. This includes specific programs such as our clinics, centers and other community collaborations. The U.S. News & World Report ranking reflects our high employment and bar passage rates as well as increased score in peer assessment. It is well deserved and due to the hard work of our faculty, staff, students and alumni.”

Mina Jones Jefferson, Senior Assistant Dean and Director of the Center for Professional Development, elaborated on last year’s 13 percent increase in employment. “For the Class of 2014, 88 percent found employment within 10 months of graduation, a placement above both state and national averages and we are on target to do just as well with the Class of 2015.”

Dean Bard further stated “These outcomes, combined with the high quality legal education our faculty and staff offers students, the strength of our first class research university, and the success and commitment of our wonderful alumni explain why Cincinnati Law is consistently recognized as an ‘A’ level ‘Best Value’ law school.”

The U.S. News ranking follows recent recognition by several similar publications that have assessed the strong Cincinnati Law program:

  • 3rd in the Nation for Prosecutor and Public Defender Careers. (preLaw magazine, Winter edition)
  • Among the Top 20 Schools for Law Students Interested in Prosecutorial/Public Defender Work. (National Jurist magazine)
  • Top 30 School for Super Lawyers. The college, which came in at 28* in the nation, had 13.1 percent of its alumni being considered a Super Lawyer. (*The National Jurist Fall 2015 edition).
  • 40th in the Nation and 10th in the Midwest for JD-Required Positions. (ChicagoINNO)
  • Among the top 50 Law Schools in the Country for Sending Graduates to the top 250 Law Firms. (National Law Journal)
  • Top School for Practical Training. Named to the 2016 honor roll for “Best School for Practical Training” (National Jurist magazine). Ranked a top law school for practical training (National Jurist magazine, 2015 and 2014)
  • Best Value Law School Ranking. Named a Best Value Law School for the third year and second consecutive year, respectively. (National Jurist and preLaw magazines)

Dinsmore & Shohl LLP elects alumni Thomas M. Connor, Kristin Leinhart and Michael Proctor as partners


CINCINNATI (January 6, 2016) – Dinsmore & Shohl LLP is pleased to announce five Cincinnati attorneys have been named Partner. April L. Besl, Thomas M. Connor, Allison H. Kropp, Kristin M. Lenhart and Faith C. Whittaker were elected to partnership effective January 1, 2016. Fourteen attorneys across the firm have been promoted to Partner this year.
“I am proud to welcome the newest attorneys elected to partnership. They share a passion for the practice of law and a commitment to serving our clients that we value at Dinsmore,” said George H. Vincent, Managing Partner & Chairman. “It has been a pleasure to see them advance in our profession and achieve this accomplishment.”

Thomas M. Connor- Cincinnati, OH
Thomas M. ConnorA partner in the Litigation Department, Tom is an experienced litigator, having handled trials, mediations, negotiations, and client counseling in a wide variety of matters. These include product liability and mass tort litigation, toxic tort matters, natural resources and land use disputes, intellectual property litigation, software and information-technology related litigation, contract matters, as well as defense of health care providers and hospitals. Tom has extensive experience practicing in both state and federal courts throughout much of the Midwest, including experience in complex and multi-district litigation.

For nearly a decade prior to his law career, Tom worked in a series of information technology leadership roles at one of the world’s largest and most diverse technology and manufacturing corporations. He worked with business partners to design, develop and implement a wide variety of complex technology and business process reengineering solutions to address business challenges and opportunities. As an attorney, he has leveraged this background to better understand the operations and legal needs of his business clients. Tom also has worked with technical personnel leading sophisticated large-scale e-Discovery efforts involving traditional business documents as well as non-traditional e-Discovery involving structured enterprise systems data, CRM systems, and CAD engineering drawings. p>In the course of his litigation work, Tom has developed a thorough understanding of the Medicare Secondary Payer statute and has advised clients on all aspects of litigating and settling cases that may give rise to Medicare reimbursement or reporting obligations. He is a member of the firm’s Information Systems and e-Discovery committees. He earned his J.D. from the University of Cincinnati College of Law.

Kristin M. Lenhart- Cincinnati, OH
Kristin LeinhartA member of the Corporate Department, Kristin represents a variety of individuals in estate planning and probate and trust administration matters. Focusing largely on the planning side, Kristin leverages a practical, real-world approach to helping clients minimize the complications associated with the transfer of wealth. Understanding that estate planning sometimes involves an emotional component and complex family dynamics, Kristin tailors her approach to each client, quickly discerning their goals and laying out a strategy to help them get there. By building relationships with clients, Kristin is also able to advise them on other matters, including general business needs, business and LLC formation and implementing business succession plans.

Building on her past experience with a large accounting firm, Kristin also advises closely-held businesses, charitable organizations and family foundations on a variety of tax and business matters.

Beyond her practice, Kristin enjoys writing and in 2012 co-authored a children’s book called “The Notre Dame Spirit,” which highlights the picturesque and legendary South Bend campus through the eyes of a first-time visitor. She earned her J.D. from the University of Cincinnati College of Law.

Michael R. Proctor- Morgantown, WV
MIchael ProctorA member of the Litigation Department, Michael handles business disputes throughout Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Mike also has extensive bankruptcy experience, representing creditors in all phases of bankruptcy, including claim litigation, nondischargeability actions and preferential transfers.

Overall, Mike’s litigation experience is wide-ranging and includes UCC Article 9 litigation, litigation under the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act, deliberate intent and employment litigation, contractual disputes and oil and gas production disputes. Some specific examples of Mike’s experience include: administration of class action funds on behalf of a local governmental entity, immunity of governmental entities in performing administrative duties, litigation of the co-extensive jurisdiction of the bankruptcy courts and district courts, and providing advice to common carriers regarding Federal Transit Administration procurement regulations. He earned his J.D. from the University of Cincinnati College of Law.

About Dinsmore & Shohl
Dinsmore & Shohl is comprised of 625 attorneys with locations in 21 cities throughout California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C. and West Virginia. For more than a century, Dinsmore has provided a broad range of integrated services to meet the needs of both large and small businesses as well as institutions, associations, governments, professional firms and individuals. For more information, please visit www.dinsmore.com.