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College of Law Receives $100K Gift to Support Student Scholarships


Cincinnati, OH—Thanks to a $100,000 gift from Tom and Sally Cuni, students at the University of Cincinnati College of Law can worry a little less about law school financing. The Cuni family recently established the Tom and Sally Cuni Family Scholarship Fund which will provide financial support to any law student. This fund enables the College to continue to attract, build and support a diverse class of students. It is the sixth significant contribution donated to the law school during the 2017-2018 academic year.

“We truly appreciate this gift from Tom and Sally as well as their continued support of our programs. This gift will enable the College to build upon our mission, preparing leaders to make a difference in the world," said Verna Williams, Interim Dean and Nippert Professor of Law at the College of Law.

Cuni, a double Bearcat (BA 1969, JD 1975), has a history of giving back—to the local community and the College of Law. As a partner at Cuni, Ferguson & LaVay Co., LPA, he built a successful legal career, primarily representing small businesses. Today, Cuni no longer represents clients in his legal practice; instead, he volunteers at Hamilton County Juvenile Court as an attorney for ProKids’ Guardian ad Litem group. He also spends many hours helping local non-profits and mentoring law students through the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic (ECDC).  

“Tom’s support of our students is amazing.  He brings a vast amount of knowledge and experience, and passion to supervising and mentoring our students,” said Professor Lew Goldfarb, Director of the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic. “Our students love working with Tom and I think he feels the same.  We are so fortunate that Tom’s involved with the ECDC.”     

Tom Giffin, Senior Director of Development, agrees. “Tom and Sally Cuni have demonstrated a strong love for the College of Law through Tom’s support of the ECDC. Their generous gift ensures that the Cuni name remains an integral part of the law school for generations.”  

About the University of Cincinnati College of Law

As the fourth oldest continuously operating law school in the country, UC’s College of Law has a rich history. Its distinguished alumni include a U.S. president, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and six governors. The College cultivates an intimate learning experience with a 9:1 student to faculty ratio and offers a wealth of resources, such as more than 40 student organizations, five journals and seven centers and institutes. For more information, please visit www.law.uc.edu.

 

 

 

OIP Breakfast Raises Over $150K to Help Wrongly Convicted Persons


Cincinnati, OH— The Ohio Innocence Project (OIP) at Cincinnati Law raised over $153,570 at its third Annual Breakfast April 19, featuring stories of innocent persons who still would be incarcerated, were it not for OIP.

“The extreme generosity of this community allows us to have a tremendous impact,” said Verna L. Williams, Interim Dean and Nippert Professor of Law at Cincinnati Law. “OIP demonstrates how a law school can make strides for justice, while providing a transformational experience for students. Whether they choose careers focusing on social justice or corporate law, our law students learn valuable lessons about persevering in the face of unimaginable injustice, committing to excellence in client service, among other things, that will make them outstanding attorneys.” 

The centerpiece of this year’s event was the premiere of the newest OIP video, which featured persons freed by OIP since its founding in 2003.  Viewers heard about their struggles to remain whole while wrongly incarcerated and their joys upon finally being released.   At the end of the video, the OIP’s most recent exonerees Ru-El Sailor (freed several weeks ago after 15 years in prison) and Evin King (exonerated in 2017 after 23 years in prison), joined other exonerees on the stage to celebrate OIP’s success in freeing 26 people. 

“The 26 exonerees are a direct reflection of the gifts and support of our donors,” said Mindy Roy, Assistant Director of Development at Cincinnati Law. “We are so grateful for their commitment to OIP.”

Co-chairs for this year’s breakfast were Anne DeLyons and Jennie Rosenthal Berliant, members of the OIP Board of Advocates. Event sponsors included the following: 19/19 Investment Counsel; Barbara J. Howard Co., L.P.A.; Blank Rome LLP; Dinsmore & Shohl, LLP; Helmer, Martins, Rice & Popham Co, L.P.A.; Katz Teller; Loevy & Loevy; Murray & Agnes Seasongood Foundation; Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP / The Estabrook Trust; Rittgers & Rittgers; White Getgey Meyer Co., L.P.A.; Bahl & Gaynor; Candace Crouse and Martin Pinales; Frost Brown Todd LLC; Gerhardstein & Branch Co., LPA; John D. Smith Co., LPA,; The Spahr Foundation; and Squire Patton Boggs.

EVENT PHOTO GALLERY >> 

 

About Cincinnati Law

As the fourth oldest continuously operating law school in the country, Cincinnati Law has a rich history. Its distinguished alumni include a U.S. president, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and six governors. The College cultivates an intimate learning experience with a 9:1 student to faculty ratio and offers a wealth of resources, such as more than 40 student organizations, five journals and seven centers and institutes. For more information, please visit www.law.uc.edu.

 

 

Working Abroad: Law Alum Mark Whittenburg’s Shanghai Experience


Mark Whittenburg ’92 has had an impressive career since graduating Cincinnati Law. Though he now works for Core & Main in St. Louis, Missouri, he spent the several preceding years in Shanghai, China.

Mark WhittenburgIt all started while he was working for General Electric here in the states. After moving back to Cincinnati for several months, he was contacted by a recruiter from Autoliv, a Fortune 500 company. Autliv is the world’s largest automotive safety supplier with sales to all the leading car manufacturers in the world. They develop, manufacture and market protective systems such as airbags, seatbelts, steering wheels, passive safety electronics and active safety systems including brake control systems, radar, night vision and camera vision systems. They also produce pedestrian protection systems.

He successfully navigated the interview process and was hired for the Vice President of Legal position. Whittenburg jumped at the opportunity, moving from Cincinnati to Shanghai, where he worked from 2011 to 2013.

When asked about the professional and cultural challenges of working abroad, Whittenburg makes it clear that those challenges are inseparable. “I had to do some cultural learning [because] what motivates people is a little bit different, so trying to lead a team in China isn’t the same as leading a team in Charlottesville, Virginia,” he said. While a handful of his coworkers were fellow foreigners, the overwhelming majority were Chinese natives.

Whittenburg also shared that “cultural awareness was my greatest learning curve—even more than, well . . . the law.”

Chinese law and the Chinese legal system differ radically from their American counterparts. In Whittenburg’s case, he had to learn them on the job and without mastery of Mandarin.

His studies at the law school proved helpful, however. He emphasizes that Cincinnati Law taught him that “it’s not really knowing all the answers but knowing how to find the answers and how to think through problems.”

Autliv’s Shanghai branch covers all Asian markets. Whittenburg’s work there gave him opportunities to travel to Japan, Korea, India, and Thailand.

What’s it Like Living in Shanghai?
His personal life in Shanghai was interesting. He lived in a rented house in a compound that was home to as many fellow expats as it was to native Shanghainese.Whittenburg recalls that seeing a man riding a bicycle with a tower of Styrofoam above and behind him was “one of [his] very first shocks.” Even with such surprises, his transition was smooth, and his memories of coworkers and neighbors are fond.

He experienced the local culinary culture in full. What did he eat? “I ate incredibly strange stuff . . . snake, turtle, intestines, and blood, and all kinds of stuff,” he chuckled. “I definitely prefer it to the China Kitchen.” [The China Kitchen is a United States Chinese restaurant.]

While Whittenburg warns against eating sautéed snakeskin (he likens it to “chewing on a tire”), he does strongly encourages lawyers take up opportunities to live and work abroad. “Do it in a heart beat,” he says. “It will change [you and your practice] in ways that nobody could ever explain.”

College of Law Announces $183,800 Gift for Student Scholarships


Cincinnati, OH—Thanks to an anonymous donor, student scholarships will be more plentiful at the University of Cincinnati College of Law. October’s $183,800 planned gift is the second significant contribution to student scholarships in as many months, enabling the law school to continue to attract and support a diverse student body.

“This funder from the Class of 1977 joins countless others in demonstrating their commitment to the continued success of the College of Law,” said Verna Williams, Interim Dean and Nippert Professor of Law.   “Such support is essential to fulfilling our mission to educate and inspire the next generation of leaders.  This gift will make a substantial impact on the lives of students,” Williams said.  

The scholarship will be awarded to a student who plans to practice criminal law upon graduation.

“This latest gift represents a deep appreciation for the College of Law and is the result of a long and illustrious legal career,” explained Thomas Giffin, senior director of development at the law school. “The work of the College continues, thanks in large part, to alumni and friends who provide support in their wills, trusts, life income gifts, retirement plans, life insurance designations, and other planned gifts. We are forever thankful for their generosity.”

This Class of 1977 donor becomes a part of the Herman Schneider Legacy Society, founded to recognize University of Cincinnati benefactors whose contributions to educational excellence are realized through gift plans. The Society was named for University of Cincinnati educator Herman Schneider, founder of the university’s cooperative education program, whose vision propelled UC to the forefront of higher education early in the 20th century.

 

About the University of Cincinnati College of Law

As the fourth oldest continuously operating law school in the country, UC’s College of Law has a rich history. Its distinguished alumni include a U.S. president, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and six governors. The College cultivates an intimate learning experience with a 9:1 student to faculty ratio and offers a wealth of resources, such as more than 40 student organizations, five journals and seven centers and institutes. For more information, please visit www.law.uc.edu .

Date: October 30, 2017

 

College of Law Receives $125,000 Gift for Student Scholarships


A Major Gift

Cincinnati, OH—The University of Cincinnati College of Law has received a $125,000 gift targeted specifically at the College’s scholarship program.  The donor, who has requested anonymity, said his donation reflects the significant role the College played in his success, giving him the tools to excel in the legal and business worlds. 

“Gifts of this level represent a powerful vote of confidence in the institution,” said Verna Williams, Interim Dean at the College of Law. “We could not be the exceptional institution that we are without this kind of support, which will ensure that we continue to attract and retain an academically talented and diverse student body.”

In today’s highly competitive law school environment, scholarships are a priority for students and for the law school.  “We are fortunate to have such a strong supporter,” said Tom Giffin, Senior Director of Development at the College. “This alum’s experience at the College of Law made him excited and happy to be able to ‘pay it forward’. ”

The scholarship will be awarded to a student who “demonstrates exceptional ability, promise and/or need, as well as having demonstrated the highest ethical standards.”   

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 a9:1 student to faculty ratio and offers a wealth of resources, such as more than 40 student organizations, five journals and seven centers and institutes. For more information, please visit www.law.uc.edu.

 

A Transition Seven Years in the Making


AkramIf you were to ask a UC Law alum of decades past about microfiche, he or she would likely recall hours spent researching in the library, using special equipment to view a sheet of microfilm.  If you were to ask a new, 20-something UC Law student about microfiche, you more likely get answered with a confused stare.

“Many young people do not know what it is,” says Akram Pari, Bibliographic Services and Special Collections Librarian, of UC’s Robert S. Marx Law Library.  Microfiche are sheets of microfilm, and each sheet contains several tiny pictures of printed pages.  It was the old-school way of condensing and preserving documents.  Fortunately for younger students, Pari and a team of staff librarians have been working since 2011 to convert the Marx Library’s vast collection of legal documents from microfiche format to a digital format.

“Management of the microfiche collection would cause us difficulties.  It was challenging to manage that size of a collection, in terms of space, financial needs, staff,” says Pari.  It cost thousands of dollars annually to maintain document collections in microfiche format.  Converting these collections to digital format was “very challenging, but it took us a long way toward providing access to our patrons.”  

Pari was hired in 2011 by Director Kenneth Hirsh as “amongst other duties, coordinator for government documents.”  This position comes with great responsibility, as the Marx Library is a Selective Government Depository Library and part of the Federal Depository Program (FDLP), which seeks to make federal government publications available to the public at no cost.   Through the program, the Marx Library receives thousands of government documents at no cost, but in return, it has an obligation to make these documents accessible to the public.

Pari and the Marx Library team’s work has paid off.  In 2014, the Government Publishing Office conducted its public access assessment.  While most libraries had one or more deficiencies noted in their reports, the Marx Law Library excelled, and the report highlighted achievements in cataloging the Federal Depository collection.

Now, with easily-accessed digital format, anyone can view the Marx Law Library’s collection of government documents at no cost through the online catalogue.  Individual documents are fully searchable by title or other criteria, eliminating the tedium of searching the shelves for microfiche.

 The library staff will complete the years-long conversion project at the end of August.

 

Written by Pete Miller

 

Cincinnati Law Launches Academic Year; LLM Program Grows with First Students from Dual Degree Program


2017 Incoming Class

Cincinnati, OH— The 2017-2018 academic year opened as the College of Law welcomed the next generation of corporate attorneys, social justice leaders, immigration rights

activists, prosecutors and public defenders. The Class of 2020 includes 97 JD students and 17 LLM attorney students enrolled as of August 21, 2017.  

The first-year students represent 48 universities. Most (55%) are Ohio residents; 45% are from out of state, coming from 18 states, including California, Texas, Utah, Alabama, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.  The class has spent significant time living or studying abroad in places like Italy, Thailand, Armenia, India, France, Mexico, Belgium and Oman. They were, literally, born all over the world: in Canada, Ghana, the Republic of South Korea, Belarus and China. 

 

A Look at their Backgrounds

Interestingly, the class includes native speakers of German, Belarusian/Russian, Japanese, Hindi, and Armenian/Russian.  

Though many are recent graduates from undergraduate institutions, some come to law school after careers in other fields. One worked as a life insurance agent, a paralegal, a global IT specialist for Amazon, and a finance and human resources manager at a New York City start-up.

They have a wide range of hobbies. In addition to reading, they enjoy hiking, competing in mud runs, competitive Pokémon trading cards, home brewing, golf, and animal rescues. They also engage in baseball card trading, playing archery, studying languages, playing squash, running marathons, skiing, and cooking.

 

Law School Welcomes 17 LLM Students

The LLM (master’s degree) program for internationally-trained attorneys and law graduates continues to grow. Now in its sixth year, the LLM program boasts 17 attorney students, including several individuals who have returned for additional training.   

This year’s participants come from 11 countries: Saudi Arabia, Ghana, Kuwait, Italy, Nepal, Turkey, Colombia, Venezuela, Uganda, Jamaica, and China. The professional careers of the attorney students include positions as a manager at the National Pensions Regulatory Authority in Ghana; teaching assistant in law at the University of Ha'il (UoH) as well as a case investigator for the Saudi Arabian Industrial Development Fund; a civil and criminal law attorney in Italy; and an assistant specialist at the Development Bank of Turkey, focusing on international loan agreements. This year’s class also includes the first two students earning their LLM via our dual agreement with the University of Javeriana in Bogota, Colombia.

Their areas of interest are varied and include antitrust law, business law, criminal law, international law, corporate law, and human rights law.

LLM

Former OIP Fellow Continues to Fight for the Innocent


John Kennedy

 

When attorney John Kennedy’s indigent client was acquitted of murder last year, his greatly relieved defendant turned to him and asked if it felt good to represent an innocent person. The answer was a little hard for Kennedy to articulate. 

Keeping the innocent free is the highest goal for the former OIP fellow. “But I always have a fear of an innocent man going to prison if I fail,” says Kennedy, JD ’10. “It would be my fault.”

That’s a heavy weight to carry on one’s shoulders for an entire career, but Kennedy is exactly where he wants to be — in the Hamilton County Public Defender’s Office. He joined the office in 2011 soon after graduating. It was his dream job, one he began longing for as an Ohio Innocence Project fellow.

The New Richmond, Ohio, native decided to become a lawyer after his first year as a political-science major at John Kennedy 2Miami University in Ohio. As he began checking out law schools, he was leaning toward Oregon’s Lewis and Clark Law School when he attended a prospective-student open house at UC College of Law. He was snagged immediately. “I was attracted to UC at that open house,” he says. “There was so much warmth and happiness in the students that I decided this is where I wanted to go. At Lewis and Clark, there was no enthusiasm. Everyone seemed down.” 

Furthermore, the Ohio Innocence Project also tugged at his heart. A promotional video shown that weekend contained a short segment about Clarence Elkins, OIP’s first exoneration. “I remember sitting there and thinking how amazing that was.” The atmosphere, the students and the OIP video were enough for Kennedy to ditch any thoughts about Oregon. His OIP fellowship a couple of years later sold him on the branch of law he wanted for his career — criminal defense, especially for indigent defendants.

The fellowship, he says, was “very good — reading through transcripts and hearing from inmates, seeing the glaring discrepancies in cases.” It was also very frustrating, he admits. “I would read transcripts and say to myself, ‘Don’t you think that should be questioned? As a defense attorney, you don’t think you should fight over that? Aren’t you going to zealously represent your client?’ ” 

Time constraints were another frustration, a common one among OIP fellows. “Everything took so long,” he says. “It was so difficult to get certain things done. A couple of my big cases hit dead end after dead end.

“Ed Emerick was one of those cases. We visited him in prison in Toledo. We went to police stations. We searched evidence rooms. There were spots of blood he wanted tested, but we just couldn’t find them.

“I believe he was innocent of the crimes for which he was convicted, but there were no options left. That’s the kind the frustration that I sometimes felt in the process.”

Lengthy timeframes demoralize defendants, he adds. “Ed was very frustrated the first time we saw him. He felt like previous fellows weren’t hearing him.” Kennedy and his partner won Emerick over with their empathy, but in the end, they had no more success than their predecessors.

Kennedy2

Fortunately, Kennedy had greater success as an OIP fellow while working on the Wally Zimmer case; Zimmer got released early. But that didn’t happen until years after Kennedy had graduated and others continued working on the case. The end result met everyone’s hope, but the interim required great patience. Frustrations have followed him into his public defender work. “I enjoy being here,” he says, “but it has its trying days, too.”

One of the annoying parts of the job is knowing that some people call pubic defenders, “public pretenders.” “It's frustrating that the public believes public defenders are bad attorneys -  that they do not effectively represent their clients,” he says. He believes his profession has grown more hard-working and passionate in Hamilton County over the last few years.

“In my first six months, I hadn’t seen anyone do a jury trial. Now, as an office, we had 16 jury trials by September of this year. Many people are winning them. In the past four days, we’ve had three wins.

“We’re expected to fight for our clients. Things are happening now that are unprecedented. In many other areas, indigent public defense is lacking, but we are changing that.” An example of the Hamilton County Public Defenders’ commitment to their clients is the fact that Kennedy got a client acquitted for murder in May. Joshua Maxton, 26, had been indicted for shooting and killing an 18-year-old girl who was riding in the front passenger seat of a car in North Avondale.

 

Kennedy retells the story:

“Joshua was walking down the street, when a car with three people in it stopped and turned around, and the driver called out to Joshua. After talking with someone in the car, Joshua walked away, and a shot was fired. It hit the back passenger window, killing the passenger in the front seat — killing an innocent teenage girl who was with the wrong people.

“The passenger in the back seat and the driver didn’t see who did it, so they assumed last person they saw — Joshua —was the one who shot.

“Later, the driver rode by the scene in a police car, and he pointed out Joshua. The police then picked him up. They tested his clothes and his hands for gun-shot residue. Everything came back negative. DNA was also taken from items at the scene, and there was no match to Joshua.

“Within two days, three people had called the police to say that someone else had committed the murder. Two of them had witnessed the shooting and gave the police the shooter’s name. A third person at the scene described what the shooter was wearing, where he went afterward and identified the shooter by his size, skin tone and what he was wearing. None of the characteristics matched Joshua’s. A fourth person came forward about four months later and also gave the police the shooter’s name. 

“Yet the police didn’t follow up on any of the calls.”

At the grand jury hearing, Maxton was indicted on eight charges — murder, aggravated murder, two counts of attempted murder, three counts of felonious assault and a weapons-while-under-disability charge. He was placed in the Hamilton County Justice Center with bond set at $1 million.

At the trial, Kennedy presented evidence from recorded interviews and lab results obtained from bottles found at the scene. The jury decided that Maxton was not guilty. Getting an acquittal on a murder charge was a relief for Kennedy. He hopes it helps to boost public confidence in their office and in other public defenders around the country. One aspect of his job that appeals to him is the variety of the work. “It’s different every day,” he says, “new cases, new issues, new people to deal with. It’s ever changing.” But in the end, it’s his attitude that makes all the difference: “It’s something I am very passionate about. You can really make a difference in people’s lives.” 

Written by Deb Rieselman

 

Connected: The Unique Ties of Cincinnati’s Mayoral Race


Three Alumni for Mayor Forecasting election outcomes can be tricky business, but here’s one prediction guaranteed to come true: The next mayor of Cincinnati will have strong ties to UC Law.
That’s because among the three leading candidates in 2017’s mayoral race, two are UC Law graduates, and one cofounded a major UC Law initiative.

Incumbent John Cranley, who’s running for a second term as mayor, helped start the Ohio Innocence Project at UC Law in 2003, serving as administrative director until 2006. Candidate Yvette Simpson, currently in her second term as a city councilwoman, received her JD at UC in 2004. Former candidate Rob Richardson Jr., who recently completed a nine-year stint on UC’s Board of Trustees, graduated from UC Law in 2005.

Cranley, Richardson, and Simpson faced off in a primary election on May 2. The top two vote-getters—Cranley and Simpson—will now compete in the Nov. 7 general election.

Besides their UC Law connection, the three mayoral candidates shared many other things in common. They’re all lawyers, Democrats, and natives of Cincinnati. They also hold similar views on core civic issues, such as improving public transit, helping families get out of poverty, and partnering with regional institutions such as the University of Cincinnati. Yet each followed a unique path to UC Law, and eventually to this three-way race for mayor.

Rob Richardson
Robert RichardsonGoing to UC might have seemed like a no-brainer for Richardson, whose parents, aunt, and sisters all attended the school. But his struggles with learning disabilities as a young student made the path to higher education seem less than certain.

“I wasn't a kid that naturally got school. I struggled pretty early on,” he recalled. “Because of that, and because I was probably bored by school, I didn't do as well taking the tests. That pretty much ruled out college for me.” One conversation with a teacher particularly discouraged Richardson as an eighth-grade student. “I told her I wanted to prepare for college. She told me, ‘Why? You’re not going to do that. You’re going to fail.’ That's a crushing conversation to have.”

Fortunately, Richardson’s mother countered his teacher’s message with these words of encouragement for her son: “People are going to have lower expectations of you. Some because you're an African American man, too. Don't let yourself be defined by anybody's narrow expectations. You define yourself for yourself, by yourself.”

Richardson eventually studied electrical engineering at UC, earning his B.S. degree in 2002. At that point, he knew he didn’t want to pursue a career as an engineer, though he had learned a great deal about solving problems. He decided law school was his next logical step, because “legal training teaches you how to identify problems, how to look at them from multiple sides,” he explained. “If you're going to be in public office, it helps to understand how policy, how the law works, and then you can change it.”

Soon after earning his JD, Richardson was appointed to the UC Board of Trustees, where he recently led the search for the 30th President, Dr. Neville Pinto, and advocated for systemic, top-down reforms to UC police policy following the killing of Samuel Dubose. Currently, he’s a marketing construction representative, and serves as Of Counsel with the law firm Branstetter, Stranch & Jennings, specializing in labor and employment and securities litigation

In his first run for political office, Richardson hoped to take a fresh approach to governing the city. “We know that the best ideas often come from the people and places that have been ignored by the power brokers in City Hall,” he said. “It’s our responsibility, as leaders in our city, to be stewards and partners in innovation, inclusion, and creativity.”

Yvette Simpson
Yvette SimpsonSimpson’s journey began at the age of eight, when she pulled a book from the library shelf. Of all the titles in the “when I grow up” series, she chose the one about growing up to be a lawyer. Pictured on the cover, she recalled, was a man arguing his case before a judge. “And I said: ‘That’s gonna be me, except I’ll be wearing a skirt.’”

Simpson’s grandmother and other mentors encouraged her to stick with her dream, even as the young girl’s family struggled to make ends meet and many friends and family members dropped out of school or fell prey to criminal activity. She ended up with a full scholarship to Miami University, where she became the first in her family to graduate from college.

She made her younger self “very proud” by earning her law degree at UC. As a student, Simpson co-chaired the Student Legal Education Committee, was an executive member of the Moot Court board (and was inducted to the Order of the Barristers), served on the honor council, was a senior articles editor for the Human Rights Quarterly, and worked as an associate with both Baker & Hostetler LLP and Frost Brown Todd LLC.

Having gotten “a taste of leadership and involvement” at UC, Simpson said, “I loved it.” Just a few years later, in 2011, she was elected to City Council. Now she hopes to become the first African-American woman mayor in the city's history.

John Cranley
John CranleyThe classic novel that inspired Cranley to become a lawyer, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, centers around an attorney who helps free an innocent man. Years later, while working as a lawyer and serving on Cincinnati City Council, Cranley wanted to bring that kind of legal heroism to Cincinnati.

“I’d seen these Innocence Projects pop up in other states and I saw that there was none in Ohio and it would be great for UC,” Cranley said. He and his friend Professor Mark Godsey founded the Ohio Innocence Project at UC Law. Cranley ran the organization for its first few years. In one case, he successfully argued before the Ohio Court of Appeals, Fifth Appellate District to overturn Christopher Lee Bennett’s conviction of aggravated vehicular homicide.

Today, OIP is known as one of the most active and successful Innocence Projects in the world, and to date has secured the release of 25 individuals on grounds of innocence who together served more than 450 years in prison for crimes they did not commit.

“It’s an amazing success story,” Cranley said. “There’s no question that it gets back to the tradition of wanting to see the world better and to deal with injustices and build a more just society.” He took office as mayor of Cincinnati in December 2013, and hopes to be re-elected for a second term this fall.

By: Susan Wenner Jackson
Published: June 1, 2017

KMK Attorneys Named Leaders in their Fields


The following KMK Law attorneys have been selected for inclusion as “Leaders in Their Fields” in the 2016 edition of Chambers USA: America’s Leading Business Lawyers.

Jim BurkeJim Burke, 1978

Joe CallowJoe Callow, 1993

Bob ColettiBob Coletti, 1982

Mike ScheierMike Scheier, 1991

Read the complete press release here.