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
Cincinnati Law Swag for Sale
The SBA Hooding Committee designs and sells Cincinnati Law apparel to offset the cost of hooding regalia for graduating students. This year, the Hooding Committee has been working hard designing a wide range of Cincinnati Law apparel for students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Whether you're in need of new law swag or looking for great gifts for the holidays, the Hooding Committee has got you covered!
To better streamline our sales, we have created an order form for our new apparel items. In addition, we now accept Venmo, so it is easier than ever to get your law school swag!
To order items, you have three different options:
- On Campus: Print out the order form, fill it out, and leave your form and payment in the 3L Reps mailbox
- Electronically: Fill out the form on your computer, email it to the Hooding Committee, and pay us with Venmo.
- If you choose this option, our Venmo account is @UCHoodingCommittee and our email is email@example.com. Once we receive your order form and your Venmo payment, you will receive a confirmation email.
- Mail: Print out the order form, fill it out, mail it to the UC Hooding Committee (The address is at the bottom of the order form.)
If you have any questions don't hesitate to reach out to the Hooding Committee co-chairs, Jordie Bacon and Catie Carney at firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Third-year Law Student Caroline Drennen was Inaugural Whitman Fellow
Third-year UC Law student Caroline Drennen describes her time as the 2016 Whitman Fellow as “an amazing experience.”
As the first recipient of this annual fellowship, Drennen spent the summer working at Beckman Weil Shepardson, a Cincinnati law firm. “The fellowship allowed me to gain firsthand experience working with various aspects of plaintiff-side litigation, personal injury, and employment law cases,” she says.
Throughout the summer, Drennen gained valuable practical experience, such as assisting at a trial, mediation, and settlement conference. She also strengthened her legal research and writing skills by briefing and composing numerous memorandums relating to civil litigation, estate planning, personal injury, probate, and labor and employment.
Drennen made a positive impression during her summer at Beckman Weil Shepardson, with attorney Alison DeVilliers as her supervisor. “We are thrilled that Caroline will continue as the law clerk at BWS, and are confident that the generosity of the Whitmans has fueled her passion for the law and representing the ‘underdogs’ in cases.”
“I’m grateful for the Whitman Fellowship and would encourage students interested in plaintiff-side litigation to apply,” Drennen says.
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.
Cincinnati Law Bar Results Announced; Students Exceed State Average by 15%
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.
Introducing our Newest LLM Students
|Islam Albalawi||Saudi Arabia||Islam obtained her LLB from King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. She received her LLM with us last year, and is currently working toward her Certificate in Fundamentals of US Law. After this year, Islam plans to return to her position as a lecturer at Al Jouf University in northern Saudi Arabia.|
|Mubarak Aldousari||Kuwait/Saudi Arabia/Egypt||Mubarak earned his LLB from Cairo University in Egypt. Born in Kuwait, he grew up in Saudi Arabia in a family where two brothers entered the law profession before him. After his LLM at UC Law, Mubarak hopes to work with multinational corporations that partner with humanitarian organizations.|
|Turki Aldousari||Kuwait/Saudi Arabia/Egypt||Turki joins us for a second year and is working toward his Certificate in Fundamentals of US Law, having received his LLM last year. Born in Kuwait but raised in Saudi Arabia, he obtained his LLB from Cairo University in Egypt and is interested in human rights law.|
|Ibtehal Alhoymel||Saudi Arabia||Ibtehal joins us from Princess Noura University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. She has a special interest in business law, and hopes to become one of the growing number of female university lecturers in law when she returns to her home country.|
|Abdulrahman Almawishir||Jordan/Saudi Arabia||Abdulrahman comes to us from Saudia Arabia and completed his law studies at Philadelphia University in Amman, Jordan, where he interned with the Supreme Court. He is a practicing lawyer in Saudi Arabia and plans to pursue his SJD in the US after his LLM.|
|Rawan Alsaeed||Saudi Arabia||Rawan obtained her LLB at King Saud University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia., where she graduated with honors. She is committed to making a difference in her community, and has volunteered extensively with various youth organizations, having even been awarded a medal of excellence for her volunteer work at KSU. She hopes to start her own business in the future.|
|Timothy Appiah||Ghana/US||Tim has lived in Ohio for several years, but is originally from Ghana, where he earned his LLB at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi. He has extensive experience working in the financial sector and has a special interest in disability rights law. Tim is the President and CEO of Global One Inc., which links entreprenueurs in Africa with investors in the US.|
|Kumari Bansal||India||Kumari joins us from India. She obtained her LLB at Symbiosis International University Law School in Uttar Pradesh, where she developed an interest in intellectual property rights as well as media law. She currently works as a judicial clerk for a senior judge at the Delhi High Court in New Delhi.|
|Flavia Ibyara||Uganda||Flavia earned her LLB from Uganda Christian University in Mukono, Uganda, where she was President of the Human Rights Association, and won The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award at the Inter-University Human Rights Competition. She has special interests in human rights and international law, and plans to pursue her SJD in the future.|
|Ahmed Khodir||Egypt/US||Ahmed has been a Kentucky resident for some time. Originally from Egypt, he obtained his LLB from Alexandria University and studied international commercial law at the Lyon Law School in France. He has experience as corporate lawyer in Alexandria, and hopes to practice law in the US in the future.|
|Natia Mezvrishvili||Georgia||Natia comes to us as our first Fulbright Foreign Student grantee. She joins us from Georgia, where she graduated with an LLB and Masters in Law from Tbilisi State University law school. Natia is currently Head of the Department of Supervision over Prosecutorial Activities and Strategic Development in Georgia's Chief Prosecutor's Office. She holds a special interest in human rights and criminal rights law and has represented Georgia in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.|
|Belinda Seruhere||Uganda||Belinda is a practicing lawyer in her home country of Uganda, and holds an LLB from Makerere University in Kampala, where she graduated with honors. She also holds a post graduate diploma in legal practice. At home, she is currently working as a legal assistant at a private law firm. Belinda is especially interested in human rights law and advocacy.|
|Sarah Sijelmassi||France||Sarah received her LLM with us last year and is returning this year, pursuing a Certificate in Fundamentals of US Law. She earned her Masters in French Legal Studies with a specialization in intellectual property law from the Université de Montpellier, and her License (LLB) at the Université Toulouse. Sarah's area of interest while here at UC is intellectual property law.|
|Aradhana Singh||India||Aradhana obtained her LLB from University Law College, Utkal University, in Bhubaneswar, India. She has interned with the Orissa High Court, as well as with the Orissa Information Commission and the Orissa Human Rights Commission. Aradhana is also a professional dancer. Her area of interest is intellectual property law.|
|Franklin Uwizera||Uganda||Franklin joins us from Kampala, Uganda, where he earned his LLB at Uganda Christian University. Known for his skills as an orator, his team twice won the Ugandan national moot court competition and went on to represent Uganda in international rounds of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition in Washington, DC. His special interests include international arbitration, commercial and intellectual property law.|
|Valeria Verro||Estonia||Valeria is a long time Cincinnati resident who comes to UC Law by way of Estonia and England. Born in Estonia, she earned her LLB from the University of Leicester and her LLM in International Human Rights at Birmingham City University. She currently works with Prime Home Care LLC in Maineville, Ohio. Her special interests include human rights, environmental and immigration law.|
|Jenny Wang||China/US||Jenny is a current Cincinnati resident, but is originally from China. She received a Bachelor's degree in English from Xiamen University and a Master's of Public Administration from Renmin University, with a concentration in Human Resources Management. Jenny earned her LLB from East China University of Political Science and Law in Shanghai, where she focused on administrative law. Before relocating to Cincinnati, Jenny worked with the Shanghai General Station of Immigration Inspection, supervising the enforcement of regulations at air, sea and land ports in Shanghai.|
|Cora Wray||Philippines||Cora is a longtime Cincinnati resident and received her BS in Commerce and her LLB at Xavier University of the Philippines Law School, in Cagayan de Oro. She has worked in patent law with the legal department of Procter & Gamble since 2004. Her interests include international and business law.|
|Christine Wu||China||Christine joins us from China, where she earned her LLB at Beijing Forestry University and participated in their legal aid center. Her most recent position was working as an investigator at the Copyright Protection Center of China. She also has experience working with a legal aid team that provides legal assistance to female prisoners at Beijing Women's Prison. Christine's areas of interest include criminal law and civil procedure.|
Cincinnati Law Student Working for Fair Labor
Cincinnati Law student Jackie Miller’s commute may simply be into downtown Cincinnati this summer, but she will be working on a national scale as part of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The NLRB is an independent federal agency which holds the power to protect employees’ rights to organize and have unions as a bargaining representative, and works to prevent unfair labor practices.
This opportunity will allow Miller to get her feet wet and use her “skills and desires for order and logic, but to also affect positive change”, a major component that propelled her to law school. Although she has a year before graduation, this summer will help her discover if she wants to continue pursuing work in labor law and government.
“I was looking forward to seeing what working for the government was like, to see what other people thought of it, and I’m always interested in real life experiences,” she said about this job. “You hear a lot of stories about workers, their employers, and their unions, and then you get to see how a government agency handles those cases according to its own statute and case law.”
Miller is doing more than simply watching from the sidelines. She is investigating her own cases regarding unfair labor practices under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). At work day-to-day, she is busy learning about the NLRA, taking affidavits, writing letters to attorneys and representatives, and researching issues that come up in the office that nobody is quite sure how to handle.
The NLRB is housed in the John Weld Peck Federal Building, giving Miller opportunities to learn about other agencies as well, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Homeland Security’s Citizenship and Immigration Services. Although the knowledge she is gaining about the NLRA may be considered niche, it is absolutely useful for labor attorneys.
She noted the parallels to the classroom as well. “Real life experience is usually pretty great for putting schoolwork into perspective as well. You understand better why your professor emphasized what he or she did, and you become aware of new issues.”
For Miller, the most rewarding part of law school has been the challenges both in and out of the classroom, forcing her out of her comfort zone. “It’s not easy for everyone to be assertive, somewhat outspoken, manage time and work, maintain confidence, be resilient, and become smarter,” she said, pointing to growth she has seen in herself both personally and professionally.
Author: Michelle Flanagan, ‘18, Communication Intern