Katie Cornelius '16 Shares Why She Likes Cincinnati
There is always something great to do in Cincinnati. I love the unique culture and atmosphere of the city. There are great museums and historic areas intertwined with new restaurants, shops, and sporting events.
Katie is pictured in front of Cincinnati’s historic Music Hall.
Get to Know Remington Jackson ‘15
Why do you want to become a lawyer? Why the interest in law?
From an early age, my father conditioned my desire to become an attorney, even going as far as contemplating adding the title “Esq.” to my name before I even attended Kindergarten! He expounded upon the prestige associated with being an attorney, especially as a minority, and that it would be more than a job but a career. He impressed upon me that the heart of the legal profession is one of public service—promoting the rule of law and pursuing the common good. He also mentioned the potential financial stability it could provide and the ability to make use of a J.D. in many areas, even if I didn’t end up practicing law.
To find out just how much of this was true, I spent my summers throughout high school and college working at various legal entities such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the Allegheny County Law Department to get as much experience as possible at my “predetermined” life career. For my senior thesis at the College of Wooster, I focused on the arguments in favor and against the practice of the death penalty with the paper “The Necessary Criteria to Save a Dying Practice: An Attempt to Morally Justify Capital Punishment”.
Throughout these opportunities, I found that the satisfaction I experienced from trying to understand and debate complicated issues through my speech and writings intersect well with the legal profession. Most importantly, I feel that being an attorney—an act of serving and service to others—is, as Muhammad Ali put it, the rent we pay for our room here on earth. These experiences have all played a role in fueling my aspiration to become an attorney. In the end my father was right all along!
What area(s) of law are you interested in?
Currently I am getting experience with corporate law areas like securities fraud litigation, protecting shareholder rights, and corporate governance issues. I am interested in labor and employment law, tax law, and I am open to learn from new arenas and challenges.
At my time with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office I had the opportunity to work with the Worker’s Compensation department and found that it was never a dull day. Sitting in on the settlement conferences to see the negotiation and cordial but zealous advocacy between the representatives for the employer and employee was intriguing. I found that the area involved complex relationships between people in the workplace and consequently had a very human component to it. You get a sense of who the individual is and their contribution to society.
What types of professional experiences have you had that will help you on your path to becoming an attorney?
During my 1L summer I worked as a summer associate with the Ohio Attorney General's Cincinnati Office and as a teacher with the Ohio Law and Leadership Institute. With LLI I taught youth from traditionally underserved communities about leadership, writing, self-expression, test taking, and study tactics while providing a basic understanding of the study and practice of law. During my 2L year, I worked as a legal extern for the General Counsel's Office for the University of Cincinnati.
I am currently the President of the College of Law’s chapter of Black Law Students Association (BLSA) and the Vice-Chair of the Midwest Region of the National Black Law Students Association (MWBLSA). I also serve as the Reprint Editor on the Immigration & Nationality Law Review and a Senior Article Editor for the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights’ Human Rights Quarterly. In the Fall I will be serving as a judicial extern to the Hon. Jeffery P. Hopkins, United States Bankruptcy Court – Southern District of Ohio and as a representative for the University in the Potter Stewart American Inn of Court. Finally, I am a student representative for Kaplan Test Prep.
A few final thoughts on career (and personal) preparation…
People hire people. No matter how great your grades or who you know, if you are a jerk or people just do not want to work with you, you are shooting yourself in the foot before you can even get it in the door. Be yourself, speak about your interests without reverting back to cookie cutter responses, and let your personality prove why you got to your current place in life. Never fear rejection but rather savor the opportunity to learn something from each experience you are given because each setback is only a setup for your next success.
Take full advantage of legal and judicial externships. While they do not pay, what they provide in terms of hands on experience and connections is priceless. There are few other opportunities available where you can get so much feedback without worrying about a grade or curve and get the kinks out while learning the right way to do your work.
Chase your passion, whatever it may be, and the money will follow rather than chasing after money and hoping the passion will come along. There are too many different paths to follow to happiness to end up hating the place you spend 8-10 hours of your day. Your career is a marathon, not a sprint, so go the extra mile to have coffee and lunch with those already doing the work that you are interested in to hear the good and the bad. Professionals are more than willing to "pay it forward" in remembrance of those that did it for them. Do not be discouraged if you do get a "No" reponse. There are 100 "Yes" responses out there just waiting for you to ask.
Dig your well before you are thirsty. That is something my closest mentor has always preached to me: network constantly so that I can reach out to a wealth of resources long before I need help with a reference or position. Not being from Cincinnati and not being in the top 20% of my class, any time not spent on studying and working goes towards networking and building relationships to ensure that I am never just a name on a piece of paper for any position I apply. Hard work will always prove your mettle, and while you will almost certainly experience setbacks throughout law school, never let an exam result decide your fate.
You've Been Served: Summons for a Civil Service Action
Date: Saturday, August 29, 2015
Time: 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Schedule of Events
Time of Appearance - 8:30am
- Coffee and Bagels, T-shirts, Meet other Volunteers, Assemble into Site Groups
- Service Speaker at 9:15am
- Travel to Sites following Speaker
Service Site Report Time - 10:00am
Service Site Completion Time - 2:00pm
- Leave Service Site
Day of Service Cocktail Hour and Cookout - 3:30pm
- Sponsored by Eli's BBQ, will begin at 3:30 p.m. at Blegen Lawn
About “You’ve Been Served!” UC Law’s Annual Day of Service
This year's Day of Service is scheduled for Saturday, August 29, 2015. It is an annual event in which UC Law's students, faculty, and alumni participate in community service engagements all over Cincinnati I personally would like to encourage you to save the date, get your hands dirty, and participate in the civil service that makes this day so unique and rewarding.
Volunteers will sign up to participate in the Day of Service and will select the site at which they want to work. Then, after the service is over, everyone will come back together for a party celebration on Bleglen Lawn outside the Law School! All participants will receive a free lunch, a free t-shirt and can join in the party festivities!
The Day of Service is an awesome experience that sets the tone for our year at UC Law. The civil service that we engage in on that day has great benefits to the community and is rewarding for those who participate. It is also the first opportunity for incoming students to come to an event, interact with faculty, staff, alumni, and other students, and learn that there is much more to law school than classes and grades. We truly are a large, fragmented family, and it is incredibly important to include faculty and local practitioners in this event in order to coalesce our Cincinnati Legal Community.
We would also like to invite you to provide assistance by helping to Sponsor this event with monetary or breakfast/lunch donations.
Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to speaking with you soon!
Joe Nuxhall Miracle League Fields. Join as the foundation engages with disable youths throughout the Greater Cincinnati Area and plays baseball with the children. Each participant will be a "buddy" to one of the children and will be asked to help them play the game. Proper attire for this event would be athletic clothing. Please ensure your ability to engage in physical activity before signing up for this event.
Cincinnati YMCA. The YMCA in partnership with Western & Southern Financial Group, Inc. and United Way of Greater Cincinnati is looking to improve the conditions of the Early Learning Centers throughout the Greater Cincinnati Area. The College of Law will be sponsoring a classroom and will be tasked with painting and preparing the classroom for the influx of students this coming fall.
Cincinnati Ronald McDonald House. Tasks to be determined
Habitat for Humanity. Habitat for Humanity: Habitat for Humanity will embark on a historic renovation project in Newport, KY. This project will be a renovation of a historic home near the river. Participants will be asked to complete manual tasks such as hanging drywall, removing carpeting, painting, and the like. Proper attire would be outdoor work clothing. Please ensure your ability to engage in physical activity before signing up for this event. You will be asked to register and fill out a waiver and may do so by following this link (Sign Up & Waiver) Our organization's Join Code is : UCH4H. (Please note that your shift will be from 8:30am-12:00pm, directions are in the registration, car pooling is recommended)
STEP #1: To register, click on the following link: http://habitatcincinnati.volunteerhub.com/events/index
If you already have an account, click on the green RETURNING USER button to sign in.
If you do not have an account yet, click on the green NEW USER button to create one.
When prompted, enter Join Code: UCH4H Without this join code, you will not be able to sign up.
** If you are noticing the words All registration slots for this event are reserved, please continue. This event is reserved for you/your group. Once you are logged in with the Join Code, this message will disappear and you will see a sign up button in place of the message.
Once you have created an account, you will receive an email asking you to click a link to confirm your email address.
STEP #2: AFTER you have created an account and SIGNED IN:
- Click on the event for Sat, 8/29 at Newport, KY – 908 Columbia http://habitatcincinnati.volunteerhub.com/Events/Event/Summary.aspx?EventID=2358298
- Click on the SIGN UP button, then follow the prompts to complete your registration and online waiver.
- Once complete, you will receive an email confirmation
Lighthouse Youth Services. See link for description on responsibilities. (More Information)
Additional Sites Will be Posted in the Coming Weeks
"For those wishing to donate to the event and charities, please send a check or money order. Please address the Check to "UC LAW PHILANTHROPY" and checks may be mailed to:
"ATTN: SBA DAY OF SERVICE
PO BOX 210040
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0040"
Youth Court Diversion Program Successfully Launches; Law Students Gain Experience
Cincinnati’s Youth Court – a diversion program for teens arrested for minor misdemeanors and who have already admitted guilt – successfully launched its pilot program on May 14, 2014. The program is a collaboration between CALL (Cincinnati Academy of Leadership for Lawyers), a program sponsored by the Cincinnati Bar Association and Judge John John Williams of the Hamilton County Juvenile Court.
Rather than be heard before a judge in Juvenile Court, cases are presented to a jury of peers in Youth Court. Youth Court pursues multiple goals at the same time. First, it holds young people accountable for their actions by requiring them to accept responsibility and pay back the community. Youth Court sanctions emphasize restoration, encouraging respondents to make amends through such actions as performing community service and writing letters of apology. Second, Youth Court provides participants with experiential learning that is designed to complement classroom lessons about government. Youth Court members learn first-hand how courts work, stepping into the role of jurors.
The program utilizes local attorneys and law student volunteers serving as “judges”, “prosecutors” and “defense counsel”. The program debuted last week and is far exceeding expectations. Amanda Bleiler ’15, Simar Khera’15 and Melissa Schuett’14 helped launch the program by working with and advocating for the teens. Bleiler said, “I'm really excited that CALL is supporting the Youth Court program. In my opinion the more specialty dockets Cincinnati has the better. This is an especially important program because not only does it allow us law students to get involved and gain courtroom experience, it helps make these teenager’s first (and hopefully last) encounter with the criminal justice system a positive one that they can learn from.” Additional College of Law students are slated to participate in upcoming hearings.
Youth Court is expected to last eight (8) sessions through August at the Youth Center, with the intent to continue as a formal program with fall, spring, and summer sessions thereafter. For more information about the program or how to get involved, contact Katherine Miltner.
What Are You Doing Now?
Did You Know…according to the After the JD, an empirical study that gathered detailed data about the career outcomes for a national cohort of 5,000 Class of 2000 graduates, more than half changed jobs within five years of graduation. Further:
* By 2012, 27.7% moved into the business sector compared to just 8.4% in 2003.
* By 2012, 24.1% were no longer practicing compared to 14.7% in 2003.
The College wants to know how our graduates compare to this national benchmark. Accordingly, if you are a 2011 or 2009 graduate please let the College know the positions you have held since graduation. Please submit your response to email@example.com by June 30, 2014. Thanks for your help!
A View from the Other Side: Hilly McGahan’12 Talks About Working With Victims
An often-overlooked side of criminal law is that of the victims. The defendant hires or is appointed counsel, and the prosecution represents the state throughout the process, but the victims of crimes can find themselves left to their own devices on how to seek redress for the wrongs done to them. Hilly McGahan ’12 is working to bolster the voice of victims in her work with victims of domestic violence.
McGahan grew up in Arlee, a small, picturesque town in western Montana on the Flathead Indian Reservation. Growing up, her parents were in the beekeeping business, and McGahan lived a rural, farming-style childhood. During the summers she and her family worked on the farm, but when the long, cold winters came they travelled south – not just to Arizona or California, but to Mexico, and sometimes further south into South America.
Inspired by her travels, McGahan studied political science and Spanish in her undergraduate years at the University of Montana. After graduating she spent a year working in northern Guatemala. There she worked to support persons who had witnessed the military massacres that took place there, as they were to soon testify against the government. McGahan’s experiences in her travels sparked her interest in human rights law. As she looked at law schools, Cincinnati stood out because of the Urban Morgan Institute.
Having grown up in a rural lifestyle, Cincinnati was quite a change when she moved here for law school. “I really grew to love Cincinnati,” she explained, though she admitted it took a while to adjust. Findlay Market was one of her favorite Queen City destinations, and she said that she and her (then) boyfriend (now husband) took advantage of the “Enjoy the Arts” program that included numerous shows and cultural events that take place around the City.
Today, McGahan works at SAFE Harbor back home in Montana. Formerly called DOVES, SAFE Harbor has a grant from the Office on Violence Against Women (part of the Department of Justice) to provide holistic legal services to victims of domestic violence on the Flathead Reservation and Lake County, Montana. “The grant allows us to provide legal services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking,” she explained. Her work takes her to both state court and tribal court, and deals with tribal law, family law, and immigration law, as well as international law in some situations. While she is the only staff attorney, SAFE Harbor contracts with a supervising attorney, and the organization also has a domestic violence shelter and a “Men’s Accountability Program” which provides court ordered services to men convicted of domestic violence related offences.
McGahan’s background and experiences travelling inspired her to do the work she’s doing today, but she also received inspiration from her time at the College of Law. She largely came to Cincinnati for the Urban Morgan Institute, and she was impressed with the program while she was there. “I really enjoyed the group of people I worked with on Human Rights Quarterly,” she said. Further, she was impressed with the speakers that the Urban Morgan Institute brought in, noting that she was particularly impacted by Professor Michelle Alexander’s (OSU’s Moritz law school) lecture on The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. McGahan also valued her experience with UC Law’s Domestic Violence Clinic, which allowed her to represent clients in civil protection order hearings and to gain practical experience that prepared her for her current position.
When asked if she had any advice for students who may want to do similar work, she shared the following: “Get lots of practical experience in law school (as much as you can), working with clients, dealing with people from different backgrounds – these experiences are really invaluable. I think that focusing on what you are passionate about and on what sorts of communities you are interested in working with is important. Ultimately passion will take you where you want to go, and employers can see that when they interview you.”
Giving Voice to the Voiceless: Carrie Wood Shares why she is a Public Defender
Formerly an Assistant Academic Director at the Ohio Innocence Project (OIP) here with UC College of Law, Carrie Wood ’95 now works with the Ohio Public Defender in Columbus, Ohio.
Originally from Cincinnati, Wood studied engineering at Cornell University. Before coming to UC for her legal studies, she spent three years as a professional equestrian, training horses, teaching students, and helping to run a 60 horse farm. She had an interest in law school, however, and decided to return to Cincinnati to pursue her JD. Before starting school, though, she worked at Graydon Head for a year, giving her a birds-eye view of the profession she was about to enter.
Wood worked on several of the primary wrongful conviction cases in her three years at OIP. Some of the issues involved were mistaken eyewitness identification, “un-validated” or improper forensic science, and informants. “Although post-conviction DNA testing played a role in all of these cases, the causes of wrongful conviction do not go away if the case does not have evidence where DNA testing can help shed light on the identity of the perpetrator,” she explained while noting that the demonstration of innocence without DNA can be more difficult. She said that the law students involved at OIP often work even harder in such cases, sharing that “it was a great experience for [her] as their supervisor to see the energy, drive, passion, and compassion the law students bring to their work on these cases.”
Now working with the Ohio Public Defender, Wood is returning to the type work she did before joining the OIP. (She has prior experience as a public defender from her time working in the Bronx doing trial work.) She learned a lot from OIP regarding DNA, false confessions, “junk science,” and some of the major flaws in the criminal justice system. “It has always been important to me to work to correct flaws in our criminal justice system,” explained Wood, “and I saw the position at the Ohio Public Defender as an opportunity to continue and expand upon that work.”
“In order to work as a public defender, you have to have a passion for it,” she reflected, noting that the money is not much of an incentive. She explained that, the way she sees it, criminal defense attorneys and public defenders are not quite one in the same. “Some people do both – and do them well. However, my primary purpose in going to law school was to work on behalf of people who didn’t have a voice or access to legal counsel.” And this is what Carrie is able to do as a public defender. “It can be difficult and draining work, but it was always helpful for me to have supporters and mentors to turn to when I had a difficult case or a difficult week in court.”
In her spare time, Wood still rides horses, and also hopes to run a marathon this year. Further, she has always had a passion for music, and admits she will miss the local music scene. “Cincinnati’s larger music festivals are doing a great job of putting the city on the national music map; I will definitely be back in September to see the Afghan Whigs at Mid-point!”
Donnie Warner is Committed to Social Justice and Community Building
Graduate, community worker, and marathoner Donnie Warner has a strong commitment to social justice and community and personal transformation. With experiences that range from living on a Navajo reservation to training non-profit leaders through Public Allies Cincinnati to externing with the Indigent Defense Clinic, he will bring a distinctive viewpoint to the law.
Originally from Plymouth, Michigan, Donnie Warner is a member of the Class of 2014. He attended DePaul University in Chicago for his undergraduate studies, graduating with a degree in English. There he ran on the cross-country and track teams, captaining them both his senior year.
Following undergrad, Warner moved to Gallup, New Mexico to teach elementary school as a Teach For America Corps member. There he would meet his wife, Kayla; they then lived on a Navajo reservation in New Mexico for two years. When Warner learned that he had secured funding to pursue a master's degree, he moved to Cincinnati to study for a master's degree in creative writing (while teaching freshman English classes at the university). He then spent two years with Public Allies Cincinnati, a leadership development program committed to developing diverse leaders for leadership positions in nonprofits and communities. Warner explained his role there: “As a program manager with Public Allies Cincinnati, I provided one-on-one coaching to individuals in the program and developed tracking tools to chart our impact throughout the Cincinnati community.” By the time he decided to pursue a law degree, he had become committed to his work and the community. Thus, UC was a logical choice for the school to attend.
“As someone who is committed to social justice work and community-building, what I like about Cincinnati is that it is the ideal size for developing new ideas and models for transformation,” Warner explained about his affinity for the Queen City. He continued, “At the same time, the city is large enough to bring unique perspectives together to develop ideas.” He added that he also has an appreciation for Skyline, Graeter’s, the Reds, and other such things that are uniquely Cincinnati.
At the College of Law, Warner has been involved in several student organizations and programs, most notably the Freedom Center Journal (which he worked on for the past two years) and the Indigent Defense Clinic. “Through the Indigent Defense Clinic, I received fantastic training through the office of the Hamilton County Public Defender,” said Warner of his experience. With the clinic, his work affirmed his desire to focus on legal work that ultimately helps low income people achieve their desired outcomes. “I came to learn these outcomes are not restricted to a single case, but extend to many areas of people’s lives,” he said in reflection.
Warner plans to stay in Cincinnati after graduation. He commented on his legal studies and experiences: “You have to stay humble. There is so much to learn, and I believe that new lawyers should spend a lot of time taking it all in, and then working incredibly hard to answer any questions that remain. Additionally, regarding criminal law, I am struck by what an honor it is to give a voice to a client who would otherwise be voiceless. With such an honor you must have a commitment to work as hard as you possibly can.”
Warner shared that he has kept up with his running hobby, recently focusing on marathons. In fact, he finished second overall in the 2014 Flying Pig Marathon. And, he and his wife have created a blog called Run52, which tells their story of running through each of Cincinnati’s 52 neighborhoods.
Jenna Washatka ’12 and Professor Jim O’Reilly Combine Efforts to Support Creation of Land Bank
For many people July 13, 2011 was a historic day in Hamilton County with the front-page Cincinnati Enquirer coverage of the official creation of the first public land bank in southern Ohio. UC Law student Jenna Washatka ’12 and Professor Jim O’Reilly had an important had in its development.
Blighted properties that are virtually abandoned and out of the commercial market can be acquired by the new county entity and "banked" until redevelopment possibilities allow the property to be redeveloped or the house to be resold. During the interim the land bank preserves the value of the property, if any, and supervises the removal of weeds and junk.
Rising 3L Washatka took on this independent research project, interviewed the leaders and lawyers behind the concept, and prepared a lengthy analysis for the First Suburbs Consortium. Her paper was distributed to the appropriate county officials and the county treasurer as the legal basis for adopting the pioneering concept. Professor O’Reilly testified at the county hearing in support and offered Washatka's findings to county officials. This month’s adoption is the culmination of the work of public officials, nongovernmental organizations, and Washatka's outstanding efforts.
Congratulations to all!
College of Law Celebrates 181st Hooding Ceremony; 2nd Class of LLM Students Graduate
Graduation will be held on Saturday, May 17, 2014, beginning at 1:00 p.m. at the Aronoff Center for the Arts.
Cincinnati, OH—The University of Cincinnati College of Law will celebrate the accomplishments of its graduates at its 181st Hooding Ceremony, scheduled for Saturday, May 17, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. The event will be held at the Aronoff Center for the Arts. College of Law Dean Louis D. Bilionis will lead the ceremonies, where 139 degrees will be conferred. This number includes 130 juris doctor degrees, six LLM (master’s) degrees, and three certificates.
The Hooding keynote speaker will be college alumnus Gary Garfield ’81, CEO and president of Bridgestone Americas, Inc. In addition to his work at Bridgestone Americas, Garfield serves on the board of directors of several charitable and industry organizations, including the Tennessee Chapter of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, the United Way of Middle Tennessee, and the Rubber Manufacturer’s Association. Read more about Gary Garfield.
This year’s event will also include the presentation of the 2014 Nicholas J. Longworth III Alumni Achievement Award to Justice Sharon Kennedy’91, Supreme Court of Ohio. This award recognizes law school graduates for their outstanding contributions to society. Throughout her career Justice Kennedy has served on numerous boards, developed and facilitated programs to address the needs of young people, and worked with judges across the state. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including The Furtherance of Justice Award, the Above the Fold Award, and Judge of the Year. She also was named one of 13 professional women to watch by the Cincinnati Enquirer. Read more about Justice Sharon Kennedy.
Also being honored are this year’s winners of the Goldman Prize for Excellence in Teaching: Professors Marianna Bettman, Felix Chang, and Elizabeth Lenhart. The Goldman Prize is given to law school professors and is based on their research and public service as they contribute to superior performance in the classroom. For more information about the professors and their awards, read their story here.