Pro Bono Week Gives Students Inside Scoop on Clinics
UC Law’s Public Interest Law Group (PILG) celebrated National Pro Bono Week, October 26-31, 2009, giving students a “behind-the-scenes” look at three of the law school’s clinical pro bono opportunities.
Sponsored by the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service, National Pro Bono Week is a coordinated national effort to showcase the great difference that pro bono lawyers make to the nation, its system of justice, its communities and, most of all, to the clients they serve. The week is also dedicated to the quest for more pro bono volunteers to meet the ever-growing legal needs of this country's most vulnerable citizens. During the week, interested 1Ls and 2Ls got the chance to shadow upper level students and pro bono lawyers working with three of the College of Law’s clinical experiences: the Domestic Violence & Civil Protection Order Clinic, the Ohio Innocence Project, and the Indigent Defense Clinic.
Students got an inside look at domestic relations’ court proceedings and learned how the Domestic Violence Clinic assists victims and provides representation in civil protection order hearings. They also heard lawyers and students with the Ohio Innocence Project evaluate individual cases of wrongful conviction and see how they construct arguments for exoneration. Students that signed up for the Indigent Defense Clinic experience observed third year students utilizing their limited practice licenses representing indigent clients in felony and misdemeanor charges in Hamilton County Courts.
Here’s what three students thought about their experience:
“I had an opportunity to shadow students involved in the Domestic Violence Clinic. It was an invaluable experience because it gave me an inside look at how I could best use my legal education to make a real difference in my community. Being a first year law student can be overwhelming at times because there are so many opportunities to get involved and make a difference. The ability to shadow the various institutes and clinics the College of Law provides gave me the chance to reflect on what I want to do with my legal education. By seeing what my peers are able to do with their talents and skills, I am slowly but surely figuring out where I might end up in a few short years.” Lauren Cook '12
“During Public Interest Week at the law school, I had the opportunity to talk with current members of the Ohio Innocence Project (OIP). Over lunch, we discussed what the fellows in the project actually do, heard a bit about their caseload and past work, and discussed in detail a case that they are currently working on. It was fascinating to hear about how their work not only helps to free innocent men who have been wrongly imprisoned, but also, in many cases, indicates the real perpetrator. Far from the simple process depicted on TV shows, the work of the OIP fellows in releasing innocent men from prison involves complex legal and genetic issues. As an informal, conversational discussion, the meeting provided us with information tailored to our own questions, and thus was more informative than a lecture and put a real face on the problem of innocent men in prison.” Angela Neyer '12
“I shadowed a student interning at the Indigent Defense Clinic. During my visit, we made several client visits on several of the cases the student was working with. Talking with the student, I learned more of what an internship at the IDC is about. I was surprised that students have so much freedom and flexibility with their caseload. They actually get direct client interaction allowing them to put theory/law into practical experience. Criminal law, specifically public defense, is an area I am very interested in and I think the clinic would be very helpful to anyone who is interested in criminal law -- whether on the prosecution or defense side. It gives students practical, hands-on experience working with indigent clients. After shadowing a student, I am most definitely hoping to work at the IDC during my 3L year.” Kaushiki Chowdhury '11
College of Law Bar Exam Results Are Strong
The results for the University of Cincinnati College of Law students who took the July 2009 Ohio Bar Exam are in and the College of Law led the state for overall test takers. While the passage rate for all takers was 81.3 percent, the College of Law’s passage rate was 89 percent.
The passage rate for the College of Law’s first-time test takers was 91 percent, compared to an 87.8 percent passage rate for all first-time test takers in Ohio. This score puts the law school third among Ohio law schools.
Ohio is among the top three jurisdictions in which our graduates practice. The 2009 class fared equally well on the New York and Illinois bar exams.
Applicants who have successfully passed the examination and who have satisfied all of the Supreme Court’s other requirements for admission were sworn in on November 9 during a special session of the Supreme Court at the historic Ohio Theatre.
177th Law School Hooding to Celebrate Graduates
University of Cincinnati College of Law’s Hooding Ceremony will honor Senator Eric Kearney, along with this year’s graduates.
Cincinnati, OH—Ohio State Senator Eric Kearney ’89, along with 128 students, will be honored at the University of Cincinnati College of Law’s 177th Hooding Ceremony on May 8, 2010. This event, which will be held at historic Music Hall, begins at 1:00 p.m. until 2:45 p.m. In addition to honoring the senator, the ceremony will be highlighted by keynote speaker and law school graduate Justice Stephen J. Markman ’74 of the Michigan Supreme Court.
“My College of Law colleagues and I are eager to celebrate this wonderful occasion with our students in the Class of 2010 and their family and friends,” said Dean Louis D. Bilionis, who will preside over the ceremony. “The day marks a major milestone in the lives of these young professionals. They’ve worked hard, accomplished much, and are embarking on careers that will be rich with achievement and positive contributions to society. We are thrilled for them and salute them.”
At this year’s event, Senator Kearney will be presented with the Nicholas J. Longworth, III Alumni Achievement Award. This award recognizes law school graduates for their outstanding contributions to society. Senator Kearney is a champion of small business development, child safety, adoption, and crime prevention. Before joining the Ohio Senate, he founded and built one of the largest African-American owned publishing companies, Sesh Communications, publishers of The Cincinnati Herald, The Northern Kentucky Herald, The Dayton Defender, and other publications. He also practiced law with Strauss & Troy, LLP and was a partner with the firm Cohen, Todd, Kite & Stanford, LLC.
Additionally, the Goldman Prize for Teaching Excellence will be awarded. 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. This year’s recipients are:
- Marjorie Aaron, Professor of Practice and Director, Center for Practice. Professor Aaron is an active mediator, arbitrator, and trainer in negotiation and dispute resolution throughout the tri-state. She works with both students and practitioners utilizing innovative methods to teach principals of dispute resolution.
- Kristin Kalsem, Professor of Law. A co-director of the law school’s nationally-known joint-degree program in Law and Women’s Studies, Professor Kalsem writes in the areas of women’s legal history and the cultural study of law. Most recently, she has written about issues of gender, race, and class in the contexts of bankruptcy reform and consumer protection.
- Darrell Miller, Assistant Professor of Law. Professor Miller is a former litigator in the areas of complex and appellate proceedings for Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP. A dynamic and dedicated teacher, he also has written significant articles in the areas of constitutional law and civil rights.
Keynote Speaker Justice Stephen J. Markman
Justice Markman, who serves on the Michigan Supreme Court, has a distinguished career in the legal field. He began his career on Capital Hill, working for seven years as the Chief Counsel of the United States Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution and as the Deputy Chief Counsel of the United States Senate Judiciary Committee. President Ronald Reagan nominated him to serve as Assistant Attorney General of the United States, a position he held from 1985 to 1989. In this role Judge Markman headed the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy, the office bearing principal responsibility for policy development within the department and coordination of the federal judicial selection process. He went on to serve as United States Attorney in Michigan, nominated by President George H.W. Bush. After working in government for many years, Judge Markman joined the firm of Miller, Canfield, Paddock & Stone. Two years later he became a member of the Michigan Court of Appeals, serving for four years until his appointment to the Michigan Supreme Court.
UC Law Students Celebrate Signing of Landmark Ohio Law They Helped Create
By: Carey Hoffman
Phone: (513) 556-1825
Photos By: Chris Kasson
A model innocence reform bill for the nation that has its roots in the work of nine UC College of Law students was signed into law on Monday by Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland. Hear what Gov. Strickland had to say about the Ohio Innocence Project in the accompanying video.
UC's Law Students Are Passionate About Service
Equal Justice Works program provides “real life” experiences and benefits for law students.
UC law students have turned the traditional summer break from school into a work experience designed to help prepare them for future positions as attorneys. Through the Equal Justice Works Summer Corps program, three law students have found positions that allow them to fulfill their passion for service, while honing their job skills. Colleen Rosshirt is working in the field of collaborative law; Kyle Winslow is working in the area of criminal defense and public advocacy; and, Anna Nolan is focused on revitalization;
Colleen Rosshirt, a third-year student, wants a career in family law when she graduates in 2011. To gain additional experience and insight in the field, this summer she is working with the Cincinnati Academy of Collaborative Professionals in coordination with the Domestic Relations Court of Hamilton County. “My project focus is creating and coordinating a pro-bono program that provides access to collaborative divorce attorneys,” Rosshirt said. Collaborative law is an alternative to litigating or mediating a divorce. Eligible participants are Hamilton County residents with children who are seeking divorce and have an income level at or below 400% of the poverty level. “My experience working with collaboratively trained lawyers and the Domestic Relations Court staff, magistrates, and judges has affirmed my interest in the family law practice area. I hope to see the growth and development of my work this summer as the program continues to impact Hamilton County’s indigent population.”
Second-year law student Kyle Winslow is working at the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy (DPA), assisting attorneys in case representation of indigent criminal defendants. “My internship experience includes performing legal research, conducting client interviews, and drafting various memoranda,” he said. “ The summer program has strengthened my resolve to practice criminal defense when I graduate, and the vast responsibilities I have undertaken at the DPA have provided me a realistic understanding of the career and practical experience that will enable me to be a successful attorney when I graduate.”
Second-year student Anna Nolan is working for the Foreclosure Prevention Program at Housing Opportunities Made Equal (H.O.M.E.). A native of Cincinnati, she left for a while to pursue other interests. “I moved back to get involved in its revitalization,” she commented. “I worked at Legal Aid for a year, during which I developed a dedication to public interest law that will continue to shape my career whether I work for a non-profit or a larger firm.” At H.O.M.E. Nolan works with clients who are either in foreclosure or in danger of foreclosure due to hardship. She helps them reach an alternative solution with their lender or mortgage servicer. “This position allows me to practice my client counseling, advocacy, and negotiation skills. I am also learning more about the legal issues involved in foreclosure and the debtor/creditor relationship.”
All three law students are participants of the Equal Justice Works Summer Corps program which engages law students around the country to expand the delivery of legal services to those who need it most. Summer Corps members provide critically needed legal assistance in low-income and underserved communities in the United States on a broad range of issue areas, including: health care, family law and juvenile justice, housing and mortgage foreclosure, immigration, and hurricane relief. Since 1986, Equal Justice Works has collaborated with the nation’s leading law schools, law firms, corporate legal departments, bar foundations, and nonprofit organizations to provide the training and opportunities that enable attorneys to provide effective representation to vulnerable populations.