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Aaron Bernay, '10 Brings Global Perspective to School and Beyond

A global perspective is what Aaron Bernay, Class of 2010, brings to every class he attends at UC Law. By the age of 10, Bernay had spent the first six years of his education attending six different schools located across the country. Today at the age of 29, he has extended his personal travel resume to include the Middle East—where he spent time studying in Jerusalem during college; Africa—where he worked briefly for a development organization in Zimbabwe; Europe; and the former Soviet Union. As a result of his extensive travel and degrees in International Affairs (BA from The George Washington University) and Middle Eastern Studies (MA from Harvard University), Bernay is well-versed in four languages: English, Hebrew, Arabic, and French. “I studied Hebrew in college and then Arabic in graduate school,” he explained. “I picked up French through travel and self-study,” he added.

So how does a self-taught linguist utilize his unique skills and attributes in law school? For Bernay, it means figuring out how to incorporate his enjoyment of various cultures and love of languages with the law. Bernay’s keen interest in the law is evident throughout his studies and during the time he spent working internationally. Following graduation from George Washington University, he took almost seven years off before returning to law school. During that time, he worked for an international trade practice of a Washington, DC law firm. He then relocated to Cincinnati—his girlfriend’s hometown—and took a job at Miami University Hillel in Oxford, Ohio. Bernay studied history on a government fellowship at Harvard, where he presented papers at academic conferences and won accolades for undergraduate teaching. Following another foray into the private sector, Bernay returned to Cincinnati for the next stage in his education.

An Interest in Human Rights
Bernay’s passion for human rights and desire for a quality legal education led him to UC. “Cincinnati wasn’t an obvious choice just because my wife grew up here,” he explained. “I thought UC was an excellent school with many worthwhile programs to offer like the Corporate Law Center and the Urban Morgan Institute. What impressed me most, in hindsight, was the quality of the first year instruction.” Bernay split his first summer working at General Electric and the downtown firm of Frost Brown Todd, where he actively participated in both corporate and commercial legal issues. This summer he plans to return to the firm and believes that his involvement with the Corporate Law Center has helped him focus his interests. “As a fellow, you assist Professor Black with research and participate in Center activities such as the spring symposium,” he explained.

Admittedly, Bernay has taken full advantage of all the law school has to offer by enrolling in a variety of courses to learn about different areas of the law. Recently, he discovered an interest in intellectual property law following his participation in Professor Tim Armstrong’s Introduction to Intellectual Property course.

Bernay is actively involved at the law school. In addition to his work with the Corporate Law Center, he contributes to two publications: the University of Cincinnati Law Review, where he will be a Notes and Comments editor next year, and the Human Rights Quarterly. He also serves as the president of the Jewish Law Student Association.

Combining Parenthood and the Law
Life isn’t all about the law, however. He and his wife are learning the ropes of parenthood from their five-month-old son Henry with whom Bernay spends most of his free time. “He’s a wonderful study aid!” Bernay laughed. “When I am reading, he falls asleep in my lap and I don’t want to move and wake him. So I have incentive to keep reading!” Bernay also is an avid runner and has competed in four marathons including The Chicago Marathon and another in Washington DC. “I’m not running that distance any longer,” he explained. “I run 5 and 10Ks at this point.”

Author: Mandy Shoemaker, '09