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Professor Sandra Sperino Named 2015 Harold C. Schott Scholarship Award Recipient

Congratulations to Professor Sandra Sperino who has been named the recipient of the 2015 Harold C. Schott Scholarship Award. The award recognizes outstanding research and scholarly achievement by a member of the faculty of the University of Cincinnati College of Law. She will deliver a public lecture on her scholarship here at the College of Law during the 2015-2016 academic year.  

Professor Sperino is an influential, nationally recognized scholar in employment discrimination law who joined the College in 2011. Professor Sperino received her JD from the University of Illinois College of Law, where she was editor-in-chief of the University of Illinois Law Review, and a MS in journalism from the University of Illinois. 

After graduating from law school, Professor Sperino clerked for the Honorable Donald J. Stohr of the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri. She then went into private practice, working at Lewis, Rice & Fingersh (St. Louis) for the litigation and labor and employment departments.  There she co-authored the successful petition for writ of certiorari and the brief argued before the United States Supreme Court in United States v. Sell.

Professor Sperino left the firm to join academia, participating in the Lawless Fellowship Program at the University of Illinois College of Law. She served on the faculty of the University of Illinois College of Law, the St. Louis University School of Law, and the Temple University Beasley School of Law before joining the College of Law as an associate professor.

Wrote Dean Lou Bilionis in an announcement about her award, “Her research entails a wholesale rethinking of employment discrimination law.  In a series of articles, she has offered a meta-critique of discrimination law that focuses on two principal themes: how judicially-created frameworks for evaluating employment discrimination claims are antithetical to the underling goals of discrimination statutes, and how discrimination law intersects with – and on occasion is distorted by – other areas of the law, such as tort, agency, and civil procedure.”

Leading scholars in the field have referred to her work as “the epitome of quality scholarship.”  Her research is “masterfully execute[d]” and “on the cutting edge of employment discrimination.”  Courts are finding merit in Professor Sperino’s scholarly publications as well.  The Iowa Supreme Court cited two of her articles as it decided to interpret its state antidiscrimination laws more expansively and protectively than federal law has been interpreted.  See Pippen v. State, 854 N.W.2d 1 (Iowa 2014); Goodpaster v. Schwan’s Home Service, Inc., 849 N.W.2d 1 (Iowa 2014).  The Hawaii Supreme Court similarly has turned to Professor Sperino’s research to interpret its state’s antidiscrimination law.  See Adams v. CDM Media USA, Inc., 2015 WL 769745, No. SCWC-12-00000741 (Hawaii Feb. 24, 2015). 

Professor Sperino’s scholarly record is complemented by her outstanding teaching accomplishments here at the College, where she has received the Goldman Prize for Excellence in Teaching.



College of Law Student Awarded Prestigious Peggy Browning Fellowship

This spring, College of Law rising 2L Andrea Brown became one of only 80 students to receive the prestigious and highly competitive Peggy Browning Fellowship. During the summer break she will be working with the IUE-CWA, an organization committed to supporting and empowering local labor unions. Mary Ann Moffa, executive director of the Peggy Browning Fund, described the award as a “tribute to [Ms. Brown’s] outstanding qualifications.”

This year, 400 people from over 150 law schools applied for the Peggy Browning fellowship. Named for union activist Margaret Browning, the fellowship supports outstanding students who commit their summers to fighting against social injustice in the workplace. The award is given to students who both excel in the classroom and show a commitment to workers' rights as, demonstrated in their previous work, volunteer, and personal experiences.

Recalling her time as an English major at the University of Chicago, Brown spoke of the way literature impacted her views on labor and employment. She suggests that her passion for social justice served as a lens through which she viewed her academic studies, and acknowledged the way in which her exposure to the depictions of inequality in literature inspired her to work as an advocate for social and economic equality.

“Whether it was women’s political and economic roles in Shakespeare’s Richard II or classism and poverty in The Grapes of Wrath,” she commented, “issues of equality were always at the forefront of my academic life.”

Her professional career, too, exemplifies her dedication to supporting workers and labor leaders. Before coming to law school, Brown served as a community organizer for Working America, AFL-CIO. During this time, she helped union members access the resources that they needed to achieve the goals of their community, while simultaneously encouraging nonunion members to join the organized labor movement.

“There is strength in numbers, and strength in brother and sisterhood,” she said. “While we can recognize economic inequality staring back at us in our schools, our neighborhoods, our low-wage job, it is not until we talk together about that inherent inequality that we become less alone.”

Even her personal life seems to be shaped by her desire to empower workers. When asked where she would take a visitor in her hometown of Hamilton, OH,  Brown discussed how proud she would be to show off the resilience of Main Street.

“Hamilton was hit hard by the economic downturn and a lot of small businesses closed down,” she said. “Within the last few years, there are signs of life as new independent shops and restaurants have opened along Main Street.”

Brown anticipates learning a lot and enhancing her skills during her 10-week fellowship with the IUE-CWA. “I came to law school because I knew I wanted to do something that, as cliché as this sounds, would leave the world at least a little bit of a better place.”

Author: Catlin Wells ‘16

John Holschuh, Jr. Kicks Off Year as OSBA President

For College of Law alumnus John D. Holschuh, Jr. there’s no position he’s more excited, proud and honored to hold than that as president of the Ohio State Bar Association. His term begins July 1, 2015, and he already has begun thinking about the goals during his tenure. 

“The local bar is phenomenal, and the Cincinnati Bar is outstanding, but on a state-wide level there is none better than the Ohio State Bar (OSBA),” Holschuh remarked, further noting that OSBA has been recognized as the number one bar association in the country (in member benefits and in representing the interests of its members). “It really is a phenomenal organization and I’m extremely honored and privileged to be the next president.” 

He has served as president of the Cincinnati Bar Association as well as the Cincinnati Bar Foundation, is a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, an Advocate of the American Board of Trial Advocates, and fellow of the International Society of Barristers.

The journey leading up to this recent milestone has been nothing short of impressive, as Holschuh has received countless praise and honorable recognition throughout his legal career. He has served as president of the Cincinnati Bar Association as well as the Cincinnati Bar Foundation, a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, the American Board of Trial Advocates and the International Society of Barristers.

Holschuh’s desire to attend UC and to pursue a legal career derives from the influence of his father, who served as federal judge in 1980 and was the chief judge for the Southern District of Ohio for a number of years.

“Dad had always kind of encouraged me. My dad went to Miami, so I went to Miami. My dad went to UC Law, so I went to UC Law. He was the epitome of a lawyer. Total class. Respected by everybody and anybody you ever knew. Living up to that role model has been a challenge, but I’ve tried.”

Since graduating from UC Law in 1980, Holschuh has spent his legal career with the Cincinnati firm Santen & Hughes, L.P.A., where he has dedicated 35 years of practice in the areas of medical malpractice and personal injury litigation. 

Holschuh notes that his devotion to the firm and success as a litigation attorney stems from the fortunate opportunity to have had Bill Santen as his mentor early in his career. He believes mentorship to be of utmost importance for young lawyers.

“For me [having a mentor] was invaluable. It took probably six or seven years before I was able to be a first-rate trial lawyer--probably longer than that. And Bill was always there to guide me along the way. Having a mentor to guide you and having someone you can go to anytime there’s an issue is absolutely critical.”

Finding ways to build mentorship opportunities and reaching out to young lawyers to increase their involvement with OSBA is one of Holschuh’s goals as OSBA president, in addition to providing more access to justice.

“Right now there’s a huge need in Ohio for people who need legal services and can’t afford it,” Holschuh explained. “So while the need has increased, the availability of lawyers and funding has decreased dramatically. And at the same time we’ve got a lot of young lawyers coming out of law school in debt and without jobs. There has got to be some way we can pair that up and mix that together. So we’re working on that.”

Building a better legal community through mentorship and access to justice are goals whole-heartedly aligned with Holschuh’s perspective on what it means to be a lawyer--making a difference in the lives of others.

“There’s no greater reward than doing something good for a person,” he explained. With several stories to share, Holschuh couldn’t settle on just one particular moment to capture the essence of being a lawyer, humbly stating that “fortunately I have a number of them,” as he recalls several phone calls and cards he has received from former clients, thanking him for taking on their cause. “That’s why I love what I do, when you get those kinds of moments. Those human interest stories that you get into, that’s what the law is about.”

Holschuh encourages students interested pursuing a legal career to find ways to open their perspective, and to get involved in things to distinguish themselves.  “If you invest yourself in something that you love it will pay off in the future, there is no doubt about it. Get involved, get connected, join organizations, and have fun. I know it sounds so sophomoric but enjoy it. You know law school is not fun per-se, but you can make it fun, by getting involved with other things outside the classroom, meeting people and connecting.”

Author: Sarah Nelson’17

Prof. Vazquez Publishes Article on Latino Subordination

Professor Yolanda Vázquez’ has recently published the article Constructing Crimmigration: Latino Subordination in a “Post-Racial” World.  It is now in print at 76 Ohio State Law Journal 599 (2015).

Michael Daevenport '93 newly invested to operate Grandville stamping firm as minority enterprise

GRANDVILLE, MI – Jireh Metal Products has been acquired by a group of local investors who plan to operate the metal stamping company as a Minority Business Enterprise.

The new owners include by Michael Davenport, Andy Otteman and Gregory VandenBosch, the company said in a news release on Tuesday, May 19. Jireh produces metal stampings and assemblies for the office furniture, hardware and automotive industry.

Davenport, a basketball star at Ottawa Hills High School in the 1980s who went on to star at Xavier University, will lead Jireh as president and CEO.

Seller Ron Wierenga, who has led the company since 2000, will retain an ownership share and have an active role in the development of customer relationships, the company said. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

As part of the new ownership structure, Jireh plans to pursue Minority Business Enterprise certification, the company said.

The certification "will allow Jireh to provide support to many companies, including current customers, that have supplier diversity programs in place and those that recognize that a diverse supply base offers a competitive advantage in today's multicultural business economy," the company said..

With more than 30 years in business, Jireh employs nearly 100 people and operates two manufacturing plants with 120,000 square feet. The company is headquartered at 3635 Nardin Street SW in Grandville and has a production facility at 864 Productions Place in Holland Township.

Davenport most recently served as the director of community development for First Financial Bank in Cincinnati, where he led the bank's community development strategy. Previously, he served as a regulatory attorney for First Financial, Fifth Third Bank and U.S. Bank, where he managed the implementation and review of consumer lending legislation.

"Jireh's current products and customer base provided our team with a solid platform and the potential to grow with existing customers. We have a great opportunity to extend our relationships with these partners," said Davenport in a news release.

"While we retained all of Jireh's employees in the transition, we are also looking forward to adding additional staff to expand our areas of expertise and industry knowledge."

"Our team has done extensive due diligence on Jireh and knows the business inside and out. With Ron's involvement and guidance, Jireh will be able to continue in the direction that has allowed Jireh to grow with its partners," said Davenport. "We're confident that we'll be able to reach the company's growth targets."

Otteman, a former employee of Herman Miller Inc. and tech start-up, Parnunu, will serve as director of new business development.

The deal was financed by Mercantile Bank. Grand Rapids-based StreamSong Advisors played a key role in the deal structure.

"Providing acquisition and growth capital for proven leaders like the new Jireh Metal Products team is a perfect fit for the Mercantile business model and our local focus, said Kevin Paul, senior vice president of commercial lending at Mercantile Bank.


Deborah Brenneman '93 recognized with the 2015 Glass Ceiling Award by the Ohio Diversity Council

Thompson Hine is proud to announce that Cincinnati Labor & Employment Partner, Deborah Brenneman has been recognized with the 2015 Glass Ceiling Award by the Ohio Diversity Council.  This award recognizes women in the workplace who demonstrate leadership excellence, maintain a record of accomplishments in areas of expertise, display integrity and portray the highest ethical standards among colleagues and clients.  Deborah has over 20 years of experience, focusing her practice on representing management in all areas of employment law.  She has successfully tried cases in state and federal courts around the country for global companies, and is a recognized expert in the field of trade secret and noncompete litigation.  She has been named an Ohio Super Lawyer since 2009.  She currently serves as the Cincinnati co-chair for the Spotlight on Women Initiative, a firm-wide program designed to foster an energetic and supportive atmosphere for women at the firm and within the business community. Debbie is the Vice Chair of the board of the West Chester-Liberty Chamber Alliance, which awarded her its Women of Excellence Award in 2010.  She is also a former Athena Award Finalist.

John S. Fronduti '97 Named Assistant Vice President of American Financial Group, Inc.

CINCINNATI, May 04, 2015 -- American Financial Group, Inc. AFG, +0.87% is pleased to welcome John S. Fronduti as Assistant Vice President. In addition, he will serve as Vice President of American Money Management, a wholly owned investment management subsidiary of AFG, where he will provide legal advice in connection with the Company’s investment portfolio. Prior to joining the Company, Mr. Fronduti was a partner with the Cincinnati-based law firm Keating, Muething and Klekamp.

John is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the University of Cincinnati College of Law.

About American Financial Group, Inc.

American Financial Group is an insurance holding company, based in Cincinnati, Ohio with assets in excess of $45 billion. Through the operations of Great American Insurance Group, AFG is engaged primarily in property and casualty insurance, focusing on specialized commercial products for businesses, and in the sale of fixed and fixed-indexed annuities in the retail, financial institutions and education markets. Great American Insurance Group’s roots go back to 1872 with the founding of its flagship company, Great American Insurance Company.

UC Alum Catherine Neal '98 inducted in the 2015 Western Brown Hall of Fame

Western Brown Local School District will hold its annual Academic Hall of Fame induction at Western Brown High School 6 p.m. Thursday, May 7. The event will take place in the High School Auditeria to be followed by the high school academic awards program.

Being inducted into the Western Brown Academic Hall of Fame is the ultimate honor to be bestowed upon a (Hamersville High School/Mount Orab High School) Western Brown graduate. These individuals will have achieved extraordinary accomplishments and/or excellence in their chosen profession.

Criteria for nomination: Nominee must be graduated a minimum of 10 years and has accomplished achievements above and beyond normal standards including military academy graduate, doctor, lawyer, engineer, veterinarian, education, pharmacist, dentist, architect, music, arts, business, politics, etc. Nomination period closes each year on Jan. 15. Additional information available on the website at

One of the 2015 Western Brown Hall of Fame Inductees is a UC Alum:

CATHERINE S. NEAL, Esq. – Graduated in 1979 from Western Brown High School. She earned degrees from both the University of Cincinnati Clermont and Northern Kentucky University where she graduated summa cum laude with a 4.0 GPA in 1992. She earned a Juris Doctorate degree in 1998 from the College of Law, University of Cincinnati.

As a college student she received the National Business Education Association Award of Merit and was inducted into the Alpha Chi National Honor Society. She was named a Corporate Law Fellow by UC’s Corporate Law Center. She was the recipient of the Brendamour Tax Prize for completing the tax curriculum with the highest GPA; the Ernest Karam Book Award in Legal Research, Writing, and Advocacy; the West Publishing Award for Scholastic Achievement in Criminal Law and was included on the Dean’s Honors List.

After law school, Neal entered private practice with the law firm of Wood & Lamping in Cincinnati. Her work included business law, tax and estate planning matters, maritime law and federal litigation. Her input on a case being argued before the Ohio Supreme Court significantly changed international commercial law in the state of Ohio.

Neal left private practice in 2002 to become an Assistant Professor of Legal Studies at the University of Cincinnati Clermont College and was recognized for “Excellence in Teaching” and “Promoting Good Student/Faculty Relations.” Professor Neal joined the Haile/US Bank College of Business at Northern Kentucky University in 2005 where she received “Dean’s Citation for Outstanding Teaching” in 2010 and was granted tenure and promoted to Associate Professor in 2011.

Her research interests include white-collar crime, corporate governance, executive compensation, and corporate scandals. Her work has been published in a number of academic journals, and she is a frequent speaker on business ethics and business law topics. In 2014, Professor Neal’s first book, “Taking Down the Lion” was published . The book is the consummate account of the Tyco International corporate scandal and is based on over two years of intensive research. During this time, Professor Neal was granted unprecedented access to former Tyco International CEO Dennis Kozlowski, his papers, attorneys, family, friends, and former Tyco colleagues as well as transcripts and evidence from two criminal trials. Since the book was released, Neal has appeared on numerous national, regional, and local media outlets. She is frequently invited to speak about her research, among those most recent include events at Sacred Heart University, the Harvard Business School Club and was invited to give the keynote address at Oxford University (UK).

Professor Neal and her husband, Douglas Havelka, Ph.D., reside in the Anderson Township area. They are the parents of a daughter and a son and the grandparents of a granddaughter. Catherine Neal is the daughter of Creston and Joyce Neal of Mount Orab.

Graydon Head & Ritchey LLP attorney Anthony Robertson '13 – a former craft brewer – started the firm's craft food and beverage group.

A Cincinnati law firm and a former Mt. Carmel brewer have created a special team to help craft brewers, vintners, grocers and restaurateurs navigate their industry's legal landscape.

Graydon Head & Ritchey LLP attorney Anthony Robertson – a former craft brewer – started the firm's craft food and beverage group.

Robertson dabbled in homebrewing while living in Chicago and decided to take a leap and enter the Siebel Institute of Brewing Technology.

"That sort of cost me all my money, so I moved back to Cincinnati, and luckily my folks lived very close to Mt. Carmel Brewing Co.," he told me.

Robertson's first job there was hand-filling growlers for distribution to be sold by retailers like Kroger. When a brewing position opened up, he jumped on it. That's where he stayed for two years, helping head brewer Mike Dewey. But brewing wasn't for Robertson.

"I love beer and I love the chemistry of beer and coming up with recipe designs and what hops to use and barrels to age," he said. "But to be a great brewer at a small brewery, you need an excellent mechanical mind. That wasn’t really what I was good at."

Law school was a spur-of-the-moment decision for Robertson, but he viewed it as a way he could potentially help small brewers, restaurants and other entrepreneurs in the craft food and beverage industries.

"There’s a lot of people here at Graydon Head who have a passion for good beer, good wine, restaurants that are growing and meeting the people behind it," he said.

The group consists of seven attorneys with backgrounds in everything from litigation to real estate to employment law to contract law.

The craft food and beverage group wants to keep its services affordable for entrepreneurs who often are running startups or small businesses. It will enter into a small retainer agreement and give them general advice, Graydon Head partner Sean Suder told me.

"The idea is to sort of be the in-house counsel, but outside," he said. "For us, it’s meeting them where they are and saying, 'We’d like to help you as early as possible in the process of starting and growing your business and grow with you.'"

Graydon Head has been trying to get in front of that emerging marketplace in Cincinnati. It sponsors the pop-up biergarten in Walnut Hills in the summer. The firm's attorneys volunteer each weekend to sell beer tickets and T-shirts and maintain a presence there.

"The law firm is striving to be the most vibrant and innovative law firm in the region, and this is one area we feel like we can really play in," Suder said. "It’s part of our business strategy as well as our marketing strategy."

Buckley King’s Jeffrey R. Teeters '93 Again Receives “Top 50” Rating from Super Lawyers

CINCINNATI, OH – Buckley King is pleased to announce that Jeffrey R. Teeters (’93) has again been distinguished among a premier group of attorneys recognized as one of the “Top 50 Lawyers in Cincinnati.” Super Lawyers’ 2015 “Top” list features the “best of the best” – those attorneys who have attained the highest degree of recognition for legal excellence, professional achievements, and ethical standards.  Being listed in Super Lawyers demonstrates Teeters’ superior legal acumen, and is a singular honor limited to the top 5% of attorneys across Ohio. 

Teeters serves as Partner-in-Charge of the Firm’s Cincinnati office and chairs its Commercial Litigation Practice Group.  He is the former Editor-in-Chief of the American Bar Association’s publication, Litigation News, and is co-editor of the ABA book, Business Torts: A Practical Guide to Litigation. Teeters provides counsel and representation to businesses and professionals in business disputes, employment matters, with a deep concentration on non-competes, trade secrets, and professional liability.

About Super Lawyers

Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Every year the research team at Super Lawyers undertakes a rigorous multiphase selection process that includes a state wide survey of lawyers, independent evaluations of candidates by an attorney-led research staff, a peer review of candidates by practice area, and a good-standing and disciplinary check.

About the Law Firm of Buckley King

Buckley King is a commercial law firm with offices in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and Phoenix.  The firm maintains a culture where integrity, transparency, creativity, better solutions, teamwork and passion is non-negotiable. Buckley King is known for giving straight answers, thinking big picture, hearing clients’ needs, providing practical and effective solutions, and completing engagements on time and on budget. Rethink your outside counsel.℠