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The Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights Drew Erin Welch to UC Law

Law student Erin Welch travelled 700 miles to UC Law for the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights. She shares her thoughts on the impact of the Institute and they experiences she has had. 

Erin Welch ’15 grew up in Niceville, Florida.  She remained in the Sunshine State to attend Florida State University, graduating with degrees in both international affairs and music (with a focus on voice).  What brought her 700 miles north for law school?  The Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights.

Since 1979 the Urban Morgan Institute has educated and trained human rights lawyers.  “I came to UC entirely for the Urban Morgan Institute,” said Welch.  While she was involved with the Florida State’s human rights institute during her undergraduate years, she was encouraged by a mentor to apply to UC Law and to the Urban Morgan Institute. Her acceptance was the deciding factor.

The Urban Morgan Institute offers an excellent opportunity for first year law students to become involved in working on a journal with Human Rights Quarterly (HRQ).  She became involved with the Quarterly during her first year, and is the journal’s newest Managing Editor going into her third year at UC Law.  “It has given me an opportunity to learn about different cultures and about various human rights issues around the world,” she said of her time on the HRQ as a staff person.

Students involved with the HRQ and the Urban Morgan Institute enjoy the opportunity to spend time abroad working at various human rights centers around the world.  Thus this past summer, Welch traveled to Cape Town, South Africa, choosing this location for several reasons.  “I have always admired the human rights struggle in South Africa and wanted to get to know the history firsthand,” she shared.  “I also thought it would be enlightening to experience South African culture since several aspects mirror our own culture.” >

Welch worked for about two months at the Women’s Legal Centre Trust which, she explained, is a nonprofit firm that only accepts female clients and advocates for women’s rights through targeted litigation and policy initiatives.  She worked with the attorney specializing in family law.  “We focused on a huge issue there – the rights of Muslim women in religious marriages,” she explained.  In South Africa, Muslim marriages are the only kind of marriages not legally recognized.  Her assignment included drafting a booklet for circulate to raise public awareness on the issue and to persuade the public and the government of the necessity for legislation on the issue.  She spent many hours researching Shari’a law – specifically husbands’ and wives’ rights under it – and South African Constitutional law, as well as case law on various facets of the issue of Muslim marriages. 

Not working all the time, Welch recalled several fun experiences while abroad. These include: attending a sunrise church service at St. George’s Cathedral presided over by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, aquarium diving with sharks, and riding an elephant named “Totsi,” which translates to “Naughty.”

“Do it,” is her message to anyone considering an experience abroad.  “Becoming familiar with another culture or the laws of another country is very enlightening, both concerning aspects of your own culture or legal system that you appreciate or in terms of things that you think could be better at home,” she said.  Welch hopes to have the opportunity to travel and work in the Middle East, in Lebanon or Jordan. 

Eric Munas ’15

Jen Cuesta’s Work in Human Rights Leads to Career in Social Justice

Working alongside a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate was inspiring for Jen Cuesta. That experience helped solidify her decision to become an attorney.

Jen Cuesta ’14, an Arthur Russell Fellow with the Urban Morgan Institute, grew up in the suburbs of Denver, Colorado before attending Bryn Mawr College, an all-women school just outside Philadelphia.  She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in growth and structure of cities and minors in cultural anthropology and gender and sexualities studies.  Before attending law school, Cuesta worked for several terms with AmeriCorps, working in Iowa, Michigan, and Louisiana mentoring children, building homes, and doing environmental work. 

She also began working with PeaceJam, a Colorado based non-profit that supports youth in becoming leaders in their communities.  After finishing her AmeriCorps term with PeaceJam, Cuesta was hired as the program coordinator for an after-school program for 50 kindergarteners through 8th graders.  She worked with the students, many of whom lived below the poverty line, to raise funds for the Denver Youth Shelter and to host a community health fair.

“During my time with PeaceJam I was inspired by my interactions with Shirin Ebadi,” answered Cuesta when asked what brought her to UC Law.  Ebadi won the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize for her legal advocacy for children’s and women’s rights in Iran, and is one of the 10 Nobel Peace Prize Laureates that make up the Board of Directors.  Despite political turmoil in Iran preventing Ebadi from returning home, she continued her selfless work with the UN, promoting peace, not just in Iran, but all over the world.  “She just had this amazing ability to keep working for the global community, even as she faced personal struggles,” she remarked.  Inspired by Ebadi and motivated by her experiences working with children stuck in the poverty cycle, Cuesta decided to equip herself to make a difference in the world by becoming an attorney.

Like many other students who work with the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights and on the editorial staff of Human Rights Quarterly, Cuesta was able to gain experience working abroad.  During her first summer, she clerked for Judge Isaac Lesetedi who serves on the Botswana High Court.  Back in Cincinnati during the school year, she externed with the Ohio Justice and Policy Center, working with the Second Chance Clinic, which helps individuals get their records expunged so that they can more easily gain employment and other opportunities. In India during her second summer, she worked with Child Workers in Nepal (CWIN), the oldest Children’s Rights non-governmental organization (NGO) in Nepal.

“I chose to go to Botswana because I am interested in foreign legal systems,” shared Cuesta.  “Judge Lesetedi is a wonderful mentor and gave me great insight into what judges consider when making their choices.” 

But for her next experience abroad, she wanted to do something different.  “I chose Nepal for two reasons,” Cuesta explained.  “First, I felt the work being done by CWIN was vitally important and very much in line with my interests and the work I hope to do in the future. Second, I really wanted to challenge myself. Botswana was a more comfortable and controlled placement, and I wanted to do something hands-on that was outside my comfort zone.”  In Nepal, she helped to research the challenges to children’s advocacy in Nepal.  Cuesta interviewed numerous practitioners, professors, political activists, and interacted with children there who were involved in the legal system.

Traveling and working abroad has made her more conscious of and grateful for the opportunities she has encountered, as she sees it, simply by happenstance.  “My work abroad has affirmed for me that so many people are not given the opportunities they need to succeed, and that is not fair,” she shared.  “As someone who has been privileged in life, it is my obligation and privilege to pay it forward and to try to make sure everyone is given the foundational opportunities they need to live a happy, healthy, and educated life.”

Eric Munas ‘15

Caleb Benadum Shares How His Travels Impacted His Commitment to Human Rights and Justice

From high school in Cambodia to graduate school in South Africa, 3L Caleb Benadum has traveled the across the globe. Doing so, however, opened his eyes to the many possibilities a career in human rights could bring.  Here’s his story.

Caleb Benadum ’14 has had some unique experiences in his life that have led him to UC Law.  After spending his first 13 years in Columbus, Ohio, he moved to Phnom Penh, Cambodia with his missionary parents.  Still working as missionaries today, they live outside of Phnom Penh working at a nonprofit mission clinic called Mercy Medical Center.  Benadum finished high school in Cambodia, and returned to Columbus for college at Capital University. There he majored in philosophy and minored in religion.

“During that time, I began to realize that my experiences overseas left me with a deep commitment to human rights and justice in the world,” said Benadum of his life around the time he graduated from Capital University.  After some deliberation, he chose to attend UC Law so that he could work with the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights, of which he is now an Arthur Russell Fellow.  Benadum is also on the editorial staff for the Human Rights Quarterly.

His first summer in law school was spent in The Hague, Holland working at the Registry of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).  “I worked on issues as diverse as the disciplinary panel at the ICTY, as well as evaluating registry regulations for the ICTY and even making some notes on regulations for other international criminal tribunals,” he shared, noting that the experience was enjoyable and memorable.  “You learn so much about yourself and others when you travel,” he said.  “If you want to understand how human rights is relevant, and to really see how cultural differences and similarities influence – and sometimes cause tension – within the human rights regulatory scheme, then you must travel.” 

Benadum has enjoyed that UC has given him the ability to play a part in structuring his education.  “Because UC is a small school, and because of the friendliness of the administration and staff, I’ve found it relatively easy to work on a variety of educational priorities,” he shared.  One example of this is that he was able to set up a semester abroad in South Africa this past fall.  There, he studied at the University of Pretoria, where his work involved comparing human rights law in Africa to law in Europe. He also gained an understanding of the South African post-Apartheid government and legal system.  Professor Bert Lockwood, director of the Urban Morgan Institute, worked with him to structure his semester abroad, and to tailor it to fit within UC’s and the ABA’s standards for law students.

“This is a great time to go abroad, and it’s possible to do so,” said Benadum of going abroad while in law school.  “The way you will get a job in the human rights or international humanitarian law field is to go and make the contacts. Many places, such as the UN or the ICRC, want interns for longer than 2 or 3 months.”  Learning to speak a second language also is an asset, not just for world-travelling lawyers according to Benadum, but for local attorneys too.  Thus, he plans to travel next to Guatemala at a Spanish immersion school after finishing the bar this summer.

Eric Munas ‘15

Paul Heldman, Harris Distinguished Practitioner

Date: April 2, 2014

Time: 12:10 p.m

Location: Room 118

Paul Heldman '77 is Executive Vice President, Secretary and General Counsel for The Kroger Co. He is responsible for the company’s legal and labor relations affairs. Before joining the company, he worked with the Cincinnati law firm of Beckman, Lavercombe, Fox and Weil. He joined Kroger in 1982 as an associate in the Law Department.

Heldman earned a bachelor’s degree from Boston University and a law degree from the University of Cincinnati in 1977.

2014 Stanley M. Chesley Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law Lecture featuring Professor Bryant Garth

Lecture: The Crisis of Law Schools: An Empirical and Global Perspective on the Current Debate

Date: March 4, 2014

Time: 12:15 p.m.

Location: Room 114, College of Law

CLE: One (1) hour general has been applied for in Ohio and Kentucky. Approval is expected.

Webcast: This event will be webcast. Please check back the day of.


About the Lecture

In his lecture, “The Crisis of Law Schools: An Empirical and Global Perspective on the Current Debate”, Professor Garth will provide a reading of the crisis that is different from most legal education critics, suggesting that most of the diagnoses and remedies do not make sense according to the data and that there is something to be learned from the move abroad to adopt elements of the U.S. model. He will draw in part on the “After the J.D.” longitudinal study of the legal profession and will highlight what he considers the real challenges for legal education.

About the Speaker

Prior to joining the UC Irvine law faculty, Professor Garth served as Dean of Southwestern Law School, Director of the American Bar Foundation, and Dean of Indiana University – Bloomington School of Law. He has held numerous leadership positions within the ABA and the AALS, currently serving on the Executive Coordinating Committee of the “After the J.D.” study and chairing the Advisory Committee of the Law School Survey of Student Engagement. He also has served as a consultant to such entities as the World Bank, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and major philanthropic foundations.

One of the leading international scholars on the legal profession, dispute resolution, globalization, and the rule of law, Professor Garth just finished a term as co-editor of the Journal of Legal Education and is the author or co-author of more than 20 books and 107 articles. Proficient in four foreign languages, Professor Garth graduated with a B.A. from Yale University and his J.D. from Stanford Law School, where he was editor-in-chief of the Journal of International Studies. He went on to clerk for Judge Robert Peckham of the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California before earning a Ph.D. from the European University Institute in Florence, Italy.

About the Stanley M. Chesley Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law

The Stanley M. Chesley Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law was endowed by Mr. Chesley, a 1960 graduate of UC Law, in 2006 to bring outstanding legal scholars of national and international prominence in all areas of law to the College as visiting professors.

Travis Burke’s Work at Wright-Patterson is Chance to Serve Country

Aviation has been a part of Dayton’s history since the time of Orville and Wilbur Wright.  In 1904, the Wright brothers began making use of the Huffman Prairie Flying Field, an 84-acre plot of land, for their test flights.  From 1910-1916 they operated The Wright Company School of Aviation at Huffman Prairie, which would eventually become designated a National Historic Landmark.

When the United States entered World War I in 1917, three military installations were established in Dayton, two of which eventually became Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.  Today, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is an integral part of the Air Force.  Serving as the headquarters for the Air Force’s worldwide logistics system and all Air Force systems development and procurement, Wright-Patterson has the second largest Air Force medical center, is the heart of Air Force graduate education, and is the home of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.*

Travis Burke ’10 today works as a contract negotiator at this historic and important military facility.  A native of Northern Kentucky, he attended the University of Kentucky for his undergraduate degree before receiving a fellowship at the University of Heidelberg in Germany. There, he met his (now) wife, Fanny Delaunay ‘14.  After graduating from UK, Burke went directly to law school.  Influenced by the knowledge that his grandfather served in the Army during World War II, Burke forayed into public service with a JAG internship during his second year at UC Law.  “I knew I enjoyed serving my country, it felt rewarding,” he said of his experience, “and I want to spend a career doing it.” 

Burke works in the C-130J program office procuring C-130J aircraft from Lockheed Martin, the manufacturer.  “A lot goes into buying a plane.  It’s not just paying a price and driving or—in our case—flying the plane off the lot,” he explained.  “You have to think about things like spare parts, support equipment, warranty coverage, having folks around (we call them field service representatives) that know how to troubleshoot and correct issues with the plane, etc.”  More specifically, Burke works in the foreign military sales (FMS) department, working to procure aircraft for military/strategic partners with the U.S.

Since graduating he has had opportunity to practice in the private sector.  “I still do have my own private practice where I selectively take on matters that interest me,” he said, “but ultimately, big law is, in my opinion, really a life-altering career path that consumes your life.”  He shared his perspective on work/ family life balance, quoting an anecdote a colleague said to him a few years back:  “You never spend time on your deathbed wishing you had worked more Saturdays, or missed more of your kid’s soccer games; in fact, it's the opposite.”  Burke has taken this to heart and enjoys finding the balance in both his work and his family life.  “I’ve found a great balance between doing something I’m passionate about, and being able spend time with my family and enjoy my free time.”


*Info from the first two paragraphs from

Meet Dr. Bill Naber: Working at the Intersection of Law and Medicine

The worlds of medicine and law are often seen as in conflict.  It seems that several times each year there is a big news story about a pharmaceutical company that made a bad drug, or about a local doctor involved in some shady practices.  But in many ways, the worlds of law and medicine are very much connected—for the better.  Lawyers not only defend doctors in certain difficult situations or work in-house at large pharmaceutical companies, but they also help advise hospitals and smaller practitioners on what they need to do to stay on the right side of the law.  On the other side of the same coin, lawyers, like everyone else, often need the healthcare and expertise that only doctors can provide.  There are approaches about healthy living that doctors know best just as there are strategies about healthcare law that lawyers know best. 

There are some individuals, however, who are equipped to bring a unique perspective to both fields because they work in both professions.  Dr. William Naber ’11 is an example.   Dr. Naber grew up in Cincinnati before attending the University of Dayton for his undergraduate studies. A pre-med major, he graduated and went directly into medical school at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.  He graduated with his M.D. in 1993 and completed a three-year residency before transitioning into an emergency medicine practice.  Dr. Naber practiced medicine in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania for one year, and then for eight years in upstate New York.  In 2005 he and his family decided to return to Cincinnati.  It was around this time that he began considering gaining another degree.  “I didn’t know I wanted to go to law school when I was first starting out as a doctor,” he explained.  “But I knew that as I got further along in my career that continuing to be an ER doctor would become more difficult.”  He said that with the difficulties of scheduling and long, overnight shifts that you just simply don’t see very many older ER doctors.  This provided him with motivation to find a way into the administrative side of healthcare.  “I looked at those in positions similar to what I might be interested in doing and saw a variety of degrees,” he shared, “but there was a notable absence of doctors who also had law degrees.  I saw it as an opportunity to bring something unique to the table.”

Pursuing a JD

After a few years of hard thinking and talking to people in the field who had both degrees, Naber decided to pursue his law degree.  He took his LSAT (which he said was much more challenging than the MCAT!), and was accepted to UC Law.  Here he participated in the Flexible Time Program, through which he was able to continue working while being enrolled as a part-time law student.  The program allowed Naber to graduate with his juris doctor in four years. 

Since graduating in 2011, Dr. Naber has been able to transition his professional life to a point where he now works more in the legal/administrative side than he does practicing in the ER.  Today, he is the medical staff president at West Chester Hospital and is a medical director at University of Cincinnati Medical Center and West Chester Hospital.  In his capacity as a medical director he works in case management, utilization review, and in clinical documentation improvement.  Additionally, Naber teaches as an associate professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the College of Medicine, teaching and lecturing both residents and medical students.

How an MD Impacts Legal Training…and Vice Versa

When asked how having a MD has given him a unique viewpoint on legal issues, Dr. Naber noted specifically that he can see how regulations change and influence real-life practices.  “It helps me to be able to put these complex legal concepts into real world scenarios.”  To students who may be considering the possibility of attaining both a JD and a MD, Bill cautioned that it is a decision to consider very carefully.  “Before pursuing both degrees, pick one and see, down the road, if getting the other is something you still need to do,” he said.  Noting that each degree can be quite expensive to achieve, he advised that any bump in pay might not be as big as you might think to make it economically feasible.  With careful planning, however, and considering it from all angles, attaining both a JD and MD is very much possible.

JD/WGSS Program Provides Context and Perspective for Lee Serbin

 “During law school it has been important for me to maintain connections with the communities I hope to serve,” said Lee Serbin’14, a student currently completing UC Law’s joint degree program. “The JD/MA program has allowed me to do so.”  Serbin grew up in Avon Lake, Ohio before attending college at the University of Vermont and The Ohio State University. At OSU she studied Women’s Studies and Sociology.  After graduating, she stayed in Columbus to work for two years before coming to UC Law. 

 “UC’s joint degree program with law and WGSS was the first in the nation and UC Law’s size and location was a good fit for me,” she explained of her decision to come to UC.  The JD/MA program takes four years to complete; thus, Serbin finished her MA this past summer and will graduate with both a  JD and a MA in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies this May.

Serbin praised the Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice Center while describing what she enjoys about the school.  “The programming the Center presents is really important in giving context and urgency to what we learn in law school,” she said, additionally noting that the Center’s programming has been relevant to her MA degree studies.

Honing Her Legal Skills

She has a variety of legal experiences already under her belt as she nears graduation.  During her first summer she interned with the Ohio Justice and Policy Center in Cincinnati.  She shared that she really enjoyed working with wonderful people there on important issues.  “Interning with OJPC illustrated the impact of policy and law on individual lives.”  She has also participated in an externship with the family law team at The Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati, where she conducted interviews to support Legal Aid attorneys, accompanied her supervisor to community meetings addressing domestic violence in the Greater Cincinnati area, and performed legal research for family law cases.  Last summer she worked at the Sexual Assault Legal Institute (SALI) in Maryland.  She explained that SALI provides legal services to survivors of sexual assault and also provides legal training and technical assistance to professionals who work with survivors.  “The great variety of work that SALI does exposed me to many different types of law and illustrated the huge impact sexual assault has on the lives of survivors and their families,” said Serbin.  As an intern she was the first point of contact for survivors seeking legal assistance, and through this she was able to hone her client counseling skills.  With her limited practice license, she was also able to represent clients in protection order hearings with UC Law’s Domestic Violence and Civil Protection Order Clinic

“The professors involved are wonderful and provide support and encouragement,” said Serbin of her experience in the joint degree program.  “It is a lot of work and requires a great deal of dedication and focus,” she continued, “but a joint degree can provide additional context and perspective to legal studies that can be very valuable to critical analysis.”

For Kyle Correa-Brady JD/MBA Program Beneficial for Business Success

Business lawyers are an important part of the team that help businesses form, grow, and succeed. Indeed, UC Law’s business law pathway help students build a strong foundation. However, some students choose to take it a stepfurther—by augmenting their legal degree with an MBA to become as well-rounded a professional as possible. Kyle Correa-Brady ’14 is one such student. 

Correa-Brady moved to Cincinnati with his family when he was three, living here until he began college at the University of Virginia. There, he majored in both history and economics, and minored in English.  After graduating, he took one year off and moved to Austin, TX, where he had the opportunity to work at a law firm. This was a chance to explore whether he indeed wanted to pursue a legal education. When he realized he definitely wanted to go to law school, Correa-Brady returned home to Cincinnati for the College of Law’s program. Important to his decision to attend UC Law was the fact that the school has a joint degree program through which he could also pursue an MBA.

In the joint degree program, Correa-Brady spent his first year as a full-time law student, participating in the school’s first year curriculum just like a regular law student.  His second year, however, he left the law school to take graduate business courses, graduating from the Carl H. Linder College of Business with his MBA after nine months.  Then, he returned to the law school to complete his remaining two years of legal coursework, with the goal of graduating with his degree this May.

“When I entered law school, I always knew I had an interest in business and that I had an interest in corporate law,” said Correa-Brady of his motivation to participate in the joint degree program.  In his first semester at UC Law he began to apply for the MBA program and he took the GMAT over winter break. 

“Once I was accepted, it was a no-brainer for me. All transactional lawyers need to know their clients and their clients are usually business men and women.  If a lawyer can't read a balance sheet or breakdown the accounting issues, they are less helpful to their clients.” 

Correa-Brady understands the worlds of law and business intersect and, given his interest in corporate law and business, he knew that the MBA would prove important and beneficial in assisting and counseling his clients down the road.

Building a Career Through Practical Experiences

At UC Law, Correa-Brady has enjoyed a number of practical experiences, using the time to build out his resume and hone his skills.  During the summer of 2012, he worked at firm Strauss Troy. Last spring (2013) he worked at Fifth Third Bank.  “This job gave me the first opportunity to apply my MBA and JD knowledge in a professional environment,” he shared of his experience at the bank.  “I still did all legal work, but I was able to apply business knowledge to the work I did.”  That fall he got another opportunity to explore working at a large corporation when he worked with Kroger Inc.  To top it off, in the summer between his time at Fifth Third Bank and Kroger, he worked at Medpace, a top-ranked, mid-sized clinical research organization. He has continued to work there during this academic year, his last at UC Law.   

Lessons Learned About a Joint Degree

Kyle advised that students considering a joint degree carefully consider why they are doing the program and to weigh the pros and cons.  If one decides in favor of gaining both degrees, however, he is a strong proponent of getting them together.  He left this bit of advice:  “Nowadays, most of the news we hear whether coming out with an MBA or a JD is very negative.  The economy still hasn’t recovered and the job market is rough out there.  But I believe that when deciding to do a joint degree program, your decision should be made with a mind toward the long term – not the short term.  And as the economy does turn around, I believe that you won’t regret the extra work put in for the extra degree now.”

Eric Munas '15

The Anatomy of Violence: The Biological Roots of Crime

Adrian Raine

The Glenn M. Weaver Institute of Law and Psychiatry presents

Adrian Raine, Departments of Criminology, Psychiatry and Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, and Visiting Fellow, University of Cambridge.

Date: October 1, 2014
Time: 4:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Location: College of Law - Room 114
CLE: 2 CLE credits (requested), approval is expected.

This program is free and no registration is required.

Program Description

The very rapid developments taking place in the neuroscience of crime and violence are creating an uncomfortable tension between our concepts of responsibility and retribution on the one hand, and understanding and mercy on the other. This talk outlines implications of this body of knowledge not just for research, but also for our future conceptualization of moral responsibility, free will, and punishment. If the neural circuitry underlying morality is compromised in offenders, how moral is it of us to punish prisoners as much as we do? Can biological risk factors help better predict future violence? And how can we improve the brain to reduce violence?