Toggle menu

Dean Emeritus and Professor Lou Bilionis Appointed Fellow with the Holloran Center at University of St. Thomas School of Law

The University of St. Thomas School of Law’s Holloran Center for Ethical Leadership in the Professions is pleased to announce the appointment of Louis Bilionis, Professor of Law and Dean Emeritus at the University of University of Cincinnati College of Law as a Fellow of the Holloran Center. Professor Bilionis will play a major role at the Center in terms of strategic planning, research, and outreach to deans, faculty, and staff interested in the professional formation of students.  

Prof. Neil Hamilton, Director of the Holloran Center, emphasized “We are very excited that Lou is joining the Holloran Center as our first Fellow based outside of the University of St. Thomas. In terms of helping deans, faculty, and administrators to understand the importance of both fostering the professional formation of each student and creating a professional formation curriculum and culture within a law school, Lou is world-class.”

Louis D. Bilionis is Dean Emeritus and Professor of Law at the University of Cincinnati College of Law. He received his A.B. from the University of North Carolina in 1979 and his J.D., magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 1982. A nationally recognized scholar in constitutional law and criminal procedure, he taught at the School of Law at UNC-Chapel Hill from 1988 until 2005, where he was the Samuel Ashe Distinguished Professor of Constitutional Law. He assumed the deanship of the University of Cincinnati College of Law in 2005 and served two terms as dean, concluding in 2015. While the dean at UC, he developed and taught Becoming a Professional: Exploring Skills and Transition into Practice – an experimental collaboration with the University of North Carolina School of Law, the Center for Creative Leadership, and practitioners that focuses on leadership and the formation of a student’s professional identity.

Professor Goldfarb Speaks at the Midwest Association for Pre-Law Advisers

On Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015, Professor Goldfarb will be speaking on a UC Law panel at the Midwest Association of Pre-law Advisers in Columbus on practical training opportunities.

Professor Lew Goldfarb Named a Second Act Award Winner

Professor Lew Goldfarb is a 2015 Second Act Award winner and will be featured in the September 18 edition of the Cincinnati Business Courier.  These awards recognize local professionals who have forged new paths after achieving success in their first careers. The 2015 Second Act Award acknowledges Professor Goldfarb’s work as the Director of the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic (“ECDC”) at the College.  Since 2011, the ECDC has “graduated” 108 students, assisted 163 business owners on approximately 700 legal matters, and provided nearly $1 million of free legal services to the local economy.  

Asked and Answered. Q&A with Dean Bard

How do your advanced degrees help you as a Dean?

Although my first advanced degree and most important one is my law degree, I use the others every day.  Public Health is a field with a very distinctive methodology.  It seeks to prevent harm at the earliest possible stage.  So, for example, public health’s earliest emphasis was on safe food and water.  Today a good example would be to contrast public health’s focus on developing effective vaccination strategies versus medical’s emphasis on treating patients once they are ill.  That approach works well in a law school because it asks us to identify the results we want and then to consider the earliest point where we can intervene to achieve them. 

An example of how the University of Cincinnati College of law is already using this method is our introduction of the concept of the “Complete Professional” during orientation for first years so that by the time the students enter the practice of law they already have the complete package of skills they need to succeed.

Since my Ph.D. is in the field of Higher Education it too is very useful.  It showed me how to use research findings to understand how today’s students learn and how they see the process of becoming a professional.  It also me how important it is to use assessment tools to see how well a program or policy is achieving its intended result.  It can be easy to think that because we’ve all been to school or because we hear feed-back from the loudest voices that we know what works and what doesn’t.  But I’ve seen to many studies where “conventional wisdom” turned out to be wrong to assume that what we think we see on the surface is actually reflective of what’s going on.  >

To take that a step further, what I learned from my study of research methods and doing my own research is that it’s easy to be fooled into thinking that just because one thing follows another or that two things usually happen together means that that one is causing the other. 

So, for example, if we added a question to the admissions application and the next year fewer students started applying, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are related.  Another thing I learned in my Ph.D. study is how many resources are devoted to studying higher education.  I began the habit of reading The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Education and University Business every day and as a result see how factors like government regulation and the economy are affecting students around the world.   I’ve read several articles lately and been to some excellent presentations, including one by our own Joel Chanvisanuruk that shows how the high-stakes testing that has permeated K-12 education has changed the way our students are prepared to tackle the challenges of legal education.  When teacher pay and job security is dependent on how students perform on standardized tests, there is less time devoted to skills like writing and problem solving.

Immediately before coming to the University of Cincinnati College of Law I was Associate Vice Provost for Academic Engagement for a large, public research university.  That meant I had the responsibility to identify the wide range of activities that faculty, staff and students were doing that blended traditional academics and scholarship with direct involvement with the community. Although some of this included traditional service projects, its core was a new kind of engagement identified by the Carnegie Foundation in which universities and communities work together in ways that are mutually beneficial to both.  So, for example, a chemistry class might not just visit a water treatment plant but actually be taught there so that the class could be involved in the daily challenges of maintaining a safe water supply. Law Schools have long been ahead of the curve in this kind of activity because even before formal clinics became a part of the curriculum, students and faculty have gotten involved in using the law to address community needs.

The tradition is particularly strong at the University of Cincinnati College of Law and I am very excited by what I’m hearing every day about the impact our faculty, staff and students are having by working not just for but with our community.   I look forward to sharing with our community the results of a survey we are doing right now to catalog these activities.   These include those you’ve heard about such as the highly successful work of the Ohio Innocence Project, the Entrepreneurship Clinic, and the Battered Women’s clinic but it extends well beyond that to programs like the Law & Leadership Program that brings high school students into the building for a five week program, the student volunteer organization that prepares returns for students on campus, the staffing of human rights organizations around the world by fellows in the Urban Morgan Institute.

What Do You see as the Challenges Ahead for the Law School?

Many of the challenges our law school faces come from rapid changes to the way legal services are delivered.  Rapid advances in communication has made it easier for clients to meet their legal needs through on-line only law firms that do not have the over-head costs of a traditional bricks & mortar firm.  At the same time, the economic crash of 2012 has had a permanent impact on what the clients who had traditionally spent the most on legal services were willing to pay.   Large law firms have permanently changed their hiring practices and that has affected the practice of all employers.   It is no longer standard practice for students to have a job before graduating and in fact it’s increasingly likely not to have a firm job offer until after bar passage—at least five months later.

As a result, we have had to change how we prepare students to succeed in the job market.  But we also have to prepare them how to manage their expectations and anxiety as they study for the bar exam without an offer of employment and perhaps need to support themselves afterwards. No small part of this is the pressure they face from well meaning friends and family who are not aware of how fast hiring practices have changed. 

The good news is that the new terrain is manageable and that employers, too, are adapting and finding ways to hire students as clerks without bar results. 

Do We Really Need More Lawyers?

A more serious problem is the dramatic disconnect between individuals in need of legal services and access to any way of paying for them.  By some estimates, over 80% of people in need of a lawyer to represent them in a non-criminal matter, a divorce, a bankruptcy, an eviction, an employment termination, cannot afford one. Without minimizing the crisis in access to health care, it’s important to understand that many of these cases involve a dispute between two parties of significantly different resources.  So that one party, the landlord, the employer, can afford to have its interests represented by a lawyer while the other does not.

I think because we so often hear the phrase on television, “if you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you” we don’t appreciate that this only applies to individuals charged with a crime by the government.  It has no application to any other kind of legal dispute, even ones in which the government is bringing a non-criminal dispute such as taking a way a license to run a restaurant or condemning a piece of property.

UC Law Labor & Employment Expert Professor Sandra Sperino Speaks to National Audience

Professor Sandra Sperino will be presenting the book she is co-authoring with Professor Suja Thomas at the Colloquium on Scholarship in Labor and Employment Law (COSELL) on September 11. COSELL is an annual gathering of labor and employment law scholars from across the country.  The conference is hosted at the University of Indiana (Bloomington) Maurer School of Law.  Professor Sperino's book will be published by Oxford University Press next year. Read more information about COSELL.


Prof. Lassiter Quoted in Enquirer Article About Rumpke Landfill

Professor Christo Lassiter provided commentary for the Cincinnati Enquirer article “Rumpke Has Edge in Lawsuit vs. Colerain Twp.” in the August 10, 2015 issue of the newspaper.  Here’s the story.

Prof. Mank Publishes Article in Pittsburgh Law Review

Congratulations to Brad Mank, James B. Helmer  Jr. Professor of Law, whose article, Does United States v. Windsor (the DOMA case) Open the Door to Congressional Standing Rights?, is now in print at 76 University of Pittsburgh Law Review 1-62 (2014).

Prof. Vazquez Teaches Session for Supreme Court Judicial College

Yolanda Vazquez, Association Professor of Law, taught the session "The Intersection between Immigration and the Criminal Justice System" at the Association of Municipal/County Judges of Ohio Summer Conference at Great Wolf Lodge on Tuesday, July 28th. This event was hosted by the Supreme Court of Ohio Judicial College.

Professor Chris Bryant to Speak at Taft National Historic Site Program

A. Christopher Bryant, Rufus King Professor of Constitutional Law at the College, will be the keynote speaker this week at the William Howard Taft National Historic Site Summer Tea Program. Professor Bryant will speak about President Taft (a College of Law graduate!) and his relationship with the law school. The program will be held tomorrow, July 29th , beginning at 1:00 p.m. 

The program is free and open to the public; reservations and additional information can be made by calling 513-684-3262. 

Read more information.

Professor Houh Publishes Article on Contract Law

Emily Houh, Gustavus Henry Wald Professor of the Law and Contracts, has published Sketches of a Redemptive Theory of Contract Law, now in print at 66 Hastings Law Journal 951 (2015).  Learn more about Professor Houh.