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Dean Jefferson Honored with NALP President’s Award


Mina Jones Jefferson ‘90, Assistant Dean and Director, Center for Professional Development, was named a 2011-2012 President’s Award Winner—one of the highest honors in the field—at the annual meeting of the National Association for Law Placement (NALP). Dean Jefferson was lauded for her work as chairperson of NALP’s Employment Outcomes Task Force.   Under her leadership the Task Force published a comprehensive Best Practices Guide that will assist all law schools in the data collection process. Jefferson will again serve as chairperson of the task force during the 2012-2013 academic year.

One of the first African American women in the region elected to the partnership of a large firm, Jefferson practiced commercial litigation for nine years before joining the College of Law. A former hiring partner, she has the distinction of being one of the few law school career services professionals in the country who has been on “both sides of the table.”  Dean Jefferson speaks on professional development throughout the tri-state and is very involved in the community, including currently serves on the board of the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati Board of Trustees and by appointment on the Ohio Supreme Court Commission on Continuing Legal Education.

What is NALP?

Founded in 1971 as the National Association for Law Placement, NALP—The Association for Legal Career Professionals—is a nonprofit educational association established to meet the needs of all participants in the legal employment process (career planning, recruitment and hiring, and professional development of law students and lawyers) for information, coordination and standards. NALP is dedicated to continuously improving career counseling and planning, recruitment and retention, and the professional development of law students, lawyers, and its members.

OIP Helps Bryant Gaines Walk Free


March 14, 2012 will go down in history as the day Bryant “Rico” Gaines walked out of prison a free man. He served nine years of a life sentence for a murder the both he and the Ohio Innocence Project says he did not commit. Gaines, however, will not go home cleared of all charges, despite his innocence. He decided to take a plea deal to a reduced charge of “conspiracy to commit manslaughter.”  After many years of imprisonment and push back from the judicial system, Gaines determined that this was his best option to be free. Congratulations to the many individuals who worked on this case: many OIP students, OIP attorney Karla Hall, and Cincinnati defense attorney Bill Gallagher.

Media Stories

The Wrongful Convictions Blog.

Cincinnati Enquirer

Professor Darrell A.H. Miller, Harold C. Schott Scholarship Award Lecturer, will Speak on the Second Amendment


The Second Amendment in Theory and Practice

Date: November, 13, 2012

Time: 12:15 p.m. Location: Room 114

CLE: Application has been made for 1 hr. of general CLE credit for Ohio and Kentucky. There is no charge for this program.

About the Lecture

In District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago, the United States Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment preserves an individual right to keep and bear arms and that this right applies equally against federal, state, and local governments. But the precise scope of the right, including its day-to-day application in modern American life, remains the subject of intense discussion, speculation, and litigation.

Professor Miller’s lecture will explore these two important constitutional cases; what they decided, what they left undecided, and what they may mean for the future. In the process, the lecture will touch on the complicated and fascinating relationship between the poetry of high constitutional theory and its translation into the prose of deciding individual cases.

About the Award: the Harold C. Schott Scholarship Award recognized outstanding research and scholarly achievement by a member of the faculty of the University of Cincinnati College of Law.

RSVP to Lori Strait at 513-556-0117 or lori.strait@ uc.edu. Visit our website at www.law.uc.edu for more information.

About the Speaker

Darrell A.H. Miller, Associate Professor of Law, is the recipient of the 2011 Harold C. Schott Scholarship Award, recognizing outstanding research and scholarly achievement by a member of the faculty of the University of Cincinnati College of Law. He will deliver a public lecture on his scholarship during the Fall 2012 semester.

A graduate of the Harvard Law School and a British Marshall Scholar at Oxford University, Professor Miller is considered a prolific and influential constitutional law scholar. His articles— focusing on civil rights, constitutional law, and civil procedure—have been published and cited, debated, and discussed in numerous legal journals and publications. It is an impressive body of work that engages under-enforced and undermined constitutional provisions to make them relevant today. Professor Miller’s scholarly work has contributed to judicial and academic discourse alike, with citations in the United States Supreme Court as well as the lower appellate courts.

In addition, Professor Miller’s scholarship has garnered high praise from some of the most prominent constitutional law scholars in America, who commend his deep, imaginative, and interrelating analyses of the First, Second, and Thirteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. He has become a sought-after speaker and contributor at academic symposia and other forums across the country, demonstrating further his stature as one of the country’s outstanding young legal scholars.

At the College Professor Miller is highly regarded by the students, having twice received the Goldman Prize for Excellence in Teaching since he joined the law school in 2007.

For more about Professor Miller, visit his website.

New Wrongful Convictions Blog Launched; Goal is to Highlight International Issues


Mark Godsey, the Daniel P. and Judith L. Carmichael Professor of Law and Director, Lois and Richard Rosenthal Institute for Justice/Ohio Innocence Project, along with several colleagues in the Innocence Movement, have recently launched the new blog The Wrongful Convictions Blog.

The purposes of the blog are twofold:

(1)   To provide one place where interested persons can go to get news and information about wrongful convictions, and

(2)   To foster discussion, debate, and learning about the issue of wrongful convictions. 

The blog will also include frequent commentaries/editorials on various topics, such as the commentaries about forensic odontologists attempting to validate their "science” the state of junk science generally; and reacting to prosecutorial misconduct and conviction integrity units at prosecutor's offices.

 Unique to this blog is its emphasis on the international arena. Contributing editors include participants from around the world. Additionally, there is a place for comments and debate on each post. Those interested in following the blog for email updates, should click "follow" in the lower right corner of the screen.

Rachel Smith Sees Connection Between Moot Court and Legal Research and Writing


While Professor Rachel Smith is officially the faculty advisor for Moot Court, she is unofficially the student appellate advocacy organization’s biggest fan.

“They’re amazing,” Smith said.

Smith, Professor of Practice, is currently in her second year as the Moot Court faculty advisor. Although she steps in for the occasional challenging situation and serves as the “official school face” when needed, it is a rather hands off position.

“When I started as faculty advisor, some told me they didn’t need my assistance for much. They liked their independence,” Smith said. “I found that, the students, they absolutely run it themselves. It’s incredible what they accomplish and what they do.”

This has certainly been the case for the upcoming August A. Rendigs, Jr. National Product Liability Moot Court Competition. “I try to make myself available to help out,” Smith said. “I can just show up (March 30 and 31) and watch the glory that they’ve created it.”

Smith, who was hired by the College of Law as a Legal Research and Writing professor in 2004, said she had likely expressed interest in the past and was invited to fulfill the faculty advisor position when it opened last year.

It made a lot of sense to her to have a connection between the legal research and writing program and Moot Court “because the first year we teach the foundational skills that the Moot Court people are going to build on later,” she said.

“Even if someone is not planning on being a litigator, those skills are valuable and can be used in other settings,” Smith said. “I think it’s a nice continuation of those basic skills you get in the first year.”

As an Indiana University law student, Smith was not a member of the Moot Court, although she did take an upper level appellate advocacy class. The former Articles Editor of the Indiana Law Journal graduated from the Bloomington-based law school in 1993, with a joint master’s degree in Environmental Science from IU’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs.  

From there, the 1986 Barnard College (N.Y.) graduate spent two years as a judicial clerk for the Honorable Wade Brorby of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, whose chambers are in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Smith then worked for four years as a senior assistant attorney general with the Wyoming Attorney General’s Office, a former geology major, Smith found this to be somewhat of her “dream job,” as it allowed her to focus on environmental issues, specifically those related to water and wetlands.

After several years out west, the Cincinnati native returned home, accepting an offer to become an associate at Dinsmore & Shohl downtown. “By then I had a couple kids (now ages 14 and 15) and I thought Cincinnati was a nice compromise, having lived in New York City; Bloomington, Indiana; and Cheyenne, Wyoming,” she said. “Cincinnati had all the things I liked.”

Smith spent five years at Dinsmore, before accepting the research and writing position at the College of Law. She had long been interested in teaching this area, which was the “part of practice I enjoyed maybe the most,” she said.

“When I was finishing my clerkship, I actually applied and got an offer to teach legal research and writing back at Indiana University, which I would have loved,” Smith said. “But I thought, since I hadn’t officially practiced law outside of clerking, that that was something I needed to do first before I could come back and teach.”

In addition to teaching Legal Research and Writing, Smith taught Legal Ethics last fall. She is also the University Appeals Administrator for the entire University of Cincinnati.

Outside of UC, Smith enjoys yoga, outdoor activities and eating at the various local Indian restaurants. She also secretly likes knitting, but in light of her donations to the recent Hooding Auction, it is safe to say that the cat is out of the (knitting) bag.

By Jordan Cohen, ‘13

Faculty Advisor Role Is Chance to Support Student Work


The Cincinnati Law Review, like most law review publications, is student-run and student-edited. But that does not mean that the faculty advisor does not play an important role.

At the College of Law, that person is currently Professor Michael E. Solimine, who is serving in this capacity on an interim basis for Professor Betsy Malloy. Malloy is on sabbatical during the 2011-12 academic year and will return as the faculty advisor to the Law Review this summer or fall, Solimine said.

But this is familiar territory for Solimine, the Donald P. Klekamp Professor of Law, as he was the Law Review faculty advisor from 1996-2004, as well as in 2005-2008.  Although he downplayed his involvement with the Law Review, calling it a “background advisory role” and crediting the students for all their hard work, Solimine’s efforts have not gone unnoticed.

“He’s fantastic,” said Sarah Topy, executive editor of the Law Review.” Professor Solimine, he’s just an incredible advisor for us.”

Some of his duties have included providing case note and comment topic suggestions, speaking and advocating to the faculty on the students’ behalf, granting the academic credit to those students, and also consulting with the dean and Law Review editors about potential speakers at the Robert S. Marx and William Howard Taft Lectures.

“Even though it’s an advisory role, he still does a lot for the Law Review,” said Jeff DeBeer, editor-in-chief of the Law Review.

The 1981 Northwestern University School of Law graduate has been at the College of Law since 1987, when he joined the faculty as a visiting assistant professor. Solimine had previously clerked for a federal judge and practiced law in Dayton, OH, a city in which he spent most of his childhood after moving there from upstate New York at a young age.

While at Northwestern, Solimine was a student editor for the School of Law’s Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology. Since joining the College of Law, he’s been producing legal scholarship and wants to promote scholarship at UC as well, he said.  Fittingly, this is something he is able to achieve as a faculty advisory to the Law Review.

In January of this year, Solimine was working with student editors at the Georgia Law Review on finalizing his forthcoming article, “State Amici, Collective Action, and the Development of Federalism Doctrine.” He also recently completed a paper that he presented at the Case Western Reserve Law Review symposium in Cleveland on November 4, 2011.

In the next year or two, Solimine will also be working on the second edition of Voting Rights and Election Law, a casebook he co-authored that was published in 2010 by Lexis Nexis. Solimine would also like to teach an Election Law course as well. “It’s actually in our curriculum and it has been taught in the past by adjuncts. It hasn’t been taught in the past few years,” said Solimine, who also teaches Civil Procedure, Federal Courts and Conflict of Laws. 

Outside of the College of Law, Solimine said his family keeps him busy. His daughter, Jane, is a junior at The Ohio State University, while his son, Jimmy, is a high school sophomore with whom Solimine frequently travels for his lacrosse games.

Solimine comes from a family of lawyers, which include his father, one of his three sisters, one of his two brothers, one of his sisters-in-law, and one of his nephews. His older brother, Louis, is a 1976 College of Law graduate and a partner at Thompson Hine LLP in Cincinnati.

As for the Law Review, Solimine will continue to enjoy serving as its faculty advisor this year, just as he previously did. “Over the years, the students have been first rate and wonderful to work with, and I think they’ve done a terrific job in running the Review,” Solimine said. “I think the product of each volume of our Review speaks for itself.”

By Jordan Cohen, ‘13

All Roads to a J.D. Begin with Al Watson


For two and a half decades and counting, the road to earning a J.D. from the University of Cincinnati College of Law has been running through Al Watson. After all, Watson, currently the Senior Assistant Dean and Director of Admissions and Financial Aid, has played a major role in the College admitting strong, diverse classes annually, since his hiring in 1986.

After spending four-and-a-half years in undergraduate admissions at Wittenberg University, a liberal arts college in Springfield, Ohio, Watson was hired by then-dean Tom Gerety, and is currently in his 26th year with the College of Law. 

With 30 years and counting of admissions experience, following his days as an undergraduate and graduate student, Watson joked that he “never left college.”

“I attended Hope College in Holland, Michigan, and then completed a master’s degree in a college administration field; then I went back to a liberal arts college in a recruiting function and now I work at a major university in admissions at a law school,” Watson said.

Landing His First Recruiting Job

The South Haven, Mich., native was a double major in political science and business at Hope before he pursued a master’s degree in college student personnel at Bowling Green State University.

Upon graduating from Bowling Green, Watson found the job at Wittenberg, where he spent a lot of time recruiting on the East Coast, as well as in Cleveland – the latter being part of a region that Watson and the admissions staff target fairly heavily today. 

Eventually, Watson married and moved to the Cincinnati area, where his wife, Diane – currently a human resources executive with U.S. Bank – had been since they met at Bowling Green.  

When Watson landed at the College of Law, there “wasn’t a lot of strategic, formalized recruiting that was taking place,” he said. “So I was hired as the admissions director in ’86 to really formalize a lot of our enrollment management activities and improve our recruiting in order to grow our national standing,” Watson said.

How the Admissions Office Works

For most of his tenure with the College, Watson was somewhat of a “one man band,” doing “a lot of everything.” Since the arrival of Dean Lou Bilionis, the admissions staff has grown, however, with John Stiles currently serving as the Associate Director of Admissions.

Another major change Watson has seen in recent years is the development of the electronic application, allowing the admissions staff to avoid the previously “tedious process” of individually entering each application into the computer system. “I’m able to really concentrate a bit more on strategy, because things have changed a lot in terms of admissions,” Watson said. 

The admissions process at the College of Law, like at other schools, is a cyclical process, beginning in the fall when Watson spends much of his time on the road talking to pre-law groups, attending law fairs at undergraduate universities and colleges, and hosting some on campus events.

Since the late fall and into the early winter, Watson and the admissions committee – made up of a faculty member, usually Professor Bert Lockwood, and two subcommittees of faculty and law students – have been reading files from prospective students.

In the late winter and into the early spring, Watson will dedicate a large portion of his time to awarding scholarships and working with admitted students on their financial aid packages. Also during the spring, Watson will continue meeting with students in person, in addition to making and receiving phone calls, and assisting in communicating with prospective students through mail and e-mail.

“I think every year is a new challenge and we try to put forward the very best, most diverse entering class that we can do each year,” Watson said.

Expanding UC Law's Outreach

Since 2009, Watson and Mina Jefferson, the College’s Assistant Dean and Director of the Center for Professional Development, have been co-directing the Cincinnati Law and Leadership Institute (LLI) for high school students during the summer. LLI is a state-wide diversity initiative started several years ago by the Supreme Court of Ohio to improve Ohio’s law school applicant profiles in the future, Watson said.

Like any other position, Watson’s role as director of admissions is not without challenges. He highlighted three, in particular: the City of Cincinnati not being “as well-known as maybe we would hope”; resources, especially as it relates to the amount of scholarship money that can be currently offered; and rankings.

“Our ranking has been consistent,” Watson said. “Certainly being in the top 50 or so is not bad, but many of the applicants that we’re admitting – our top portion – they are being admitted to top 25 or so schools. Applicants do pay a lot of attention to rankings, (so) that can be a challenge.”

Outside of his work at the College, Watson is an avid golfer. The Fort Thomas, Ky., resident is in a group that plays fairly regularly on Friday afternoons. Watson also gets to a local gym “pretty regularly,” enjoys reading and follows college sports (especially college football) in his time away from UC and the golf course.

Of course, Watson truly enjoys his time at the College of Law and that has not changed since 1986.

“Being able to recruit and get to know a generation of UC law students has been amazing,” Watson said. “With the College of Law’s tradition, size and location we have a unique place in legal education. I am very thankful for the many positive memories!”

In addition to his wife, Diane, the Watson family includes their children, Catherine, a fourth-year business co-op student at UC, and Ben, a second-year student at the University of Kentucky, as well as dogs Duke and Lucy.

Five Questions with Diane Cross, UC Law's Public Sector Coordinator and Counselor


Meet Diane Cross, the law school’s newest Public Sector Coordinator & Counselor for the Center for Professional Development. Cross provides career counseling to students and alumni regarding judicial clerkships, government opportunities, and work in the public interest.   A graduate of Butler University, she received her law degree from Florida Coastal School of Law. 

What type of law did you practice before joining UC Law?

Prior to joining the Center for Professional Development, I was the Fellow in the Office of Public Service Initiatives for the National Association for Law Placement (NALP).  While at NALP, I managed PSLawNet.org, its public interest legal career clearinghouse.  Most recently, I was a legal consultant with CT Corporation, dealing with matters of corporate governance and compliance.

What sparked your interest in career development?

Simply put, I believe that a legal education can be one of the most significant investments a person can make.  I enjoy assisting law students and lawyers on how to best utilize their investment and achieve their professional goals.   

What’s the best part about the law/being a lawyer?

Counseling clients is my favorite part of being a lawyer.   I enjoy being able to work through problems and create solutions for people.  As an advocate for social responsibility, I most enjoy working with underprivileged folks to provide them with resources they otherwise may not have.

Why did you want to become a lawyer?

I wanted a career path that would continue to challenge me substantively and professionally.  Mostly, I craved knowledge of the law.

What’s on your nightstand?

A book (and some dust, I’m sure) - What to Expect: the First Year.  I’m afraid that my reading these days is about what is going on in the life of our infant daughter!

Bettman Recognized as Outstanding Educator by Ohio Magazine


Professor Marianna Bettman ’77 was recognized in the December issue of Ohio Magazine as one of its outstanding educators at colleges and universities around the state. She is the only professor at a law school named in the article. Read the article in the December 2011 issue.

Dean Emeritus Joseph Tomain’s Latest Book Examines the Relationship Between Energy Law, Policy, and Politics


“Climate change presents the United States, and the world, with regulatory problems of a magnitude, complexity and scope unseen before,” wrote Tomain, the Wilbert and Helen Ziegler Professor of Law in his book Ending Dirty Energy Policy: Prelude to Climate Change. “The United States, however, particularly after the mid-term elections of 2010, lacks the political will necessary to aggressively address climate change.”  Ending Dirty Energy Policy is an extended case study of the relationship between law, policy, and politics. The interaction of these three variables constitutes a model for the study of government regulation. Completed while the stories and the federal investigations of the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster and the Deepwater Horizon offshore explosion were unfolding, Ending Dirty Energy Policy argues that the US will not adequately address climate change until it transforms its fossil fuel energy policy. Visit the website for more information and to read an excerpt.