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Professor Moore Invited to Participate at Criminal Defense Forum

Congratulations to Professor Janet Moore, who was invited to participate as one of 12 national experts on a new national working group on indigent criminal defense reform in early September. The working group is supported by the U.S. Department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance.

Professor Moore’s scholarship focuses on the legal and political conditions that empower stakeholders to obtain greater transparency and accountability from criminal justice systems.

Read more about Professor Moore:

From the Courtroom to the Classroom Janet Moore focuses on Policy Reform

UC Law Professor Janet Moore Wins Junior Scholarship Competition

Faculty Profile

Constitution Day 2014: The American Constitution in a Changing America

Date: September 17, 2014

Time: 12:15 – 1:15 p.m.

Location: Room 114

CLE: Application for one (1) hour of general CLE has been submitted for Ohio and Kentucky. Approval is expected.

Webcast (available 9/17): 2014 Constitution Day

About the Event

Polarization in Congress and the nation’s politics.  Elections, campaign contributions, and money.  Equality and liberty in an increasingly diverse nation.  Individual privacy in a digital age.  Free market freedoms in a complex society and an interconnected world.

These are among the foremost constitutional challenges of our day, provoking controversies and cases that have captured the nation’s headlines and attention.  In this Constitution Day 2014 program, three constitutional law experts will explore how they are testing and evolving the meaning of the United States Constitution in a changing America

About the Speakers

Louis D. Bilionis, Dean and Nippert Professor of Law,  is a nationally recognized scholar in the areas of constitutional law and criminal law and procedure, with his work published in leading law journals such as the Michigan Law Review, Texas Law Review, Georgetown Law Journal, University of California-Los Angeles Law Review, Emory Law Journal, North Carolina Law Review, and Law and Contemporary Problems. He has taught constitutional law, criminal law, criminal procedure, and evidence, as well as seminars on capital punishment, constitutional law and theory, criminal law and procedure, and sentencing.

A. Christopher Bryant, Rufus King Professor of Constitutional Law, has been a prolific scholar and an exceptionally skilled and award-winning teacher of constitutional law. His numerous published articles and essays reach a wide range of issues of contemporary constitutional importance, including the separation of powers, judicial review, and the roles of the various branches of the national government in constitutional interpretation.  He is a recognized expert on the scope and exercise of national legislative power and the respect that Congressional action is owed from the federal judiciary, with leading articles on the subject published in the Cornell Law Review, George Washington Law Review, BYU Law Review, Notre Dame Journal of Legislation, and William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal.

Ronna Greff Schneider, Professor of Law, is an expert in constitutional law, with a focus on the First Amendment, and education law.  She is a frequent speaker and commentator on issues involving constitutional law, education law, and educational policy and is the author of the two volume legal treatise, Education Law: First Amendment, Due Process and Discrimination Litigation (Thomson Reuters), and its annual supplements (available in print and online in Westlaw).


Sperino Cited by Iowa Supreme Court and Quoted in Washington Post

Sandra SperinoJuly 2014 has been a great month for Professor Sandra Sperino. In addition to having her work cited several times by the Iowa Supreme Court in cases involving federal and state employment law and employment discrimination, she was quoted in a Washington Post article about punishments federal whistleblowers may receive on their jobs. And, she also was published in the Stanford Journal of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.

Iowa Supreme Court Cites Sperino’s Work

The Iowa Supreme Court cited articles by Professor Sperino in two opinions issued this summer. The two cases are Goodpaster v. Schwan's Home Serv., Inc., 13-0010, 2014 WL 2900950 (Iowa June 27, 2014) and Pippen v. State, 12-0913, 2014 WL 3537028 (Iowa July 18, 2014).

In both cases, the Iowa Supreme Court decided whether it should interpret the Iowa Civil Rights Act to be consistent with federal law. In both cases, the Iowa Supreme Court used Sperino’s work to support its conclusion that Iowa state law should be interpreted independently from federal law.

Sperino’s articles discuss how fractured federal discrimination law has become over time. Under federal law, discrimination protections are found in three main statutes: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). Prior to the 1990s, the federal courts tended to read these three statutes consistently. If a phrase was interpreted one way under Title VII, the courts would interpret the same or similar phrase in the ADEA to have the same meaning. However, in recent cases, the Supreme Court has interpreted these statutes differently.

Sperino’s work explains how many states have a single anti-discrimination statute. It is difficult for state law to continue to follow federal law because federal law now approaches some questions differently, depending on whether the underlying claim is one for age discrimination, sex discrimination, or disability discrimination. In many states, claims for age, sex, and disability discrimination would all be brought under the same state statute.

Her work also explains that Congressional amendments to Title VII and the ADA were largely in response to Supreme Court decisions interpreting these statutes narrowly. State laws may use different words than the federal statutes. Many state laws also do not have the same history of narrow court interpretation followed by subsequent amendment. It is now difficult to read many state laws in tandem with federal law. As the Iowa Supreme Court noted: “Congressional reaction to a specific case decided by the United States Supreme Court does not shed light on the meaning of state law when there has been no comparable narrow state court precedent to stimulate a legislative override.” Pippen v. State, 12-0913, 2014 WL 3537028, at *15 (Iowa July 18, 2014).

Here are links to the cited articles:

Washington Post Article Quotes Sperino

Professor Sperino was also quoted in the August 4, 2014 Washington Post article “For whistleblowers, a bold move can be followed by one to department basement.” The article follows the case of former Phoenix Veterans Affairs Hospital employee Paula Pedene who alleges she was reassigned to a new position after complaining to higher-ups about mismanagement at the hospital. In the article Sperino talks about the challenges employees often face when attempting to bring this type of case to court.

Finally, her article Fakers and Floodgates, co-authored by Professor Suja Thomas, University of Illinois College of Law, appeared in print at 10 Stanford Journal of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties 223 (2014).

Professor Black Cited in Supreme Court Ruling and NY Times Story

Professor Barbara Black’s article “Fraud-on-the-Market” was recently cited in Halliburton Co.v. Erica P. John Fund. Available in the North Carolina Law Review, it was cited in Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion, decided on June 23.

Also, Professor Black was quote in the New York Times story “Taking a Broker to Arbitration”, published on July 19, 2014.  She discussed the advantage of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) model for investors.

From the Courtroom to the Classroom Janet Moore Focuses on Policy Reform

Originally from Midland, Michigan, Professor Janet Moore had no expectation of attending law school and later teaching law.  “People had told me that I should go to law school, but I thought it would be boring,” said Moore.  But as she contemplated career paths she followed the Bork hearings.  Robert Bork was nominated by President Ronald Reagan to the Supreme Court in 1987, but his nomination was ultimately shot down in the Senate.  The fierceness of the debates opened Moore’s eyes to the immense importance of the U.S. legal system.  She attended law school at Duke University, graduating with not only a JD, but also a MA in Philosophy.  There she was the editor-in- chief of the Law and Contemporary Problems law review, the nation’s first interdisciplinary law journal. 

Professor Moore first became interested in criminal law during her criminal procedure course.  “I was astonished at how easy it was, and is, for the government to get its teeth in people’s hides, and not let go,” she shared.  During this time, she saw a friend’s husband go through the horrifying experience of being wrongly accused of child abuse.  “It was a strange time,” she said.  There was a hysteria that gripped the country around that time where such accusations were abundant.  Professor  Moore did not discount the seriousness of the crime of child abuse, but seeing a friend go through the experience of being wrongfully accused left a big impression on her as she was in the midst of her legal studies. 

After graduating she clerked with Judge James Dickson Phillips, Jr. on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.  During her clerkship, she saw a case come through the court on a man’s second habeas petition (essentially his last chance to get his conviction reviewed).  It was a case where there were some serious concerns about his competence to stand trial, his confession, and—ultimately—his guilt.  Moore emotionally recalled the moment where she found out the court would not vote for the petitioner, and she shared that it was at this point that she knew she did not want to be involved with the side of the system sentencing people to death.

Taking a Hiatus from Legal Work

Following her clerkship, Moore and her family spent a few years in France, near Paris.  This period was a hiatus from any legal work, during which she immersed herself in the taking care of her children as well as the French culture.  During this same period, the habeas petitioner mentioned above was exonerated and freed from prison. The example set by lawyers in that case and other death penalty cases led to Moore’s involvement with capital litigation. When Moore and her family returned to the US, she passed the bar and began looking for work, which she found at the Office of the Appellate Defender in Durham and Asheville, North Carolina.  She was immediately assigned defense appeals in death penalty cases.  As Moore began winning the cases, it turned into a career.  The experience she had with various cases she worked on while in North Carolina is something Moore is able to utilize in the classroom in her courses, including Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, and Evidence.

After seven years working in North Carolina, Professor Moore and her family moved to Ohio, where she began working with the Ohio Justice and Policy Center concentrating on evidence-based criminal justice policy reform.  Her work focused on diverting the school-to-prison pipeline and other strategies to prevent criminal justice involvement at the front end rather than on appeals or post-conviction.  She also worked on matters regarding prison condition issues, including a class-action lawsuit focused on juvenile detention systems.  During this time she continued her own appellate and post-conviction defense practice.  After five years in Ohio, Professor Moore found herself at UC College of Law, first by helping to found the Indigent Defense Clinic, and later by becoming a professor at the College.

Empirical Research is the Foundation

Professor Moore is currently involved in numerous research projects.  One project involves co-chairing a task force on national discovery reform and drafting a model bill.  Additionally, she  is working to expanding the empirical research that she did with the assistance of some criminal justice researchers at Washington State University, using the Indigent Defense Clinic as a way to further that research.  “Every client that comes into the clinic is handed this ‘client’s bill of rights’,” explained Moore.  The “client’s bill of rights” explains what the clients can and should expect from their attorneys. 

Complementary research uses a client feedback survey, which was initially tested in Hamilton County, and may be expanded for use in Ohio, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Washington.   In addition to her research, Professor Moore works closely with her students and is involved with the Criminal Law Society, a student organization at the College of Law for students interested in criminal law practice.

Professor Kenneth Hirsh Recognized as a Top 50 Innovator in Law

Professor Ken Hirsh profile picture

Kenneth Hirsh, Director, Law Library and Information Technology and Professor of Practice, has been named a “2013 Fastcase 50” award recipient by legal publisher Fastcase. This award recognizes the top 50 innovators, techies, visionaries, and leaders in the law, as determined and chosen by Fastcase.  Noted Phil Rosenthal, president of Fastcase, in the announcement, “This is a notable moment for legal tech and the impact of these individuals are making on the shifting legal landscape...Along with the record number of nominees this year, we’re witnessing a rise in the boundary-pushers for big data, open government, and legal information.”

In addition to receiving this award, Hirsh was elected to the executive board of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL). His three-year term commenced July 2013.

A prominent leader in two of the foremost organizations in his field—the AALL and the Center for Computer Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI), Professor Hirsh has a reputation as an innovator, using his legal education, practice background, and technical expertise to bring new technologies to students and faculty. He has been honored by both organizations for his outstanding service and contribution.

Professor Hirsh is a graduate of the University of Miami and received his JD from the University of Florida. After practicing law in Florida for several years, he returned to school to obtain his MS in Library and Information Studies from Florida State University. He then joined the Law Library at Duke University School of Law, serving in numerous positions. He also has served as a Senior Lecturing Fellow at Duke, teaching courses in legal research and technology.

2014 Goldman Prize for Excellence in Teaching Awarded to Professors Bettman, Chang, and Lenhart

The Goldman Prize for Excellence in Teaching is a high honor for faculty members, a point of great pride for those fortunate enough to receive it, and an important expression of our commitment to the best in teaching.

Congratulations to the three recipients of this year's prize  – Professors Marianna Brown Bettman, Felix Chang, and Elizabeth (Betsy) Lenhart.


Marianna Brown Bettman, Professor of Law

Everyone knows that Professor Bettman’s first year Torts class was not the class for which one wanted to be unprepared, ever. In fact, second and third year students stressed one should avoid that at all costs. With that in mind, most incoming 1Ls expected this professor to be akin to a fire-breathing dragon. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Standing at the front of the classroom – well it could not possibly be the woman who had intimidated at least two generations of law students!

It did not take long for the class to catch on; the reasons for her reputation seemed quite clear.  Her years as an appellate judge carried over into her career as an educator.  Come prepared, counselor, or consequences would ensue.  She was tough and set incredibly high expectations, but more importantly, she struck such a chord with students that they wanted to meet those expectations.  What everyone learned, as had the classes before, was that she set the bar high but was also dedicated to making sure all could all reach it.  She is always prepared to answer questions or to explain a concept in a different way.

Teaching 1Ls is not necessarily the most coveted job, but it is one that Professor Bettman carries off with grace and aplomb. Everyone fortunate enough to take her class departs the College of Law well-versed in the subject of torts.  However, her impact goes far beyond that. The challenge she set served a more important purpose for the first year class: it served to teach them beyond all doubt that law school is a journey they are ready to face.

The College of Law is honored to have a woman who is so dedicated and invested in her students’ futures as a member of the faculty.

Link to Profile Page of Professor Marianna Brown Bettman


Felix Chang, Assistant Professor of Law and Director, Institute for the Global Practice of Law

                    “Fundamentals, fundamentals, fundamentals. 

                  You’ve got to get the fundamentals down because

                     otherwise, the fancy stuff isn’t going to work.”

                                             – Randy Pausch, “The Last Lecture”

The fundamentals of law (critical thinking, analytical reasoning, captivating arguing, and effective debunking) are the most basic – but important – tools with which law schools can equip students. Successful professors are able to instill these qualities in their students, ensuring they are transferable across the curriculum and in to practice. Professor Felix Chang is precisely such a professor.

Professor Chang has distinguished himself in the classroom by engaging students in discussion and challenging their critical analysis on a variety of topics ranging from torts, corporations, agency, partnerships, international business transactions, as well as wills, trusts, and future interests. Any student that has had or interacted with Professor Chang would attest to the command he possesses over the subjects that he teaches.  His ability to break down complex legal issues into understandable, workable, and manageable problems is difficult to match.  Professor Chang’s understanding and command of his subject matter is crystal clear in the real-life problems that he poses to students and the application of his teaching methods to extract reasonable, applicable, and material responses from them.  He takes his time to allow students to work through issues, and provides insight, feedback, and advice on problem-solving methods during the process.  As one student accurately reflected, “Professor Chang explains concepts well, has an interest in making sure the students understand the material, and his insight about how laws play out in real-life settings is compelling.”

Professor Chang also brings a light-hearted nature to his courses.  His jokes, wry humor, and quotable movie moments make him more approachable to students.  His attitude toward students directly reflects his desire to see them succeed.

In addition to Professor Chang’s exceptional work in the classroom and his extensive scholarship on financial reform, antitrust, and derivatives, he is the director of the Institute for the Global Practice of Law (IGPL), which seeks to increase the understanding of international law and business transactions, as well as facilitate relationships among leaders in the global legal and business communities.  Such a program allows international individuals to connect with U.S. lawyers and the Cincinnati community. It also offers students (particularly LL.M students) and attorneys an opportunity to build professional ties in this area of law.  IGPL’s innovative initiatives, headed by Professor Chang, work to create ties in the business law community across the world.

Professor Chang’s dedication to his work in and out of the classroom, his focus on instilling the fundamentals of good lawyering to his students, as well as his passionate investment into the lives of his students’ futures serves as a demonstration to his excellence in teaching.  The College of Law is honored to have such a dedicated and hard-working professor.  It is a pleasure to honor Professor Chang with the 2014 Goldman Prize for Excellence in Teaching.

Link to Profile Page of Professor Felix Chang



Elizabeth (Betsy) Lenhart, Associate Professor of Law

Professor Betsy Lenhart is an engaging professor who truly wants to see her students succeed. She is not only an exemplary professor in the classroom, but also a great mentor, advisor, and confidant outside the classroom. While talking about her, one student shared, “I want her to win all of the awards.” – a sentiment with which many students would agree.

She often combines legal theories with real world applications, striving not only to teach the required material, but to guarantee that her students will become successful attorneys. For example, in her Legal Research and Writing class, instead of merely lecturing to her students about professionalism, Professor Lenhart used actual examples of an email chain between a prospective employer and a 3L seeking employment as an example of what not to do. She combines her skills as an educator with her impressive practical experience to shape and mold aspiring attorneys.

Teaching classes that are traditionally dominated by 1Ls, such as Legal Research and Writing, Advocacy, and Civil Procedure, Professor Lenhart has created a comfortable classroom environment that makes the daunting transition into law school a little less scary. Her students, past and present, frequently describe her as intelligent, engaging, and enjoyable. It is her approachable and warm demeanor that makes her students feel comfortable asking questions both during class and outside of it.

Not only is she an exceptional professor because of her in-classroom teaching abilities, but Professor Lenhart also spends a considerable amount of time making herself available to students outside of class. Her door is always open and she is always available and willing to talk about issues with classes or to give life advice in general. One student shared that when she felt overwhelmed by law school, she went to Professor Lenhart to talk things through. It is because of her calming presence that many students feel this way and often go to her with questions, even after they are no longer in her classes.

Professor Lenhart continually demonstrates her commitment to the education of her students, as well as their personal and professional development. It is because of these qualities that she represents excellence as a professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Law.

Link to Profile Page of Professor Elizabeth Lenhart


About the Goldman Prize for Teaching Excellence

The Goldman Prize has been awarded for over 30 years to recognize excellence in teaching. This award is unique because students nominate and choose the recipients—their professors. To make this decision, the committee also considers the professors’ research and public service as they contribute to superior performance in the classroom.

Bryant, Cogan, Kalsem, and Williams Appointed to Named Professorships

Four College of Law professors with expertise in constitutional law, international law, women and the law, and the intersection of race, gender, and class have been appointed to named professorships. The professors and their named chairs are A. Christopher Bryant, the Rufus King Professor of Constitutional Law; Jacob Katz Cogan, the Judge Joseph P. Kinneary Professor of Law; Kristin Kalsem, the Charles Hartsock Professor of Law; and Verna L. Williams, the Judge Joseph P. Kinneary Professor of Law.

Professor A. Christopher Bryant has Been Appointed the Rufus King Professor of Constitutional Law

Since joining the faculty in 2003, Professor A. Christopher Bryant has been a prolific scholar and a skilled teacher of constitutional law, having received the Goldman Prize for Excellence in Teaching four times – in 2005, 2007, 2008, and, most recently, in 2013. 

His numerous published articles and essays reach a wide range of issues of contemporary constitutional importance, including the separation of powers, judicial review, and the roles of the various branches of the national government in constitutional interpretation.  A recognized expert on the scope and exercise of national legislative power and the respect that Congressional action is owed from the federal judiciary, he has published  leading articles on the subject in the Cornell Law Review, George Washington Law Review, BYU Law Review, Notre Dame Journal of Legislation, and William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal.  Professor Bryant’s research in federalism and unenumerated rights include a co-authored book, “Powers Reserved for the People and the States: A History of the  Ninth and Tenth Amendments" (Greenwood Press 2006), as well as articles in the Georgia Law Review and the Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy, to name only a few.  He authored 13 essays on landmark constitutional cases for the Encyclopedia of the Supreme Court of the United States (Macmillan 2008), and is a frequent speaker on the Constitution, the Congress, and the federal courts at symposiums, conferences, and public programs.

Professor Bryant is a member of the America Society for Legal History and the Federalist Society, also serving as faculty advisor to the College’s Federalist Society chapter.

Professor A. Christopher Bryant

Professor Jacob Katz Cogan Has Been Appointed the Judge Joseph P. Kinneary Professor of Law

Professor Jacob Katz Cogan joined the College of Law faculty in 2006 and quickly established himself as a leading scholar in the area of international law.

Professor Cogan’s distinctive research focuses on the informal and operational dimensions of international decision processes and contemporary changes in and challenges to the character and organization of the international system.  It is work that has won him accolades, with prominent scholars in the field recognizing  him as “one of the current generation’s most promising and productive scholars of international organizations” – “universally respected in international law scholarship and policy circles . . . [and] clearly one of our leaders both intellectually and with the American Society [of International Law].”

Professor Cogan has published numerous influential articles and essays in the American Journal of International Law, European Journal of International Law, Harvard International Law Journal, Yale Journal of International Law, Virginia Journal of International Law, and the Human Rights Quarterly.  He is the co-editor of a major collection of essays in international law and has been a frequent presenter at seminars, conferences, and workshops nationally and internationally.  He received the 2010 Francis Deák Prize, awarded to a young author for meritorious scholarship published in the American Journal of International Law (the leading peer reviewed journal of international law in the United States), for his article Representation and Power in International Organization: The Operational Constitution and Its Critics

Professor Cogan edits International Law Reporter, an international law blog that has garnered significant attention within and outside academia, and writes the annual report on the judicial activity of the International Court of Justice for the American Journal of International Law.  He is a past co-chair of the International Organizations Interest Group of the American Society of International Law and is a member of the European Society of International Law, the American Society for Legal History, the American Historical Association and the Organization of American Historians.  Finally, the American Law Institute, one of the premier legal organizations in the country, also elected him as a member.

Professor Jacob Katz Cogan

Professor Kristin Kalsem Has Been Appointed the Charles Hartsock Professor of Law

Professor Kristin Kalsem has been an influential scholar in women and the law since joining the College of Law faculty in 2001.

Professor Kalsem’s 2012 book, "In Contempt: Nineteenth-Century Women, Law, and Literature" (Ohio State University Press), brings together the themes and interests that have distinguished her scholarly work: imaginative interdisciplinary inquiry in law, literature, and feminism; careful attention to history and theory; and – most importantly – a commitment to explore and illuminate the law in practice, as it affects and is affected by human beings.  In Contempt‘s exposition of how 19th century women writers performed feminist jurisprudence -- advocating legal issues in their literary works and lives as authors – earned Professor Kalsem the Harold C. Schott Scholarship Award, which recognizes outstanding research and scholarly achievement by a member of the College of Law’s faculty.  The emphasis on the importance of bridging theory and practice that underlies In Contempt is especially evident, too, in Professor Kalsem’s article Social Justice Feminism (co-authored with Professor Verna Williams) – a call-to-arms that inspired a conference that brought scholars and activists from around the nation to Cincinnati to explore new ways of understanding and doing feminist work today and in the future.

As an award-winning teacher (twice the recipient of the Goldman Prize for Excellence in Teaching), as co-founder and co-director of the law school’s Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice, and as co-director of UC’s joint degree program in Law and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Professor Kalsem brings these same themes and interests to life for students inside and outside the classroom.  An active leader in the American Association of Law Schools, Professor Kalsem has chaired the AALS’s Section on Law and the Humanities and sits on the Executive Board of the Section. 

Professor Kristin Kalsem

Professor Verna L. Williams Has Been Appointed Judge Joseph P. Kinneary Professor of Law

A leading voice at the intersection of race, gender, and class in America, Professor Verna L. Williams’s scholarship, teaching, and leadership consistently bridges theory and practice and seeks to empower positive social change. She joined the College of Law in 2001, after practicing for several years in the areas of civil rights and women’s rights.

Professor Williams’s scholarly agenda is well illustrated by her article Social Justice Feminism (co-authored with Professor Kristin Kalsem).  Theoretically insightful and historically sensitive, the article blueprints a feminist jurisprudence – and, importantly, a realizable feminist social action agenda -- for the future that captures reality at the intersection of race, gender, and class.  It not only illuminates the past, present, and future, but is conceived to enable people of diverse callings and disciplines to take action and bring about reform.

Critical attention to law’s possibilities in the practical, day-to-day effort to achieve justice similarly informs Professor Williams’s publications on race, gender, and class in the education context that have appeared in the Wisconsin Law Review, Michigan Journal of Race and Law, William & Mary Journal of Women and Law, and Virginia Sports and Entertainment Law Journal.  It animates Professor Willams’s leadership as co-director of UC’s joint degree program in Law and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and as co-founder and co-director of the law school’s Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice.  It is a constant theme in the national programs she has convened at the College -- including Women Coming Together: Claiming the Law for Social Change (2005) and Social Justice Feminism (2012) – and in the numerous addresses and presentations she has delivered nationally.  And it is a distinguishing attribute of her teaching, which has twice earned her the Goldman Price for Excellence in Teaching at the College of Law.

Professor Williams’s service contributions to the college, the university, and the community have been exemplary.  She serves on the Board of Directors of the Ms. Foundation and also has served as a consultant for the Ford Foundation.  She was recognized in The Women's Book (2012 Cincinnati edition), which includes profiles of a diverse range of women who are succeeding in their careers and giving back to their communities, and also was awarded the Girl Scouts of Western Ohio Women of Distinction Award in 2013.

Professor Verna L. Williams

From Retail to Fundraising, Danker's Career Comes Full Circle at UC

For Ohio native Kim Danker, the College of Law’s new Assistant Director of Development, coming to Cincinnati to work at the law school was a natural step.  Having twice lived in the tri-state over the course of her professional career, she was very familiar with UC. “I’ve always been impressed with the university, its architecture, and its history as a research institution,” said Danker. “And I’m enjoying our new president [Santa Ono]; he really seems to enjoy connecting with students—our future alumni and donors.”

Born and reared in Newark, OH—just 45 minutes east of Columbus—Danker  went to college at The Ohio State University. Her initial career goal was to be a psychologist. “But after the first year I decided I didn’t want to do that,” she laughed. Trying to figure out her career path, Danker began to look toward something she really enjoyed: fashion. This led to a bachelor’s degree in merchandising, with a minor in business. Armed with her degree she began her professional career at Melon's, a women’s discount clothing store in Columbus, eventually transferring to a larger division in Chicago. From Melon's, Danker went to work for Banana Republic. “I had a good time working for them and I enjoyed Chicago,” she said. “But I realized (through her experiences working in retail) that I was in the wrong industry.”  She wanted to do more.

Returning home, Danker went to work for Progressive Insurance as a claims adjuster. “This was in the old days when everything was done by hand,” she said. “We travelled the countryside in a car full of binders with part numbers and such that we manually searched through for customers.” 

Moving South Meant Introduction to the Small Business Market

She married and moved to South Carolina, where she was introduced to the small business market with the Greenville, South Carolina Chamber of Commerce. While at the Chamber, Danker began to learn about the world of non-profits and the unique challenges and opportunities they faced. When the Chamber’s president transferred to the Detroit office, he offered her a position with him. So, Danker and her husband moved to the Detroit Chamber where she was in charge of special events for the Economic Development Department. She had opportunity to work with the Canadian-U.S. Business Association; host golf/professional outings; and plan the Consular Ball, one of the Chamber’s high-profile events, among many other things.

After several years, Danker and her husband returned to the tri-state—he for a position with Procter & Gamble, Danker for a position with the Girl Scouts of America.  Working in product sales and marketing communication positions there helped her hone skills in logistics, particularly as she was part of the team responsible for the all-important cookie distribution.

This led to a position as membership and volunteer supervisor at the Newport Aquarium, where she enjoyed “visiting the penguin exhibit and 'chatting' with the penguins each morning.” The company, however, was impacted by the economy and her department was downsized. This, though, led to a position at local TV station WCET. “I got to meet really cool people like the Irish Tenors and Nick Clooney. It was fun watching them work.”

Honing Skills in Fundraising and Development

Eventually, Danker moved back north to Wilmington, OH, where she worked in the Development Department for Clinton Memorial Hospital. Danker was responsible for fundraising and board training. After several years, and another unfortunate downsizing, she went to work as director of Wilmington’s Chamber of Commerce.  

“I knew that a Chamber membership was a serious investment for many small businesses,” Danker said. I worked hard at providing a business value for their money.” She expanded programming and developed benefit opportunities that made membership a worthwhile value.   

Her next position was at Ferno Washington, manufacturer of emergency patient handling and physical therapy equipment, in the administrative area for the International Sales Division. “I got to work with colleagues from all over the world,” Danker smiled. “Now, I have friends in Japan, Australia, United Kingdom, and France.”

All of these experiences led to her new role at the College of Law. Having developed a deep knowledge of non-profits and small businesses, she understands the challenges of many alums she meets—some working as business entrepreneurs, some working in solo practice.  And she sees opportunity for growth in the law school’s fundraising and in re-establishing relationships with former students. Indeed, Danker sees her role as re-connecting alumni with their alma mater, finding out about their UC Law experience, and hearing why they became interested in law in the first place. That’s a role she enjoys.  

What You Didn’t Know About Kim Danker

  • Favorite Reality Show: Project Runway
  • Two Things on Her Bucket list:
    • Visit Paris
    • Dance a really good Argentine Tango
  • If I didn’t work in Development, I’d be:
    • “At the Cincinnati Art Museum, heading the textiles division specializing in historic costumes; or, in New York with my own design house!

Six Questions with Professor Yolanda Vázquez

Yolanda Vázquez, assistant professor of Law, joined the College this year. She teaches in the areas of immigration, crimmigration, and criminal procedure. Professor Vázquez’ research examines the incorporation of immigration law into the criminal justice system.  Her scholarship has focused on the role of criminal courts and the duties of defense lawyers in advising noncitizen defendants on the immigration consequences of a criminal conviction.  Find out what makes Professor Vázquez “tick” in this edition of “6 Questions With…”

Why did you want to become a lawyer?

I wanted to change the world, or at least the conditions of those less fortunate.  However, I couldn't decide between medical or law school as the way to do it.  I worked in an emergency room while I was deciding between the two and determined that while a doctor can patch you up and even save your life, the individual went back into the same environment as before.  I thought that by being a lawyer I could actually change the conditions of someone's environment.  I don't know if I actually believe that the law can truly change the world or people's circumstances as I did before but I still try, just in case.

What sparked your interest in immigration law?

Honestly, I fell into it.  I was a public defender in a domestic violence courtroom when immigration law changed that made a conviction for domestic violence a deportable offense.  From that time, immigration and criminal law has continued to intersect and, therefore, continued to be a part of my life.

Why did you go into higher education?

Tupac stated, "I'm not saying that I'm gonna change the world…but I guarantee that I will spark the brain that will change the world."   I agree.

Who is your favorite lawyer of all time?

I don't have a favorite lawyer.  I have the deepest respect for those line attorneys who truly fight every day for the rights of their client, willing to risk their life and/or liberty for "justice."  Those individuals aren't famous but truly deserve our respect. 

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

I think it is the worst and the best--The law changes.

What’s on your bucket list?

I want to spend time in the Maldives; in a beautiful hut surrounded by water, lying in a hammock with a good book and no phone or computer.