Professor Rachel Smith Impacts the Next Generation of Attorneys
As an undergraduate student at Barnard College at Colombia University in New York, Professor Rachel Smith was a geology major. While doing geology research in a climatology lab following graduation, however, Smith began feeling as though she needed a career in which she could contribute more directly to helping people. “The research I was doing may have contributed to society,” she said, “but in a more indirect way. I ultimately decided a law degree would allow me to provide a service directly to people who needed help.”
Thus after working for three years, Smith began law school at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. She entered a joint degree program there, earning a juris doctor and master’s degree in environmental science. During her summers in school, Smith explored various opportunities, particularly with respect to geography. Smith worked at Legal Aid of Cincinnati during her first summer; the following summer she worked at the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulatory office in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. During the last summer of her studies, Smith split her time between law firms in Atlanta, Georgia, and Grand Rapids, Michigan. “I was trying to figure out where I wanted to end up,” said Smith, “so I took advantage of opportunities in various places.”
The Path of an Attorney
After graduating, Smith served as a judicial clerk for the Honorable Wader Brorby of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. The clerkship was originally a one-year position, but Smith remained in the position for two. Following her clerkship, Smith stayed in Wyoming and accepted a position with the Wyoming Attorney General’s office as an assistant attorney general. She served as the representative of the Department of Environmental Quality Water Quality Divison. She explained that, because Wyoming is small, the attorneys in the AG’s office also served as a kind of in-house counsel for the various administrative agencies. As a result, Smith, as the only water quality attorney, not only took referrals for enforcement of violations of environmental standards, but also assisted the department with negotiating contracts, represented the department at administrative hearings, and even played a role in rule making.
Professor Smith remained in the position with the Wyoming Attorney General’s office for four years, at the end of which she decided to move back to Cincinnati, her hometown. “I had been away for 17 years, not counting the summer I worked for Legal Aid,” she said. “And even though I didn’t think I would end up here, it ultimately seemed like the right choice.” Smith said she felt as though Cincinnati offered the “best combination of the advantages of city living without the disadvantages of a big city or a small town.”
Upon returning to the Queen City, Smith worked at law firm Dinsmore & Shohl LLP in the environmental practice group. Her work focused on environmental compliance counseling, as well as litigation. Over the course of the five years she worked there, Smith also “branched out” and worked somewhat with the medical products liability group as well.
Finding her Niche in Research and Writing
Eventually, she joined the faculty of the College of Law. “I applied every time there was an opening for a legal writing professor,” Smith explained. After completing her judicial clerkship, Smith was offered a similar position Indiana University, but she thought she needed more practical experience before accepting the job. “After leaving the Attorney General’s office, though,” said Smith, “I began to feel as though teaching legal writing was the best fit for me, and after being out of school for 11 years, I thought it was a good time to try to do it.” Smith was interested in the position at UC because she had a lot of respect for the school. “In my position at Dinsmore, I met many UC graduates and was constantly impressed with the quality of students I was seeing,” she said.
Now in her seventh year as a professor at the College of Law, Smith teaches the 1L Lawyering classes—legal research and writing and advocacy—as well as Intensive Practical Lawyering Skills. This year she also began serving as the advisor for Moot Court, an opportunity she fully embraces. “I love being able to work with upper-level students,” she said, “and I enjoy the opportunity to be connected to appellate-level advocacy through the moot court students.” In her own law school days, Smith took an Appellate Advocacy course. She was also exposed to appellate advocacy constantly in her role as a clerk with the Tenth Circuit for two years. Moot Court, then, serves as a way to keep her connected to those earlier experiences; only this time, as she points out with a smile, “the students do all the work—I just get to watch.”
Law School Professor Selected for Inaugural Class for Academy of Fellows for Teaching & Learning
06/28/2007 - Professor Christo Lassiter, Professor of Law at the University of Cincinnati College of Law, has been selected for the inaugural class of the university's Academy of Fellows for Teaching and Learning (AFTL). This new initiative was born out of UC/21 strategic plan objectives to ensure students "have great and effective teachers." The AFTL will play a key leadership role toward improving the quality and depth of the learning experience for all university students, both undergraduate and graduate.
Lassiter, along with 21 academic colleagues, was selected as a faculty member who has modeled excellence in teaching, whether through scholarly teaching or the scholarship of teaching and learning. The inaugural class includes educators from the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Medicine, College of Education, College of Nursing, the College of Business, College of Pharmacy, and the College of Education, Criminal Justice and Human Services.
Professor Lassiter, a faculty member since 1991, has a distinguished history working in the legal department for the military. In addition to serving as a Judge Advocate for the United States Marine Corp, he also served as head of the legal assistance program for the marines to provide legal assistance for 3,000 clients. At the law school his areas of interest include antitrust law, criminal law, and white collar crime.
2007 Goldman Prize for Excellence in Teaching
04/25/2007 - A professor who receives a round of applause upon walking into the classroom. A professor admired for her ability to transform oral advocacy from an intimidating obstacle to an empowering achievement. A professor acknowledged for his ability to teach students not only how to think, but how to think just so. Each phrase aptly describes the caliber of legal educators at the College of Law and, particularly, the 2007 Goldman Prize for Excellence in Teaching recipients: Professor A. Christopher Bryant, Professor of Law; Professor Rachel Smith, Research and Writing Professor; and Professor Adam Steinman, Assistant Professor of Law.
Christopher Bryant, Professor of Law
Called a master of the Socratic Method, Professor A. Christopher Bryant is a unique educator who can effectively teach Constitutional Law while referencing rock-n-roll singer John Cougar Mellencamp. Known for his vast knowledge of legal material and scholarly wit, Professor Bryant works hard to ensure that his most difficult topics are thoroughly understood by students. If he is unable to impart a thorough understanding of a subject to students, he makes a point of sorting through any lingering issues with them after class. When nominating him one student wrote, "Many students leave Professor Bryant's classroom giving him a simple yet superb complement �That is a law professor.'"
Professor Rachel Smith, Research and Writing Professor
A well-honed skill at recognizing and responding to students' strengths and weaknesses to assist them in understanding the curriculum marks Professor Rachel Smith. Since joining the law school in 2004 she has had a profound effect on students. "Professor Smith makes us better advocates, more articulate at the podium, and more expressive and compelling brief writers... stated one student's nomination letter. She is recognized for her ability to incorporate her extensive professional experience and vast substantive knowledge of the law into problems, bringing a sense of reality and challenge to the classroom. Professor Smith's commitment to students and their success extends beyond those in her class. Her open door policy, professional advice on career decisions, and support of student programs and events are additional reasons she is recognized with this award.
Professor Adam Steinman, Assistant Professor of Law
A deep understanding of the intricacies of his subject matter coupled with an ability to relate material using humor, wit and an extensive knowledge of "curiously law-related lyrics from the pop-culture music scene," describe Professor Adam Steinman
. As one student wrote in a nomination letter, "Professor Steinman has given new meaning to the words "Civil Procedure.'" An energetic and personable teaching style encourages students to participate in class and empowers them to continue the discussion of complex Federal Rules...in the cafeteria! Professor Steinman teaches a variety of classes for first-year and upper-level classes; his effect has been so positive that many choose to take subsequent classes with him based on his teaching ability and class presence. As one student commented in a nomination letter, "You want to attend class because its fun and you know Professor Steinman cares about you."
The Goldman Prize has been awarded for over 30 years. This award is unique because students nominate and choose the recipients-their professors. To make this decision the committee considers the professor's research and public service as they contribute to superior performance in the classroom.
Congratulations 2010 Goldman Prize Winners: Professors Aaron, Kalsem & Miller
Challenging. Engaging. Uncanny. Committed. These adjectives describe the 2010 Goldman Prize for Excellence in Teaching recipients. All have demonstrated their commitment to students and unrelenting support of the College of Law. Congratulations to this year’s recipients: Marjorie Corman Aaron, Kristin Kalsem, and Darrel A.H. Miller.
Drew, Lassiter and Bryant Receive 2008 Goldman Teaching Excellence Award
From artfully presenting real world situations to encourage greater discussion to sharing advice every law student needs to hear, the recipients of the 2008 Goldman Prize for Teaching Excellence have all demonstrated their commitment to students and unrelenting support of the College of Law. Congratulations to the 2008 recipients: Professors Margaret Drew, Christo Lassiter, and A. Christopher Bryant.
“Leap and the net will appear” is a favorite saying of Margaret Drew, Associate Professor of Clinical Law and Director, Domestic Violence and Civil Protection Order Clinic. Though students often consider it to be one of the most difficult legal subjects, they agree that the Domestic Violence Clinic experience is one of the best opportunities the law school offers and Professor Drew is the reason why. When nominating her students noted that her excellence as a legal scholar and practicing attorney is matched equally by her style of teaching and the support she offers students. The effort she puts forth coaching and training her students to advocate at a practical level equips them with the knowledge and motivation to help others in difficult situations. The Domestic Violence clinical can be very intense work. That’s why Professor Drew advocates the importance of self care. Thus, her classes include a self care component. Students learn the unique value of drawing Gaelic spirals or playing card games—all in an effort to restore their sense of well-being and enable them to balance their own quality of life. This lesson is invaluable to a person heading into the legal profession. For this, they are forever grateful.
Professor Christo Lassiter expounds the ideal that law school is about “learning to think like a lawyer,” wrote his students when nominating him for the Goldman Award. . Merging thought-provoking hypotheticals and meaningful discussion, he challenges students to think harder while clarifying difficult legal issues. It is uncommon for a student to leave his class without having learned something! Professor Lassiter teaches courses in criminal law, criminal procedure and white collar crime. In nominating him, students noted that he is far from an intellectual lightweight. In fact, he is considered to be one of the most intelligent and well-respected professors at the College of Law. This has been exemplified by the large number of students who seek out any class they can take with him. In addition to maintaining an open door policy, Professor Lassiter demonstrates over and over that he genuinely cares about student education and their professional experiences. Students comment that his intelligence, energy, theatrics and occasional song keep them coming back!
It has been said that very few things can prepare someone for three years of law school. Even less can prepare you on how to practically apply what you’ve learned once you’ve graduated. In every class he teaches, though, Professor A. Christopher Bryant excels in all of these areas and more, say his students. His preparation before class and dedication to students afterward is extraordinary. Commented a student when nominating him, “through his careful use of the Socratic method, Professor Bryant draws the best from each individual in the class.” For him, it’s not just about getting the right answer; it’s about developing a better understanding of the world—whether that be constitutional issues or conflict of laws. At the law school Professor Bryant teaches constitutional law, American legal history, conflict of laws, and criminal law and procedure. He combines a intellectual prowess with a practical approach, making even the most complex constitutional issues understandable. Not only that, his unique charisma and charming delivery keeps students engaged in the many facets of constitutional law. Noted one student, “It takes a special teacher to connect 70s classic rock against the framework of the American two-party political system.” Professor Bryant is such a teacher and all agree he is up to the challenge.
About the Goldman Prize for Teaching Excellence
The Goldman Prize has been awarded for over 30 years. This award is unique because students nominate and choose the recipients—their professors. To make this decision the committee considers the professors’ research and public service as they contribute to superior performance in the classroom.
Bettman Receives Awards for Teaching Excellence & Professionalism
May 14, 2008
Marianna Brown Bettman of Cincinnati has been selected as the recipient of the Ohio State Bar Association’s (OSBA) 2008 Nettie Cronise Lutes Award. The award was given today at the OSBA Annual Convention in Columbus. She is also the recipient of the University of Cincinnati’s 2008 Mrs. A. B. “Dolly” Cohen Award for Excellence in Teaching, awarded Tuesday, May 13, 2008.
The Nettie Cronise Lutes Award from the Ohio State Bar Association
The Nettie Cronise Lutes Award, created by the OSBA Women in the Profession Section, recognizes women lawyers who have “improved the legal profession through their own high level of professionalism and who have opened doors for other women and girls.” It also commemorates the first woman to practice law in Ohio.
Professor Bettman currently serves as a Professor of Clinical Law at the University of Cincinnati College of Law, teaching courses in basic and advanced torts and professional responsibility. Reflective of her outstanding contributions in the classroom, Bettman was awarded the Goldman Prize for Excellence in Teaching by UC College of Law in 2005. Prior to teaching, she served as a judge on the First District Court of Appeals from 1993 to 1999.
Throughout her career, Professor Bettman has exemplified the best qualities among those in the legal profession. One of her nominators, Susan J. Dlott, district Judge for the Southern District of Ohio, said of Bettman, “She is an outstanding law school professor who is beloved by her students. When she was a practicing attorney she was excellent, and always had a fine reputation for her work and integrity. She also had the respect of all her peers.”
Professor Bettman earned her Juris Doctor with honors from University of Cincinnati College of Law and her Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in History from the University of Cincinnati.
Since the beginning of her legal career, Professor Bettman has paved the way for women in the profession. As a mentor, she has helped set goals for young women lawyers, nurturing them by providing praise along with constructive criticism. Mary T. Minnillo, Staff Attorney with the First District Court of Appeals attested, “Professor Bettman has mentored my growth as a lawyer during the past eleven years, and she has opened the doors to opportunities, allowing me to implement my career choices. I will always be grateful to her for this, and I share this sentiment with many other women lawyers.”
Mrs. A. B. Dolly Cohen Award for Excellence in Teaching from the University of Cincinnati
Fourteen members of the UC faculty were honored at the 2008 Faculty Awards Celebration on May 13, 2008, recognizing the accomplishments that helped them win some of the highest honors available from the university community.
Cincinnati, OH—With two rewarding career choices already behind her, Marianna Brown Bettman was pleasantly surprised to discover the best was last – she feels like she's found her true calling on the faculty of the UC College of Law. Read her story
Niehoff Elected Trustee Chair
Date: 2/13/2009 12:00:00 AM
By: Greg Hand
Phone: (513) 556-1822
H. C. Buck Niehoff was unanimously elected chair of the University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees on Jan. 27.
Niehoff is Of Counsel at the law firm of Peck, Shaffer & Williams LLC, and serves as co-chair for UC’s “Proudly Cincinnati” fund-raising campaign. He succeeds Jeffrey L. Wyler, who had served as chair of the Trustees for two years.
Niehoff’s ties with the University of Cincinnati extend over three decades. He is a 1972 graduate of the College of Law, and since 1992 he has been a member of the Board of Visitors of that college. Since 1993 he has volunteered for the University of Cincinnati Foundation, and became a member of its executive committee in 1997. He was chair of the steering committee for the Cincinnati area for the $325 million Campaign for the University of Cincinnati. In 2002 he was elected emeritus trustee of the Foundation. Since 1997 he and his wife Patti have sponsored an annual "Evening with a Great Teacher," which highlights outstanding faculty members of the University.
Drew, Miller, and Eisele Receive 2009 Goldman Teaching Excellence Award
Challenging. Engaging. Uncanny. Committed. These adjectives describe the 2009 Goldman Prize for Excellence in Teaching recipients. All have demonstrated their commitment to students and unrelenting support of the College of Law. Congratulations to this year’s recipients: Margaret B. Drew, Darrell A.H. Miller, and Thomas D. Eisele.
Professor Margaret B. Drew. Her accomplishments and abilities as a professor can’t be boiled down to buzzwords and one-liners, said students when nominating her. On the contrary, Professor Drew, a two-time Goldman Prize recipient, embodies the ideal educator. Her classroom skills are matched only by her mastery of the material and true interest in student development. Her favorite phrase, “Leap and the net will appear,” provides students with confidence as well as support as they navigate the halls of the law school and the courtroom. But it isn’t just that she encourages her students to leap; it is that through care and repetition she makes students sure the net will actually appear if they leap. She impresses upon them that “leaping” is nothing more than the next natural step in their development as attorneys. With classes that are a mix of theory and practice and supportive, ongoing supervision, Professor Drew’s students speak of her dedication and commitment as an educator. Her nominating students said it clearly: “What Professor Drew provides is clear notice that, just as your education is ongoing, so too will her presence be in your life as a friend, confidant, and educator.”
Professor Darrell A.H. Miller. A reputation as a collaborator and an ability to reach students at every level are what deeply impressed students about Professor Miller. In only his second year at the College of Law, Professor Miller has demonstrated his commitment to students and ability to adapt to the varying needs of a diverse student body without compromising his unique approach to the law. In fact, students in his Civil Procedure class have been impressed by his steps to inject an element of practicality into one of the more drier and mechanical first-year courses. The positive reactions to his class and his passion for the subject are only part of his success. The real testament to his achievements in teaching, wrote students when nominating him, is what he is able to elicit from his students, and the self-confidence, intellectual curiosity, and self-reflection that follow. Indeed, he has crafted a use of the Socratic Method that makes students prepared for class. The preparation doesn’t come from fear, wrote students, but out of a genuine desire to perform and participate in the discussion as intellectual equals—a result that Professor Miller sees as not only possible, but as a valuable ideal.
Professor Thomas D. Eisele. It is a rare student who has not taken at least one class with Professor Eisele; and rarer still is the student who doesn’t heap praise on him upon mention of his name. An engaging and energetic instructor, Professor Eisele has a teaching style that is comprehensive, compassionate, and considerate, said students when nominating him for the award. A five-time recipient of the prize, Professor Eisele is said to be challenging and direct, but never abrasive. In fact, he uses the Socratic Method in a collaborative way by treating students more like partners in conversation, and less like witnesses under cross-examination! Professor Eisele enjoys the “give and take” of classroom discussion and keeps students’ attention by fostering robust dialogue, presenting the material clearly, and patiently answering every question. It is evident that he spends a significant amount of time preparing material for class. He creates a compendium of supplemental materials, affectionately nicknamed “the supp.,” for students, which contains answers to questions from the text and his personal insights on the law and its development. Best of all, he takes the time to learn each student’s name, earning their respect along the way. Trivial to some, his students appreciate this gesture of hospitality and repay it with warmth and admiration.
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.
Five Minutes with Professor Lew Goldfarb
Professor Lew Goldfarb, the new director of the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic, is a former accountant and licensed CPA in the state of Ohio. After working in the accounting field for several years, he made a career transition, turning to law. He has spent most of his legal career as in-house counsel for one of the nation’s largest car companies: Honda. Specifically, he provided legal counsel for Honda of America Mfg., Inc. In addition, he owned and operated Goalsetter Inc. dba Club Z! In Home Tutoring Service, providing one-on-one in-home instruction to students in central Ohio. Now, he is a member of the law school’s faculty, charged with developing the small business clinic.
Why did you want to become a lawyer?
“Perhaps, it's genetic. My sister, Phyllis Goldfarb, is a lawyer and law school professor; my cousin, Joanne Goldfarb, is a lawyer in Cleveland; my uncle, Ernie Abram, was a lawyer in Cleveland; and my father, Charles Goldfarb, had his law school career, and his dreams of becoming a lawyer, cut short by his military service in World War II. In addition to my apparent genetic predisposition to lawyering, I always have enjoyed analysis and problem-solving and chose lawyering as a good career to go along with my prior career as a CPA.”
What was your first impression of UC Law?
“My first impression was good one. During the interview process at UC, I observed a sense of collegiality among the faculty and staff and felt support for its clinical programs from the dean and members of the faculty, all of whom seemed very down-to-earth. I value all of these traits in an employer.”
What’s the best part about the law/being a lawyer?
“The best part about being a lawyer is the diversity of the work you do (you're never bored!) and the career opportunities it presents. By being a lawyer, I believe I possess skills that have allowed me to successfully transition from one career to another - from being in private practice, to in-house corporate counsel, to an entrepreneur owning and operating my own business, to a career in teaching.”
What’s on your nightstand?
“On my nightstand, I keep a journal in which I write passages from time to time to express my thoughts and feelings about my work and personal life. I find it to be good therapy for me.”
UC vs OSU football: Who are you routing for?
“OSU!!! I'm a bit biased since I am a "Double Buckeye", having graduated from OSU for both undergrad and law school. Since I'm now at UC, I plan to become a fan of the Bearcats also. I'll cheer for the Bearcats as long as they're not playing my beloved Buckeyes.”
Professor Paul Caron Named Visionary by Accounting Today Magazine
October 18 , 2006 - Professor Paul Caron, one of the leading national tax scholars, has been named a "visionary: one of the 100 most influential people" by Accounting Today magazine. These professionals include the stalwarts in the accounting profession; those leading fast-growing specialty niches; and those working in technology, academia and politics who have helped shape the current and future direction of the field.
The Charles Hartsock Professor of Law and Director of Faculty Projects, Professor Caron is the publisher and editor-in-chief of TaxProf Blog, called a "valuable hub for academics and practitioners" by Accounting Today.