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Weaver Institute Celebrates Contributions of Founder, Dr. Glenn Weaver


The 2015-2016 Weaver Fellows; Jim Hunt and Valerie Hardcastle, co-directors of the Weaver Institute for Law and Psychiatry; and Dean Jennifer S. Bard joined the Glenn M. Weaver Foundation Trustees, headed by Ellen Weaver, for their annual dinner on November 19th.  Honoring the life and contributions of Dr. Glenn Weaver, the event also celebrated the on-going legacy of Dr. Weaver in the Weaver Institute for Law and Psychiatry and the activities of the Weaver fellows, both in the community and on campus.

 

 

Conference on Predatory Lending Noted in National Newsletter


“Dodging the Debt Trap,” the conference hosted recently by the Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice, was mentioned in a newsletter from Americans for Financial Reform, a nonpartisan and nonprofit coalition of 200+n civil rights, consumer, labor, business, investor, faith-based, and civic and community groups. AFR has been called “the leading voice for Wall Street accountability in Washington (Huffington Post). 

OIP Attorney Jennifer Bergeron on WOSU Radio


On November 16, 2015, “All Sides with Ann Fisher” on WOSU, discussing the Plight of the Wrongfully Convicted, featured an interview of OIP staff attorney Jennifer Bergeron. You can listen to the podcast online.

OIP Celebrates the Launch of New OIP-u Program


The Ohio Innocence Project, borne out of the University of Cincinnati College of Law, and a branch of the national Innocence Network, launched a new organization on Oct. 2, called OIP-u. This program provides a way for Ohio undergraduate and graduate students to get more involved, and to come together to fight for freedom of wrongly incarcerated men and women in the state.

The launch coincided with the 2nd Annual International Wrongful Conviction Day, which is dedicated to recognizing those whose lives have been adversely impacted by wrongful conviction as well as educating the public on its causes, consequences, and complications.

Four Ohio universities have newly formed OIP-u chapters: John Carroll University, Ohio University, University of Dayton, and The Ohio State University, and each had events that featured OIP exonerees.

The OIP  has many upcoming events and opportunities, ,  such as the Oak Hills Girl Scout Troop earning their social justice badge by visiting the office to speak with attorneys on Oct. 19, and Jennifer Bergeron, an OIP attorney, presenting oral arguments at the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit for OIP client Karl Willis on Oct. 21.

On Nov. 13, the OIP will be honored by receiving the Outstanding Program or Organization Award by the Ohio Bar Association. 

OIP attorney Donald Caster and exoneree Dean Gillispie will be speaking to Kent State University students on Nov. 12, and on Nov. 17 OIP attorney Brian Howe, a UC Law graduate, will be presenting at a continuing legal education event in Cleveland,  discussing prisoner reintegration and post-release measures.

Wrapping up the calendar year will be the 21st Annual Rescuers of Humanity Awards Dinner, taking place on Dec. 1, sponsored by Project Love in Cleveland, OH. The OIP will receive the Rescuer of Humanity Award. 

Dynda Thomas '86 Quoted in New York Times


Dynda Thomas (’86), former Urban Morgan Institute fellow and expert on conflict minerals quoted in the New York Times article “Complex Law on Conflict Minerals". Thomas is a partner at Squire Patton Boggs and leads the firms conflict minerals practice group.  

Private Violence Emmy



Featuring Un Kyong Ho (Cincinnati Law - '10) (left)

And the Emmy goes to…

Private Violence, premiered last fall by the Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice at the Underground Railroad Freedom Center, just received an Emmy nomination and is one step closer to another award.

And more local Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice news:  Community groups, originally formed at the Center’s premier, are moving forward on specific action items to improve the lives of survivors of intimate partner abuse in Cincinnati. 

Changing the definition of abuse…

One action group is working to revise the definition of abuse under Ohio’s domestic violence statute to protect against more than physical abuse.  The group is in the initial stages of making video featuring women who have been denied a civil protection order for lack of physical abuse, but who were experiencing intimidation, isolation and “coercive control,” and then later were physically abused.  This happens all too often, and by broadening the language, the system will become much more proactively protective.  The video should serve as a powerful advocacy tool to help bring about this important and much needed change in Ohio law.

Judicial Training, Preschoolers and Curricular Offerings…

Another action group is working to expand training for judges and magistrates in Ohio on intimate partner abuse.  The group is researching training requirements in other states and exploring programming to address specific issues in Ohio courts that were identified at the Private Violence City Summit last October.  Two other groups, one working on the development of programming for preschoolers impacted by domestic violence and the other on social work curricular offerings, have been formed and will be meeting regularly this fall.

Want to get involved?  There is much important work to do!  Send an email to uclaw.justice@gmail.com if you would like additional information about any of these working groups.

UC Law Hosts 50 Students for Law Leadership Program


Cincinnati Law hosts over fifty (50) high school students, ninth through twelfth grade, for the annual Law & Leadership Institute (LLI) summer session.  LLI is a state-wide initiative in collaboration with the legal community that inspires and prepares high school students, primarily from urban public school districts, for post-secondary and professional success through a comprehensive four-year academic program in law, leadership, analytical thinking, problem solving, writing skills and professionalism.  Students represent several area high schools - including Walnut Hills, Mason, Mother of Mercy, School for the Creative and Performing Arts, Western Hills, Dater, Cincinnati College Prep Academy, Withrow, Norwood, Clark Montessori, Winton Woods, and Princeton – and engage in a robust curriculum and ACT prep, and also participate in internships, mock trial and field trips for four to five weeks during the summer.

Caitlin Wells: My Experiences as an OIP Fellow


A few months ago, my Dad asked that I put together a few paragraphs about my experience as an Ohio Innocence Project for the Dayton Federal Bar Association’s newsletter. I didn’t want to. With work, school, and the hundred other things fighting for my attention, it felt like exactly the kind of task that I could let fall to the wayside.

After weeks of my dodging his requests, my Father called me up to check on the status of the article that I hadn’t started. “I’m busy,” I told him. “Make time,” he said. “You’re doing something exciting. Let other people be excited about it too.”

Not able to argue with the man who still pays a portion of my tuition, I sat down to throw together something about my first 9 to whenever the work got done legal job.

I thought about what I would put on a resume, but I couldn’t figure out how to reduce a whirlwind of a summer internship into a few bullet points.

Fellow with the Ohio Innocence Project: Responsibilities include: 

  • Tracking down witnesses to talk about cases they haven’t thought about since before I was old enough to drive. 
  • Begging underpaid public employees to “please just fish the dusty police reports from the bottom of unlabeled boxes and forward them to us.” 
  • Talking to an inmate’s crying mother. 
  • Talking to a crying inmate. 
  • Crying myself when I opened my first folder of crime scene photos 
  • Battling injustice.
  • Research.
  • More research. 
  • Washing office dishes. 
  • Brief writing.
  • Typo searching.
  • Forsaking my long running opposition to anything resembling my tenth grade biology class to learn EXACTLY how mitochondrial DNA could free an innocent person.

I used the control A function to delete my draft and started over, this time trying to think about what I would tell if I had to turn my experience into one of those thirty second networking elevator speeches. “My name is Catlin, and I...” I couldn’t finish that one either.

Last week, I watched Ricky Jackson, a man who spent thirty nine years in prison for a crime that he did not commit, walk out of the jail doors and into life as a free man. Surrounded by a sea of microphones and questions, Ricky shrugged off questions about systematic injustice and the twelve year old whose testimony led to his incarceration. “I’m just glad to be out. I’m glad to be free.” At lunch a few hours later, Dean Gillispie, a Dayton exoneree, looked at Ricky and asked him if he’d used the bathroom yet. “Those sinks,” Dean said, “they just turn on by themselves.” When Ricky laughed, Dean gestured towards a line of exonerees and said, “It’s hard to get used to, but we’ll take care of you. You’re our brother now, you’re one of us. ”

Nothing follows the “I” of my elevator speech because what I am doing is not about me. My job is not about accumulating credentials, but about a man who, after almost four decades in jail had the compassion to forgive the kid who put him there. It’s about Dean, his line of brothers, and the other innocent men and women who still sit behind bars waiting until they too can throw their hands up and say, “I’m free.

 

*This article was first published in the Dayton Federal Bar Association Newsletter, Winter edition.

UC Law Partners with urban business accelerator MORTAR


Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic at the College of Law cultivates new partnership while providing students real-world client counseling experience.

Cincinnati, OH—The Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic (ECDC) at the University of Cincinnati College of Law has launched a new partnership with MORTAR, providing legal services to startup business owners while providing law students with opportunities to use and enhance their lawyering skills.

“We’re excited to announce that the ECDC has now partnered with MORTAR, one of Cincinnati’s newest business accelerators,” said Lew Goldfarb, Director of the ECDC at the University of Cincinnati College of Law. “Partnerships like these are great for the community. Entrepreneurs and small businesses benefit from critical legal services they may not otherwise be able to afford and students develop their legal skills.”

MORTAR, based in Over-the-Rhine, targets non-traditional entrepreneurs from underserved urban communities and offers them the opportunity to build or expand a business through a nine-week entrepreneurship course.  MORTAR graduated its first class of 15 entrepreneurs this April. This summer, students from UC will work under the supervision of Goldfarb and local practicing attorneys, providing legal services for MORTAR graduates. 

"For many small business owners, being able to afford appropriate legal counsel is a dream - but thanks to UC law we are able to connect MORTAR program participants to the valuable resources and knowledge they need to guide them in the right direction,” said MORTAR co-founder, Allen Woods. “This partnership is an essential component in our mission to remove barriers to entry for nontraditional entrepreneurs, increasing their chances for success." 

Mortar and the ECDC hope to expand the partnership beyond the summer months, offering year-round legal assistance to future students and graduates of Mortar.  Dana Higgins, recent MORTAR graduate and owner of vegan/Jamaican soul food catering start up, JameriSol, has already begun leveraging the partnership.

“As a new business is forming it is important to have legal representation so that once your business is up and running you have operating agreements, intellectual property protection, and a separation of personal and business assets,”  said Higgins. “Having input from soon-to-be lawyers is a priceless opportunity that benefits them and us.”

Since 2010, the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic (ECDC) has provided valuable "hands-on" training to 108 law students, representing 153 local businesses on nearly 700 legal matters - providing nearly $1 million of free legal assistance for the benefit of the local economy.

"In addition to gaining some valuable practical experience, it's important for our students to gain an appreciation for pro bono service,” said Goldfarb.  Undoubtedly, their experience working with MORTAR and some of its companies will help accomplish that."

UC law students participating in the Mortar Summer Fellowship in Entrepreneurship work collaboratively at the College of Law as well as one-on-one with clients at MORTAR’s Vine Street office in Over-the-Rhine.  Law student John Sarra recognizes the impact his work, and that of MORTAR, can have on this rapidly changing neighborhood.

“While the expanding entrepreneurship spirit in the Over-The-Rhine neighborhood and elsewhere is great for the city, not everyone has been able to reap the benefits. This program will assist individuals who otherwise might not have the means to turn their ideas into successful businesses,” said Sarra.

For UC law students, the opportunity to leverage their legal skills to help an individual achieve their goal of starting a business can be a personally rewarding experience as well.

"My mother opened her own business when I was ten years old,” said Cindy Moore. “I saw firsthand the struggles of an entrepreneur - now I get the chance to help make the journey for other entrepreneurs a little less difficult.”

Goldfarb, who taught MORTAR’s first legal class this February with two of his students and volunteers on the nonprofit’s Board of Advisors, acknowledges the partnership as an important part of Cincinnati’s start up eco-system.  

“Cincinnati is quickly becoming an entrepreneurial hotbed,” said Goldfarb.  “The more partnerships we can form to provide resources for entrepreneurs and startups, the better and more vibrant our city will be. That’s good for Cincinnati, and good for our students and graduates.”

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About the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic at the College of Law

The Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic partners local law students with small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs, representing them on transactional legal issues critical to their success. Client services include assistance and counseling on entity selection and formation, regulatory compliance and licensing, advice on trademark and copyright protection, and lease and contract review, negotiation, and preparation. Through its work, the ECDC hopes to give students a tremendous learning experience and to contribute to the economic development and revitalization of Cincinnati and surrounding communities. 

Human Rights Quarterly Receives High Rankings by Google for 2nd year


For the second year in a row, the Human Rights Quarterly has been ranked as the number two most-cited international law journal by Google. The Quarterly is recognized as a leading academic journal in the human rights field.

The Human Rights Quarterly, which is over 30 years old, is a multidisciplinary journal covering the range of human rights matters encompassed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Typical articles cover many of the legal aspects of human rights issues, as well as the “non law” aspects.  In its more than three decades and over a thousand articles and book reviews, the Quarterly is highly regarded in the human rights field. Its audiences and authors are represented on every part of the globe.

The Human Rights Quarterly is published by The Johns Hopkins University Press, the oldest university press in the country.