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Meet 3L Students Sarah Sanderson and Ross Bextermueller


While they were waiting for the first Introduction to Law class in August 2008 to begin, Ross Bextermueller asked Sarah Sanderson if she was ready for law school. The two have been dating since. In their final year of law school, Bextermueller and Sanderson, now engaged, are scheduled to graduate next May as members of the Class of 2011.

A native Ohioan, Sanderson hails from Sylvania, a northern suburb of Toledo. She attended the University of Kentucky, where she majored in psychology. Originally pursuing a graduate degree in psychology, Sanderson switched gears and decided to try law school. “Unfortunately, it was too late to apply (for the current year) by the time I decided,” she said. “So I took a year off and worked full-time as a legal secretary at a firm in Lexington.”

The following year, Sanderson ended up at the College of Law. “I really didn’t consider UC,” she said, “until my dad, who attended the university for his undergraduate degree, suggested I apply. Then, of the schools I was accepted into, UC was the most well-rounded.” Sanderson said she was attracted to the school’s location and academic strength, as well as the Weaver Institute for Law and Psychiatry. In fact, the Weaver Institute was a “huge draw” for her.

Born in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, Bextermueller moved around the world a lot while growing up—including living Saudi Arabia and England. He went to high school in Cincinnati, though, and considers it his hometown. He attended Saint Louis University for undergraduate studies, majoring in accounting. He continued his studies at that university, obtaining his MBA before coming to the College of Law. He chose UC because it was, as he put it, “the best bang for the buck” of all of his options. He also has family and friends in the area, and felt it would be nice to have such a strong support system in place.

Summer Experiences Courtesy of UC Law

During her first summer in law school, Sanderson lived in Toledo, working two days a week for Chief Judge James Carr of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio and the other three days for Advocates for Basic Legal Equality (ABLE), a non-profit organization associated with Legal Aid of Northwest Ohio. “At ABLE I had the opportunity to do educational law and loved it,” she said. During her second summer, Sanderson began working at Ennis Roberts & Fisher, a law firm in Cincinnati that specializes in representing school districts. She is still working there this school year.

Bextermueller spent his first summer working at GE Aviation, located in Evendale, doing transactional and contractual work. This past summer, he worked as a summer associate at Strauss & Troy. He has signed with Deloitte as an international tax consultant following graduation.

The two have only had a few classes together over the course of law school, so they have not had many experiences in the classroom together. “Because we are interested in different fields,” says Sarah, “as Ross will be doing international tax and I hope to do either education or family law, I think we balance each other out and affect the way the other thinks about their area of interest.” They have also been able to help each other throughout their time in law school. “Ross has helped me understand his areas of interest so much better. So I suppose a reward specific to me is that I have someone to make sure I understand corporations or my federal income tax when exams come around.” In addition, she said, “I think generally the overlap has actually helped our relationship, which is rewarding. When you begin law school they always tell you it’s difficult to sustain relationships while in school. Since we are both in school and in the same year that hasn’t been a problem for us. We certainly understand the demands on the other if one of us has an exam or another project or deadline to meet.”

Both Bextermueller and Sanderson have already learned to balance work/law school and life outside of those things: “We both value a healthy work/life balance, so while we do work hard, it not a huge issue in our relationship,” they said. “There are certainly times when we do need to remind each other to either get work done, or to stop working. While there is always someone to hold you accountable to your work, there is also always someone to hang out with. Although that unfortunately means there are also times when the other can convince you that the mall or a Bengals game is a better idea!”