A History of Giving Back Leads 3L Ryan McGraw to the Law and the Linus Foundation
Although he cannot recall a specific moment in time when he became attracted to the law, Ryan McGraw ’12 said he has always wanted to be a lawyer. McGraw grew up in the Cincinnati suburb of Finneytown, before attending high school at nearby St. Xavier. It was during his four years of high school when McGraw developed an interest in serving others, and today he says his legal interests lie in the public sector.
“At St. X, our motto is ‘Men for Others,’ and I think that mindset has shaped my life since I graduated,” he said. “I have always felt called to give back in a meaningful way to those in the community who may be less fortunate than me, and I think it is for that reason that I hope to pursue a career in public interest law.” During his high school years, McGraw attended the American Youth Foundation’s National Leadership Conference (NLC), which he described as bringing together high school kids from across the country, to teach them leadership skills to take back to their communities and schools and make a difference.
“After I completed the four year program, I chose to return as staff, because of the impact that many of my mentors had on me throughout the program,” he said. “I hoped to make a difference in just one student’s life to the degree that my mentors had made on mine.” While at the NLC, McGraw struck up a friendship with a St. X graduate and eventual College of Law alumnus, Pat Hayes ’08, who told him about a non-profit organization he was working with in Cincinnati called the Linus Foundation. The Linus Foundation Cincinnati is a non-profit organization committed to providing service, care, and comfort to underprivileged children throughout the tri-state. Since the branch opened in 2008, Linus Cincinnati has donated thousands of dollars to local charities.
McGraw was “eager to get involved,” and has been very much so during law school, spending a lot of his free time fundraising and “trying to give back to the youth in Cincinnati.” In addition to Hayes, McGraw said John Treleven ’07 is also highly involved with the organization. “It has been tremendous to work with both of them and to get to know them on a personal level,” McGraw said. “It has also been extremely helpful to be able to discuss the challenges of law school and the legal economy with people who have been through the gauntlet recently.”
The Linus Foundation was recently able to donate $1,000 to St. Vincent de Paul, a non-profit social service agency that provides personal assistant with food, clothing, medicine, rent, utilities, transportation and companionship to people facing economic, emotional or spiritual crises. This donation was expected to pay for 22 beds for children who did not have one. Certainly, McGraw felt a sense of pride in knowing he was able “to make a difference” in those children’s lives.
Prior to attending the College of Law, McGraw majored in criminology and minored in real estate at The Ohio State University (with McGraw putting a special emphasis on the “The,” perhaps because he gave this interview just days prior to the annual Michigan game).
McGraw’s choice to attend the College of Law after his time at OSU was an easy one, aspiring to work for the Ohio Innocence Project. Not only did McGraw get an opportunity to work for the OIP last year, but he said his time as a fellow has been “by far the highlight of law school.” “In particular, working on the case of David Ayers, who was released in September after serving nearly 11 years for a murder he did not commit, was such an honor and privilege,” McGraw said. “Seeing him walk out of the county jail and spending the first moments of his freedom with him are things I will never forget.”
In his two-and-a-half years at the College of Law, McGraw has also been a part of Student Court, has served as a Student Ambassador, was president of the Law Republicans, was co-director of the Tenant Information Project, and currently is an articles editor for the Law Review.
When he is not busy with law school or helping others, McGraw enjoys spending time with family and friends, as well as golfing when he has a chance. The OSU graduate also “look(ed) for any excuse to go back to Columbus on Saturdays during the fall,” he said.
By Jordan Cohen, ‘13
Meet Missionary Turned Attorney: Scott Lewis ‘14
Like many of his peers, who similarly did not attend law school straight from undergrad, Scott Lewis has had a number of unique experiences and stories to tell. The 28-year-old, and eldest of five siblings, grew up in California and enrolled at Brigham Young University in 2002. He took off two years to be a missionary for his church and, along the way, became fluent in a Filipino language called Tagalog.
Lewis first heard of this language when he received the assignment from his church to serve a mission and began speaking this Austronesian language in June 2002. He had a “two month crash course” in the language, embracing the idea of needing to learn it to be able to effectively teach and serve during the mission, he said.
After a successful mission trip, Lewis returned to BYU where he pursued a political science degree. In the latter half of 2007, Lewis went abroad again, this time for an internship with the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium. Lewis, who had previously taken a European Union class, inquired about potential internships and discovered a program offering a few positions.
“I took a semester long research and writing classes where we competed with about 40 or so other students,” Lewis said. “We were then selected based on work ethic, performance, speaking skills and teamwork. I was lucky enough to be selected to work with Kathy Sinnott of Ireland.” Sinnott is a disability rights campaigner and a former politician. She represented the South constituency in Ireland in the European Parliament from 2004 to 2009.
During his time in Belgium, Lewis’ attended many committee meetings, addressed constituent grievances and petitions, arranged meetings between environmental groups and the European Union Parliament, and wrote speeches, press releases, and also amendments alongside Sinnott.
Along the way, he was also able to indulge in some of Belgium’s finest foods. “Not only did I experience sitting in rooms with 20 languages going on all at once, but I got to eat at least 20 different kinds of chocolate,” Lewis said. “And waffles … good experience and great food."
After graduating from BYU in 2008, Lewis took a job with a bank as a teller, before working his way up to a loan officer in consumer lending. After befriending the bank’s general counsel, he was encouraged to attend law school – something he had considered before.
Lewis – a once active Assistant Scout Master – chose to apply to the College of Law at the recommendation of his cousin, who attend UC’s medical school. A number of factors led him to enrolling at the College, where he has been very busy but is enjoying his experiences thus far.
The California native has attended several Federalist Society meetings, has helped out with the Tenant Information Project, and has also been involved with Student Court. Lewis also has enjoyed attending various lectures on campus, while calling the Day of Service in September “a blast.” Further, Lewis has been inspired by his classmates and “love(s) talking with people here about what interests them,” he said.
Outside of school, Lewis has not been able to find much time for his interests in cycling and tennis. But the “happily married” 1L student is enjoying spending time with his three-month-old daughter, Grace, who he said “can smile and speak gibberish fluently.”
Lewis came to Cincinnati with a number of goals and aspirations, many of which are obviously academic- and career-oriented. Additionally, he and his wife set a goal of trying “all the major chili restaurants in Cincinnati." "So far,” Lewis said, “only Skyline has been tried.”
By Jordan Cohen, ‘13
From South Africa to Canada to the U.S.: 1L Clifford Lauchlan Found a Home at UC Law
As a member of the College of Law’s 1L class, Clifford Lauchlan will not be able to take the Client Counseling course for another year. But through his previous experiences, Lauchlan already has several years of practice working with people under his belt.
Lauchlan was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1982, before his family moved to Canada in 1992.
After receiving an English degree from Taylor College and Seminary in Edmonton, Alberta in 2005, he moved to Dayton and tied the knot on his long-distance relationship with then-fiancée, Leah.
That fall, Lauchlan took a job in the Career Services Department at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, working with high school students, displaced workers and other members of the community. Lauchlan was initially hired by Sinclair as a Career Development Technician. His job was to administer the “Discover Career Assessment” to juniors and seniors from Dayton area public high school.
In June 2006, he became a Career Development Specialist, utilizing “one-on-one counseling, workshops and presentations” to assist people who were considering a career change. While pursuing a master’s degree at the University of Dayton, Lauchlan completed a teaching assistantship, before returning to Sinclair as an adjunct faculty member.
By December of 2008, he found himself in yet another new role, serving as a counselor for displaced workers. “The most satisfying part of working with the displaced worker population at Sinclair was hearing the individual stories,” Lauchlan said. “The varied experiences, the hopes and concerns as they worked to forge a new future for themselves and their family were inspiring.”
But this was not the first time the now-29-year-old had been touched by the stories of individuals he had come to assist. While living in Edmonton, Lauchlan worked for five years at the Herb Jamieson Center, an all-male homeless shelter, which “slept between 160 to 230 individuals every night and served between 300 and 400 individuals at each meal.”
He began working a midnight to 8:00 a.m. shift on his 18th birthday. Although he worked on a part-time basis when he started college courses, he worked full-time during the summers and on breaks. “It was a defining experience,” Lauchlan said. “Again, the most memorable aspect of this experience was hearing the individual stories.
“From individuals who had lost it all through no fault of their own, to others who had squandered opportunities through a series of poor choices, ‘the Herb’ afforded a fascinating glimpse into life for an 18-year-old to see the world from new and different perspectives.”
While working at the downtown Edmonton shelter, Lauchlan regularly interviewed new individuals, getting to know them and screening them for noticeable issues, he said. “During the interview process, the clients would tell me how they came to be in the situation they were in,” he said. “This was a priceless education.”
Prior to moving to the United States, Lauchlan also joined the Canadian Infantry Reserves. After spending the week in his classes, Lauchlan trained on the weekends. However, he left the Reserves prior to moving to the States. Although he only had the opportunity to train, he is “thankful” for the experience he did have.
While enjoying life in the United States, Lauchlan initially planned to become an English professor. After completing his master’s at the University of Dayton, he decided to pursue a different career path that would allow him to use his skills in research and writing: the law.
Lauchlan was accepted by both law schools to which he applied, UC and Ohio State, but the decision to come to the College of Law was a fairly easy one for him. In addition to liking the size of the College of Law, he found Cincinnati to be the “more interesting city,” and he said he would like to work in the Queen City after graduation.
Thus far, Lauchlan is enjoying each of his classes, in addition to being the co-president of the College’s Federalist Society, he said.
He is also juggling his time as a student with being a parent, as his wife gave birth to their first child, Ian, back in February. If becoming a father and beginning law school were not enough excitement for Lauchlan, he recently won second place and a $3,000 scholarship for an essay he wrote, entitled “The Emperor’s New Clothes: Behaviorism and the Threat of Central Control.”
By Jordan Cohen, ‘13
College of Law Bar Exam Results Continue to Be Strong
University of Cincinnati College of Law Bar Exam Results Continue to Be Strong
The bar results for University of Cincinnati College of Law students who took the July 2011 Ohio Bar Exam are in and the College of Law, once again, made a strong showing. UC Law ranked first in the state for overall test takers with a passage rate of 92 percent. This can be compared to an overall passage rate for all takers of 81.6 percent.
In addition, the passage rate for the College of Law’s first-time test takers was 94 percent, up from 91 percent last year; placing UC’s law students first among Ohio law schools for first-time test takers, sharing the spot with the Ohio State University. The passage rate for all first-time takers in Ohio was 86.1 percent.
Applicants who successfully passed the examination and satisfied the Ohio Supreme Court’s character and fitness screening were sworn in on Monday, November 7 at 10:30 a.m. during a special session of the Supreme Court at the historic Ohio Theatre in Columbus, OH. The session was streamed live via the Supreme Court and Ohio Channel websites at www.supremecourt.ohio.gov and www.ohiochannel.org. It is available statewide on the Ohio Channel’s local public broadcasting stations.
The Ohio bar exam lasts two and a half days and is comprised of 12 essay questions, two Performance Tests, and a day-long multiple-choice Multistate Bar Examination. The bar exam is administered by the Supreme Court, which regulates the practice of law in Ohio, including the admission of new attorneys, the biennial registration of current attorneys, attorney discipline in cases of misconduct, and the administration of continuing legal education.
Photo: 2011 graduate Sarah Leibel
Patent Law Interest Leads Jared Brandyberry ’11 to Geneva, Switzerland
Jared Brandyberry decided to attend law school during his senior year at UC, when he became interested in intellectual property. “Patent law interested me because it mixed my technical background with the law and allowed me to work with entrepreneurs and innovators developing new inventions,” the 2011 College of Law graduate said.
Today, that interest in IP has the lifelong Cincinnatian working halfway across the world for the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva, Switzerland.
Brandyberry grew up on the eastside of Cincinnati in Anderson Township. He graduated from UC in 2008, where he majored in biochemistry before pursuing his law degree. With an interest in staying in Cincinnati, combined with being the recipient of the James B. Helmer, Jr. Scholarship, attending the College of Law was an easy choice for Brandyberry.
After his 1L year, he began focusing on IP and patent law. Brandyberry mentioned Ed Acheson, Jim Liles, Ria Schalnat, Steven Goldstein and Lori Krafte as “great adjunct professors that did an excellent job of incorporating their extensive (IP) experience into the course material.”
While at the College of Law, Brandyberry was a member of the Intellectual Property Law Society, in addition to his involvement with the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic (ECDC).
During his first summer, Brandyberry worked at UC’s Intellectual Property Office, focusing on prior art searches and licensing agreements. The following summer he went to the Washington D.C. area to work for the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Brandyberry also did a legal externship with Baker Hostetler in their patent division, a judicial externship with Judge Sandra Beckwith of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, and an internship with Professor Lewis Goldfarb at the ECDC.
During the fall semester of his 3L year, Brandyberry applied to the WIPO, which is a United Nations agency that oversees the international IP system. The following semester, he was offered (and later accepted) a temporary position with the Patent Cooperation Treaty division (PCT).
“I took the bar in Ohio the last week in July, drove home on that Thursday and then flew to Geneva on Friday to get an apartment and start work on Monday, August 1,” he said.
The PCT, which established an international patent filing system with 144 contracting states, Brandyberry said, has more than 160,000 PCT applications filed annually “by applicants hoping to protect their inventions in multiple nations.”
“My team issues advisory opinions on the Articles and Regulations of the PCT for receiving offices,” Brandyberry said. “In addition to different advisory opinions, I am also working on multiple studies which may result in proposed amendments to the PCT.”
His first contract with the WIPO was for three months, with an option to continue through January, he said. As of now, he is unsure whether a full-time position will be available, in addition to the uncertainty as to whether his friend with whom he is living will be able to continue working out of P&G’s Geneva office.
While Brandyberry is interested in staying there if he gets a full-time offer, he otherwise would “plan to return to Cincinnati and work in the IP field.”
Brandyberry, who called it “an amazing opportunity to live abroad” while getting exposure to patent law internationally, is enjoying life in – and outside – of Geneva. “The best part about living in Geneva so far is that’s centrally located and connected to an excellent rail system, which makes travelling through Europe very easy,” he said.
Certainly being far removed from Cincinnati, the place he has called home outside the one summer in D.C., has been an adjustment for Brandyberry. He said he misses his friends and family the most, of course, but also misses going to Bengals and Bearcats football games.
Brandyberry also mentioned that prices are a bit more reasonable back home. “(Here), it’s about $7 for a Grande coffee at Starbucks,” he said.
By Jordan Cohen, ‘13
Abigail Horn ’13 Transitions to 2L Year and Life Without Her Pet Pig
For virtually every law student, past and present, ‘2L’ year is not nearly as big of an adjustment than the often dreaded first year of law school. In fact, for second-year student Abigail Horn, the biggest change between this year and last might be going from having a pet pig to a puppy.
Horn currently has a schnauzer/poodle named Louis. She spent much of last year, however, balancing her 1L classes and studies with taking care of Coco, a “teacup pig.”
The Cincinnati native has always loved animals, and she and her brothers grew up with dogs. When she moved in with a fellow law student last year, it was her idea to get a pet. However, the condo owner did not allow her to have a dog, though she was told a cat would be fine.
“I am allergic to cats so I asked him about a teacup pig. He said it was fine, so I went for it,” Horn said. “My roommate was all for it, and we had lots of fun while Coco was with us.”
Horn bought Coco from a breeder in Texas, and the pig arrived in Cincinnati via airplane last August before school started, she said. “She was almost 3 months when I got her and she was smaller than a toaster!” Horn laughed.
Coco was like any other pet for Horn, who said she fed her three times a day, took her outside for air and exercise, and occasionally took the pig to the veterinarian’s office.
Not surprisingly, Horn had to devote a lot of time to taking care of Coco – which she does with her puppy now as well. “When you have a pet, you can’t be gone all day and leave them alone – it’s inhumane,” Horn said. “To accommodate this I do my homework at home whenever possible and only come to the Law building for classes.”
Just as Horn’s dog, Louis, likes to eat the paper from her textbooks, Coco did as well. But more than that, Horn said Coco “ate more than any other animal I have seen,” fitting the pig stereotype. Horn was told that Coco would stay around 40 pounds at maturity, but before long the pig hit 100 pounds.
“The breeder misinformed me and because of Coco’s size, I felt it was not fair to her to make her live in such a small space,” Horn said. “Therefore, I sent her to a petting farm in Lebanon (Ohio). … I know she will make a lot of people happy and have a fun life with the other pigs.”
Although Horn has only visited Coco once, she hopes to see her old pet every one to two months, she said. Now, however, she is focused on 2L year and enjoying her time with her puppy.
Horn, who interned this summer at the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas for Judge Robert P. Ruehlman, recently joined the College of Law’s Human Rights Quarterly.
She is hoping to find a job after law school that will allow her to “help those who are disabled or underrepresented.” Horn said she would also be interested in finding a position in international law, environmental law or – surprise – animal rights law.
By Jordan Cohen, ‘13
Charlotte Eichman Provides Legal Research Used to Help Draft Sex Abuse Legislation in Ireland
Charlotte Eichman '13, research assistant for Professor Jim O'Reilly, provided helpful background research for the Irish Parliament in its consideration of controversial new legislation. Following a major scandal concerning clergy sexual abuse in a Catholic diocese in Ireland, the Irish parliament debated a new law that would force priests who learn of child sexual abuse to report that abuse to police. Ireland previously had followed Catholic Church law on the "confessional privilege" under which disclosures made during a religious counseling session would be shielded from legally compelled disclosure. In the U.S., various states have followed five major models of such legislation, balancing secrecy for religion under the First Amendment with the need for detection of sexual abuse cases. Eichman is one of several researchers working for Professor O'Reilly for his 45th textbook, Legal Issues in Clergy Sexual Abuse. Her analysis examining how state legislatures balanced the conflicting demands of religion and child protection was submitted to aid the crafting of the legislation in Ireland by the Prime Minister's office. Professor O’Reilly’s book will be published in early 2012 by Oxford University Press.
Attorney Keneilwe Modise from Botswana Visits UC Law to Conduct Research on Domestic Violence
Once again this fall, a new class of students began at the College of Law – each coming from diverse backgrounds and experiences. But another new face inside the College of Law this semester is that of Keneilwe “Kenny” Modise, a practicing attorney from Gaborone, the capital city of Botswana.
Modise arrived in August and is involved with the Domestic Violence and Civil Protection Order Clinic, as well as the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights. “Besides that, I am also doing research, but it is also on domestic violence,” Modise said in a recent interview. “I am going to do research that, hopefully by October or November, I am going to share with the Human Rights class.”
Modise – who flew in via a connection from New York, by way of her Botswana’s neighboring country, South Africa – is getting her first taste of the United States in Cincinnati.
She had been in town for just two weeks at the time of the interview, but now that she has been in Cincinnati for about a month, she is starting to get more acclimated to her new surroundings and all the city has to offer.
Modise came to UC Law as part of an exchange program involving the Honorable Unity Dow, a retired judge, human rights activist and novelist from Botswana. Justice Dow, who opened Dow & Associates in her homeland in early 2010, has been affiliated with the College of Law for the past 23 years. She is on the Urban Morgan Institute’s advisory board, while Professor Bert Lockwood, director of the Institute, has been sending Urban Morgan fellows to intern with Dow each summer.
In addition to working with Professor Lockwood, Modise spends much of her time downtown at the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati, which houses the domestic violence clinic. She has been assisting clients and working closely with Kenyatta Mickles, a visiting professor of clinical law and the supervising attorney of the clinic. “With Kenyatta, it’s been a really extensive training for the domestic violence clinic,” Modise said. “She’s really been helpful with getting to know the differences in the law in the two countries, Botswana and America, specifically the Ohio law in domestic violence.”
Modise became interested in domestic violence because it is a “pretty new concept in our country,” she said.
Modise will be at the college until December 10, before returning to Botswana where she will “try to share what I have (learned) with people back home,” she said, later noting that her nation has struggled to implement the concepts of domestic violence and legal aid through its judicial system. Working with Professors Mickles and Lockwood has been helping Modise to further her goals.
For Modise, a 2009 graduate of the University of Botswana’s five-year law program, law has not always been her sole focus. Until she opted to come to the United States, she played rugby. “I was actually the national team captain,” Modise said.
But while it has been “law and rugby” in the past, Modise says she will continue to focus on her law career when she returns to Botswana at the end of the year.
She is considering a return to the United States, hopefuly at the Georgetown University Law Center Domestic Violence Clinic for a master's degree in human rights. Of course, for the time being, Modise will continue to make the most of her opportunity to be in Cincinnati and at the College of Law.
“So far it’s been great,” she said.
By: Jordan Cohen, ‘13
Marilu Gresens ’10 Supports Human Rights Work in Gaborone, Botswana
One of the biggest decisions for most out-of-state students attending the College of Law is whether to take the bar exam in Ohio or back home. Marilu Gresens ’10, who grew up in a small town in upstate New York, faced that same question and ultimately opted to take the New York State bar exam.
But Gresens is not working in her home state – in fact, nowhere even near New York.
Instead, she is working as an associate attorney at Dow and Associates, a human rights-focused law firm in Gaborone, Botswana. “Generally, I assist with the firm’s cases, and also get to work on test litigation cases having to do with women’s rights and human rights generally,” Gresens said. “Most recently, we’ve taken a case that we hope will advance children’s and mother’s rights in Botswana in regards to child support.”
Another aspect of Gresens’ job is managing the partnership between Dow and the College of Law, which sends interns to the firm each summer – and this is how she got connected with Judge Unity Dow in the first place.
Gresens’ path to Gaborone began in the small town of Poestenkill, N.Y., where she and her younger sister – and many pets – were raised. She has fond memories of being on the campaign trail with her late grandmother, Lois Fisher, who became the town’s first female supervisor. “I think it was from her that I gained a fiery sprit, and learned that if you don’t like what’s happening in the world, then don’t sit around – go out and try to change it,” Gresens said.
Gresens graduated from SUNY College at Plattsburgh in 2007, with degrees in political science and women’s studies. She then was off to law school – something Gresens had anticipated since she was eight years old. “I’ve always been a driven and passionate individual, with a strict sense of justice,” she said. “Most people who knew me when I was younger are not surprised that I grew up to become a lawyer.”
Gresens was set on attending George Washington, but the decision to attend the College of Law became a no-brainer when she visited the campus. Two main attractions for Gresens, a “huge animal lover” and vegetarian, were the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights and the Domestic Violence and Civil Protection Order Clinic.
But it was even before attending UC Law and getting involved with those programs that Gresens knew she wanted to work in Africa. In fact, she recalls speaking with Al Watson, Senior Assistant Dean and Director of Admissions and Financial Aid, about the possibility of working in Africa after her 1L year. Indeed, Gresens went to Africa and clerked for (then) Judge Dow, the first female judge on the High Court of Botswana, through the Urban Morgan Institute.
She worked at a small law firm her second summer, Sirkin, Pinales & Schwartz, and later clerked for Gerhardstein & Branch. Gresens completed an externship with Chief Judge Susan Dlott, United States District Court for then Southern District of Ohio during her 3L year.
Meanwhile, Judge Dow stepped down from the bench in Botswana and opened her firm in Gaborone. Gresens, who was graduating from the College of Law around that same time, maintained contact with Judge Dow. “I made it no secret that I wanted to join the firm, and she eventually extended me an offer,” she said. Gresens is now firmly situated at Dow and Associates and is enjoying her job. “I see it as an exciting opportunity to advance and promote the enforcement of human rights in a country whose political and judicial leaders are receptive to progressive development,” she said.
The New York native, who “fell in love with Botswana” when she first came in 2008, said she is hoping that her current job will “lead to a career in international human rights law.” But Gresens presently has no intentions on going anywhere. “I love Botswana and I have no plans to leave anytime soon – so I hope to be doing this for some time,” she said.
While Gresens is far removed from the corner of Clifton Avenue and Calhoun Street, she spoke fondly of her time at the College of Law, as well as those who supported her and inspired her along the way – specifically, Professors Margaret Drew and Bert Lockwood.
When asked about what she misses the most about Cincinnati, friends, Graeter’s ice cream and “weekend movies at the Esquire,” came to mind. Gresens now spends many of her weekends taking the opportunity to travel, which recently included a trip to Botswana’s well-known Okavango Delta, the world’s largest inland delta.
“It was beautiful,” she said. “We saw some amazing wildlife, including some giraffe and zebras grazing on the side of the road.”
Clearly, a degree from the College of Law can take you places.
by Jordan Cohen '13
Jenna Washatka ’12 and Professor Jim O’Reilly Combine Efforts to Support Creation of Land Bank
For many people July 13, 2011 was a historic day in Hamilton County with the front-page Cincinnati Enquirer coverage of the official creation of the first public land bank in southern Ohio. UC Law student Jenna Washatka ’12 and Professor Jim O’Reilly had an important had in its development.
Blighted properties that are virtually abandoned and out of the commercial market can be acquired by the new county entity and "banked" until redevelopment possibilities allow the property to be redeveloped or the house to be resold. During the interim the land bank preserves the value of the property, if any, and supervises the removal of weeds and junk.
Rising 3L Washatka took on this independent research project, interviewed the leaders and lawyers behind the concept, and prepared a lengthy analysis for the First Suburbs Consortium. Her paper was distributed to the appropriate county officials and the county treasurer as the legal basis for adopting the pioneering concept. Professor O’Reilly testified at the county hearing in support and offered Washatka's findings to county officials. This month’s adoption is the culmination of the work of public officials, nongovernmental organizations, and Washatka's outstanding efforts.
Congratulations to all!