Meet Our Students

Get to know our students through a series of videos, news stories, and more!

Buoyed by Belonging: James Hardman’s Journey from the UK to UC

Under the shadow of the tallest church spire in England, in the humble city of Salisbury just 9 miles from Stonehenge, James Hardman (JD, ’24) first developed his appreciation for world history. This passion is what would eventually set him on a trajectory to work across five continents and one day find a career as a lawyer in the United States.

“Coming to Cincinnati Law is definitely one of the best decisions I've ever made. It's given me an amazing group of friends, a new appreciation of the United States that I wouldn't necessarily have had otherwise, and new skills and knowledge that I would not have picked up,” he said. “For me, it was absolutely the right choice and I think it can be the right choice for a lot of other people as well.”

James Hardman, Class of 2024

James Hardman '24

Breaking the Mold: How Valerie Garcia is Pushing Limits in Law and Bodybuilding

As Valerie Garcia (JD, ‘25) heads toward her final year of law school, she won’t just be preparing to take the bar exam. This spring, she’ll be preparing for her first foray into the competitive world of female bodybuilding.

“I'm a firm believer that we need to take care, not just of our brains, but of our bodies,” said Valerie, who goes to the gym five to six times per week and follows a strict diet in order to build muscle and burn fat. Her passion for bodybuilding sprang from the months stuck at home during the 2020 lockdown when, unable to go to the gym, she turned to social media as an outlet. That’s when she stumbled on the world of female bodybuilding, and her relationship to the gym changed.

During that time, something else began to shift, too. Valerie began to imagine a life beyond California. Born in San Diego, and raised most of her life in Tijuana, Mexico, she was accustomed to living in richly diverse areas. But while working as a paralegal in her hometown and applying for law schools, living in the Midwest started to become a consideration in part for economic reasons. That’s when she found The University of Cincinnati College of Law.

Valerie Garcia, JD '25 candidate

Valerie Garcia '25

Beyond Borders: David Nabei's Global Environmental Law Journey

In the tapestry of environmental consciousness and legal advocacy, the journey of David Naibei (LLM, ‘23) unfolds as a testament to the profound impact of early education on climate awareness.  

Born and raised in N’Djamena, the capital city of Chad, one of the hottest countries in the world, David witnessed firsthand the repercussions of escalating temperatures and a lack of government regulation. But it wasn’t until high school, during an environmental awareness workshop put on by the NGO Espaces Verts du Sahel, that he realized how the devastation he saw around him could be directly tied to climate change.

Fascinated by the far-reaching ramifications of climate change, after high school David dove headfirst into environmental law and business. Knowing that what was happening in his own country was a harbinger of what was to come across every nation, his academic pursuits went global.

David Nabei is a 2025 LLM graduate

David Nabei (LLM'23)

Redeeming Justice: Bethany Notestine's Journey from Conviction to Law School

Before becoming a law student, Bethany Notestine (JD ‘25), dreamed of opening her own medical massage business. For most, starting a business from scratch can be an expensive and risky endeavor. But for Bethany, the biggest obstacle was her past.

Emerging from a 7.5 year sentence the year prior, Bethany had walked out of federal prison to be embraced by her parents, then flown back to their place to live while she got back on her feet. But that would prove to be no easy task. Finding work with a record would be difficult.

While in prison, she sought solace in the quiet corners of the prison Law Library, where she devoted her time each morning to studying criminal cases, trying to make sense of how the justice system works and what went wrong in her own case. 

After hours upon hours spent studying law materials, she began to make connections for her own case and understand how the legal system worked. At this point, she also realized she might have an actual knack for law. A calling even.  

UC Law student Bethany Notestine

Bethany Notestine '25

Bridging the Gap: Brendan Mathews’ Search for Equitable Outcomes

For the first two weeks of law school, Brendan Mathews (JD ‘23, PhD ‘25), divided his time between attending virtual classes at  Cincinnati Law and consulting with the Governor of Rhode Island to help overhaul the state's contact tracing efforts. From his makeshift office within the Rhode Island Health Department, Brendan adjusted to life as a law student during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Brendan said he always dreamed bigger than the life expected of him and his peers. His mom, who raised him solo, never let those big dreams seem too far out of reach. 

Brendan Mathews '23

Brendan Mathews '23

Redrawing the legal narrative: Travis Hardee’s fight for inclusion

As the first man at University of Cincinnati College of Law to complete a joint JD/MA degree in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS), Travis Hardee (MA, JD ‘24), is primed to stand out among his other male attorneys. But then, he has never been one to follow the crowd.

JD student Travis Hardee ('24)

Travis Hardee '24

Next Generation Changemaker: Aqdas Khudadad

Even with these great strides in enhancing the quality of life for its residents, important issues facing Cincinnati’s most vulnerable residents remain, spanning from affordable housing to immigration. Aqdas Khudadad (JD, ‘24), has dedicated her first two years of law school working with organizations affecting these issues–one legal case at a time. 

Aqdas Khudadad, ('24) law student focused on helping vulnerable residents

Aqdas Khudadad '24

UC Law's LLM Program Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary

As the UC Law LLM program approaches its 10th anniversary, stories of students tackling issues across the globe have become more and more widespread. Opening in 2013 with a mere five students in its first cohort, UC Law’s LLM Program has expanded worldwide, including students from over 50 different countries, among them 10 Fulbright scholars.

College of Law international students in the law school atrium

College of Law LLM students in the law school atrium

Legal Advocate. Healthcare Warrior.

It’s an interesting time for healthcare, Glen McClain (JD ‘22, MD ‘25) recently put it. As a student on track to earn dual JD and MD degrees, Glen took the bar exam this February and will return to UC College of Medicine this coming fall to complete his final two years of medical school.

Glen McClain is a JD graduate at the College of Law and a MD student at UC's College of Medicine.

Glen McClain '22

LLM, Valentina Embraces Change

“If you are not doing something that you love, you are not doing your best. I'm just trying to follow that path, where I am helping others and I'm happy,” says Valentina Mora.

Valentina Mora, LLM student

Valentina Mora, LLM student

Ally Elevates Justice through work with the OIP

"I am so happy to be doing this kind of work and helping people with real lives and real stories, highlighting when the criminal justice system made a mistake," says Ally Anderson ('23).

Ally Anderson working at the OIP offices.

Ally Anderson, rising 3L student, and her son

Jacob Launches An Unlimited Future

Coming from a small town in southeastern Ohio to Cincinnati for law school, Jacob Hoback wasn't sure what to expect. With an internship at a top New York City law firm under his belt, he's headed to Florida after graduation for a prestigious federal clerkship.

Jacob Hoback and his supervisor work at a computer.

Sean's Competitive Drive helps him Cultivate the Complete Professional

For 3L Sean Nuernberger, all signs pointed toward a career as an NFL place kicker until he was sidelined by injuries. Now on the verge of graduating law school and joining a top law firm, it's his competitive drive that got him here.

Sean Nuernberger, a third-year law student, visits the law library.

Sean Nuernberger, ('22)

JD/LLM, Zamira Saidi's Fearless Pursuit of Justice

Zamira Saidi's pursuit of justice fuels her curiosity and desire to learn more. Growing up in Afghanistan and moving to the U.K. before heading to Cincinnati, she's just getting started. Read her full story here.

Janelle Thompson is Elevating Justice

At one point, being a lawyer was the last thing Janelle Thompson imagined becoming. On the verge of graduating law school and joining a top law firm, it was the desire to make a difference for others that led her here.

Janelle Thompson, JD 22

JD LawCat Chat Series

Episode 1

Episode 2

LLM LawCat Chat Series

LawCat Chat: My LLM Experience

LawCat Chat: Being Career Ready

Students in the News

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Education in Action - JD Summer Video Series