Cincinnati Law

Opening Statement

a message from the Dean

Verna L. Williams, JD
LAW-College of Law

Dear Friends,

As I write this letter, our students, faculty, and staff are settling into our new space, having made a big move from the corner of Clifton and Calhoun to the heart of campus.   Steps away from Lindner College of Business and Langsam Library, the College has views of Campus Green on one side and Burnet Woods on the other.  The interior is bright and light-filled, with plenty of space for students to congregate, collaborate, and study.   In any given moment, a passerby might see students chatting on the social stairs, taking a course in the multi-purpose room, or getting ready for class in one of the many study rooms overlooking the atrium.  Simply put, the new building is brimming with activity and possibility, fitting attributes for this dynamic law school. 

While the College starts a new chapter, I also am turning a page, leaving Cincinnati Law to lead Equal Justice Works, a national nonprofit organization that provides public interest fellowships for junior attorneys.   Making this move means saying goodbye to the warm and welcoming community that has been my home for the past 21 years.  

Serving as dean these past five years has been the proverbial icing on the cake.  What a pleasure and privilege to work with dedicated staff and faculty to provide students the excellent education they deserve.  Together, we have advanced the College’s mission in important ways: 

  • The academic profile of entering students, bar passage rate of graduating students, and post-graduation employment rate of students has increased.  
  • We’ve added a new degree to our academic program – an online master’s in legal studies specializing in business law, which has grown each term.
  • Motivated by the turbulent summer of 2020, we have focused on creating a more inclusive college by such means as the Bias-Related Incident Tool to track and address student complaints, modifying teaching evaluations to assess instructor success implementing inclusive practices, and training faculty and staff about best practices in equity in the context of race, sexual orientation, and disability.
  • In partnership with the Hamilton County Court Clerk’s office, we established the Help Center bringing UC attorneys, law students, as well as College of Allied Health Sciences Master of Social Work student interns together to assist unrepresented litigants. Building on that successful program, we created the Legal Access Clinic, which launches this fall, to serve the many Cincinnatians lacking legal representation.  

These are only our most recent achievements, building upon such successes as developing post-graduate fellowships in corporations, naming the Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice for the late Sixth Circuit Judge Nathaniel R. Jones, providing scores of local businesses with free legal assistance through the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic, and exonerating 34 wrongly convicted persons through the Ohio Innocence Project.  

Looking back over our trajectory these past few years, some of which were the most difficult time in recent memory, I am extremely proud of what we’ve accomplished and grateful for the support of our community in making so much possible.  I look forward to seeing the progress the next few years will bring.  



Verna Williams
Dean and Nippert Professor of Law



Giving back, creating opportunities

New College of Law building atrium.

Gift names new UC College of Law building atrium

A University of Cincinnati alumnus has made a gift of $500,000 to the new University of Cincinnati College of Law building. H.C. Buck Niehoff, JD ’72, HON ’11, is honoring his former law firm, Peck, Shaffer & Williams LLP, by naming the two-story atrium.

Lynn Fisher and Lee Compton

Lynn Fisher remembered as a trailblazer

The thud of a book falling on the floor each night was a regular occurrence during the 38-year marriage of Lynn Toby Fisher and John Lee Compton. Fisher, JD ’73, worked long hours as a corporate attorney at Kaye Scholer LLP (now Arnold & Porter LLP) in New York City, and would often fall asleep reading, dropping her book.

Sadly, Fisher passed away in March 2020. Lee Compton, her husband, is honoring her work and generous spirit with a $1 million gift to Cincinnati Law creating the Lynn Toby Fisher ’73 Scholarship Fund. 

The Thayer family

Turning heartbreak into justice

In the case of an inspiring set of circumstances at the UC College of Law, two tragedies have shown that they can be melded into an uplifting outcome, one that takes pain and loss and turns it back into hope. That outcome has a name: the Thayer Fellowships within the Ohio Innocence Project. It’s a sponsored learning opportunity within UC Law that brings second-year students into a key real-world learning environment. The students take much of what they have been exposed to in the classroom and apply it by digging into actual cases of potential wrongful conviction that are being looked at by OIP.

Alumni in Politics:
Making a difference at the local, state, and national levels

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Next Lives Here

New faces, new initiatives

The College of Law launched a number of new initiatives and welcomed new staff.

2022 College of Law Hooding Ceremony

2021-2022: Year in Review

Take a look back at accomplishments and highlights from 2021-2022.

Archival image of the Corner of Clifton and Calhoun

Last year on the corner

2022 marks the College's last year on the corner of Clifton and Calhoun. Take a moment to look back on our history

ECDC Student counsels a client

ECDC Client Highlights

UC Law's Entrepreneurship & Community Development Clinic supports local businesses and entrepreneurs each year. Take a look at some client highlights.



  • John Cobey '69 was recently appointed by the Ohio Bar’s Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law Section Council to be chairperson of a task force designed to oppose proposed legislation that encourages fraudulent wills. 


  • Judge Alice McCollum '72, Montgomery County (OH) Probate Court, retired in 2020 after 42 years of service.
  • Diane Fellman '75 was appointed to the California Wildfire Safety Advisory Board by California Governor Newsom.
  • The Hon. Marianna Brown Bettman '77 was awarded the 2020 John L. Muething Lifetime Achievement in Law award.
  • Robert Colby '79, Chattanooga Air Pollution Control Bureau Director, will retire after 40 years of service.
  • Barb Howard ’79 became chair of the American Bar Association House of Delegates.


  • Retired Miami County Municipal Court Judge Elizabeth Simms Gutmann '84 has been elected President of the Board of the Miami County YMCA and Co-chair of the campaign to build a new $15 million YMCA facility in Piqua, Ohio.
  • Chancellor Pamela A. Fleenor '86 was recently named president-elect for the Eleventh Judicial District, Tennessee.
  • Squire Patton Boggs is pleased to announce that W. Breck Weigel '85 has joined the firm’s global Litigation Practice Group in Cincinnati after spending the last 11 years at GE Aviation.
  • Congratulations to Linda Strite Murnane '81 for being inducted into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame Class of 2021.
  • Linda E. Maichl '89, Jeffrey F. Peck '82, and  Joseph P. Thomas '82 of Ulmer & Berne LLP received honors in the 2022 edition of Benchmark Litigation
  • Ohio Super Lawyers recognize Ulmer attorney Jeffrey F. Peck '82 in 2022 Lists.
  • Ohio Chamber of Commerce CEO Steve Stivers announced the hiring of Eric H. Kearney '89 as the director of diversity and inclusion for the chamber. In addition to the part-time position with the Ohio Chamber, Kearney will continue in his role as the CEO and president of the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky African American Chamber of Commerce.


  • The Ohio State Bar Foundation (OSBF) announced the induction of Charles Hollis '97 to its honorary Fellows Program.  Charles established the Hollis Law Firm LLC in Cincinnati in 2013 as a solo practitioner in the areas of personal injury and immigration.
  • Congratulations to Kevin Vance '98 who was recently named Managing Partner of the Boca Raton, FL office of Duane Morris LLP, an international law firm headquartered in Philadelphia.  Kevin, a partner with the firm since 2010, practices in the area of labor and employment law.
  • Tucker Ellis LLP is pleased to welcome Timothy R. Krogh '92 as intellectual property counsel in its Cleveland office. With more than 20 years of experience guiding international businesses in how to use IP to grow their chemical and materials businesses, Mr. Krogh is known as a subject-matter expert in harvesting innovations into well-protected patent rights, trademarks, and copyrights.
  • Susan Street Whaley '99 has been apointed Procter & Gamble's Chief Legal Officer.


  • Stephen Worth '08 joins Schneider Downs as state and local tax shareholder.
  • Congratulations to Sarah Glassmeyer '02 for starting a new position as Legal Tech Curator at the Reynen Court. 
  • Cintas Corporation recently promoted Deputy General Counsel-Litigation Christy Nageleisen '03 to the newly created position of Vice President of Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) and Chief Compliance Officer.
  • Dentons Bingham Greenebaum hires Kate Erdel '08 as counsel in their Indianapolis office.
  • Jeanette Skow '05 is among six up for election to USA Swimming Board of Directors at annual business meeting. 
  • John F. Bennett '01 of Ulmer & Berne LLP received honors in the 2022 edition of Benchmark Litigation
  • Lauren Gray '07 was one of 36 women featured in PRWeek. 
  • Congratulations to Patrick Hayes '08, for being recently elected to Partner at the law firm of Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLP. Patrick serves as leader of the firm’s Investment Management practice, representing and supporting advisers in the development and administration of their compliance programs. 
  • Christie Kuhns has been appointed the President and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio.


  • Ulmer Attorney Jason A. Snyder '12 joins 4 Paws For Ability Board of Directors.
  • Lawrence and Associates is pleased to welcome Renata Xavier '19 as their associate, practicing in bankruptcy and social security. Renata is a licensed attorney in both the United States and Brazil. 
  • Yinan Zhang '13 recently joined Credit Suisse and is working for their joint venture securities company in Beijing.
  • Jessica Nguyen '19 joins Sandler Law Group as Associate Attorney.
  • Jesse Jenike-Godshalk '11 was recently promoted to partner at the law firm, Thompson Hine LLP.        
  • Melissa A. Springer '18 joins Ulmer & Berne LLP's Product Liability Practice Group  as an associate. 
  • The PR Team at Locke Lord is pleased to announce that Nina Vachhani '13 has been elected as Partner. Nina will concentrate her practice on complex intellectual property litigation and regulatory matters, with a primary emphasis on large-scale pharmaceutical patent actions under the Hatch-Waxman Act.
  • Critchfield, Critchfield & Johnston, Ltd. is pleased to announce that it has elected Samuel J. Warden '11 to the firm’s membership effective January 1, 2022. Warden has litigated a wide variety of cases throughout Ohio, but has particular experience dealing with insurance matters, personal injury cases, workers’ compensation matters, and real estate issues. 
  • Lawrence & Associates is happy to announce that attorney Robert Citak '18 has joined the firm as an associate attorney specializing in worker's compensation. Citak is bi-lingual and will help with the firm's growing Spanish speaking population. Citak’s prior legal experience includes Family Law, Employment Law, and general Civil Litigation.
  • Portland State names Rebecca "Becca" Lawrence '13 as as Assistant Vice President of Equity and Compliance in the Office of Global Diversity and Inclusion. She will serve as PSU's Title IX coordinator and will oversee the civil rights complaint resolution process. 
  • Evan Toebbe ’14 has been promoted to partner at the international law firm Squire Patton Boggs. Evan is a partner in the global Corporate and Financial Services Practices, providing guidance and practical solutions to clients in a variety of industries and matters. 
  • Cuni, Ferguson & LeVay Co., L.P.A. is pleased to announce Ian A. Thomas '15, Esq.’s promotion to Partner of the firm.


  • Ulmer & Berne LLP is pleased to share that attorney Samuel Botnick '20has been elected President of the Board of Central Kosher, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting kosher accessibility in Cincinnati, southern Ohio, and neighboring states through supervision, certification, education, and research.
  • Megan M. Dollenmeyer '20 joins Ulmer & Berne LLP's Business Law Practice Group as an associate.
  • Faruki PLL (Faruki+) is pleased to welcome Greg Magarian '21 back to the firm, continuing to practice in the Cincinnati office. Greg will represent clients facing a variety of complex issues, including breach of contract, business and commercial litigation, and business torts.
  • The Cincinnati Law firm of Keating Muething & Klekamp PLL welcomes attorney Edward I. Rivin '20 as an associate in the firm's Business Representation & Transportation Group. 


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We're making big moves

With six light-filled floors in an 116,000+ square-foot building, we'll unleash our potential like never before by providing a 21st century home for the future generations of lawyers and leaders to define what’s Next. Check out our new home.