Law

Weaver Institute for Law and Psychiatry

For 20 years, legal and mental health scholars at the Weaver Institute have worked alongside Cincinnati Law students to study how psychiatry can help resolve legal matters and to explore social policies that impact both legal and mental health worlds. 

Founded with a generous gift from Glenn M. Weaver, MD (1921-2007), the Weaver Institute provides a range of opportunities—classes, symposia and public lectures—for law students and legal professionals to learn more about mental health law and how to incorporate its lessons into their legal practices. The Institute also promotes the teaching and scholarship of forensic psychiatry as it prepares attorneys to deal with psychiatric evidence in court, from criminal adjudication and civil cases to correctional decision-making and legislation.

Dr. Weaver, a leader in clinical and forensic psychiatry, spent his career promoting mutual understanding between doctors and lawyers. His namesake Institute focuses on offering students and professionals a distinctive and critically important mix of understanding, experience and perspective. 

“The Weaver Institute is actually the reason I came to UC Law, and I know my law school education would not have been the same without it. It is such a unique experience that very few law students are able to have across the nation.”

Olivia Luehrmann Weaver Fellow

Each Spring, the Weaver Institute offers fellowships to law students who will be starting their second year of study at Cincinnati Law based on academic merit, school performance and a demonstrated interest in mental health law. Fellowships carry an annual stipend, currently $6,000.

Through formal course work, special seminars with mental health professionals, guest lectures, meetings and community activities, Weaver Fellows learn about the identification, medical treatment and prevention of mental illness, along with the many ways in which mental conditions take on significance in the legal system.

Weaver Fellows are required to take three 3-credit-hour courses:

  • Mental Health Law I & II, which must be taken consecutively during the first and second semesters of the 2L year.
  • Introduction to Law & Psychiatry, which can be taken fall semester of the 2L or 3L year.

Weaver Fellows are also required to complete two credit-bearing independent research projects in conjunction with community partners. Projects require a commitment of approximately one half a day a week over the course of two semesters. Fellows begin their community involvement projects in the spring semester of their 2L year, then move to a new placement in their 3L year.

Current community placement partners include:

  • Hamilton County Common Pleas Mental Health Court
  • Hamilton County Common Pleas Veterans Treatment Court
  • Hamilton County Probate Court
  • Dr. Michael A. Gureasko (psychiatrist and addiction specialist)
  • Veterans Administration (outreach program for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury)
  • Summit Behavioral Center
  • Christ Hospital  (in-patient psychiatric unit)

How to Apply

If you are a prospective student or a 1L at Cincinnati Law, you can apply for a Weaver Fellowship during your 1L spring semester. In addition to completing an application [link to either an approved PDF or a version that students can download that is like this: ], you must submit:

  • a transcript
  • a resume
  • a writing sample
  • a personal statement explaining your interest in a Weaver Fellowship.

The Institute director selects applicants for in-person interviews, after which Fellows are selected.

Check with the Institute Director [email link] for an application and deadline schedule. Typically, applications materials are due in April and Fellows are selected in May.

Meet Our Staff

Valerie Gray Hardcastle, PhD, Scholar-in-Residence and Academic Director

Hardcastle’s research focuses on the intersection of neuroscience, psychiatry and ethics. In her position at the Weaver Institute, Hardcastle examines the implications that recent work in neuroimaging studies of truth-telling, memory, mental health vulnerabilities, predispositions for violence, prejudice and interpersonal skills have for the notions of responsibility, punishment, agency and privacy.

James A. Hunt, JD, Adjunct Professor and Administrative Director

Hunt, a practicing attorney with a special interest in mental health law, is an alumnus of Cincinnati Law. He has taught Introduction to Law and Psychiatry for more than 25 years.

The Glenn M. Weaver Foundation is an irrevocable charitable trust established in 1997 by the late Glenn M. Weaver, MD, for the purpose of supporting research and instruction in mental health law. The Foundation provides grants to Cincinnati Law to support the Weaver Institute, which was established in 1998 and memorialized by agreement with Cincinnati Law in 2009.

The Trustees of the Weaver Foundation are:

  • Ellen Weaver, daughter of founder Dr. Glenn Weaver, is a lifetime member of the Board
  • Dr. Corwin (Chuck) Dunn, Internist and Infectious Disease Specialist, Cincinnati, OH
  • Gordon Christenson, Dean Emeritus and University Professor Emeritus of Law
  • T. Stephen Phillips, Partner, Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP, serves as Board Secretary and Counsel
  • James Joo, VP & Senior Portfolio Manager, US Bank

As part of its mission as an educational organization, the Weaver Institute sponsors a wide variety of conferences, symposia and lectures, including the following:

Speaker Series: The Weaver Institute Speakers Series features a diverse group of law school faculty members, mental health practitioners and judges, who share their ideas, research and writing with the local and University community. The series includes monthly dinners with faculty and Fellows from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Medicine.

Workshops: The Weaver Institute also offers workshops and lectures in collaboration with other University centers and divisions, such as Cincinnati Law’s Center for Practice and the UC College of Medicine.

Glenn M. Weaver, M.D. (1921-2007) was an adjunct professor of law and a long-time friend of Cincinnati Law. A leader in clinical and forensic psychiatry, Weaver devoted his talents and energy to promoting mutual understanding between his medical specialty and the legal system. Since its inception in 1998, the Weaver Institute has endeavored to emulate the professional excellence, dedication to community service and wide-ranging intellectual curiosity that characterized Weaver’s professional and personal life.

Weaver’s medical career, which spanned more than six decades, included a lengthy tenure as the Director of the Department of Psychiatry at Cincinnati’s Christ Hospital and service as an expert witness in hundreds of trials and legal proceedings throughout the United States. In addition, Weaver’s skills as a physician and therapist forever impacted the lives of generations of patients.

Born and raised in Huntington, West Virginia, Weaver received his BS degree from the University of Cincinnati in 1943 and his MD from the UC College of Medicine in 1945. After completing an internship at St. Louis City Hospital, he served as captain in the US Army Medical Corps in Germany during the military occupation that followed World War II. He then returned to Cincinnati for his psychiatry residency, which included training at Cincinnati General Hospital, Longview State Hospital and Christ Hospital.

Weaver practiced clinical psychiatry in Cincinnati for the next 55 years. For more than 20 years, he served as an instructor in the Department of Psychiatry at UC’s College of Medicine. He later became Director of the Department of Psychiatry and Coordinator of Teaching and Psychiatry at The Christ Hospital.

His intense interest in the interaction between law and psychiatry led him to spend countless hours promoting a greater understanding of how the two areas intersect. A specialist in the field of forensic psychiatry since its development in the 1950s, he was a charter member of the Midwest Chapter of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law. In addition to treating outpatients and inpatients, Weaver served as a consultant and special examiner for local courts and agencies. In 1984, he became one of the first medical professionals in the region to be board-certified in forensic psychiatry.

He also served as president of the Cincinnati Society of Psychiatry and the Cincinnati Society of Neurology and Psychiatry. He was a member of the American Academy of Legal Medicine, the American Society of Law and Medicine, the International Academy of Law and Mental Health and the American College of Legal Medicine.

In 1986, Dr. Weaver began teaching Law and Psychiatry as an adjunct professor at Cincinnati Law. Weaver also took many law school classes, including Constitutional law, criminal law, torts, evidence, procedure and jurisprudence. Decades of law students knew Weaver as a fellow student, and students who took his course often had the startling experience of discovering that one of their teachers was also their classmate.

As a humanitarian and community servant, Weaver took leadership roles in dozens of neighborhood and community organizations. He felt that professional recognition and personal achievements were inconsequential unless the fruits of those achievements helped enlighten society and improve the human condition. His devotion to bettering the community was at the core of his vision for the Weaver Institute.

Weaver maintained an active psychiatric practice and continued to teach at Cincinnati Law until just three weeks before his death on Oct. 25, 2007. He was 86 years old.

“His vision for the Institute that bears his name, his drive to see it succeed and his passion for work at the intersection of law and psychiatry were inspiring,” said former dean Cincinnati Law Professor Louis Bilionis. “Evidence of Glenn’s insight and generosity can be found inside and outside the classroom, in our conferences and lectures and the scholarly publications produced by our faculty and students.”

Weaver was a thoughtful and ever-curious clinician, a dedicated teacher, an extremely generous man, an avid consumer and admirer of scholarship in science and the law and a superb exemplar of life-long learning. The Weaver Institute is honored to carry his name and proudly strives to promote the values exemplified by his exceptional life and career.

The College of Law and the Weaver Institute are thankful for the additional support of Weaver’s widow, Mary Ellen Weaver. A registered nurse, she has supported Weaver’s vision for the Institute and participated in making plans for its future.