Attorney, Scholar, Professor Michael Solimine’s 30+ Years in the Legal World
Before Professor Michael Solimine’s scholarship was cited by the Supreme Court of the United States, the Supreme Court of Ohio, and Iowa Supreme Court; before he became Cincinnati Law’s Donald P. Klekamp Professor of Law; and before he was awarded the University of Cincinnati’s 2017 Provost Faculty Career Award, he had developed an interest and passion for the law. Coming from a family of attorneys (both his dad and older brother were lawyers), Solimine felt a kinship with the legal world, deciding to major in political science when he attended Ohio’s Wright State University. He recalls his college years, remembering that “even back then I was interested in legal issues, and I was particularly interested in how political scientists . . . and other social scientists examine the legal system.”
Upon completing his undergraduate studies in 1978, Solimine was off to Northwestern University School of Law. While there, he made the dean’s list and served as Articles Editor for the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology.
Honing his Interest in Civil Litigation
Although his knowledge and expertise cover many areas of law and legal studies, Professor Solimine is most recognized for his scholarship on civil litigation. His interest in this field grew when he took relevant classes in law school and later when he “clerked for a federal judge (Judge Walter H. Rice, United States District Court, Southern District of Ohio) and worked for him on both criminal and civil matters. Most of my work for him was on the civil side. After I finished my clerkship I practiced law for a firm [Porter, Wright, Morris, and Arthur] and did civil litigation.”
In 1986 Solimine transitioned to academia. Over the last three decades he has built a career defined by a devotion to teaching, research and serving the academic and professional communities. As a teacher, he is known as a professor who can translate “legalese into English” as he has transformed seemingly abstract concepts into comprehensible lessons.
With regard to research, Professor Solimine is a nationally and internationally recognized scholar in the American civil litigation systems, including civil procedure, federal courts, conflict of laws, as well as election law. His scholarly work consists of six books (a monograph on federal courts (Greenwood Press), a casebook on appellate practice (West Publishing), two casebooks on election law (Carolina Academic Press), two books for judges and lawyers on civil practice in Ohio courts (LexisNexis), and over 60 substantial articles, as well as numerous book reviews and shorter essays. His articles have been published in both peer-reviewed journals (e.g., Journal of Legal Studies, Supreme Court Economic Review) and in the law reviews of the top-ranked law schools in the United States (e.g., Michigan Law Review; Wisconsin Law Review; North Carolina Law Review; Ohio State Law Journal; Cornell International Law Journal; Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy). He has been invited to participate in and has published in 20 symposia, delivered scholarly papers at annual meetings of the Association of American Law Schools, and the Midwest Political Science Association, and by invitation contributed essays to academic blogs.
Professor Solimine has received four separate recognition awards from the College of Law for his scholarship. And in spring 2017 he was honored with the university’s Faculty Career Award, presented to a member of the faculty who has worked to make UC a high-quality education and research-focused environment.
The character of his work is reflected in the numerous times his work has been cited and discussed in other books and articles-- over 2000 books and articles and counting. Also, his work has been cited in the decisions of numerous federal court decisions (including the U.S. Supreme Court), and by the state supreme courts of Ohio and Iowa.
Through all of his success Solimine has retained his passion for his studies in political science. He recently co-wrote an academic book, Understanding Election Law, with professors Michael Dimino, Commonwealth Law School, Widener University, and Bradley Smith, Capital University Law School. Solimine ‘s input for this book can be traced back to his college years. “I remember, all these years back in my undergraduate, that I took a really good class called ‘Political Parties.’ There was a segment in it that explored how the state and federal governments regulate parties, the campaign process, and fundraising. It was very interesting to me, and so when I came back into the academic world, I wrote on the subject. And to make a long story short, I ended up collaborating on a casebook.” Understanding Election Law was published by Carolina Academic Press in 2016.
Professor Solimine is always finding new subjects of interest. At present, he is working on an academic paper about the “three judge district court.” He explains that this a court that hears “a small number of cases, of a certain type, that are litigated at the trial level by three judges.” The three judges give a verdict, and if it is appealed, the case goes directly to the Supreme Court of the United States. Solimine’s work will illuminate the history and legal specifics of this little-known feature of the legal system.
Writer; Pete Mills