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Elif Dalboy Learns About US Law As First Law Student at Hamilton County Legal Help Center


At many universities in this country, opportunities for international students can be hard to come by. Fortunately, Cincinnati Law’s LLM program encourages and enables its students from around the world to gain practical experience in the American legal system. One such student, Elif Dalboy, has become the first LLM student to volunteer at the Hamilton County Municipal Court Help Center.

Dalboy was raised in Izmir, Turkey. She is a graduate of Dokuz Eylul University, where she earned her Bachelor’s of Law. She is now pursuing her Masters at Ankara University, focusing on private international law, particularly where it pertains to conflict-of-law issues, refugee law, and citizenship law.

She is now here at UC to learn more about the American legal system.

The Help Center was established in fall 2017 in order to provide more access to the legal system for low-income Cincinnatians who cannot afford expensive legal advice. It has already provided cost-free assistance to thousands.

Dalboy speaks directly to these citizens-in-need, ensuring that they are given the proper paperwork. She learns from the center’s director, attorney Rob Wall (a Cincinnati Law graduate). Most of the cases Dalboy deals with involve landlord-tenant disputes and small claims.

Dalboy calls her experiences in the Help Center “eye opening.”

She says, “as a foreign LLM student I chose to volunteer at the Help Center to learn the judicial system firsthand. I can now confidently say that I know how to file a small claims complaint, I know the main steps of an eviction, and I’ve learned other procedural issues and some details that you cannot learn at law school.

At the Help Center, Dalboy has the opportunity to speak directly to citizens in need of assistance, ensuring that they are given the proper materials or paperwork to address their questions. She works closely with Rob Wall, learning the intricacies of the law. Most of the cases Dalboy handles involve landlord-tenant disputes and small claims. "I encounter a wide range of legal issues and have a chance to see real-life legal disputes. I prepare written informational resources that deal with a wide range of legal issues. I provide forms and help self-represented people understand and easily navigate the complex court system.

Overall, I highly recommend volunteering at the Help Center for future LLMs.”

She was once asked to sit with a magistrate and observe a proceeding. She notes that in Turkey, "we don't have that much leniency. You cannot just go and sit next to the judge."

Once she has completed the LLM program, Dalboy has her eyes set on making major inroads in the legal field. She plans to stay in the United States, preferably in New York City. She would like to practice American law and is also interested in providing legal advice to startups and businesses involved with venture capital.

Her expertise in international law, studies here at Cincinnati Law, and experience in the Help Center have readied her and will certainly give her an advantage!

 

Opportunities and Knowledge Abound at Ms. JD Leadership Conference; Ayesha Haq Shares Thought on her Experience


Ms. JD is nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that is “dedicated to the success of women in law school and the legal profession.” Last fall, the organization hosted its inaugural National Women’s Law Students Organization (NWLSO) Leadership Academy at Harvard Law School, inviting a small group of law students with outstanding achievements to come and learn about the challenges and opportunities facing women in the legal community.

Second-year law student Ayesha Haq was one of the 45 individuals (selected from over 200 applicants) from across the country to attend the event.

On March 4, 2017 she gave a TEDx talk, “Unpacking the Meaning of Oppression” that examined the identities of Muslim women and the pervasive cultural narratives that surround these identities. See the full talk: UCTEDX

Haq is an active leader in the student body: she serves as president of UC’s chapter of the American Constitution Society; she founded and serves as president of the Muslim Lawyers’ Association; she acts as Diversity Chair for UC Law Women. She is also a Fellow with the Ohio Innocence Project.

The NWLSO required applicants to explain how they seek to affect the condition of women within their particular community. Haq’s application highlighted similar concerns to those given in her recent TEDx talk, expressing how she “wanted to change the narrative of understanding Muslim women.” She recalls first coming to the College of Law, and initially feeling worried that she was the only JD student wearing a hijab. As she began dialogue with other students, however, she gained confidence and founded the school’s chapter of the Muslim Lawyer’s Association, where she leads students with concerns similar to her own.

The NWLSO was impressed with Haq’s application, and, thus, she began her journey.

At the Leadership Academy Haq took advantage of many opportunities to learn about how to address challenges women face in the legal field. She learned about the urgent need for women to negotiate better salaries in order to address the issue of gender pay-gaps. Haq also learned from experts with a range of expertise. For instance, she participated in a seminar hosted by Diane Darling, a fulltime networking specialist, who guided the students in learning how to use body language to exude confidence and control professional situations.

Haq learned that men tend to “make themselves larger” in rooms, while women tend to contract. Women in professional settings benefit from breaking the habit of contracting, as taking about more space allows them to nonverbally display their confidence and expertise.

Haq remains committed as ever to social justice and the narratives of Muslims. Her views on these issues are highly nuanced as she observes historical tensions between liberalism and religion. She notes that in a nation like France, secularism is a potent force, making Muslim integration a difficult matter. Still, she focuses primarily on the condition of Muslim American women, as her own experience lends her authority on the subject, and she can relate to others.

3L Ashton Tucker Shares What it’s Like to Win Her First Jury Trial


Working at the City of Cincinnati’s Prosecutor’s Office has been the most rewarding experience of my law school career. This is especially true after I received my limited license in July. When my office asked me to try a case to a jury, I jumped at the chance. Not only is this a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a law student, I’d also had a number of near misses – missed opportunities to work on a jury trial due to last minute plea deals and other unforeseen reasons. It felt like a great honor to be asked; that they would trust me with such immense responsibility was humbling. My supervisor (another Cincinnati Law grad, Chris Liu) handed me the file, promised me we’d try the case together (I still have to be supervised, naturally), and sent me on my way.

Of course, reality set in soon. I was terrified. I’d had bench trials before, but the stakes are higher with a jury. You have to make eight people believe in your theory – in your interpretation of the facts. I’m a third-year law student and only two semesters removed from a Criminal Procedure class. What do I even know about the law anyway?

Well, the truth is, I knew more than I thought. I knew that preparation was key and so, I spent two days coming up with questions for direct examination. I knew from first year Advocacy not to read from a script, but instead, to remember an outline and speak authoritatively – even when your hands are shaking. I learned how and when to object from Evidence.

In the end, it was what I learned at Cincinnati Law that helped me win over the jury and get a conviction.

Learning from a Legal Giant: My Week with Professor Arthur Miller


By: Connor Organ, Third-year Law Student

Few law students have the opportunity to learn from a professor who wrote the leading casebooks and treatises on the course’s subject. Even fewer students are fortunate enough to learn from a professor who argued in nearly every landmark case related to the case over the last several decades. And even fewer law students have the opportunity to learn from a professor who can tell stories about sharing jokes and arguments with almost every Supreme Court justice in the last 25 years. But the Chesley Lecture at the College of Law granted less than a dozen students with an intimate learning experience from that professor, Arthur R. Miller.

Professor Miller, University Professor at New York University Law School, is the nation’s leading scholar in the field of civil procedure. He is co-author, with the late Chares Wright, of Federal Practice and Procedure. Miller and Wright are among the most-often cited and well-regarded law treatise writers in the field.

Over a five-day short course on aggregate litigation, Professor Miller discussed class actions and multidistrict litigation. More specifically, the course covered class certification, class types, class counsel, forum selection and rival proceedings, class settlements, and alternative dispute resolution related to aggregate litigation (only a fraction of which is summarized below).

He tied the course together with the theme of diminishing access to courts. As Professor Miller explained, “only a fool or an idiot sues for $30.” At the same time, however, how do you make a group of plaintiffs who individually lack feasible lawsuits whole? For one, plaintiffs might never be made “whole” since, as he explained, “the quest for the perfect is the enemy of the good.” Nonetheless, the law must support aggregate litigation that provides finality for the liable defendant and an adequate remedy for the wronged plaintiff. In Professor Miller’s view, Rule 23 and its case law no longer do that, which effectively denies wronged parties their day in court.

To illustrate his point, Professor Miller explained that although the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a) lists four prerequisites, there are two additional, unmentioned requirements that a class must satisfy to become certified: the class must be definable; and the representative has to be a member of the class. Those seemed pretty straightforward.

But then Miller pointed out several less obvious, yet critical prerequisites within Rule 23, which he helped write. He showed that while Rule 23 does not classify any other sections as prerequisites for class certification, in practice Rule 23(b) (which categorizes types of class actions) becomes a significantly difficult prerequisite. The difficulty derives from strategic implications that attorneys must consider when packaging their clients into one or more of Rule 23(b)’s three types. These implications involve preclusion, damages, opting out, and choice of law, among others. In effect, class type is critical because it sets parameters for class certification, the driving force of all class action litigation. And while this oversimplified summary is just one facet of Professor Miller’s course, it built the foundation for additional discussion on other important topics within the areas of class actions and MDLs.

Beyond explaining how policies shaped the laws of class actions and MDLs, how the law has developed, and how attorneys and courts apply the current law, Professor Miller interwove fascinating personal experience to draw the class’s attention and encourage unique perspectives. In doing so, he transformed the course from a difficult analysis of complex law to a consumable storyline from which practical application logically followed. I am grateful to Professor Miller for his time and insight into his area of expertise. As a down-to-earth intellectual, he entertained us and at the same time taught several practical, valuable areas of the law in just five days. My only complaint is that the course wasn’t longer.

Real-world Internship Solidified former OIP Fellow’s Desire to work in Indigent Defense


Chris Collman was an Ohio Innocence Project fellow during the last academic year and co-president of the College of Law’s Public Interest Law Group. He also worked in the Hamilton County Public Defender’s Office. Over the summer, he lent some help to John Kennedy, who was working on the Joshua Maxton case. A winner of the Clarence Elkins scholarship, Collman was one of five UC third-year law students selected to intern for the full year at the Indigent Defense Clinic through the Hamilton County PD office.

— By Chris Collman

Chris CollmanI was a fellow with OIP last year. I have been involved with the Hamilton County Public Defender’s office since January 2016.

First, I was with the Guardian ad Litem Division for a semester [providing services in Hamilton County Juvenile Court, investigating what solutions would be in the “best interests of a child” in cases where a complaint has been filed alleging a child to be abused, neglected, or dependent]. Then I was with the Felony Division for the summer and now work with the Indigent Defense Clinic, which allowed me to have my own municipal cases.

OIP was a wonderful experience that really cemented my desire to work in indigent defense. I also learned great investigative and client relation skills. Most important, it taught me the importance of conducting a thorough investigation early on because it only gets more difficult with time.

As for John’s (Maxton) murder trial, I helped review a bit of evidence, but that was it. It was a tremendous win for John, and having watched the case, I am confident that it was the correct decision.

OIP Internship Develops Criminal Defense Passion


Maxel Moreland was an Ohio Innocence Project fellow during the last academic year. During summer 2016, Moreland worked as a legal intern for the felony division, Office of the Hamilton County Public Defender, where he helped attorney and UC Law alum John Kennedy work on the case involving Joshua Maxton, an indigent client acquitted of murder. Moreland was one of five UC third-year law students selected to intern for the full year at the Indigent Defense Clinic through the Hamilton County PD office during the 2016/2017 academic year. Moreland also served as the inaugural president of UC Law’s National Association for Public Defense chapter, the first student chapter in the country.

By Maxel Moreland

Maxel MorelandHearing that Joshua Maxton was acquitted of all of his charges last year was elating! The entire Public Defender’s office was buzzing with excitement.

Last year, I assisted John Kennedy by looking through phone records and by attempting to track down a witness. I had previously reviewed phone records on a case for OIP, so it was great to use the skills I had already learned to work on an ongoing murder trial.

The phone records we received from the police ended up not matching those from the phone company. The inconsistency was addressed at trial and may have played a part in creating reasonable doubt in the minds of the jurors. Unfortunately, I could not track down the witness.

I started interning with the Hamilton County PD Felony Division during the summer. Mainly, I assisted felony attorneys with their cases, observed court, and argued bond hearings. As a fellow with the Indigent Defense Clinic (IDC), I was allowed to serve as a public defender with a truncated caseload. I handled cases from the moment they make it to the PD office until the end of trial or when the client takes a plea.

The Ohio Innocence Project provided me with the skills to conduct better interviews with clients and witnesses. It also taught me to think outside the box when it comes to constructing a defense for my clients.

My Ohio Innocence Project experience was life-changing and truly opened my eyes to the injustices served by our justice system. Pouring over these old cases and attempting to find new evidence of innocence is hard, but rewarding, work.

I think that I most enjoyed the investigatory aspect of the Ohio Innocence Project. It was always an adventure to seek out witnesses, especially adverse witnesses. The experience made me a more compassionate person and greatly strengthened my interviewing and interpersonal skills.

After working with the Ohio Innocence Project, it was refreshing to see a case conclude and receive that instant gratification. While the Ohio Innocence Project is a rewarding experience, it can be taxing to work on cases and know that they will not be resolved anytime soon. The work I do now with the IDC is incredibly fulfilling as I get to help clients at one of the hardest points of their lives while getting the instant gratification of completing a case.

The experiences that I have had with the Ohio Innocence Project and at the Hamilton County PD greatly influenced me and accelerated my passion for criminal defense work!

University of Cincinnati College of Law Bar Results Announced; Students Continue to Beat State-wide Average


82% of all Cincinnati LawTakers Pass the July 2017 Ohio Bar Exam

Cincinnati, OH—Today, October 27, 2017, the results of the July 2017 Ohio Bar Exam were released and the University of Cincinnati College of Law recorded an 82 percent passage rate for Cincinnati Law first time exam takers, outpacing the state’s first-time taker pass rate of 77 percent.

“Congratulations to our Cincinnati Law graduates who successfully passed the bar,” said Verna Williams, Interim Dean and Nippert Professor of Law. “We are so proud of you and what you have accomplished.  Passing the bar is not an easy feat; but through hard work, studying and determination, you did it. Good luck as you move forward with your career.”

The overall passage rate for Cincinnati Law’s bar exam takers was 81 percent. This rate exceeds the state-wide average passing rate of 70.9 percent.  Over 900 aspiring attorneys from across the state and the country took the July exam.

Applicants who successfully passed the examination and who satisfied all of the Supreme Court’s other requirements for admission will be invited to take the attorney oath of office on November 13, 2017 at 10:30 a.m. during a special session of the Supreme Court of Ohio at the historic Ohio Theatre in Columbus, OH.

A Summer Gig at the Courthouse: Alyssa Miller Shares her Experience


Alyssa Miller’s summer gig wasn’t spent working at a coffee shop, though lots of caffeine was probably involved. It wasn’t spent working at the library either – though research played a big role in her responsibilities. Miller’18 spent the summer working under Judge Melissa Powers, Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division.  Miller’s experience gave her insight into juvenile law, society, and the way the legal system affects vulnerable youth.

Miller explains that she was responsible for reviewing and presenting to Judge Powers “what happened at the lower levels of the court.”  Most juvenile cases are handled before a magistrate.   These are usually “cases in dependency, child custody, child support, and juvenile delinquency.”  The magistrate’s initial opinion can, however, meet an objection, and then these cases are bound for Judge Powers’ court.  “My job,” Miller says “was to read the transcripts and let the judge in on what happened in the transcript and in the lower court so that she could make an informed decision when hearing oral arguments.”

Miller expresses that she is glad to have taken UC’s Family Law course.  Through her studies she “learned a lot about custody, child support, and how the law works in those circumstances.”  Although she was unfamiliar with delinquency when she began the job, the Advanced Legal Research course proved useful, she says.  Completing the course gave her the skill set to research fields that were new to her. 

Miller’s work was not limited to the courtroom, however.  The Juvenile Court and Cincinnati Public Schools initiated a collaboration this summer to offer tutoring programs for children held in detention.  Miller continues to visit and help teach these youths multiple times each week.

“I work with juvenile delinquents in the female division,” says Miller.  She not only assists them with their homework but also offers substantive advice to help the detained youths better themselves.  She states, “It’s been a very positive experience to meet these young women and realize that they’re not bad people.  They come from bad circumstances—circumstances that you can’t even believe exist, and yet they still have positive outlooks on life.”

Miller believes that society experiences cycles of poverty and violence and that education is the key to reducing violent crime.  She explains that for young offenders, “it’s hopefully not too late for them to turn their lives around, before they enter the adult system. 

After completing her studies at Cincinnati Law, Miller aims to become an assistant United States Attorney.  She says that this has been her goal since the age of three, “although she didn’t know what it was called then.  I learned [the title] when I was seven, and I’ve been set on it ever since.”  With her experience at the Juvenile Court, she is on the right track.

by: Pete Mills, Cincinnati Law writer

Cincinnati Law Launches Academic Year; LLM Program Grows with First Students from Dual Degree Program


2017 Incoming Class

Cincinnati, OH— The 2017-2018 academic year opened as the College of Law welcomed the next generation of corporate attorneys, social justice leaders, immigration rights

activists, prosecutors and public defenders. The Class of 2020 includes 97 JD students and 17 LLM attorney students enrolled as of August 21, 2017.  

The first-year students represent 48 universities. Most (55%) are Ohio residents; 45% are from out of state, coming from 18 states, including California, Texas, Utah, Alabama, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.  The class has spent significant time living or studying abroad in places like Italy, Thailand, Armenia, India, France, Mexico, Belgium and Oman. They were, literally, born all over the world: in Canada, Ghana, the Republic of South Korea, Belarus and China. 

 

A Look at their Backgrounds

Interestingly, the class includes native speakers of German, Belarusian/Russian, Japanese, Hindi, and Armenian/Russian.  

Though many are recent graduates from undergraduate institutions, some come to law school after careers in other fields. One worked as a life insurance agent, a paralegal, a global IT specialist for Amazon, and a finance and human resources manager at a New York City start-up.

They have a wide range of hobbies. In addition to reading, they enjoy hiking, competing in mud runs, competitive Pokémon trading cards, home brewing, golf, and animal rescues. They also engage in baseball card trading, playing archery, studying languages, playing squash, running marathons, skiing, and cooking.

 

Law School Welcomes 17 LLM Students

The LLM (master’s degree) program for internationally-trained attorneys and law graduates continues to grow. Now in its sixth year, the LLM program boasts 17 attorney students, including several individuals who have returned for additional training.   

This year’s participants come from 11 countries: Saudi Arabia, Ghana, Kuwait, Italy, Nepal, Turkey, Colombia, Venezuela, Uganda, Jamaica, and China. The professional careers of the attorney students include positions as a manager at the National Pensions Regulatory Authority in Ghana; teaching assistant in law at the University of Ha'il (UoH) as well as a case investigator for the Saudi Arabian Industrial Development Fund; a civil and criminal law attorney in Italy; and an assistant specialist at the Development Bank of Turkey, focusing on international loan agreements. This year’s class also includes the first two students earning their LLM via our dual agreement with the University of Javeriana in Bogota, Colombia.

Their areas of interest are varied and include antitrust law, business law, criminal law, international law, corporate law, and human rights law.

LLM

Law Students' Work on US Supreme Court Case Pays Off; Brief Cited by Highest Court in the Land


Early in 2017, first-year students at the University of Cincinnati College of Law were invited to research a high-stakes question that was pending in the United States Supreme Court: when the prosecution chooses to pursue the death penalty against a defendant who has mental illness but cannot afford to hire counsel, does the defendant have the right to a mental health expert who is independent from the prosecution?

Since 1985, capital defense lawyers across the country have obtained such assistance as a matter of right under the Court’s landmark decision Ake v. Oklahoma. Nevertheless, the Alabama courts held there was no such right. In McWilliams v. Dunn, nationally-renowned attorney Steven Bright of the Southern Center for Human Rights asked the Supreme Court to correct that error.

The students jumped at the chance to research the expert appointment practices that have existed across the country since Ake was decided. Their research supported an amicus curiae brief filed by the National Association for Public Defense and other co-amici in McWilliams. Professor Janet Moore supervised the students in her role as chair of NAPD’s Amicus Committee, which she shares with Professor Jennifer Kinsley of NKU-Chase College of Law.

The students’ work paid off. On June 19, 2017, the Court ruled 5-4 that Ake clearly established the capital defendant’s right to a mental health expert who is sufficiently available to the defense and independent from the prosecution to effectively “assist in evaluation, preparation, and presentation of the defense.” The students were thrilled to see Justice Breyer’s majority opinion cite the NAPD brief as showing that the majority of jurisdictions have already adopted this principle.

In reflecting on the experience, many contributing students found it to be not only a valuable learning opportunity but a highlight of their first year at UC Law.

Francesca Boland“Assisting Professor Moore with research for the McWilliams brief was one of the highlights of my 1L year,” reflected rising second year law student Francesca Boland. “When I started law school, I never dreamed that before the first year was over I would provide research support for a Supreme Court brief. This was a fantastic opportunity to put my new skills into action and to get a taste of real lawyering. I am thrilled that the brief played a role in the Supreme Court win!”

David WovroshDavid Wovrosh expressed similar sentiments. “It was pretty surreal to see our work cited by the highest court in the land,” he said. “The research really tossed the principles we learn in the classroom into the thresher that is the practical application of law. It was an invaluable learning experience. I could never have imagined having access to such profound and impactful experiences my very first year!”

Marissa Lee also was enthusiastic about her experience: "I'm incredibly appreciative of Professor Moore for giving us the opportunity to do research for an NAPD amicus brief for the Supreme Court. My work allowed me to collaborate with my professor and fellow students outside of class, and my work had a sense of significance. We understood the importance of the case to the defendant in this case and to lawyers representing indigent defendants across the country."Marissa Lee

The students’ energetic response to the opportunity offered in the McWilliams case led to the formation of the College of Law’s Bearcat-NAPD Amicus Team. Students continue to actively assist Professors Moore and Kinsley with research and drafting as well as with the many administrative tasks required to conduct effective appellate advocacy. The team is therefore well-positioned to continue following the McWilliams case, which was remanded for further proceedings, and to assist in the many other cases across the country that raise questions about whether courts are enforcing the bedrock constitutional guarantees that the Supreme Court emphasized in Ake: “a fair opportunity to present [a] defense” and “to participate meaningfully in a judicial proceeding in which . . . liberty is at stake” – in short, “[m]eaningful access to justice.”