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College of Law Celebrates the Life of Professor Christo Lassiter

Cincinnati, OH—The University of Cincinnati College of Law community mourns the loss of Professor Christo Lassiter who died last Wednesday, October 25, 2017 after a prolonged illness. Professor Lassiter remained active in the classroom until just a few weeks before his death.

“We are saddened to lose one of our long-time colleagues,” said Verna Williams, Interim Dean and Nippert Professor of Law.  “Our faculty will not be the same without Christo.”

Professor Lassiter joined the College of Law in 1991. He also was a Professor of Criminal Justice at UC’s College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services.

Lassiter taught courses in criminal law, criminal procedure, antitrust and white collar crime. An award-winning teacher, Professor Lassiter was the recipient of the Goldman Prize for Excellence in Teaching on three occasions (1993, 2006, and 2008). He also received the Innovative Excellence in Teaching, Learning and Technology award in 1998.

Merging thought-provoking hypotheticals and meaningful discussion, Professor Lassiter challenged students to think harder while clarifying difficult legal issues. It was uncommon for a student to leave his class without having learned something.
 “He expounds the idea that law school is about ‘learning to think like a lawyer,’ ” wrote his students when nominating him for the 2008 Goldman Award.

Students also noted that Professor Lassiter “…demonstrated over and over that he genuinely cared about student education and their professional experiences. He was always eager to help, whether judging Moot Court practice rounds or participating in panel discussions.”  Students commented that his intelligence, energy, theatrics and occasional song kept them coming back.

Professor Lassiter’s scholarship appeared in many legal journals and publications, including the International Journal of Law and Technology, the Michigan Journal of Race and Law, and the National Black Journal. Lassiter also lectured internationally on ethics, corruption, and countering terrorism for the Defense Institute for International Legal Studies, presenting in Malawi, Mali, and Argentina.

Professor Lassiter was active in the community and at the University.  For example, he served on the boards of the Kentucky Veterans Hall of Fame Foundation, Ohio GI Promise (member of the Governor’s Council), Housing Opportunities Made Equal, and the YMCA of Cincinnati. He was a member of Cincinnati Citizens Patrol Association, served as a university appeals officer and president of the Order of the Coif at the College of Law.

Professor Lassiter enjoyed commenting on the issues of the day, writing editorials, and appearing on television, providing a legal perspective for the Cincinnati Enquirer, the (now defunct) Cincinnati Post, local TV stations, FOX News Hosted by Shepherd Smith (national coverage), and Court TV.  In addition, he worked as a film consultant for The Affair, a joint HBO-BBC production concerning a false allegation of interracial rape against a black American soldier in World War II.

A sports aficionado, Lassiter coached Christo’s Angels, an intramural softball team; served as national chair for the United States Specialty Sports Association (USSAA) Track and Field Program; and coached track and field in a variety of settings, including Moeller and Walnut Hills High Schools.

Professor Lassiter came to the academy after serving in the Judge Advocate United States Marine Corps and in private practice. 

He will be missed at the College of Law. We will remember him as an insightful, hard-working colleague, as well as a mentor and friend to students.