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Chicagoan Daryl Osuch '11 Finds Niche with OIP

Atypical life experiences led Daryl Osuch ’11 to Cincinnati Law. Reared and educated in Chicago, IL, he matriculated at the University of Chicago, majoring in American History. His major required him to take classes in other fields, however, which led Osuch to take a number of Japanese history classes. This subject piqued his interest so much he decided to live there.

Thus, Osuch relocated to Japan after college graduation, where he lived for four years. In talking about his reasons for the move, he said it was a combination of the desire for an atypical life experience and a love of travel. In Japan, Osuch taught English to native Japanese speakers and occasionally tended bar. When a Japanese acquaintance learned of his intention to go to law school (eventually), Osuch ended up with an opportunity for an internship in Osaka. He spent two years at a law firm, first as an unpaid intern and later in an administrative assistant-type role. Osuch speaks fondly of the experience, emphasizing the volume of information he was able to learn. “I learned people who have no problems don’t go to law firms,” he says, “and that the people who do go to the firms are often the ones you can actually help.”

Sold on UC Law

The experience working in the Japanese firm was such a positive one for Osuch that he applied to law schools while he was still in Japan. He describes his decision to attend the College of Law as one that was initially based on geography. Basically, not only is the trip to Chicago a mere five-hour drive—considerably shorter than a flight from Japan—he also enjoyed the school’s proximity to larger cities, one in which he planned to work after graduation. Osuch recounts being “sold” on the law school, though, after reading the biographies of UC Law professors and the strong experiences they bring.

Osuch speaks fondly of his time at the law school so far, emphasizing that he had a really good, satisfying first year. “I really enjoyed law school; even more than I had expected to enjoy it,” he laughed. “And I had expected to really enjoy it.” In particular, Osuch enjoyed the classes he had with Professors Chris Bryant, Darrell Miller, Marianna Bettman, and Jenny Carroll.

It was criminal law in particular that stood out for Osuch over the course of his first year. As a result, he began to look into the Ohio Innocence Project (OIP) as an option for a summer position. In a sentiment that resonates with many, especially those in public interest-related fields, Osuch explained that he was “drawn by a sense of doing what is right.” He continued, “The close connection between the work you are doing—the motions you’re writing, the research you’re doing, and the lives you're affecting—is an incredible draw. You may not be able to help everyone, but for the people you can help, you can change their lives dramatically.”

Osuch is now a 2009-2010 Ohio Innonence Project (OIP) Fellow. He spoke of his responsibilities in that role with intense passion and pride. He and his assigned partner, Ryan Houston, have tackled an intense caseload in addition to working on several specific cases being handled by Mark Godsey, Professor of Law and Director of the Lois and Richard Rosenthal Institute for Justice/Ohio Innocence Project. He described his workload as “daunting but manageable,” and says that, while it can be intimidating on some of the bigger cases, it is also incredibly exciting.

“One of the many great things about OIP,” according to Osuch, “is that each fellow has a unique experience.” He explained that there are three staff attorneys, along with Professor Godsey, who supervise, and the attorneys give a lot of deference to the fellows’ opinions about the cases on which to work. The individualized experience each fellow receives, because of the specific cases to which he or she is assigned, provides for an atmosphere which is constantly interesting. The fellows discuss their cases with one another, Osuch explained, in order to help one another determine what cases to investigate or how to investigate certain issues, and to get outside opinions from others who may not be as familiar with all of the details of a particular case.

As a result of his experience with OIP, Osuch has found what he truly wants to do. He expressed a strong desire to work in the area of criminal defense because of the work he has been able to be a part of this summer. “I didn’t come to law school with a specific focus in mind,” he said, “but this experience has been really influential.” Indeed, Osuch emphasized the strong impact his summer experience has had on his plans for the future, including next summer and beyond.

Author: Lindsay Mather, '11