This academic year started amid a pandemic that revealed deep inequities in health and employment, among other things. We witnessed police shootings of unarmed black and brown people around the country and an insurrection on the U.S. Capitol, while the Presidential election remains contested in some corners. These events and others demonstrated the continued vitality of our mission to educate and inspire leaders committed to justice and the role of law in society. As we end our fiscal year, I reflect on those events and the many accomplishments of the college of law during that time.
Below is a snapshot of the College of Law accomplishments in fiscal year 2021:
- At the Marx Lecture, Chicago-Kent Law Professor Bernadette Atuahene discussed how property tax regimes discriminate for the Marx Lecture.
- Georgetown University Law Center Professor Paul Butler examined state violence against Black people in his lecture “Chokehold: Policing Black Men in the Post-Trump Era.”
- Our Law Review hosted a symposium on the legacy of Judge Nathaniel R. Jones, featuring Dennis Parker, National Center for Law and Economic Justice CEO; Rutgers Law Professor Elise Boddie; University of North Carolina Professor Erika Wilson; and University of the District of Columbia Dean Renee Hutchins.
- On Constitution Day, University of California-Irvine Professor Rick Hasen discussed the Resilience of our Electoral System with Dean Williams.
- The Jones Center hosted the Inaugural Morelli Colloquy, "Belonging and Difference: Interdisciplinary Perspectives,” featuring scholars in law, the humanities, and social sciences.
- With six law schools, we organized, hosted, and taught in the online Law School Anti-Racist Coalition’s Teach-in for Racial Justice.
- In addition, students discussed difficult topics such as the January 6 insurrection, anti-Asian violence, and the Derek Chauvin verdict in “Urgent Conversations,” sponsored by the Jones Center.
- Students in our Ohio Innocence Project assisted in gaining new trials and release of two men serving over ten years for a crime they did not commit.
- Third year students TJ Robinson and Katie Basalla argued in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and secured a new trial for their client.
- In a first, a Cincinnati Law student earned Best Oralist in the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot Competition. Our team won an honorable mention for their brief.
- Students demonstrated why our trial advocacy program is among the nation’s best, advancing in several competitions this year.
- Professor Sandra Sperino was elected to the American Law Institute, the leading independent US organization producing scholarly work to clarify, modernize, and otherwise improve the law.
- Professor Meghan Morris was named an inaugural University Research Council Faculty Member.
- We offered the class of 2023 a new short course, Covid and the Law (affectionately known as Pre-L), an optional online course that introduced them to the law school experience during the summer.
- The Ohio Department of Higher Education approved our new master’s in law program, which will launch Spring semester 2022.
- In addition, this year the faculty reviewed our existing JD curriculum to determine its efficacy in training new attorneys. We expect a proposal by the start of the next academic year.
- Central Administration approved our new Legal Access Clinic, which will serve people earning too much to qualify for legal fees but not enough to afford their own attorneys.
The Student Bar Association challenged the administration and student body to move this College toward being an anti-racist institution. We reviewed those recommendations and those of the Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) group, and have made significant progress. For example, we:
- Launched the Bias Related Incident Tool (BRIT) in April 2021.
- Approved adding one question to student teaching evaluations to assess professor’s ability to foster an inclusive classroom environment beginning in fall 2021
- Designated a multicultural space in the current law building in fall 2021 and committed to ensuring there is a designated multicultural space in the new building.
- Information on these initiatives and more is available on our website here.
- The Ohio Innocence Project secured releases for two men, bringing OIP’s total exoneration number up to 33. In addition, OIP scored a legislative victory when Ohio’s Senate unanimously approved a bill requiring police to record interrogations.
- OIP also has partnered with P& G and Dinsmore to establish a fellowship for recent graduates of color to begin their professional careers at this project.
- 120 graduates walked across the stage at 5/3 Arena in a Hooding Ceremony you can see here. We also produced a keepsake video when being in person was uncertain, accessible at this link, featuring David Willbrand (’96) as keynote speaker.
- About 53% of the class has secured employment, an increase over this time last year.
Applications rose about 9%. At this writing, 135 students have submitted deposits to join the class of 2024, which overall has increased LSAT scores and undergraduate grade point averages.
In March, we broke ground on our new building! This new home, which we’ll occupy starting July 2022.
Senior Director of Alumni & Donor Experience, College Relations, College of Law