Young Alumni Profiles

 

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Pro bono work leads to Animal Legal Defense Fund award

The Animal Legal Defense Fund conducted an investigation of a poorly-operated animal shelter located in Louisville, Ky., last year. The shelter, which was infested with mange and parvovirus, fed the animals food mixed with feces, and urine splayed across the shelter’s floor. Junis Baldon ’09 took the lead on the case in representing ALDF on a pro bono basis. The group sued local officials under Kentucky’s animal rights statute, and Baldon negotiated a settlement with neighboring municipalities to work out a shared animal shelter agreement.

“When we finished the case, it was nice talking to the folks at the Animal Legal Defense Fund and seeing some results in our case. This was one of those cases where you actually see visible results,” Baldon said. “You actually got to see the change you were working toward.” Read More

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Moritz institute for high-schoolers inspires Florida program

From earning badges as a Girl Scout to earning the President’s Volunteer Service Award as an undergraduate at University of Florida, Roshni Baldeo Phalgoo ’10 has always had a strong commitment to community service. It, however, wasn’t until she attended The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law and participated in Columbus’ Law and Leadership Institute, LLC that Phalgoo said she realized she could make a career out of her service.

“Service has always been a huge part of my life,” Phalgoo said. “I had always been involved in nonprofit organizations, but I never really understood that I could turn that into a career. I always thought that was just something you do on the side.” Read More

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Legislator to receive Outstanding Recent Alumna Award

Ohio state Rep. Kathleen Clyde ’08 is serving her second term in the Ohio House of Representatives, where she is working on issues such as creating a uniform, statewide process for dealing with and counting provisional ballots during elections, and co-sponsoring a bill to protect victims of domestic violence by keeping their home addresses confidential.

On Oct. 18, Clyde will be recognized for these efforts and more during The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law’s Alumni Awards Ceremony. Clyde is the 2013 recipient of the Outstanding Recent Alumna Award, which is given to an individual who has graduated in the last 10 years and whose accomplishments exemplify outstanding professionalism or loyalty to the Moritz community. Read More

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Drawing on clinic experience in his career

Every time he “walks the triangle” in the courtroom, Avonte Campinha- Bacote ’08 has his Civil Clinic experience from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law in his back pocket. That’s where Campinha-Bacote learned to perform one of the most common tasks for a trial attorney: When introducing evidence, first approach opposing counsel, then the judge, and, lastly, the witness.

“The clinics were the most helpful and practical classes that I took in law school,” Campinha-Bacote said. “I got to play attorney. And now in my practice, I’m remembering a lot of the things I learned from being in clinic.” Read More

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Alumna adjusts to civilian practice

After serving 11 years as an active duty Marine Corps officer, Melissa Palmisciano ’05 is happy with her decision to transition to civilian life. The mother of three and attorney in the Columbus office of Baker Hostetler said she now has more of a family life.

“You have to obviously figure out what your priorities are. My family is always going to be number one,” she said of her decision to practice civilian law. “But I also am dedicated to using my law degree and striving for that crucial work-life balance.”

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Bronze star recipient’s work has global reach

It hangs from his uniform on a red, white, and blue ribbon. A smaller star is fixed in its center. Engraved on the back of the bronze medal are the words “meritorious achievement.”

John Swords ’06 has a bronze star medal, an award bestowed on soldiers who exhibit meritorious achievement or valor in a combat environment. The current chief of administrative and fiscal law for U.S. Army Africa (USARAF) earned it during service as a defense counsel in Iraq from February 2010 to 2011.

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Serving those who serve the country

For Lt. Ann Tuddenham ’11, law school was part of the plan, and the U.S. Navy is where she found her place. Although she came from a “Navy family,” Tuddenham wasn’t sure that a career in the military was something she wanted to pursue until her first year at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.

“It wasn’t until I was a first-year student and figured out what they really do in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps that I thought it was something for me,” she said. Read More

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’08 grad represents clients in immigration cases

To many of his clients, Ryan Muennich ’08 serves as the only lifeline in their fight to continue pursuing their American dream, and it is not something the 30-year-old immigration attorney takes lightly. Once he gets a call from a potential client seeking immigration assistance, Muennich immediately jumps into research mode. All facts and cases are reviewed ahead of time.

“Some attorneys may not want to do that type of research until they’re actually retained. But I’ve found that doing it beforehand makes me more knowledgeable about the case, and I can really explain things to the potential client in a clearer way,” Muennich said. “A really high percentage of people that I have consultations with end up hiring me, in part, because I’m prepared to discuss their issue in detail.”

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tiffany smith

Free to empower consumers: Brain surgeries led alumna to start own company

Hit with a painful chronic medical condition that required three brain surgeries and unsure if big firm life was for her, Tiffany Smith ’09 did what anyone would do: She became her own boss.

Working at a prominent law firm had been a personal goal for Smith. Get through law school, join a firm as an associate and work her way up the ladder — that was the path she planned to take. However, during her time at law school, Smith encountered a road block that she could never have anticipated. She was diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia, a chronic pain condition that sends pain signals from a nerve in the face to the brain, ultimately forcing her to rethink her entire law career.

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Alumna works to end poverty in Dayton area

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, more widely known as the Stimulus Act, was passed by the United States Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama in February 2009. Established in response to the economic crisis, one of the act’s main objectives was to create new jobs and save existing ones.

Cherish Cronmiller ’06 was hired under the act, and her career goal aligns with its mission to improve economic stability for Americans. “I think poverty is a major issue, so helping people be self-sufficient is a major thrust and something I definitely feel pretty passionate about,” she said.

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Legal skills put to test in military, on campaign trail

From courts-martial to civil litigation and from camouflage to a suit and tie, Wesley Duncan ’06 has moved out of the “green zone” in Baghdad to the campaign trail in Nevada.

Duncan, an attorney at Lee A. Drizin, Chtd. in Las Vegas, who is now an elected member of the Nevada State Assembly, served as an active duty Judge Advocate General in the United States Air Force from 2007 to 2011. During that time, he was stationed at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas and was deployed to Baghdad, where he worked at a forward operating base (FOB) that was one of Saddam Hussein’s former headquarter buildings.

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Mascaro negotiates labor deals for happiest place on earth

While a score of her classmates are probably settled at law firms, Briana Seagriff Mascaro ’10 opted to work somewhere that has more flying carpets and mice than an ordinary office.

Mascaro, a labor relations manager for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S. located in Lake Bueno Vista, Fla., joked of “The Most Magical Place on Earth,” “I drank the Kool-Aid long ago” because she worked for the company even before law school.

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Alumnus humble about breaking up large drug rings

Run Vincent Chiu’s ’04  name through a quick query on the Internet, and one will find headlines screaming with sensationalism – “Convicted Felon Found Guilty of Drug and Weapons Charges in Case Involving a Machine Gun and Grenade Launcher”; “One Tampa and Four Orlando Area Men Charged with Selling ‘Cut’ for Cocaine and Heroin” or “Convicted Felon Sentenced to 15 years for Gun Possession.”

Yet, the 2004 graduate of The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law is humble when it comes to discussing his work as an assistant United States attorney in Orlando.

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bodamer

Pro bono work leads to political asylum, clean energy cases

Pro bono work has been part of Benton B. Bodamer’s ’06 practice since day one.

The 2006 graduate of The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law is a senior corporate associate in the Boston office of Weil, Gotshal & Manges, and he worked in the firm’s Dallas office before that. Bodamer is thankful to work for a firm that values pro bono work. Weil expects its attorneys to give at least 50 hours annually.

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Program helps graduate build unique solo practice

Domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and human-trafficking – all are areas many lawyers are hesitant to pursue due to financial constraints, Micaela Deming ’09 says. Perhaps that is why the Columbus attorney’s focused practice developed rapidly.

A year after graduating from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, Deming participated in the first group of the Columbus Bar Incubator Program, a support system for eight aspiring solo practitioners.

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Moritz grad, veteran, marathoner focuses work in Brazil

David Wilson ’10 let out a sigh when reminiscing about his time spent with a law firm in São Paulo, Brazil. Remembering not only the countless hours reading and preparing documents, but also the beaches and passion Brazilians had for the World Cup in 2010, he said, “I fell in love with the people and the culture.”

The Piketon, Ohio, native, a 2010 graduate of The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law and a 2011 graduate of the Fisher College of Business, initially traveled to the country through Fisher’s Emerging Markets Field Study program.

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Alumna balances public interest, industry needs in work

When appointed officials of the Public Utility Commission of Texas have a contested case before them, they turn to Katherine Gross ’08 for help.

The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law alumna is a commission advising attorney at the PUC, the agency that regulates Texas’ electric and telecommunication utilities, implements legislation, and resolves consumer complaints. She researches issues and advises the three commissioners responsible for making decisions that affect Texans on a daily basis.

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The road less traveled

Henry Schuck ’09 opened his bedroom door and padded down the hallway of the two-story home in the Short North Arts District. He followed the telephone lines and wires snaking through the house to the master bedroom, where a handful of college students were busy starting their work day at the worldwide headquarters of DiscoverOrg. Two more employees camped out at the kitchen table.

“I would schedule my classes so I wouldn’t start until 3 or 4 p.m.,” said Schuck, a 2009 graduate of The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. “There were five people in that bedroom from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day. It stayed that way until I finished law school.”

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Bohnert wins key death penalty stay

Allen Bohnert ’06 looked up from his desk at the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Southern District of Ohio to see four grinning externs in his doorway.

U.S. District Court Judge Gregory L. Frost had just ordered a stay of execution for their client, Kenneth Smith, on the basis that it was substantially likely they could prove Ohio has an unconstitutional execution policy when considered through an equal protection claim under the Fourteenth Amendment.

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Sanchez  lives public interest dream

Shary Enid Sanchez ’09 is the American Dream personified. Having grown up in the Bronx and raised by a single mother who migrated from Puerto Rico, what the future held for Sanchez was a big question. Today, she is a staff attorney for the HIV Law Project in New York City.

“I knew I wanted to be a lawyer to affect change and assist disenfranchised people,” Sanchez said. “Growing up poor, I was always a little more mature and a little more adult than my age. Sometimes the services in my community were not the best and it angered me. I wanted to serve the community I came from and provide high quality skills to those who need it.”

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