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LLI's CEO Honored by Ohio State Bar Foundation

By Heather Creed on December 17, 2015 - 4:27pm
Though you would never hear him say it, Steve Jemison retired at the top of the legal profession.  He was Chief Legal Officer and Secretary to one of the world’s 40 largest corporations -- Proctor & Gamble.  Yet retirement did not mean idleness for Steve.  In a stunning example of service to the community, Steve  became  the full-time CEO of the Law and Leadership Institute in April, 2014, and declined any compensation.  In fact, he moved back to Ohio from Florida, giving up a post-retirement life of tennis and gorgeous weather, to assume these responsibilities. 
 
At a dinner held November 13th in Columbus, the Ohio State Bar Foundation recognized Steve’s amazing contributions with The Ramey Award for Distinguished Community Service.
 
As LLI’s CEO for over a year, Steve is developing a viable ongoing financial model while building the quality of the organization.  He uses his management experience daily.  Stu Cubbons, Toledo attorney and LLI Board member, said, “There is no job too small or too dirty for him to tackle.  He is undeterred by rejection and ever optimistic in the face of challenge and adversity.  He believes LLI can be successful in changing lives, does not consider failure to be an option, and simply does what it takes to succeed.  He empowers others and serves as a role model to every student, faculty member, staff member, and board member of LLI.”  
 
Steve’s service goes beyond all he does for LLI.  He serves as President of the National Council of his alma mater, the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, and was an active board member for Cincinnati’s Free Store Food Bank, Dress for Success, and the Visiting Nurse Association.  
 
Steve considers the opportunity to serve a privilege conferred on lawyers, and we are very grateful he has chosen to serve LLI.
 
 
 
 

LLI Cincinnati Scholars Contribute to Community Discussion on Criminal Justice Reform

By Heather Creed on December 17, 2015 - 4:25pm
On August 18th, 2015, the University of Cincinnati College of Law hosted a panel discussion, Law, Democracy, and the Struggle for Criminal Justice Reform.  The event was held in memory of Samuel DuBose, who was shot and killed by a University of Cincinnati Police Officer during a traffic stop near campus.  Associate Professor of Law Janet Moore organized this community discussion and, in light of her experience with LLI scholars over the summer, asked for LLI student volunteers to contribute as panelists.  
 
Camden Grubbs and Tamario Huff, two 9th grade LLI Cincinnati scholars, eagerly took advantage of this rare opportunity and served as panelists alongside Iris Roley, a community leader with Cincinnati’s Black United Front, and DeAnna Hoskins, Director of Hamilton County’s Office of Reentry. Professor Moore guided the candid conversation, leading with statistics regarding the disparate rates of incarceration between races.  Grubbs and Huff were integral to the discussion, providing their perspectives and thoughts on systemic problems with the criminal justice system and how that affects them. “I enjoyed being able to hear from people who were behind this problem, people who have strong points and great vision of what the problem was and ways to fix it, and the opportunity for people to hear my views on the subject,”  said Grubbs.  “I felt like I had a voice to actually say something and that what I said would be heard,” said Huff.  Both Grubbs and Huff shared that LLI has helped them to be confident public speakers and to formulate the best way to communicate to diverse audiences. Undoubtedly, the University of Cincinnati community benefitted from the poise and intellect of Grubbs and Huff; more importantly, their unique voices were heard. 
 

LLI Volunteer Bill Dowling Dedicated to Helping LLI Akron Students Gain Confidence and Success

By Heather Creed on December 17, 2015 - 4:23pm
When Bill Dowling began coaching the Akron LLI students in mock trial competition, he was impressed by many things.  But nothing impressed him more than the dedication, commitment, and drive of the participating students. 
 
“I remember that in our first year we had a couple of girls who rode the city bus to our practices because they didn’t have anyone at home to give them rides.  For a competition in Columbus, we had to leave Akron at 7 a.m.  I heard them making plans to catch the bus at 5:30 so that they would be on time.  I picked them up instead but was sure impressed by their commitment,” Dowling said.  “Last year, we had a boy who worked the overnight shift at Taco Bell and then slept two hours before our competition.”
 
As much as Dowling has been impressed by the members of his teams, which have consistently participated and succeeded in mock trial competitions for LLI and OCLRE, others have been impressed with his dedication to the program.
 
“Mr. Dowling is not just a coach, he serves a mentor for many students,” said Ivy Banks, assistant dean of student affairs at the University of Akron School of Law. “He volunteers to coach the students every Wednesday evening during the academic year and also finds time to drop in to check on the students on Saturdays during their regular sessions. He provides the students with rides to practice if they experience trouble, food, and hours and hours of mentoring.  He is an amazing part of our legal community and we are honored and always humbled by the hours of time he contributes to the program.”
 
Dowling is the former head of litigation at Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs, and he now maintains an active mediation practice.  He is a former president of the Akron Bar Association, president of Western Reserve Legal Services, member of the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation Board, and adjunct professor at the University of Akron School of Law.
 
Dowling said that his participation with LLI has reconfirmed for him that life isn’t fair, but LLI helps to level the playing field for participating students.  He uses his role to, with hope, instill confidence in every student with whom he interacts.  With that confidence, Dowling foresees great success for many of the students.
 
“What I like most is seeing the kids succeed and develop confidence,” he said. “Selfishly, I’ll also admit that I feel good when they and their parents say thanks.”
 

Meet LLI Dayton Student Tomara Dorsey

By Heather Creed on December 17, 2015 - 4:20pm
Tomara Dorsey is one of the top 12th grade students in the Dayton LLI Program. Tomara is always focused in class and is a very driven young lady.  She is always asking questions and suggesting ways that the program could be improved.  At the start of the fall semester of LLI, Tomara will be implementing a mentoring program to help the younger students.
 
Outside of LLI, Tomara is a rising senior at Stivers School for the Arts in Dayton, Ohio, and was accepted into the Dance and Orchestra Magnets.  Within the school, Tomara is the Vice President of the Dayton Public School Senate and was the Junior Class President last year.  
 
After she graduates from high school in May, Tomara is interested in studying psychology and hopes to attend either Howard University or Spellman College next fall.  Tomara is also interested in pursuing Law School and would eventually like to be an attorney for the FBI, which is currently her “dream job.”
 
In her free time, Tomara enjoys dancing and playing both the piano and the violin. She also enjoys reading, cooking, and
playing golf with her dad.  On top of all of her clubs and activities, Tomara is part of the Girl Scouts of America and will be completing her Gold Award this upcoming year. 
 
Tomara Dorsey is a very determined and dedicated young lady, who has a very bright future ahead of her.  
 
"LLI has been like learning how to ride a bicycle. You start off with no experience, so you need support. That support is what helps you get the flow and the skills you need to support yourself. You may fall and scrape your knee, but you manage to try again and become strong enough to succeed on your own.”
 

LLI Cleveland Graduate Attributes Skills Developed Through Program to Success at Boston University

By Heather Creed on December 17, 2015 - 4:12pm
Erica Danielle Wilson was born in Massachusetts.  Her early years were spent in Massachusetts and Euclid, Ohio. She attended Euclid City Schools and was actively involved in the Law and Leadership Institute for four years. Erica is currently a freshman at Boston University where she is active in a Christian fellowship on campus and the National Black Society of Engineers (NSBE).  Erica plans to major in Mechanical Engineering.
 
Q: What do you think you might want to major in at BU and why?
A: I have chosen mechanical engineering as my major. I chose this because of the hands on aspect of the field, and the challenge of the work load. Engineering is teaching me how to think creatively and dynamically.
 
Q: How would you describe your time at BU thus far?  
A: My time so far at BU has been extremely interesting. College is a huge adjustment from high school, and Boston is very different from Cleveland. One major adjustment that I have adjusted to is living in a small space with a stranger. Having a roommate is new to me, but it is making me a better individual.
 
Q: What classes are you currently taking?
 A: I am currently taking Calculus, Linear Algebra, and Writing.
 
Q: Do you plan to get involved in extra-curricular activities?
A: I am involved in a Christian fellowship on campus and the National Black Society of Engineers (NSBE ).
 
Q: How did you ultimately decide where you wanted to attend college?
A: Out of the colleges that I was accepted into, BU did not offer me the best financial package, but my mother and I decided that based on the education that I would receive from BU, that it was the best fit for me.
 
Q: How would you describe your LLI experience?
A: I am very grateful for the impact that my LLI instructors have had on me. They have not only been my teachers, but also role models and friends. I keep in touch with some of my instructors, and they have continued to give me advice and coach me through life. 
 
Q: How do you think your experience with LLI has prepared you for college?
A: LLI has prepared me for college in numerous ways. I have become a better writer due to LLI, and have succeeded in professional settings thanks to LLI.
 
Q: What advice would you give to LLI juniors and seniors who will soon be applying for college?
A: My advice to LLI juniors and seniors would be to always be yourself and to stay focused on what is most important.
 

The Columbus Bar Foundation Challenges Local Lawyers on Behalf of LLI

By Heather Creed on December 17, 2015 - 3:59pm
The Columbus Bar Foundation has issued a challenge to Columbus lawyers:  The Foundation will match each Columbus lawyer’s donation to the Law and Leadership Institute made before February 15, 2016, up to a total of $20,000.  
 
This is the second year in which the Columbus Bar Foundation has made a challenge grant.  Last year, lawyers responded with $57,000 in donations to LLI.  Together these gifts plus the Foundation’s $20,000 matching grant funded 38 students from underserved neighborhoods to participate for the year in LLI’s enrichment programs.  
 
Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur has already pledged $7,500 to the 2015-16 challenge and promised to do the same in 2016-17.  Robert J. Tannous, Porter Wright’s managing partner, explained, “We have observed the earnestness and hard work of the LLI interns we hosted over the years, and we believe in the program’s approach.  LLI helps students imagine themselves as successful professionals and offers them the academic tools, the study habits, and the peer group support to achieve that success.”
 
All of the Columbus LLI students who stayed with the program until their 2015 graduation are attending college this fall – most will be the first in their families to graduate from college.  This is the third consecutive year in which all Columbus LLI graduates went to college, according to LLI President Steve Jemison, former vice president/general counsel of Procter and Gamble.
 
Gabriel Jackson is one of those students.  Jackson graduated from LLI and Columbus Africentric High School last spring and now attends The Ohio State University on a Columbus Dispatch Scholar-Athlete Scholarship.  In a video posted on the LLI's homepage, Jackson talks about the “old Gabe” who entered the LLI program the summer after eighth grade without a career goal or self-confidence.  He discusses the summer classes at Capital and OSU law schools, his internship at Frost Todd Brown, his preparation for the college entrance examination, his college tours, and then describes the “new Gabe,” prepared and bent on success.
 
Columbus Bar Foundation President Judge Carrie Glaeden said, “The attorneys, law schools, and courts in Columbus are giving their time generously to diversify the educational pipeline through a coordinated program that is working.  It’s a tremendous joint effort.  Eleven law firms host LLI students for four days each summer.  Both law schools open their classrooms and teach rigorous law-themed educational enrichment classes and offer college counseling.  Judges help students and their parents understand that these young people are performing well enough in mock trials to show promise of success as lawyers one day.”
 

LLI's Program Director Gives Back to Organization Through Fitness Events

By Heather Creed on September 16, 2015 - 2:29pm
Law and Leadership Institute's Rachel Wilson with Bend Active Class

This year, LLI Program Director, Rachel Wilson, found a philanthropic way to merge her interest in fitness and her support for LLI.   Rachel holds monthly fitness fundraisers at Bend Active, a local fitness apparel company located on Lane Avenue in Upper Arlington.

The classes are taught by Rachel or instructors that she has trained (in barre fitness), and all donations go directly to LLI.  Bend Active contributes to this effort not only by hosting the events, but also by donating 10% of all purchases made on the days that these events occur, directly to LLI.   For more information about these events, and Bend Active, click here.  Thanks Rachel and Bend Active!

Meet Hailey Joy Ridenour: Member of the LLI Class of 2019

By Heather Creed on September 16, 2015 - 2:27pm
  • Law and Leadership Institute Class of 2019 by Race/Ethnicity
  • Law and Leadership Institute Class of 2019 by Site

This summer, LLI welcomed 123 new students from around the state. LLI’s incoming freshmen were chosen out of the more than 160 applicants to the program based on their academic and professional skills. The above graphs present a break-down of the diverse class by site as well as race and ethnicity.
 

One member of the Class of 2019 is Hailey Joy Ridenour from LLI’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. Hailey recently graduated from the 8th grade at The Intergenerational School in Cleveland, and this fall, Hailey will be attending the John Hay School of Science and Medicine.
 
Hailey enjoys participating in track and cross-country. Her interests include writing fictional stories and poems, spending time with her family – especially family movie nights and dinners, dancing, and traveling.
 
Hailey joined LLI because “I knew it was going to help me with character building and give me a head-start on my career after college – forensic science or criminal justice.” Experiencing what it’s like to be a law student and her hands-on instructors are among the things she enjoys about LLI.
 
Hailey has been an all-star student at LLI from Day 1. Her eagerness to learn, willingness to participate, and consistently positive attitude have shined through all summer. Ultimately, Hailey hopes to attend a historically black university such as Florida A & M University or Tuskegee University. With her drive, eagerness, and optimism, we have no doubt she will succeed at these universities and beyond. 
 

LLI Board of Directors Welcomes Newest Member

By Heather Creed on September 16, 2015 - 2:24pm
F. Daniel Balmert, Law and Leadership Institute Board of Directors Member

LLI is proud to announce the newest member to its leadership: F. Daniel Balmert, managing partner of the Akron office of Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP. Mr. Balmert has nearly 30 years of experience and practices in the areas of general, commercial and product litigation, employment law and workers’ compensation.

Mr. Blamert served as the managing partner of the Vorys’ Cleveland office from 1983-2004. He was responsible for opening the firm’s Akron office in 2004 and has served as managing partner since its opening. Mr. Balmert has served as the past President of the Association of Defense Trial Attorneys as well as served on the Advisory Committee to the United States District Court, Northern District of Ohio where he has served as an Emeritus Member since 2008. 

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