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LLI Board Deals with Reduced Budget

By Katie Kaufman on April 14, 2016 - 12:02pm
The LLI Board of Directors voted to retain the depth and free-tuition aspects of the program for current students and to deal with a reduced 2016 budget instead through admissions decisions. 
 
“We chose quality over quantity,” said Board President and CEO Steve Jemison.  “When we ask a student to put in time over and above their school work, we want every minute to count for that student, every aspect of the program to be excellent.” 
 
 As a result of the Board decision, current LLI students will notice no changes in the program.  LLI will not take in a new entering class in 2016, but staff will focus instead on recruiting new entering students for 2017.   
 

LLI Hosts Third Annual Academic Year Competition

By Katie Kaufman on April 14, 2016 - 11:57am
On March 19, 2016, over 300 Law and Leadership institute students, parents, friends, supporters and staff gathered at the Supreme Court of Ohio in Columbus for the 2016 third annual Intra-LLI Academic Year Competition. Students from LLI’s six cities in Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Toledo traveled to the courthouse for the competition.
 
Students participated in one of three activities including Mock Trial, The Leadership Showcase, and the Senior Project Presentations.  LLI CEO and Board President, Steve Jemison shared that “the day evidences why we do what we do.  We saw students excel on their feet. Without a doubt they are being prepared for excellence.”  
 
Mock Trial
 
Students from all eight LLI sites competed in the Intra-LLI Mock Trial Competition.  The case materials were graciously provided to LLI students and staff by the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education (OCLRE).  OCLRE has provided case materials to LLI students and staff for years and we are thankful for their ongoing support of our program.
 
Students competed in two trials, one in the morning, and a second in the afternoon.  All trials were judged by a panel of volunteer professionals, primarily from the Columbus legal community.   
 
Christopher Schraff, an attorney from Porter Wright, who judged the competition for the second year in a row, observed that “seeing and listening to students who devote so much time to improving their advocacy skill is inspiring, and brings back memories of my own early interest in the law as a career.  These students, whatever their ultimate goals for life and future careers will benefit from the confidence and speaking skills they develop in this competition.”  Veronica Bennu, who has served as a volunteer judge for LLI for the past three years shared Schraff’s sentiments and went on to say that “whenever I come to work with the students of LLI, I leave feeling more grateful and fulfilled than when I arrived.  The students are invariably bright, and enthusiastic. . . So volunteering with LLI is as much a gift to myself, as it is to the students.”
 
The LLI Dayton team won first place in this year’s competition. Their coach, LLI Instructor, Hannah Diemer said that “this group of LLI students really came together as a team and was able to rely and support each other as they prepared the case.  It was wonderful to see their hard work pay off in the end.” 
 
Top Three Mock Trial Teams 
1. Dayton Team
2. Akron Team
3. Cincinnati Team
 
The Leadership Project Showcase
 
2016 marks the third year that students participated in the Leadership Project Showcase.  Students worked in small groups and were charged with identifying problems or issues in their communities and creating action plans to create positive change. Participating LLI sites will implement one of the Leadership Projects this summer.  The winning project came from the University of Dayton and was entitled “Grow the Revolution.”  The students noted that Dayton is a food desert and as a result they plan to create a garden center in the community that is maintained year-round by LLI students.  The fruits and vegetables produced by that garden will be shared with students from Dayton Public Schools and other members of their local community.  Former LLI Columbus Instructors, Jessica Doogan and David Moser hosted the Leadership Project Showcase.  Moser shared that “after four years of involvement with LLI, I continue to be inspired by the intellect, innovation, maturity, and professionalism displayed by our students.  The Leadership Project presentations further proved the lasting impact of LLI - not only on the educational and professional development of students, but on their surrounding communities as well.”
 
Top Three Leadership Projects
1.Grow the Revolution (LLI Dayton)
2.Donate Towards the Future (LLI Dayton)
3.Teach the World (LLI Cincinnati)
 
Senior Project Presentations
 
This is the first year that LLI seniors presented their Senior Projects.  LLI Seniors were charged with researching and assessing colleges and universities that interested them.  More specifically, the project required them to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of various schools and what steps they must proactively take in order to thrive academically and professionally in college and beyond.  Once these qualities were identified, students created plans for success and identified ways in which they can become leaders on campus.  LLI Board Member and Volunteer Judge, Melissa Kendralla observed that “LLI students demonstrated a commitment to their research and critical insight into their college choices as they presented their plans to the judges.”   
 
Top Three Senior Projects 
1.Kim Vu (LLI Cleveland)
2.Tomara Dorsey (LLI Dayton)
3.Ayman Bazar (LLI Dayton)
 
Toledo Writing Project
 
During the 2015-16 academic year, due to a grant from the Toledo Community Foundation, Toledo seniors participated in a course designed to advance skills in the organization and development of discourse of reason through reading, writing, critical thinking and discussion.  Students wrote a Research Essay that challenged them to discuss, synthesize, and argue about the substance of their research.  The course was taught by Robert Beckwith, an adjunct instructor at the University of Toledo, and students who successfully completed the course and earned a grade of a college-level B or higher received a stipend of $600 each.  Students who successfully completed their papers presented to a panel of judges during the March 19th competition in Columbus, Ohio.
  
Keynote Speaker-Alexis Apparicio (LLI Columbus Class of 2013)
 
LLI Columbus alumna, Alexis Apparicio provided the Keynote Address at our Closing Ceremony.  Alexis is a graduate of Columbus Alternative High School and is currently a junior at Ohio University.  She has a 3.7 gpa and plans to attend law school after graduation. She attributes much of her success to the start she received at LLI. You may read her speech in its entirety here.
 
This is the second year in a row that this event was hosted at the Supreme Court of Ohio.  Mr. Jemison observed that LLI is “grateful and humbled by the continuing support of the Supreme Court in opening its doors to our students and for the support of it's staff in running the event. It is such an inspiring setting for our students to learn what is possible.” 
 
"We really push our students and have high expectations for them," said LLI Executive Director Heather Creed. "They make a lot of sacrifices to be in this program so it's very exciting to see them rise to the occasion. We look forward to seeing their continued successes in the future." 
 
LLI Volunteers
 
LLI would not be able to do this great work without the ongoing and dedicated support of many volunteers across the state.  We want to thank our volunteers who served as judges for our Mock Trial Competition, Leadership Project Showcase and Senior Project.
 
Mock Trial Judges
Jonathan Hollingsworth - OCLRE Board Member/Hollingsworth & Associates
Pamela Boratyn Best - OCLRE Board Member/Attorney General of Ohio Mike DeWine
Beatrice Nokuri - Bricker & Eckler
Azure’D Metoyer - Huntington National Bank    
Michael Wheeler - Dinsmore & Shohl
Elizabeth Cary - Law Clerk, Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals
Kwame Christian - The Christian Law Office
Adam Schira - Dickinson-Wright
Jonathan Hsu - Environmental Review Appeals Commission
Jeffrey Lindemann - Frost Brown Todd
Jacqueline Lewis - Bricker & Eckler
Veronica Bennu - Nationwide
James Saywell - Law Clerk, Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals
Peter Bozzo - Law Clerk, Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals
Vincent Scebbi  - Cleveland Marshall Law Student
Brooke Hamilton - Cleveland Marshall Law Student
Tisha Brady - Key Management Solutions Inc.
Demetrice Allen - Ice Miller
Kari Murphy - Capital University Law School
Jim Satola - Federal Bar Association
Marla Gilreath - Nationwide
Christopher Schraff - Porter Wright
 
Leadership Project Judges
Gabriel Jackson - LLI Columbus Alumna (’15)
Melvin Smith-Williams - LLI Columbus Alumna (‘14)
Ariana Groce -  LLI Columbus Alumna (’14)
Autumn Mitchell - LLI Columbus Alumna (’13)
MaCarre Turner - LLI Toledo Alumna  (’14)
Anne Connerton - LLI Toledo Alumna (’13)
Jameelah Dailey - LLI Cincinnati Alumna (’14)
 
Leadership Project Hosts
David Moser - Former LLI Instructor/City of Delaware, Ohio
Jessica Doogan - Former LLI Instructor/Ohio Civil Services Employee Association
 
Senior Project Judges
Melissa Kendralla - LLI Board Member/Southwestern City School District
Kevin Peters - Southwestern City School District
Lisa Schwieterman - Whitehall City Schools 

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!

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