Women in Law awards first grants to UC students

Gift from College of Law alumnae establishes new philanthropy group

Women in Law, a University of Cincinnati College of Law alumnae organization, awarded its first eight grants, totaling $48,347 in November. The philanthropic group, established in early 2020, was created to provide alumnae, students and faculty with networking opportunities while also supporting transformational experiences for Cincinnati Law students that may be unattainable because of finances.

Students and faculty applied for grants and eight finalists were chosen by a subgroup of the Women in Law Steering Committee. All finalists presented their projects virtually to the entire Women in Law membership; all finalists’ projects were funded this first year. Thanks to the collective impact of Women in Law, the following will be funded:

  • Twenty new full-time summer positions for law students in public interest/nonprofit placements and the Ohio 1st District Court of Appeals, plus a year-long fellowship at the Hamilton County Municipal Court Help Center.

  • Equipment that allows students to compete in virtual remote competitions as well as related team registrations fees.

  • A mentoring program connecting the UC chapter of Black Law Students Association with Hughes High School students.

  • Two outreach programs created by the Latino/a Law Student Association benefiting the Latinx community, as well as the Ohio Innocence Project at Cincinnati Law and the Hamilton County Municipal Court Help Center.

Members make an annual contribution of $1,000, with exceptions for recent graduates and students. Grants supporting student and faculty programs at the College of Law will be awarded annually. There are currently 45 members, with a goal to increase membership to 100 UC alumnae.

Judy Pershern
Judy Pershern, JD, ’84
Melany Newby
Melany Newby, JD ’74

"This is a great opportunity for women to gather to make a lasting impact on the College of Law," said Verna Williams, Dean and Nippert Professor of Law. "In the process, these alums engage with students, faculty, and staff about projects designed to make a difference. It’s a transformative experience for everyone involved."

Two UC Law alumnae, Melany Newby, JD ’74 and Judy Pershern, JD, ’84 serve as the Women in Law co-chairs. Newby, who was UC’s legal counsel from 1978 to 1989, is also supporting the program through a planned gift to the college.

"Pretty much all of the successes I have had in my life were made possible by my degree from Cincinnati Law," she said. "I think this giving format will make a huge impact and our women members can see where their money is going."

"Women want to know what their charitable dollars are doing. This is a small way that show women what they can do."

Pershern, who is also a UC Foundation Board Trustee, agreed.

"We as women can make such a difference," she said. "Sometimes as individuals we don’t think we can make a difference but collectively we can make a big difference."

Newby’s gift to the college supports the priorities of Next, Now: The Campaign for Cincinnati, the comprehensive fundraising effort for UC and UC Health.