Sunday, October 6, 2019

U. Cincinnati College of Law and Fortune 500 bank collaborate to create first of its kind in-house counsel fellowship

Perhaps this collaboration will serve as a model for other law schools and legal employers who ordinarily don't hire directly out of law school. From UC News:

Fifth-Third, Cincinnati Law announce fellowships for new graduates

The first of its kind fellowship gives newly minted graduates a chance to go in-house straight out of law school


Two University of Cincinnati College of Law class of 2019 graduates have joined Fifth Third Bank’s legal department as part of a new fellowship program that will provide them in-house experience directly out of law school.


Created in collaboration with Susan B. Zaunbrecher, executive vice president, chief legal officer & corporate secretary at Fifth-Third (and a UC Law alumna), this fellowship program will be a model for similar ventures at other Fortune 500 companies, helping retain the best talent in the region and opening doors for new attorneys.  


“We saw an opportunity that would support rising legal stars, benefiting fellow alumni as well as Fifth Third,” said Zaunbrecher. “As a Cincinnati company, we recognize the importance of attracting and retaining diverse talent in our region. We are thrilled to provide hands-on, meaningful work experiences for our UC Law fellows that will help them embark on their legal careers.”


The fellowships are a two-year, set-term apprenticeship program for new graduates, helping them hone their legal skills as they enter the profession. In addition to learning the field, they will be mentored by seasoned attorneys along the way.  New fellows will be chosen every two years as the program grows.


Zahki Davis ’19 and Marissa Lee ‘19 joined Fifth Third as inaugural fellows this year. Davis is working in mergers and acquisitions, and Lee is working in regulatory affairs.


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“These innovative fellowships will have a lasting impact on our students as they start their career journeys. Innovation has always been a part of our DNA at Cincinnati Law. This is yet another example of that,” said Verna Williams, dean of the College of Law. “I’m thankful to Susan Zaunbrecher and Fifth Third for the forward-thinking vision in creating these opportunities for our students.”


Mina Jones Jefferson, associate dean and director of the law school’s Center for Professional Development, and the individual who helped create the program, agreed.  “This collaboration will allow us to operationalize the Bearcat Promise – helping students design a customized path to their ideal future,” said Jefferson. “Traditionally opportunities like this aren’t available to new law graduates, and now they have immediate access to a Fortune 500 legal department. This experience will jumpstart their careers.”

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