Creating a legacy

UC Law's family connections run deep

Back in 2016, then-UC senior business major Betsy Emmert penned a guest opinion piece for the Cincinnati Enquirer. The topic was what makes Cincinnati an attractive destination.

Discussing how she weighed staying in the place she grew up versus other attractive academic options open to her, Emmert wrote: “In Cincinnati, I see opportunity, growth and potential. Behind our share of political and economic issues are leaders, professionals and businesses united to propel Cincinnati forward. As I have learned through my co-op rotations, internships and college courses, the necessary ingredient to our city’s future success is strong talent dedicated to the future of the city.”

Then-business major Betsy Emmert is now Betsy Emmert, JD ’19, and a second-year associate at Dinsmore specializing in real estate law. She was an exceptional student, graduating magna cum laude both from the UC Lindner College of Business and from UC Law. But she also had the insight to understand from her family’s legacy that the quality of education she could get staying home would serve her every bit as well as the many other big-name schools that were recruiting her.

Legacies have that kind of power. Family histories become closely entwined with the identity of a school. In a small-school setting like UC Law, they feed off of each other and become part of the inner strength that sustains the institution. The school identifies as the nation’s premier, small, urban, public law school and these families believe in that vision.

"Seeing generations of families attend Cincinnati Law is a tangible reminder of the broad scope of our history and our legacy," said Dean Verna Williams.

Betsy Emmert, hooded by Marianne Scott Emmert JD '84 and Drew Emmert, JD '88.

Betsy Emmert, BSBA '19; JD '19, at hooding with Marianne Scott Emmert, BS '81; JD '84, and Drew Emmert, BSBA '82; JD '88.

Institutions with any extended history are living, breathing bodies. You can find their DNA in the products they produce. With a history dating back 188 years, it has been the school of choice for a whole roster of familiar families. Recent examples that date across multiple generations include names like the Emmerts, the Goerings and Holschuhs, families who are likely familiar through shared experience with a sizable number of UC Law graduates.

For Betsy Emmert and the rest of her family, UC Law has been a three-generation affair. All three generations have been UC families through-and-through, matriculating in Clifton both as undergrads and then for their legal educations.

The family’s legacy started with Ace Emmert, JD ‘49, who earned his engineering degree at UC before graduating from UC Law and going on to become Senior Vice President, General Counsel and a Director for Provident Bank. Betsy’s parents are Ace’s son, Drew Emmert, JD ’88, and Marianne Scott Emmert, JD ’84. Drew is a partner with DBL Law, while Marianne has her own practice that focuses on real estate and business law.

With familiarity, the family has found plenty of ways to appreciate the UC Law experience.

“As an alumnus, I just feel very favorably towards the school, its students and the faculty,” says Drew Emmert. “It’s a school that really is embedded in the community.”

That’s certainly true with the percentage of grads who go on and make careers for themselves in the local legal and corporate community. But Marianne Scott Emmert says it’s been a mistake made many times over to confuse proximity with a lack of sophistication.

When I graduated and started working, I was with colleagues from Harvard and other Ivy League schools, and I think they were surprised at how well-prepared we were.

Betsy Emmert, JD '19

She recalls her time as a student being along the lines of the movie “The Paper Chase,” where actor John Houseman famously portrayed an intimidating, old-school professor from the classical tradition. “It was a great launching pad,” she says. “When I graduated and started working, I was with colleagues from Harvard and other Ivy League schools, and I think they were surprised how well-prepared we were. What we learned at UC prepared you for opportunities to go into a number of fields.”

That overall feeling only grew a generation later for the Emmerts’ daughter, Betsy, and her choices to extend the legacy gave the family great satisfaction.

“There is something intrinsic to UC, and I don’t think it’s just at the law school,” Betsy says. “It’s a place that is very entrepreneurial. There is that emphasis on getting real world experience that so many students get, and that’s as true at the law school as it is other places within the university.”

When the day arrived for the Hooding Ceremony for UC Law’s Class of 2019, the Emmert’s family legacy was on full display. As graduates, Betsy’s parents were able to come to the podium and hood their own daughter, another of the benefits that come with legacy status.

The Goering family roots at UC

John B. Goering outside the Lindner College of Business.

John B. Goering, a remarkable Bearcat and father of Stuart Goering, JD '82, outside the Lindner College of Business.

UC’s educational tradition is also a big part of the family story for the Goerings, whose UC Law ranks include two generations in Stuart Goering, JD ’82, and son Andrew Goering, JD ’11. The family’s patriarch, Stuart’s dad John Goering, was a remarkable Bearcat. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degree from the Lindner College of Business and soon after returned to campus to join the accounting faculty. He continued to teach even while serving UC as University Registrar and Associate Vice President of Admissions and Records, and founded a key program within the Lindner College of Business, the Goering Center for Family and Private Business.

Stuart Goering’s educational roots at UC run deep and provide an interesting background. He started learning on campus as a preschooler in Beecher Hall, only a few hundred feet from where he would one day attend law school, at what is today known as the Arlitt Child Development Center. After getting his undergraduate degree from Purdue, he returned to UC for law school for reasons that now hold some irony – he believed he would make his career in Cincinnati and his family familiarity with UC led him to conclude a UC law degree would be a great way to make connections in the community.

His career, though, took him about as far afield from Cincinnati as you can get in the U.S. Alaska has been his home for more than 20 years and today he serves as a Senior Assistant Attorney General for the Alaska state government. His responsibilities include advising and representing the Regulatory Commission of Alaska, which oversees the state’s utility and pipeline operators, as well as Alaska’s Retirement Management Board and Mental Health Trust Authority.

Even with distance, the Goering family feels connected to UC Law. As you might expect with the family’s deep ties on campus, that has to do with people.

“When I was attending, the current College of Law building was under construction,” Stuart says. “Classes were held everywhere and it was a time of shared hardship, which I think drew us closer together as a class and closer with the faculty, because it was a challenge for everyone. There were 119 in my graduating class, and I would say I know where at least half of the members of the class are today and I’m in regular contact with a number of them.”

The faculty helped me think differently. They encouraged exploring the thought process of what is out there and what you could do (through a legal education),

Andrew Goering, JD '11

Still, with Andrew growing up in Alaska, continuing the family legacy at UC Law was far from a sure thing. As it turns out, though, Alaska is the only U.S. state without a law school, and UC offerings like the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights proved attractive.

Andrew had studied German as an undergrad at the University of Alaska-Anchorage. UC Law’s flexibility allowed him in 2010 to spend a semester as a visiting student at the Bucerius Law School in Hamburg. Today, he works in the emerging field of compliance risk monitoring for State Street Corporation in Massachusetts.

UC Law, with faculty that were accessible to students because of the school’s 8:1 ratio of faculty to students, helped him find his own pathways, which in turn makes him feel connected to the school. “The faculty helped me think differently. They encouraged exploring the thought process of what is out there and what you could do (through a legal education),” he says.

The Holschuh legacy runs deep

The Holschuh family is yet another three-generation UC family that has found UC Law to be the springboard to generational success. The patriarch who first found his way to UC was John Holschuh, Sr., JD ’51, who made his way from a very modest upbringing in the blue-collar steel town of Ironton, Ohio, to Miami University and then to UC Law, where he excelled – he was first in his graduating class and editor-in-chief of the UC Law Review.

In 1980, John Holschuh, Sr. was appointed to the federal bench on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, where he eventually became Chief Judge. At about the same time as his dad’s appointment, John Holschuh, Jr. was finishing his legal education as part of UC Law’s Class of 1980. With a strong interest in debate, he ended up as director of UC Law’s Moot Court and then started his career right out of law school with the Cincinnati firm of Santen & Hughes, where he is now a partner. He is also a past president of the Ohio State Bar Association and the Cincinnati Bar Association. His wife, Wendy Ellis Holschuh, JD '83, was an Urban Morgan Fellow and a member of the UC Law Review.

The latest Holschuh to get his legal education at UC is their son, John “Johnny” Holschuh, III, JD ’14, who is now an associate at Santen & Hughes, where he sometimes works on cases with his father. Johnny was a history major as an undergrad at Tulane, but ultimately, it was his grandfather who inspired him to go into the law, and once that became clear, UC Law was the obvious choice. He, too, was a member of UC Law Review and on the staff of Human Rights Quarterly.

At lunch with Johnny and one of his friends who expressed an interest in being a prosecutor, John Holschuh, Sr., discussed, in the words of his grandson, “how you can use the law to help people and that’s kind of been one of my missions. I love UC Law’s dedication to social justice, so the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights first drew me there and then I got involved in taking classes with the Center for Race, Gender and Social Justice, which ultimately led to my doing a couple of year at Legal Aid doing housing law.”

The Holschuhs also had the experience of getting to participate in Johnny’s Hooding, and the year prior to that experience John Holschuh, Jr., was the college’s speaker at Hooding.

The influence and affinity John Holschuh, Sr., had for UC Law, which included the family establishing an endowed scholarship in his name, promises to carry through as a theme for generations to come.

“He was exceedingly proud of the law school,” John Holschuh, Jr., recalls of his dad. “Taking that one step further, the people he knew from the law school meant so much. Dad stayed in touch with a lot of his classmates. I’ve stayed in close contact with a lot of my classmates from law school, and I know Johnny has, too. That idea of a small class, urban law school really is the kind of place where you establish relationships that become a huge asset when you come out and go into practice.”  

Author Credit: Carey Hoffman