Faculty Features

Chase faculty members take pride in their extensive work outside of the classroom. Not only do faculty members spend many hours preparing for class and guiding the next generation of lawyers, they also write articles and books, travel the world on speaking tours, represent clients, speak on panels and television programs, and excel in a variety of endeavors. This page will periodically feature a few such faculty successes.

Professor Sharlene Boltz

Professor Sharlene Boltz's Article on Law Enforcement Models for Policing Diverse Communities Selected for Publication in The Police Chief Magazine

The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) has selected an article written by NKU Chase College of Law Professor Sharlene Graham Boltz for publication in the September 2015 issue of The Police Chief magazine, the official publication of the IACP. The article entitled, “Mindful Conversations:  Historical Trauma, Policing, and Cultural Competence,” proposes three model programs for consideration by law enforcement to address challenges in policing diverse communities. A peer-reviewed editorial board selected Professor Boltz' article from a number of submissions from the legal and law enforcement community, as a Great Idea for Police and Community Relations. Read more about The Police Chief magazine at http://www.policechiefmagazine.org.

Professor Ljubomir Nacev

NKU Chase Students Learn and Serve through VITA Tax Assistance Project

Nineteen members of the NKU Chase College of Law community participated in the Northern Kentucky Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) project this year. The program, a major anti-poverty effort, helps low-income taxpayers file their federal and state income tax returns.  “During this just completed filing season, the eight Northern Kentucky VITA sites e-filed 2,471 income tax returns on behalf of low-income taxpayers in our region,” said Chase Professor Ljubomir Nacev. “Tax returns for low-income taxpayers are some of the more complicated returns in the tax system, involving five non-refundable tax credits and four refundable tax credits.” In addition, the 2015 filing season was the first year of the implementation of the tax system’s role in delivering parts of the Affordable Care Act for low-income taxpayers. “This all makes VITA a terrific transactional clinical learning experience for our students,” said Professor Nacev. Eleven Chase students, two NKU undergraduate students, five Chase graduates, and one Chase professor participated. The NKU/Chase volunteers comprised about 15% of the overall volunteer pool for the eight VITA sites.

Professor Mannheimer and President Mearns

Professor Michael Mannheimer Receives an NKU Award

On April 29, 2015, Professor Michael Mannheimer received an NKU award for Excellence in Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity, in recognition of the scholarly record he has established since joining the faculty in 2004.  His research has generally been directed toward developing an originalist account that identifies a strong federalism (“states’ rights”) component of the Bill of Rights.  In essence, he has sought to show that the Bill of Rights, properly understood, places different, and stricter, constraints on the federal government than it does on the States.  Prof. Mannheimer has expounded upon this claim in several articles with regard to the Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause of the Eighth Amendment and has begun recently to apply this claim of a federalism-infused Bill of Rights to search-and-seizure law.  In his most recent piece, The Contingent Fourth Amendment, 64 Emory L.J. 1229 (2015), he argues that the Fourth Amendment was widely understood in 1791 as requiring that federal agents follow state law when searching and seizing.

Professor Mannheimer has fourteen published or forthcoming law review articles.  He has been not only prolific but also eclectic, having written on the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments, as well as substantive criminal law.  His work has been cited by some of the leading casebooks in criminal law, criminal procedure, and sentencing; by other leading texts; and by over ninety law review articles.  His argument, developed in a 2006 article, that the federal death penalty in non-death penalty States is unconstitutional has been adopted by defense attorneys in federal capital cases in Iowa, New Mexico, New York, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, and twice in Massachusetts, including United States v. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston Marathon bombing case.  His other articles have been cited by attorneys in at least sixteen cases in eleven different state and federal courts.

About Professor Mannheimer’s work, Prof. John Bickers wrote:  “His scholarship is powerful, insightful . . . captivating in its construction and stunning in its wisdom.  To finish one of his works is to feel smarter than when you started, and to wonder why the links he makes within the law had not already occurred to you.”

Professor Nancy Firak

Professor Nancy Firak Receives Professor of the Year Award

The Chase graduating Class of 2015 awarded Professor Nancy Firak the 2014-15 Chase Professor of the Year Award. Each year, the award is presented to a member of the Chase faculty who is selected by the graduating class for his or her hard work and dedication to the law school and its students. The students presented the award to Professor Firak at a pre-commencement reception on Saturday, May 9. After thirty years of outstanding teaching, service, and scholarship at Chase, Professor Firak has begun a phased retirement at the close of this academic year.

Professor Firak joined the Chase faculty in 1984. Prior to coming to Chase, Prof. Firak served as a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Miami School of Law in Florida and as Administrative Director of Clinical Legal Education at Cleveland State University, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in Ohio.

Professor Firak received her LL.M. from Harvard Law School, her J.D. from Cleveland State University Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, and her B.S. from Ohio University. She is admitted to practice in state and federal courts in Ohio. She practiced in rural Nebraska as a staff attorney for the Legal Aid Society of Omaha where she specialized in poverty law and public benefits law. While she was Director of Clinical Education at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law she practiced in the areas of federal post-conviction relief, administrative law, and family law.

Professor Firak served as interim Associate Dean of the College of Law from 1992-93. She served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs from 2003-2008. Professor Firak is a member of the Board of Directors for the Northern Kentucky Volunteer Lawyers.

Professor Firak has published articles on a variety of subjects including air rage, legal ethics, right to counsel, and causation in tort law. She has published in the University of San Francisco Maritime Law Journal, Albany Law Review, Temple Law Review, Arizona State Law Journal, Law Library Journal, the Journal of Law and Health, Osgoode Hall Law Journal, and Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review.

Professor Firak has taught a variety of course including Torts, Remedies, Conflict of Laws, Products Liability, Mass Accident Law, Federal Post-Conviction Relief, School Law, Clinical Legal Education and Professional Responsibility.