The Justice Institute for the Legal Profession

Who We Are  

Biographical Sketches of the Board of Trustees

"Law reflects but in no sense determines the moral worth of a society. The values of a reasonably just society will reflect themselves in a reasonably just law. The better the society, the less law there will be. In Heaven there will be no law, and the lion will lie down with the lamb. The values of an unjust society will reflect themselves in an unjust law. The worse the society, the more law there will be. In Hell there will be nothing but law, and due process will be meticulously observed."

Grant Gilmore, The Ages of American Law, 1977

Michael L. Cioffi

Mr. Michael L. Cioffi
Blank Rome, LLP

Michael L. Cioffi

Michael L. Cioffi is a partner of the national law firm of Blank Rome LLP where he manages the firm's Cincinnati office. His areas of expertise include general litigation with an emphasis on commercial products liability, environmental law, as well as all methods of alternative dispute resolution. Mr. Cioffi has also served as litigation counsel and Assistant General Counsel of the American Financial Group. He was formerly a partner in the Cincinnati law firm of Frost & Jacobs and served as an Assistant Attorney General of the State of Ohio. Mr. Cioffi has been an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Cincinnati College of Law for more than 20 years, where he teaches courses in Evidence, Pre-Trial Litigation, Trial Practice and The Law in Literature and Philosophy. A member of many professional organizations, including Past President of the Federal Bar Association – Cincinnati Chapter and a member of the Ohio State Bar Association, Cincinnati Bar Association, and American Bar Association, Mr. Cioffi has received the Goldman Prize for Teaching Excellence at the University of Cincinnati, the Adjunct Faculty Teaching Excellence Award, and the Nicholas Longworth Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Law. He has published Ohio Pre-Trial Litigation, the Sixth Circuit Federal Practice Manual, and has delivered numerous professional presentations around the country. Mr. Cioffi received his law degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Law and his undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame where he graduated magna cum laude. Mr. Cioffi first began teaching seminars in the classics more than twenty-five years ago as a teaching assistant at the University of Notre Dame.

The Honorable Teresa L. Liston

Judge Teresa Liston, ret.

Judge Teresa Liston, ret.

Judge Teresa Liston, ret., served as a judge of the Franklin County Municipal Court, Ohio's largest trial court, for three consecutive terms before her retirement in January 2006.  During her tenure on the court she was twice elected by that court's fifteen judges to serve as its Administrative and Presiding Judge.  She currently hears cases throughout Ohio as a Retired Visiting Judge and does extensive lecturing and writing.

Judge Liston currently is on the faculty of the National Judicial College, the Institute for Excellence in Judicial Education, and the Ohio Judicial College, where she was President of the Board of Trustees for two terms.  She is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Capital University Law School and is a proud co-founder of the Justice Institute for the Legal Profession. She served as Co-Chair of Ohio Jury Instructions, on the Executive Committee of the Ohio Judicial Conference, and as Education Chair for the Ohio Association of Municipal and County Court Judges.

Known nationally for her expertise in judicial and legal education, Judge Liston has designed and taught programs in over eighteen states for judges and lawyers on topics including judicial and legal ethics, law and literature, trial skills, legal history and jurisprudence.

Dean Joseph P. Tomain

Mr. Joseph P. Tomain
University of Cincinnati College of Law


Dean Emeritus Joseph P. Tomain

Joseph P. Tomain is the Dean Emeritus and The Wilbert & Helen Ziegler Professor of Law at the University of Cincinnati College of Law. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the George Washington University National Law Center, Dean Tomain practiced law in New Jersey before beginning his career in legal education. He has taught at Drake University School of Law, and has served as visiting professor at the University of Texas School of Law. His teaching interests include Law in Literature and Philosophy, and Government Regulation. Dean Tomain's publications include books entitled Energy Law and Policy for the 21st Century, Regulatory Law & Policy, Energy Law and Policy, Nuclear Power Transformation, and Energy Decision Making. He has also written numerous articles and delivered papers on a variety of subjects including legal education and the legal profession. In addition to his administrative duties, teaching, and scholarship, Dean Tomain serves on a number of professional and civic organizations. He is Chair of the Board of the KnowledgeWorks Education Foundation. He is active with the ABA section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar; President, The Mercantile Library; a former officer of the Cincinnati Bar Association; and a delegate to the Ohio State Bar Association.

Julia B. Palermo, Executive Dir.

Julia Burwinkel Palermo

Julie Palermo is the Executive Director of The Justice Institute for the Legal Profession, where she oversees the development of its programs, seminars, and services. A graduate of the University of Cincinnati College of Law, Ms. Palermo practiced law at Keating, Muething & Klekamp, PLL for approximately four years focusing primarily on real estate litigation before joining The Justice Institute for the Legal Profession. Prior to law school, Ms. Palermo worked in the Clinton Administration, serving as Special Assistant in the Office of Presidential Personnel at the White House and then as Director of Scheduling and Advance for the Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. Ms. Palermo also served as Senior Associate at the Renaissance Institute where she organized Renaissance Weekends, which are private retreats for leaders of divergent backgrounds.