News - Capital University Law School

Incoming 1Ls, Meet Your Professors: Jeff Ferriell

7/12/2021  - 

Professor Jeff Ferriell joined the Faculty at Capital in 1987 after teaching for eight years at other law schools in Ohio and elsewhere including 7 years at Ohio Northern, and one year as a Visitor at Ohio State. In 2009-10, he was a Visiting Professor at Seattle University. In 2016 he was designated as the Geraldine W. Howell Professor of Law. He is an author of two law school hornbooks: “Understanding Contracts” (4th ed., 2018) and “Understanding Bankruptcy” (4th ed., 2019, with co-author Edward J. Janger at Brooklyn Law School). He serves as the legislative liaison for Ohio’s delegation to the Uniform Law Commission (ULC), and in that role works with Ohio Uniform Law Commissioners and members of the Ohio legislature toward enactment of uniform laws, drafted by the ULC. He recently completed nine years of service on the Board of Trustees of the Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Association (MVCMA) , a private religious foundation in Oak Bluffs, MA, including three years as its president. In 2017, he was appointed as a member of the German Village Architectural Review Commission. An amateur radio buff (K8ZDA) and avid cyclist, he has participated in the annual Tour of the Scioto River Valley for over 30 years, and worked for over 20 years a member of the volunteer staff of the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure. In addition to cycling thousands of miles on country roads throughout Ohio, he has gone on numerous cycling vacations in England, France, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, and New Zealand. He and his wife, current Assistant General Counsel at Ohio University and former General Counsel to Shawnee State University, Cheryl Hacker, spent portions of the last two summers cycling in the Netherlands and from Prague to Budapest. They plan to spend the summer of 2020 in Columbus, and at their tiny cottage on the grounds of the MVCMA on Martha’s Vineyard.

In the Classroom…

What courses do you teach?
Contracts, Secured Transactions, Professional Responsibility, Bankruptcy (when there’s room in my schedule for it) and sometimes Payment Systems.

What legal issue fascinates you?
It’s a pretty arcane topic, but I’ve always been interested in issues concerning bankruptcy court jurisdiction, and the constitutional authority of bankruptcy judges. These issues deal with fundamental separation of powers questions in Articles I and III of the U.S. Constitution. Lately I’ve been taking a look at the viability of the Supreme Court’s 19th century “Barton Doctrine” in lawsuits against Bankruptcy Trustees and other appointed officials involved in Bankruptcy cases.

Is there anything you implemented during the pandemic and remote learning that you will continue with in-person learning? I’ll continue to utilize the broad array of online resources that I used during the pandemic, including online “Note-Taking Guides” for each class session, “Socrative” Polling Questions, Weekly Online Quizzes, and about an hour’s worth of Pre-Recorded Substantive Lectures each week, together with more problem solving and small group discussions during what I hope will be “in-person” classes each week. It should be easy to adapt what I used during the pandemic to implement what educational theorists refer to as “Flipping” the classroom setting.

When you were in Law School…

Where did you go to law school?
After finishing college at The Ohio State University, I earned a J.D., summa cum laude, at Santa Clara University, and an LL.M. at the University of Illinois where I focused on Bankruptcy and Uniform Commercial Code subjects, taking courses from two members of the Uniform Law Commission’s Permanent Editorial Board of the UCC, Profs. Bill Hawkland & Marion Benfield, and National Bankruptcy Conference member, Prof. Jonathan Landers.

What was your fondest memory of being a 1L?
The lifelong friendships I made with my classmates and with some Professors, including Gary Neustadter, Sheridan Downey III, and recently retired Capital University Professor Stan Darling, who was at Santa Clara when I as there, and who was my Professor at Santa Clara for Torts and Legal Research & Writing.

What was your scariest 1L memory?
Anticipating being called on by Prof. Alan Scheflin in Contracts. Because I was well prepared for class, actually being called on was not that bad.

Your advice to incoming law students…

What should students do to prepare the summer before law school?
Read lots – and it probably doesn’t matter what you read.

Your best piece of advice to prepare for first year?
Time will be your most valuable asset and you’ll need to use it to your best advantage. Anticipate having a highly structured schedule, without much slack, but with time built in for your family & friends, including the new lifelong friends you’ll make during your first year.

Your Favorites…

What’s your favorite book?
It’s hard to pick between “Darkness at Noon” by Arthur Koestler, and “Bicycle Road Racing” by Eddie Borysewicz, the father of American bicycle racing. Lately I’ve been reading a series of mystery novels set in Quebec Province Canada, by Louise Penny.

What’s your favorite movie?
To Kill a Mockingbird (also one of my favorite books), and the original Star Wars movie, that I saw on Monday, July 24, 1978, the night before beginning the California Bar Exam (I passed).

What’s your favorite local restaurant?
This is an easy one: Barcelona in German Village, with “Caspers Hot Dogs” in Hayward, California, the town where I went to high school, as a close second. The “Red Cat” in Oak Bluffs, Martha’s Vineyard is pretty good too, but we can’t afford to go there more than about once a year (usually on my wife’s birthday).

For additional professor Q&A articles, see "Meet Your 1L Professors."