Four Decades of Legal Mergers

Some legal mergers are more significant than others.
The Gehres (’78), Leahys (’86), Blakemores (’99) and Whalens (’11) might agree.  They are among many married couples who met at Dayton Law. 
During every decade since the Law School reopened in 1974, lasting unions have gotten their start in the classrooms of Emmanuel and Keller Halls.
For Kevin and Colleen Leahy, it was the not-so-romantic vending machine room in the basement during their 1L year in 1982.
“Her Tab accidentally fell into my Pepsi,” Kevin says. “Naturally, I bought her Tab and the rest, as they say . . .”
Married since 1986, they live in St. Louis, Missouri, where they have raised five children.

Ed Blakemore met his wife Patrice in class their first day in 1996. “She arrived two hours late,” he recalls.
She made a strong impression nonetheless. The couple married in 2000, and they now live in Cleveland with their three children. 
Virginia Platt first noticed Dan Gehres because he was the only classmate familiar with an obscure case in a textbook footnote.  She was impressed, but couldn’t help thinking, “Oh no, an over-eager law student.” (Dan’s knowledge of the case, he now admits, stems from the fact that one party was named Gehres.)
They didn’t start dating for another two years, in 1977, after a student-organized trip to a Cincinnati Reds game.  Although soaked to the bone, they alone stayed for all 16 innings following a long rain delay.
“We can’t remember who won,” Virginia says.
GehresThey married four years later in the UD Chapel.  They are the parents of four children, including their son Marty, who graduates from Dayton Law in May.  Dan is a Dayton Municipal Judge and Virginia a Montgomery County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney. 
Tom and Breanne Whalen met the first day of orientation.  They married in 2011, the year they graduated -- but only after taking the bar.
Tom has been with Sebaly Shillito + Dyer ever since.  Breanne was an attorney with Freund, Freeze & Arnold, until recently making the difficult decision to resign after the birth of their third child. 
They attended all the same classes during their first year of law school.
Whalens“We shared the same friends, study outlines and even a locker,” Breanne says. “We spent all of our down time together between classes lounging on the couches with friends, and studying in our favorite room in the library we nicknamed The Eagle’s Nest.”
She also fondly recalls the privilege of eating with the “grown-ups” at the Kennedy Union Faculty/Graduate Student Dining Hall, a place they nicknamed the BPE (Best Place Ever).
Patrice Blakemore grew up in Dayton, but after their marriage she and Ed moved north to his hometown of Cleveland, where their legal careers took off.  Ed is assistant general counsel for Rockwell Automation, a Fortune 500 Company.  Patrice serves as a business advisor for the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program at Cuyahoga Community College.
Whether local or out of town, these couples have involved themselves with their alma mater.   
Colleen Leahy also grew up in Dayton, but the couple settled in Kevin’s hometown of St. Louis, where they work together at the private practice Leahy, Wright & Associates, LLC.
The Leahys maintain close ties with their Dayton Law friends despite the obstacles of distance, child-rearing and professional demands.  They look forward to class reunions and have employed several UDSL students and attorneys over the years.
Ed Blakemore has mentored several Dayton Law students in addition to serving as a teaching assistant in Professor Emeritus Vernellia Randall’s Academic Excellence Program. 
Recently, Tom Whalen served as a mentor in the law school’s Leadership Honors Program and Breanne has assisted with the Road to Bar Passage Class.  Both are active members of Dayton Law’s Alumni Board of Trustees.
It’s only fitting, after all, that these alumni give back to the Law School that gave them the ultimate gift – each other.
-- Carole Judge
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