/Richard H. Underwood
Richard H. Underwood 2017-07-20T10:00:05+00:00

Project Description

(Photo by Mike Nichols)

Richard H. Underwood, American legal scholar and legal nonfiction and true crime writer, is the Edward T. Breathitt Professor of Law at the University of Kentucky College of Law. His most recent books are Gaslight Lawyers: Criminal Trials & Exploits in Gilded Age New York (2017) and CrimeSong: True Crime Stories from Southern Murder Ballads (2016).

Early life

Underwood was born in Columbus, Ohio, where he spent his early years. He graduated summa cum laude from The Ohio State University in 1969 and then entered the army. He served four years, with tours of duty in Germany and Vietnam, and later served as the security officer at the Presidio of San Francisco. Underwood left the army with the rank of captain, and he received a number of decorations, including the Bronze Star, the Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Bronze Star. He then attended the Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University, where he graduated summa cum laude in 1976, after serving on the Ohio State Law Journal and receiving the Order of the Coif. During his youth and college years, he developed an interest in American folk music.

Legal career

After law school, Richard Underwood served as a law clerk for the Honorable David S. Porter, a federal judge on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, in Cincinnati. He practiced several years with the law firm of Vorys, Sater, Seymour, and Pease in Columbus, Ohio, before taking a teaching position at the College of Law, University of Kentucky. He has taught a variety of courses, including Evidence, Scientific and Forensic Evidence, Litigation Skills (Trial Advocacy), Civil Procedure, Federal Courts, Insurance Law, Remedies, Law and Medicine, Bioethics, and Professional Responsibility (Legal Ethics). His legal publications include many law review articles, and he is the co-author of three books. See “Richard H. Underwood: List of works.”

Professor Underwood is a member of the Kentucky Bar Association, he served on the American Bar Association (ABA) Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility (2011–2014), and he is currently a member of the Kentucky Supreme Court Evidence Rules Review Commission. He has also served as the chairman of the Kentucky Bar Association Ethics Committee (1984–1998) and chairman of the Kentucky Bar Association Unauthorized Practice Committee (1984–1996), and he has served on the board of the Fayette County Bar Association. He was the chairman of the Kentucky Bar Association Model Rules (drafting) Committee.

Richard H. Underwood: List of works

Books

Author, Gaslight Lawyers: Criminal Trials & Exploits in Gilded Age New York (Shadelandhouse Modern Press: September 19, 2017)

Author, CrimeSong: True Crime Stories from Southern Murder Ballads (Shadelandhouse Modern Press: 2016)

Co-author, Modern Litigation and Professional Responsibility Handbook: The Limits of Zealous Advocacy (Second Edition: Wolters Kluwer: supplemented annually; First Edition: Little Brown & Company/Aspen: 1996)

Co-author, Kentucky Evidence Courtroom Manual (LexisNexis: reissued every year)

Co-author, Trial Ethics (Little Brown and Company: 1988; superseded by Modern Litigation and Professional Responsibility Handbook: The Limits of Zealous Advocacy)

Underwood has several forthcoming titles, which are currently in the process of publication, including books on the law, lawyers and judges, and true crime.

Book chapters and law review publications

“Medicine and the Law,” in Wilson and Polk, Professional and Practice Development (Medical Economics 1990) (sponsored by the AMA).

Professor Underwood is the author of more than forty law review articles, including the recent A Riff on Billy the Kid, 32 Touro L. Rev. 225 (2016).

Selected presentations

Professor Underwood has made many presentations, including a Musicology lecture, “Murdered Girls,” dealing with legal cases memorialized in Southern murder ballads, at the John Jacob Niles Center for American Music (2011), in addition to lectures at the Second World Conference on New Trends in Criminal Investigation and Evidence (1999) in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and the Worldwide Advocacy Conference (1998) at the Inns of Court School of Law, in London, England.

In 2011, Underwood presented at the Bob Dylan and the Law Symposium, co-sponsored by the Louis Stein Center for Law and Ethics, Touro Law Center, and the Fordham Urban Law Journal, in New York City. He was quoted by James Lachno in The Telegraph (UK), “Bob Dylan hits dissected by academics,” April 6, 2011. Professor Underwood’s article, “When the Law Doesn’t Work,” appeared in the Fordham Urban Law Journal. The Fordham Urban Law Journal “dedicated its 2010 Symposium issue to Dylan, his music, and the legal landscape his work critiqued.” (quote from “ULJ Cited in NYT Article on the Law and Bob Dylan,” City Square by the Fordham Urban Law Journal, February 23, 2016). See an abstract of Richard Underwood’s article, “When the Law Doesn’t Work.”

Awards

Professor Richard Underwood has received special awards from the Kentucky Supreme Court for his work on the Kentucky Rules of Professional Conduct (1989) and for his service as the chairman of the Kentucky Bar Association Ethics and Unauthorized Practice Committees (1998).

Vietnam tour of duty (1971 – 1972)

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