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Denise Platfoot Lacey

Professor of Externships

Full-Time Faculty

School of Law


Email: Denise Lacey
Phone: 937-229-4634
427 Keller Hall


Professor Lacey teaches the externship course and directs the law school’s Externship Program.  She joined the faculty in 2007, after having served for two years as the secretary to the Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism for the Supreme Court of Ohio. There she directed all aspects of the Commission's responsibilities and developed policies and activities on its behalf, designed to promote professionalism among Ohio's attorneys and judges. In her capacity as secretary, she served as the spokesperson and representative for the Commission, fostering relationships with Ohio courts, bar associations, law schools and similar Commissions in other jurisdictions to collaborate with, make recommendations to, and assist them in professionalism efforts in the legal profession. She updated the Supreme Court of Ohio regularly on the activities and recommendations of the Commission as well. She regularly developed and taught ethics and professionalism continuing legal education courses in Ohio and designed the curriculum for the Supreme Court of Ohio’s statewide mentoring program pilot (Lawyer to Lawyer Mentoring Program), which launched in 2006 and is currently offered as a permanent program for newly admitted lawyers. She was involved in drafting recommended amendments to Ohio’s New Lawyers Training regulations (Gov. Bar R. X), which were adopted in 2008. She was also one of the initial drafters of A Consumer’s Practical Guide to Managing a Relationship with a Lawyer, which was ultimately published by the Ohio Supreme Court in October 2009. 

Prior to that, Professor Lacey was assistant counsel of the Cleveland Bar Association, now the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, where she investigated allegations of professional misconduct by local attorneys and judges and prosecuted disciplinary cases on behalf of the bar association. She has remained active in the professional responsibility field by serving on the Dayton Bar Association Certified Grievance Committee (2008-2010) and the Bar Examination & Qualifications Committee (2009-Present). 

Professor Lacey is passionate about women’s issues in the legal profession.  She served as the President of the Ohio Women’s Bar Foundation from 2012 to 2013, and was the Chair of its Leadership Institute in 2013 to 2014.  She was also a board trustee of the Ohio Women’s Bar Association from 2008 to 2010, and served as its treasurer in 2011 and 2012. In May 2010, Professor Lacey was honored by the Ohio Women’s Bar Association with the President’s Choice Award, which awards an association member for contribution of support, energy, talent, time and vision.  She currently serves as the faculty advisor to the Women’s Caucus, the women law student’s organization, and previously initiated the Women in the Law Program Series at the law school, which provided a forum for discussion on topics of interest to women in the legal profession and provided meaningful opportunities for women law students to network with women in the legal profession.

Courses Taught

LAW 6539 Law as a Calling
LAW 6829 Professional Responsibility
LAW 6900 Externship 


J.D., Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, 1999
B.A., University of Dayton, 1995

Selected Presentations

Legal Ethics, National Business Institute CLE Seminar, Dayton, Ohio, December 2016.

Professionalism, Dayton Bar Association New Lawyer Training, Dayton, Ohio, November 2016.

Externships: Digitally Enhanced for Your Learning Pleasure, Externships 8 Conference, Cleveland, Ohio, March 2016.

Professional Conduct: The Top 10 Ethics Mistakes, Dayton Bar Association CLE Seminar, Dayton, Ohio, December 2015.

Social Media, Ethics & Professionalism, Toledo Women’s Bar Association Ethics & Professionalism Seminar, Toledo, Ohio, November 2013.

Law Schools and Profession Working Together, Supreme Court of Ohio Commission on Professionalism Student to Lawyer Symposium, Columbus, Ohio, November, 2012.

Ethics in Practice: Developing Practice-Ready Graduates in a Field Placement Course that Teaches Legal Ethics, 2012 Midwest Clinical Conference, St. Louis University School of Law, November 2012.

Self-Assessment, Millennials, and Learning Portfolios, 2011 Summer Conference of the Institute for Law Teaching and Learning, New York Law School, June, 2011.

Gender Fairness and Communication Issues in the Courts, 2010 Ohio Judicial Conference Annual Meeting.

Can We Predict and Prevent Professional Misconduct? Lessons from the Dental and Medical Professions. 36th ABA National Conference on Professional Responsibility, Seattle, Washington, June 2010.

Outcome Identification, Formative Assessment and Course Design in Field Placement Clinics. 2010 AALS Clinical Legal Education Conference, Baltimore, Maryland, May 2010.

Designing Externship Courses in Specialized Areas and Class Content that Engages Students. Externships 5: Responding to Changing Times, University of Miami, Florida, March 2010.


I’m a Believer! Converted by Three-Way Mid-Term Conferences, Fall 2013 Clinical Legal Education Newsletter, Vol. 21, Issue 2, at 22.

Embedding Professionalism into Legal Education, 18 J. L. Bus.& Ethics 41 (2012)