Associate Professor Charles C. Jalloh has just published a comment on the Special Court for Sierra Leone’s last judgment in Prosecutor v. Charles Taylor in the American Journal of International Law (AJIL), January 2014, Volume 108, Number 1 at pp. 58-66. AJIL is widely considered the number 1 peer-reviewed international law journal in the world. The piece is posted on SSRN here.
Maria D. Garcia, of Zumpano Patricios & Winker, was appointed by the President-Elect of the Florida Bar, Gregory W. Coleman, to serve on the Judicial Nominating Procedures Committee. This standing committee assists the Governor of Florida and the judicial nominating commissions throughout the state in discharging their respective duties under Article V, Section 11, of the Constitution of Florida, as well as advises the judicial nominating commissioners on new or proposed legislation related to the judiciary and the judicial selection process.
Professor J. Osei-Tutu presented her new research project on the global criminalization of intellectual property at the 2014 Intellectual Property Scholars Roundtable at Drake Law in Des Moines, Iowa. The conference, which was held March 28 and 29, was attended by intellectual property academics from across the United States as well as from Canada, India and China.
Professor M.C. Mirow will receive the Golden Quill Award, Outstanding Florida History Article, for 2014 from the Florida Historical Society at the Society’s annual meeting next month. The article “The Constitution of Cádiz in Florida” explores the constitutional history of St. Augustine and East Florida from 1812 to 1821, during Spanish rule of the region. The article was published last year in the Florida Journal of International Law and may be found here. Mirow is also the author of the book Florida’s First Constitution, The Constitution of Cádiz: Introduction, Translation, and Text (2012). “I am honored to have my scholarship recognized by the premier historical society of Florida. While legal historians know a great deal about the colonial legal history of New York or Massachusetts for example, the materials for Florida have been unexplored and are equally as fascinating, complex, and integral to the legal, constitutional, and political history of United States. Because a lot of the materials are in Spanish and deal with colonial Spanish law, special training is needed to read and to understand what you are looking at,” said Mirow. He added, “I’ve been fortunate to have studied legal and Spanish palaeography at various stages in my career through York University’s Borthwick Institute and Cambridge University in England, and here in the States at the Newberry Library in Chicago. All of this work has brought me back to the unexplored materials of colonial Florida. It is, for me, my Atlantis, an undiscovered colonial legal world.”
FIU Law students Anthony Rouzier, a fourth-year, and Allan Zullinger, a third-year, have been leading the local Affordable Care Act (ACA) implementation effort by providing assistance to hundreds of FIU students and families. Rouzier and Zullinger, who are both “certified application counselors” trained by the Health Council of South Florida, have been meeting with FIU students and their families since February 2014 to counsel them on their health coverage options through the ACA Marketplace.
Rouzier, who graduates this May with a dual JD/MBA degree, has a background in health care as co-founder and president of Henry Gets Moving, a childhood obesity awareness campaign. He became interested in the ACA because it aligned his experience in health care with his FIU education inboth law and business. As a certified application counselor he has had the opportunity to apply his health care, legal, and business knowledge to benefit FIU students, as ACA enrollment involves complicated issues of tax, family, and immigration law. He intends to use his experience providing ACA counseling in his career as a social entrepreneur and health advocate.
Zullinger, began learning about the ACA this past fall semester as a student attorney in FIU Law’s Health Law and Policy Clinic, when he successfully represented a medically-underserved Miami woman in a Social Security disability hearing. Through the hearing he experienced the devastating effect that long-term lack of health insurance had on his client’s wellbeing. After sufereing from a bike accident last semester, Zullinger’s experience with the healthcare system became personal, and he wrote an op-ed that was published by the Washington Post. He has since been invited to share his health care story at events where he shared the stage with Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, and at a separate event, First Lady Michelle Obama. As a certified application counselor, Zullinger has worked to ensure that young people at FIU are able to access affordable health coverage and avoid the health and financial consequences of lacking health coverage. Zullinger graduates from FIU Law in May and is looking forward to a career in health law or government.
Their effort to assist their peers, fellow “young invincibles,” at FIU has garnered national media attention. To date, Rouzier and Zullinger have helped nearly 100 FIU students and their families enroll in affordable health coverage through the ACA Marketplace.
On Saturday, April 5, 2014, FIU Law students, along alumni, faculty and staff donned their best ‘Gatsbyesque’ fashions and celebrated the near-end to the school year during the annual Barrister’s Ball.
The evening also served as a time to recognize some outstanding faculty, to announce the incoming Student Bar Association (SBA) executive board and to reveal the names of those faculty members who will have a special role during May’s commencement.
Before guests kicked up their heels, SBA President Alisha Mays and Barrister’s Ball Chair and Vice President – Day Division Melanie Kalmin, presented various awards and recognition. Barrister’s Ball co-Chair Kristen Farber also assisted with the presentation.
Each year, students select a Professor and Pioneer of the Year. This year, Professor Tracy Pearl was given both distinctions. Professor Pearl was recognized for excellence in teaching and her devoted commitment to the students (Professor of the Year) and for her visionary contributions (Pioneer of the Year). Receiving this recognition from the students was very special to her.
“I was incredibly honored to be the recipient of both the Professor of the Year Award and the Pioneer Award. Teaching at FIU has been such a rewarding experience. The students are motivated, energetic, and fun to have in the classroom. I am thankful every day for the opportunity to get to know such great groups of law students. These awards are really just the icing on the cake of what has been an awesome two years. I am so grateful to the SBA and to the student body for selecting me to be their recipient this year and I am humbled to be joining my incredibly talented colleagues who have won these awards in years past,” she shared.
Pearl teaches Torts, Products Liability, Toxic and Environmental Torts and a seminar on Victim Compensation.
A special award was presented to Professor Alex Pearl for his influence and his work with the students over the past two years. He received the Impact Award. Pearl teaches Property, Sports Law and American Indian Law.
The Barrister’s Ball was also a time to say good-bye to the current board and welcome in the new one. Mays took time to reflect on her term. “My term as SBA President was very rewarding. As Treasurer the year before, I learned a lot about the inner workings of the SBA. That experience and knowledge was very beneficial as President. I cannot say enough how grateful I am for my hard-working board members, and all of the faculty, staff, and administration that helped with everything that has happened in the last year. I hope that these combined efforts made a lasting impression on the College of Law. I know that Daniel Horton and the entire 2014-2015 board are eager to get to work and continue serving our student body’s needs. I know that the school will be in good hands, and I look forward to hearing about the great things that are happening over the next year.”
As is tradition, the names of those professors who will have a special role during commencement were announced. Serving as hooders for the 2014 commencement exercises are Professor Christine Rickard, Professor Michele Anglade and Professor Eloisa Rodriguez-Dod.
Congratulations to the 2014-2015 Student Bar Association Board
President – Daniel Horton
Vice President Day- Sandra Sokolin
Vice President Evening – Guerda Prosper
Secretary – Ryan Maguire
Treasurer – Kathleen Pfahlert
ABA Representative – Kai Thompson
SGA Representative- Carlos Diaz
2L Representative Day – Kirk Villalon
2L Representative Evening – Brady Thompson
3L Representative Day – Kristen Farber
3L Representative Evening – Open
4L Representative – Miguel Tellado
2014 SBA Award Winners
Professor of the Year – Tracy Pearl
Pioneer of the Year Award – Tracy Pearl
Impact Award – Alex Pearl
Hooding Committee – Professor Rickard, Professor Anglade and Professor Rodriguez-Dod
Alumni Board Representative (Day) – Nicole Sinder
Alumni Board Representative (Evening) – Randy Narkir
Commencement Speaker (Day) – Brian Raque
Commencement Speaker (Night) – Alfonso Leon
Spring Break is notorious for relaxing, recharging and kicking back, but for two FIU Law students and Caribbean Student Bar Association (CSBA) executive board members, it was the perfect time to give back and make a difference.
CSBA executive board members Jeremy Thompson, a second-year law student, and Lisa Smith, a third-year, used their spring break vacation to give back to a group of young people living in Quibdo, Colombia – one of the country’s poorest areas.
Thompson and Smith went on a five day journey that included two plane rides, transportation via motorbikes called ‘rapids’ and even a hike to reach students in this rural community. While there, they brought school and music supplies to students in need. They also filled their itinerary with visits to judges and had conversations about possibilities, future plans and FIU Law.
Thompson had the idea for the international exchange through his experience with the Health through Walls – a non-profit organization that helps Caribbean, African, and other resource-poor countries implement replicable models and sustainable improvements in healthcare services within their penitentiaries. The exchange also helped to fulfill some of the required pro bono hours FIU Law students must fulfill in order to graduate.
Thompson is passionate about helping the underserved and underprivileged.
“The reason I took the trip to Colombia and the reason I want to be a lawyer is to help uplift the African diaspora across the world,” he shared. “Many Americans do not realize how the devastating effects that stemmed from slavery, segregation, and racism continue to plague Black’s across the world. Blacks not only live in impoverished areas in America, but also in Colombia and many other areas across the world. I plan to fight these devastating effects in America as a civil rights attorney.”
During their time, the team also met with judges and shared the fundamental differences between the United States common law system and Colombia’s civil law system – Quibdo is in the early stages of transitioning to a common law system. They also met with Quibdo’s police department to explain community policing and techniques on effective policing.
But, their best moments were the times they spent with the students.
“It was amazing the amount of questions the students had; they’ve even contacted us through Facebook to continue our conversations,” Smith shared. “They were curious about what it’s like to live on the campus of an American university and what our experiences are like as students. We explained to them how to apply to become an FIU international student and encouraged them to study hard.”
Smith hopes to be able to continue visiting developing cities like Quibdo to help uplift the African diaspora out of poverty and challenges more FIU students and faculty members to take similar mission trips.
Preparing for the trip began last August and garnered support from CSBA and the International Law Student Association (ILSA), but it didn’t end there. Thompson got word that one Quibdo’s music schools was in need of supplies, so he reached out to FIU’s College of Music and Assistant Professor Marcia Littley who helped facilitate the donation.
“I think what the students did was incredible. I was so pleased and intrigued to hear his (unusual) request specifically for cello strings and rosin. I know these can be so costly, especially in other countries like Colombia. I read a little about the orchestra there in Quibdo which was recently initiated. An ensemble like that is doing a great service to young people in a city with high crime and I thought that anything we can do to help out is going to mean something to those children. Manuel Berberian from Allegro Music generously donated strings he had available and it all came together very quickly. I am so impressed with your students’ initiative!” Littley shared.
On top of the demands of law school and their work with CSBA, Thompson and Smith keep a busy schedule.
Thompson started the Theta Mu Chapter of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. in Quibdo this past October and the Eta Sigma Chapter of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. at FIU while he was earning a master’s degree, he is the Evening Representative with International Law Students Association (ILSA), has an externship with Judge Michael Rothschild (17th Circuit of Florida), works at a Halfway House with federal inmates and is a research assistant for Professor Phyllis Kotey.
Smith is vice president of the CSBA, a member of the H.T. Smith Black Law Student’s Association, a member of the trial team and works as a paralegal in the Pena Law Firm in Miami Lakes.
TerryAnn Howell CSBA president appreciates Thompson’s and Smith’s efforts. “Jeremy and Lisa were true FIU Law ambassadors and did a tremendous job,” she said. “My hope is that they will inspire our members to participate in CSBA’s upcoming trips to Haiti and Jamaica and continue to get involved and reach out on an international level.”
Kristin Drecktrah ’11 of Gomm & Smith was a panelist at the recent Bahamas Young Arbitrators Conference. The panel of attorneys discussed the role young practitioners are playing in promoting the Bahamas as a center for international arbitration in the Caribbean. Drecktrah and others also offered insight into how they developed their practices in international arbitration and gave advice on how to enter the field.
“Right now, there isn’t really a ‘go-to’ seat for international arbitration in the region,” said Drecktrah. “My fellow panelists and I discussed the importance of working to help make the Bahamas the regional hub.”
The Bahamas Young Arbitrators Conference was held on the eve of the International Centre for Commercial Arbitration’s (ICCA) conference. This year, the ICCA chose Miami as the host city for their worldwide, biennial conference.
Drecktrah’s interest in international arbitration started at FIU Law when she enrolled in Professor Gomez’ course on the subject. “It struck me as a thriving and fascinating area of law,” she said. While in law school, Drecktrah also participated in a number of international competitions including the Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot. “I am able to put the skills I learned at FIU Law into practice at Gomm & Smith where I focus on commercial arbitration, commercial litigation, and investment arbitration.
Sponsored by the FIU Law Trial Advocacy Program and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), the hour-long program was presented by Coral Gables attorney Michael A. Mullen, a partner with Gaebe, Mullen, Antonelli & Dimatteo, and President of ABOTA’s Miami Chapter.
“ABOTA’s civility program reinforces our faculty’s consistent emphasis on advocating with civility, class, and super-competence,” said Professor H.T. Smith, Director of the Trial Advocacy Program.
The ABOTA program is part of the Trial Advocacy Program’s ongoing mission to cultivate the next generation of passionate, principled, great legal storytellers. For more information about the Trial Advocacy Program, including its curriculum and community outreach, contact Professor H.T. Smith at email@example.com.
Eric. S. Brumfield ’10 knows the importance of gaining practical experience while attending law school. He believes students who acquire ‘real life’ experience while in law school set themselves apart when they enter the job from those students who only have classroom experience. It’s the ‘real life’ experience that provides vital skills students often times do not learn in law school.
With this thought in mind, and needing additional help at his growing firm, Brumfield & Willis, Brumfield hired FIU Law second-year Wayne Russell. “I know FIU Law trains quality lawyers who can help our firm, and I know from first-hand experience that working in the legal field while in law school is a tremendous benefit once you enter the work force,” said Brumfield. “It is really a win-win for us. The student gains valuable experience and we get quality work product.”
Russell echoed Brumfield’s sentiments. “Working at the firm has been an invaluable experience which has, undoubtedly, prepared me for practice,” Russell said. “I thank Eric for giving me this opportunity and I hope more FIU Law alumni will follow his lead. I know my classmates would appreciate the opportunity to work at a firm while in school.”
While at FIU Law, Brumfield interned at the U.S. Coast Guard’s JAG Office and at the Miami-Dade Office of the Public Defender. “Those experiences helped me become a better lawyer,” said Brumfield. He noted that he will continue to hire FIU Law students and plans on offering Russell an associates position after he graduates and clears the Florida Bar. “To the extent that my friends and colleagues can afford to bring on clerks, I encourage them to hire FIU Law students,” says Brumfield. “I am confident they will not be disappointed.”