Professor Ediberto Roman responds to Aníbal de Castro’s – the Dominican Republic’s Ambassador to the United States – January 23rd, 2014 op-ed piece in The Miami Herald. Read the blog here.
During the Florida Justice Association’s (FJA) Proof and Argument of Unique Aspects of Damages in Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Cases Workhorse Seminar in Orlando, four FIU Law alumni made presentations. The workshop was part of a four-day CLE seminar and included sessions on products liability litigation, premise liability, and personal injury and wrongful death litigation.
Dustin Herman’10, of the Romano Law Group, pitched the idea of the Proof and Argument panel to FJA organizers as a way to provide FJA members with a primer on current trends and the various elements of damages in Florida in personal injury and wrongful death cases. “It was a great event and the feedback we have receiving has been tremendous. FJA is interested in the young lawyers presentation for next year,” Hermand commented. In addition to Herman, who presented on Loss of Capacity for the Enjoyment of Life, Courtney Engelke ’11, of Colson Hicks Eidson, spoke about Past and Future Medical Damages; Lisa Cabrera ’10, of the Alvarez Law Firm, presented on Scarring and Disfigurement; and Riley H. Beam ’12, of Douglas R. Beam, P.A., spoke about Embarrassment, Humiliation, and Inconvenience. Together, the alumni collaborated on their research, prepared a ‘Trial Toolbox’ for FJA members, and hope to be published in a forthcoming FJA publication.
“I thank Dustin for organizing the panel,” said Engelke. “It was a tremendous opportunity, one I am proud to have been a part of.”
The event was a reflection of the impact FIU Law graduates are having in the legal profession. “FIU Law alumni continue to do remarkably well,” Robert Scavone Jr. President of the FIU Law Alumni Association, said. “Dustin, Courtney, Lisa and Riley represent the great work our alumni are doing. There is no doubt that FIU Law alumni are having an impact and elevating our school’s standing.”
On February 13, 2014, Visiting Associate Professor Charles C. Jalloh gave a lecture at the United Nations entitled, Africa and the International Criminal Court. Miguel de Serpa Soares, the Under-Secretary General for Legal Affairs and Legal Counsel to the United Nations, invited him to share his noted expertise on that topic with lawyers in the UN Office of Legal Affairs in New York.
In a unanimous decision FIU Law’s Moot Court team of Daniela Abratt and Lauren Canina won the 11thAnnual Board of Advocates (BOA) Intramural Appellate Advocacy Competition. Lauren Canina was also named Best Orator. Honorable Morris S. Arnold, United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit; Honorable Julio Fuentes, United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and Honorable Vance E. Salter, Florida Third District Court of Appeal, presided over the hearing. Going into the finals were: Iva Todorova and Leidy Perez (Petitioner) and Daniela Abratt and Lauren Canina (Respondent).
FIU Law hosted Dean Daniel Rodriguez from Northwestern University for its first-ever Decanal Lecture on Legal Education. Watch it here.
Professor Ediberto Roman’s blog, Florida Politicians Confused About In-State Tuition available here.
Professor Roman’s articles and radio interviews with leading Haitian media where he discusses the situation of the more than 250.000 Dominicans of Haitian descent who were stripped of their citizenship by the Dominican constitutional court.
On February 11, 2014, Visiting Associate Professor Charles C. Jalloh spoke on the topic of his recent book, Sierra Leone Special Court and Its Legacy: The Impact for Africa and International Criminal Law, at Case Western Reserve University School of Law.
To commemorate Black History Month, FIU Law’s Black Law Student Lawyers Association (BLSA) wanted to do something historic that would have a lasting impact not only on the organization, but on the College of Law. So its board of directors in a unanimous decision, voted to rename itself the H.T. Smith Black Law Students Association in honor of Professor H.T. Smith and his lifelong contributions to seek fairness and justice. For BLSA President Guybert “Jimmy” Paul, renaming the organization was simple. “Professor Smith has paved the way for men like me, if he hadn’t been as brave as he was all those years ago, the world I live in today would be very different,” he said.
There is no doubt that the world H.T. Smith was born into looks very different than the world today. Some of those changes were made possible by Smith’s passion for helping to level the playing field for African American lawyers and for defeating all forms of discrimination. Born in Miami’s Overtown community, Smith grew up under the restrictions of the Jim Crow laws, but despite the segregation he experienced as a young boy, he went on to do great things. Smith graduated from Florida A & M University and then went on to serve in the Vietnam War. While overseas, he decided that he wanted to attend law school. He put his ‘passionate, principled advocacy’ to the test when he convinced the University of Miami to admit him despite not taking the LSAT. He advocated that it would be unfair to punish a man for not taking a test that was not being administered in Vietnam. After successfully earning his Juris Doctorate, Smith became a trailblazer for the African American legal community where he was the first African American assistant public defender, Miami-Dade County’s first African-American assistant county attorney and was the founding president of the Black Lawyers Association. His awards and recognitions from more than 40 years of work could fill the walls of the College of Law. His most recent accolade – the Cal Kovens Distinguished Community Service Award – occurred during FIU’s commencement exercises in December 2013, and his experiences with local, state, national and international leaders places him in an elite class. Irrespective of all of his many acknowledgments, the renaming of the BLSA is very special to him.
“I have been blessed to receive many awards, but this singular honor comes from students, and as a teacher what is better than getting recognition from those who know you?,” Smith said. “It’s very heartwarming.”
Smith has been practicing law for nearly four decades focusing on criminal defense, civil rights and personal injury cases. Ten years ago, FIU Law 2003 invited him to direct its Trial Advocacy Program which brought together his passion for legal storytelling and his natural abilities to teach and mentor into his perfect role: Professor.
“When I first started here and I would walk the halls, I would hear students call out, ‘Professor, Professor,’ I would turn around not knowing who they were calling out to and then I realized it was me and I like the sound of it!” It has been the students who have made juggling a law practice and his role with the Trial Advocacy program enjoyable and rewarding. “Teaching keeps me on the cutting edge of my profession, every day I learn from teaching and I just love the students,” Smith shared. Smith goes on to say that the support from the Dean, the faculty and the staff help make the program such a success.
As the BLSA moves into its new name, there’s no doubt that it will carry with it H.T. Smith’s fighting and compassionate spirit.
The renaming of the BLSA organization to the H.T. Smith Black Law Students Association will take place on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 7 p.m.at FIU College of Law RDB 11200 SW 8 Street, Miami, FL 33199.