To help FIU Law students prepare for their future legal careers, the law school provides opportunities for them to compete in mock trial, appellate advocacy and trial advocacy competitions. The competitions simulate real-life situations and test students’ writing abilities and oral presentation skills.
Although a young school, FIU Law has historically performed well at local, national and international competitions.
During the National Black Law Student Association’s 2014 Nelson Mandela International Negotiations Competition which was held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin March 12-16, 2014, FIU Law’s team brought home three of the six awards.
Second-year law student Scheril Murray Powell, who holds first-place titles in FIU Law Board of Advocates Intramural Negotiation Competition and ABA Regional Negotiations Competition, competing in and winning Overall Best Negotiation in the Mandela Competition was not only challenging, but inspirational.
“This competition was different for me because it is named after a man I have admired all of my life – the great man of compromise the late Nelson Mandela, which gave me a sentimental reason to want to do well. Not so long ago black students were denied admission to non-historically black law schools and when integration started taking place, the Black Law Student Associations fought for equality and today includes students from all races, cultures, and ethnicities in alignment with the vision of Dr. Martin Luther King,” she shared.
Powell’s partner, Jihane Elizee, a second-year evening law student competing for the first time, took home the Round One Best Negotiator trophy and shared the First Runner-Up Team trophy with Powell. Elizee was “grateful to have experienced success my first time up,” and appreciates that FIU Law is providing her with a solid foundation to succeed in the legal profession.
“FIU Law has given me the tools to excel in law school, and invites healthy competition. The faculty offers a wealth of vast experiences, along with the disciplined and ambitious diverse student body, I am provided the ideal platform to demonstrate and embody the level of professionalism and preparation essential to excel in prestigious competitions, such as the Nelson Mandela Negotiations competitions, law school, and beyond.”
Professor David Walter, who also serves as Co-Director of Legal Skills and Values, feels these competitions give students “a chance to focus, intensively, on a single problem or set of problems and then develop strategies and tactics to deal with the multiple issues presented by the problem. The students hone their analytical and negotiation skills or argument or trial skills which will be very useful to the students, on a day-to-day basis, once they become practicing attorneys.”
For three grueling days, Powell and Elizee negotiated four distinct and complex, international law fact patterns and role-played characters like the U.S. Secretary of State and the South Korea Minister of Foreign Affairs. The team had to adapt themselves to the confidential facts which are only shared hours before the start time of the competition and to be able to think fast on their feet.
Unlike Powell’s previous competitions, the Mandela Negotiation Competition offered a strong international component, “it was fun to step into the shoes of international decision makers. We had the opportunity to negotiate the construction of a hydropower plant in Venezuela, the halting of nuclear testing in North Korea, and the elimination of trafficking of Ethiopian nationals in the Middle East all in one competition,” she explained.
It was the “synergy and communication” between Powell and Elizee that the judges took notice of – an important component in the overall scoring process. Their teamwork paid off in their individual and team victories.
PHOTO: From left to right: Scherill Murray Powell and Jihane Elizee.
FIU Law Professor Kerri Stone’s recent article, “Teaching the Post-sex Generation” in the Saint Louis University Law Journal is available here.
On March 20, 2014, Visiting Professor Charles C. Jalloh’s edited book, The Sierra Leone Special Court and Its Legacy: The Impact for Africa and International Criminal Law (Cambridge University Press, 2014) will be launched at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.
See the event announcement here.
Professor Cyra Choudhury has been invited to join the editorial board of the Journal of Research in Gender Studies. The journal is a double-blind, peer-reviewed bilingual interdisciplinary journal that aims to publish critical and theoretical constructive contributions across the large spectrum of humanities – literature, law, history, philosophy, religion, and visual and performing arts (including music and theatre), anthropology, area studies, communication studies, cultural studies, and linguistics, social sciences, behavioral sciences, medicine and public health, science and technology, democracy studies, women’s studies, men and masculinity studies, and queer studies. In joining the board, Prof. Choudhury will help to shape decisions about the journal’s editorial policy and will read scholarly contributions for inclusion in the journal.
In response to increased awareness about and the development of legislation to combat workplace bullying, a panel of three prominent practitioners will examine this complex and growing issue. Recognizing and addressing workplace bullying as well as the enforcement of laws and regulations under the NLRA and OSH will be discussed.
March 11, 2014 2:00 PM – 3:00pm ET (60 minute duration) Register here.
Moderator: Lindsey Wagner, Cathleen Scott & Associates, Jupiter, FL
Speakers: Monique Gougisha Doucette, Ogletree Deakins, New Orleans, LA, Dr. Gary Namie, The Workplace Bullying Institute, Bellingham, WA and Kerri Stone, Florida International University, Miami, FL
MIAMI (March 11, 2014) - For the first time in Florida International University College of Law’s (FIU Law) 12 year history, it has been ranked in the top 100 in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Graduate Schools rankings.
The rankings reflect the success of FIU Law’s students, graduates and faculty. FIU Law ranked 55th in the nation (3rd in Florida) for the selectivity of its incoming students and 56th in the nation (2nd in Florida) for the success of its graduates in finding jobs. FIU Law’s national reputation among law deans, judges and lawyers also increased. FIU Law’s overall ranking was 100 among all law schools in the nation. This is the fourth year in a row that FIU Law ascends in the rankings.
“This is a great achievement, and only possible because of the caliber of our students, graduates and faculty,” said FIU Law Dean R. Alexander Acosta. “Our consistent rise in the rankings and ascension into the top 100 reflects our efforts to provide our students a rigorous academic program, to expose them to learning opportunities in Miami’s global legal market, and to offer a diverse and exceptional faculty that challenges and inspires.”
Acosta said that rank is one way to evaluate a law school, but there are other factors that make FIU Law exceptional.
“The diversity among our faculty and within the student body, our location in Miami – the gateway to an international legal market – and our affordability, make FIU Law an outstanding option for prospective students,” Acosta said.
Professor M.C. Mirow recently published two chapters in a book on law and globalization entitled Globalización, Derecho Supranacional e Integración Americana (México: Porrúa/Escuela Libre de Derecho, 2013). One chapter, “Globalización y la educación legal en los EE.UU.,” criticizes the tepid attempts by the American Association of Law Schools to address globalization at its annual meeting in 2013, and the other, “Épocas en la historia del derecho de los EE.UU.,” provides a brief introduction to United States legal history. The volume was the result of a conference celebrating the centennial anniversary of the Escuela Libre de Derecho, and Mirow was one of only two scholars from the United States who presented at the conference. The chapters may be read at http://ssrn.com/abstract=2188959 and http://ssrn.com/abstract=2188981.
TerryAnn Howell, a third-year part-time law student, was the recipient of the Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr. Scholarship – a $5,000 gift – which was presented to her during the Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr. Bar Association’s 36th Annual Scholarship and Awards Gala held on March 1, 2014. Ms. Howell received the award for her leadership, academic excellence and community service. Former County Commissioner Betty Ferguson, the wife of the late Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr., presented Howell with the award.
Howell is a member of the FIU Law trial team and recently took home the Exceptional Advocate honor during the Seventeenth Annual National White Collar Crime Mock Trial Invitational which took place at Georgetown University Law School. She also serves as president of FIU Law’s Caribbean Students Bar Association, Marshall for Phi Alpha Delta Law Society, is an FIU Law student research assistant and is currently interning with the Coast Guard’s JAG unit.
“Receiving an award named after a great man like Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr. and having his wife present the award is such a great honor,” Howell shared. “I would not be in a position to accomplish so much if it weren’t for H.T Smith who is always encouraging me, and my fellow classmate Jennifer Typrowicz who told tell her employer to hire from FIU Law because its students are hard workers who get the job done – I’m just blessed in every way!
The Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr. Bar Association is the oldest and largest association of Black attorneys in Miami-Dade County, Florida. It has serves the Miami-Dade community by cultivating excellence and inclusion in the legal profession, promoting diversity in legal education through financial assistance and mentorship and advocating for equal access, equal opportunity and equal justice in the legal system.
Each year, the city of Miami hosts the Florida Bar’s Pre-Moot competition – a prelude to the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot Court which will be held in Vienna later this spring. The FIU Law team of Alexander Thorlton, Stephano Salani, Dick Ortega, Ivette Delgado and Isidora Enriquez took home third place. The team also received a $2,500 award from the International Law Section of the Florida Bar to help defray the cost of their upcoming trip to Vienna. Thorlton also received a second place award in the Best Oralist category. The team was coached and mentored by Professor Manuel Gomez and visiting scholar Victorino Tejera.
The local competition serves as the training ground for the Vis Moot in Vienna and allows the teams to experience what it feels like to be in real international arbitration proceedings. “The Florida Bar Pre-Moot is an excellent opportunity to prepare for the Vis Moot. The arbitrators were excellent, and have taken the time to become familiar with the problem. The competition is also very good which usually makes your own presentation better as well,” Thorlton shared.
Since October 2013, the team has been researching the issues, writing memoranda and practicing their oral arguments during intensive weekly meetings.
“We practiced on our own as a team and even went to local law firms to benefit from real world advice,” Thorlton continued.
The team also recognizes that the coaching they received was instrumental to their success. “Both our coaches, Professor Manuel Gomez and Victorino Tejera, were crucial in the development of our team. They shared their practice experiences and deep knowledge of arbitration, but most importantly, they would always make themselves available to provide guidance and assistance. We all share this triumph – it was the result of a team effort,” Enriquez shared. It was Enriquez’ first time participating in this competition and “although it was a lot of work it was extremely rewarding. It challenged my knowledge and preparation as well as my ability to create legal arguments on the spot.”
Professor Gomez also highlighted the educational purpose of the competition and its unique contribution to giving the students a glimpse of how it is to practice law in a globalized world. “This is one of the best opportunities our students have to experience first-hand how to manage a transnational commercial case. This is our fifth year participating in it and our students and I have been always grateful for the support that the dean of the College of Law has given us,” he commented.
Vis Moot was created as a clinical tool for training law students in crucial aspects of research, drafting and advocacy within the international business community. The competition simulates cases based on real issues and are attempting to be resolved through arbitration rather than in court.