H. Scott Fingerhut
Assistant Director, Trial Advocacy Program
B.A., University of Virginia
Scott Fingherhut is a three-time Professor of the Year who comes to FIU with more than 20 years of law teaching experience and nearly 30 years as an AV-Preeminent rated trial lawyer devoting his practice to criminal defense and the defense of applicants seeking admission before the Florida Board of Bar Examiners and lawyers facing discipline by The Florida Bar.
As a law teacher, Professor Fingerhut has served for over a decade as Assistant Director of FIU’s Trial Advocacy Program. He began teaching Trial Ad in 1995 in the Litigation Skills Program at the University of Miami School of Law, a position he held for 10 years. In 2000, he accepted an appointment in FIU’s School of Policy and Management, teaching Criminal Constitutional Law and Procedure, Criminal Law Theory, Law and Social Control, and Judicial Process and Policy in the undergraduate and Master’s Degree criminal justice programs. In 2005, he came over to the College of Law.
Beyond campus and court, Professor Fingerhut recently completed his second term as Chair of the Florida Bar Criminal Procedure Rules Committee and serves as well on the Bar’s Committee on Student Education & Admission to the Bar. He was recently re-appointed to a Professionalism Panel for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Committee on Professionalism.
Professor Fingerhut has served as Chair of The Florida Bar Criminal Law Section and Chair of the section’s Certified Legal Education Committee, President of the Miami Chapter of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (FACDL-Miami), Chair of the Dade County Bar Association Criminal Law Committee, and Dade County Bar Designee to the Miami-Dade County Mayor’s Mental Health Task Force. He has also served on the Board of Directors of Legal Services of Greater Miami, the South Florida Mental Health Association, Court Care, and Friends of the Miami-Dade Drug Court, and on the Dade County Courthouse Courtroom 6-1 Restoration Project Committee. He was a member of the Bar’s Committee to Study the Decline in Jury Trials, the Florida Supreme Court Criminal Court Steering Committee Workgroup on Post-Conviction Relief, the Editorial Board of The Florida Bar Journal and Florida Bar News, and, by appointment of the Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court, the Florida Innocence Commission.
A frequent lecturer and writer on liberty and justice matters, Professor Fingerhut co-authored Robert S. Reiff’s Drunk Driving and Related Vehicular Offenses for Lexis Law Publishing. His co-authored chapter, “Conflicts of Interest and Other Pitfalls for the Expert Witness,” was re-published in the revised edition of Springer Publishing’s Handbook of Forensic Neuropsychology. And released last year from LexisNexis is his co-authored Florida DUI Law Practice Guide.
Professor Fingerhut received his undergraduate degree in American Government and Music from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, and his law degree from Emory University in Atlanta. Before entering private practice, he proudly served as a prosecutor in Janet Reno’s Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s Office.
Professor Fingerhut is consistently ranked among the region’s top criminal defense lawyers, including South Florida’s Top Law Firms (South Florida Legal Guide), Florida’s Legal Elite (Florida Trend Magazine), Florida Super Lawyers (Super Lawyers Magazine), and The Best Lawyers in America and The Best Law Firms in America.
Professor Fingerhut is the recipient of the “Put Something Back” Pro Bono Award from the Dade County Bar, the Daniel S. Pearson-Harry W. Prebish Founders Award from FACDL-Miami, and the Steven M. Goldstein Criminal Justice Award from FACDL Statewide. In addition to Professor of the Year, he has twice received the FIU Law Pioneer Award and six times he has been selected by the law school graduating class to hood them at Commencement.
Courses: Professor Fingerhut teaches Trial Advocacy, Criminal and Civil Pretrial Practice, and Criminal Procedure. He has also taught Criminal Law, as well as the course component to the Criminal and Civil Law Externship. By Dean’s appointment, Professor Fingerhut is fortunate to serve as well as a Faculty Fellow in The Honors College at FIU, where he teaches a year-long undergraduate seminar, Observing Ourselves: A Primer for Life After Honors, while also serving as Director of the Honors College Pre-Law Programs.
Current research interests:
— Exploring a constitutional right to plea bargain
— Application of the scientific method to probable cause fact-finding
— The power of apology, without evidentiary consequence, in criminal cases
— Whether, lest we disincentivize litigation, civility among counsel, not ethics, is the best we may hope for
— Chair, Florida Bar Criminal Procedure Rules Committee (2016-2017)
— Local Professionalism Panel, Eleventh Judicial Circuit Professionalism and Civility Committee (reappointed for second two-year term, 2017-2019)
— Member, Florida Bar Student Education and Admissions to the Bar Committee (reappointed for second three-year term, 2017-2020)
— Co-author, Florida DUI Law, LexisNexis Practice Guide (2017)
— Co-author, Drunk Driving and Related Vehicular Offenses: The Complete Lawyer’s Guidebook to Drunk Driving, Lexis Law Publishing (1997-2016)
— Author, Lessons: Simpson case 20 years later: TV proceedings showed Americans what matters, Orlando Sentinel (2015)
— Presenter, New York Times Tuesday Roundtable, Trick or Treat: How to Handle “Fake News” and “Alternative Facts” in an Age of Literal Truthiness (Forthcoming, October 2017)
— Forthcoming, Lecturer, as part of the Broward County Bar Association Bench and Bar Convention, Criminal Law Update (October 2017)
— Presenter, Office of the Miami-Dade County State Attorney, New Prosecutor Training: “The Elephant and the Modified Adversary System: On Ethics, Civility, Professionalism, The Present Moment, and the Importance of Being the Public Prosecutor” (August 2017; August 2016)
— Lecturer, on behalf of the Code and Rules of Evidence Committee and Criminal Law Section of The Florida Bar, at Hot Topics in Evidence 2017, If “Living Means Lying,” What of the Sun? On the Constructs of “Ethical Lawyering, Captivating Juror Attention, and the Madness of Crowds in an Age of “Literal” “Truthiness” (June 2017)
— Lecturer, as part of the 3rd Annual Best Practices in Suicide Prevention Conference on Youth Suicide: Reality and Misconceptions, at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, “Something There is that Doesn’t Love a Wall: Florida’s Baker Act and Beyond: Treatment and Transition” (February 2017)
— Graduation Assembly Speaker, The Honors College at FIU (December 2016)
— Lecturer, on behalf of the Criminal Law Section of The Florida Bar, at the 2016 Florida Criminal Law Update: “Getting to Fair: Why Brady is (Still) So Much Trouble and What We Can Do To Be More Just” (December 2016)
— Panelist, “Barbara Mancini: From Accused to Advocate: A Teach-In and Panel Discussion About Choices in End-Of-Life Care” (November 2015)
— Lecturer, College of Law “Open House,” Mock Class (October 2016)
— Lecturer, on behalf of the Criminal Law Section of The Florida Bar, at the Florida Bar Presidential Showcase Seminar: “The 50 Years of Miranda: The Decision – How It changed Our World” (June 2016)
— Presenter, “Why Mindfulness is the Most Important Personal and Professional Decision You Will Make in Law School” (April 2015)
— State v. Klein (DUI and bodily injury conviction at trial), successful representation on appeal, winning reversal of conviction at jury trial
— Successful state and federal civil and criminal representation of whistleblower Porter Fischer in the Biogenesis/Major League Baseball steroid scandal
— United States v. Ali Shaygan (Government’s appeal of $600,000 Hyde Amendment award for prosecutorial misconduct), as amicus for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
— Campa, et al. v. United States (on remand for resentencing based on incorrect application of “gathering or transmitting top secret information” enhancement provision of the sentencing guidelines), as amicus co-author for the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Miami Chapter
— In re: Amendments to the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure (oral argument before the Florida Supreme Court regarding proposed change to Florida’s closing argument rule), on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, the Florida Public Defender Association, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Miami Chapter, the Florida Innocence Initiative, and the Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr. Bar Association
— In re: Amendments to Rules Regulating The Florida Bar re: Chapter 11 Task Force (oral argument before the Florida Supreme Court regarding proposed changes to student-practice and post-graduate/Bar passage eligibility rules), on behalf of the Dade County Bar Association, the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Miami Chapter