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Federal judge shares experience, offers advice as jurist-in-residence

Hodges

Senior Judge William Terrell Hodges (JD 58) of the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida answered questions from law students Nov. 15 and 16 as the newest Peter T. Fay Jurist-in-Residence. (Photo by Nicole Safker)

By Bradon Breslow
Student writer

Students and faculty of the University of Florida Levin College of Law welcomed Senior Judge William Terrell Hodges (JD 58) of the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida, as the newest Peter T. Fay Jurist-in-Residence.

Hodges visited the UF Law campus Nov. 15 and 16 as part of the Jurist-in-Residence program, which brings judges to speak with students and faculty about judicial clerkships, trial advocacy, legal careers and other important issues.

"I came here to answer the students' questions," Hodges said, "so that I can help them as they prepare to enter the practice of law."

Hodges was appointed to preside in the Middle District of Florida by Richard Nixon in 1971. He served as chief judge from 1982 to 1989 and has maintained senior status since 1999. Prior to his appointment, he worked as a private practice attorney in Tampa.

"Judge Hodges was an outstanding candidate for our Peter T. Fay Jurist-in-Residence program," said Senior Legal Skills Professor Jennifer Zedalis, who chairs the Jurist-in-Residence program. "He has served on the federal bench for more than 40 years, and he was able to give our students a sense of the profession that very few could convey as thoughtfully and candidly."

Hodges met with faculty and students from the UF Law clinics, Florida Law Review and several other student organizations. A luncheon was held through the Career Development Center for students interested in judicial clerkships.

"The law clerks that I've hired from UF Law have always displayed an ability to do their work equally or better than those from other institutions," Hodges said. "I also know that UF Law has a solid reputation with the judges from the U.S. Courts of Appeals as far as the quality of their graduates who become clerks."

He was also a guest lecturer in law classes for Professors Rush and Fenster, where he discussed federal courts and statutory interpretation.

The UF Law Trial Team and Florida Moot Court Team had the opportunity to meet with Hodges to discuss trial advocacy in the federal courts.

"I stress that lawyers be themselves," Hodges said. "Don't try to imitate other advocates or pick up some sort of gimmickry."