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UF Law grads lead state and national bar

UF grads lead barWhen UF Law graduate and former president of The Florida Bar Stephen N. Zack was sworn in as president of the American Bar Association in August, he became the first Hispanic-American to take on the duty, and the fifth UF Law graduate to hold the position.

Following in Zack's footsteps on the state level are UF Law alumni Mayanne Downs, who became president of The Florida Bar in June, and Scott G. Hawkins, The Florida Bar president-elect for 2011.

As president of the 400,000 member-plus ABA, Zack will work toward gaining equal access to justice for all segments of society, a major focal point of his presidency. Other important issues Zack will focus on will be sufficient funding of the judiciary, the growing use of technology in the legal world and the importance of a proper civic education for young students.

Like Zack at the ABA, Downs is making judiciary funding a major focus of her presidency at The Florida Bar. Raising awareness about how lawyers can benefit by taking advantage of technology is also a key goal during her time in office.

Zack, who moved to Cuba from Detroit with his parents at two months old, came back to the United States at the age of 14 and went to high school in Miami. After graduating from UF Law, he returned to Miami and was co-founder of the Cuban-American Bar Association. Besides being the youngest president to be elected to The Florida Bar, Zack's other accomplishments include being a member of the team of attorneys who represented Al Gore in Bush v. Gore (2001) and serving on the Florida Constitution Revision Commission. He is also an emeritus member of the UF Law Center Association Board of Trustees.

Mayanne Downs has served as the Orlando City Attorney since 2007, is a partner at King, Blackwell, Downs & Zehnder, P.A. in Orlando, a past member of the UF Law Alumni Council and has been on The Florida Bar Board of Governors since 2002. Scott G. Hawkins is vice-chair of Jones, Foster, Johnston & Stubbs, P.A. in West Palm Beach, where he practices commercial litigation. He also serves on the UF Law Center Association Board of Trustees, UF Foundation Board of Directors and is director of The Florida Bar Foundation.