Levin College of Law

Jennifer Zedalis

Emeritus Senior Legal Skills Professor

(352) 273-0814


Criminal Law  • Evidence  • Mental Health  • Trial Procedure  • 


Professor Zedalis served as the Director of Trial Practice at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, and as an Assistant Director of the Criminal Justice Center. She also served as the Co-Chair of the Gerald T. Bennett Public Defender/Prosecutor Trial Program, and on the PPD faculty for 24 years. She taught trial practice, pretrial practice, and intro to lawyering, and has also taught mental health litigation and the criminal defense clinic. She was the faculty advisor for the trial team and served as Chair of the Peter T. Fay Jurist in Residence Program. She has practiced criminal defense for thirty years, and continues to do pro bono trial work as time permits. She was formerly an assistant public defender in the Fifth and Eighth Judicial Circuits, and ran a solo law practice from 1998 to 2003. She has handled all types of criminal cases, including capital cases, appeals, and post-conviction proceedings in addition to trials. She has lectured in the United Kingdom, Poland, and Costa Rica in the areas of American trial procedure, evidence, and criminal practice. She has been called as an expert in Florida criminal law in the Canadian Court of Immigration, and her article on “Justice Worthy Closing Arguments” has been published by the ABA Trial Evidence Committee.

Professor Zedalis has been interviewed on television and radio regarding high profile cases, most recently the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, in five different countries, including the U.S., Russia, Jamaica, Japan, and Canada.

Professor Zedalis also served as an affiliate professor in the UF Department of Psychiatry, and taught forensic psychiatrists in the Landmark Cases Seminar.

She serves on the Executive Council of the Criminal Law Section of The Florida Bar. She is also a member of the ABA Litigation Section, the Florida Bar Trial Lawyers Section, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the Eighth Circuit Bar Association.

She has a Juris Doctorate from the University of Florida (1984) and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Literature from Duke (1980).


J.D., University of Florida
B.A., Duke University (magna cum laude)

Teaching and Scholarship

Criminal Law, Trial Practice


  • Florida Criminal Procedure
  • Trial Practice


Articles, Books and Publications

  • “Lost in Case: 10 Ways to Bring Justice Into Closing Argument,” ABA Trial Evidence Committee Spring 2014 Journal (June 04, 2014)
  • “Rethinking Your Practice Habits: Seven Ways to be a Better Lawyer in the Criminal Courts,” Florida Criminal Law Journal Volume XXXIII, No.1 Fall 2003
  • “Revisiting the Decision of Death in Hurst v. Florida,” The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law Volume 44, No. 4 December 2016
  • “Real and Demonstrative Evidence,” Faculty Manual, Florida Bar/ Gerald T. Bennett Public Defender Prosecutor Training Program, 2004
  • “Portrait of a True Advocate,” Florida Bar Criminal Law Update Volume 2, Issue 1, March 2009
  • Trying Cases: Promise, Prove and Persuade (Vandeplas, 2018)