Tritt, Doyle win professor, student of the year

Published: April 20th, 2009

Category: News

Unlike a typical prom where high school students await the name of the prom king and queen, law schools students at the University of Florida College of Law’s Barrister’s Ball were waiting to hear the winners of a completely different award.

On April 3, during the ball, the John Marshall Bar Association (JMBA) announced third-year law student Kassie Doyle and Professor Lee-ford Tritt as recipients of the 2009 Student and Professor of the Year, respectively. Each year JMBA selects recipients of both awards through a systematic process.

Doyle said she was completely shocked when her name was called during the ball.

“I honestly didn’t think that I would win. I was just thrilled to be a finalist,” said Doyle, who completed her undergrad at Duke University with a degree in Psychology. “It is a great honor. This school is full of tremendously intelligent people that are dedicated and hard working. To be picked out among all of these students, I am just really flattered.”

Doyle, who is the president of the Law College Council, is the kind of person that loves to get involved. She said though law school is challenging, it is important that students get involved and have fun. Otherwise, she said, students would be doing themselves a disservice.

After graduation, Doyle plans to move to Miami and work at McAlpin Conroy, a small maritime and admiralty firm. She said she instantly knew that the firm was the perfect place for her.

“Some of the interviews I went on felt like they would eat me and spit me out for lunch,” Doyle said. “I didn’t want to go to work scared every day. The environment [at McAlpin Conroy] was so great that when I walked in there I fell in love with it right away.”

Years from now, Doyle hopes to still be at McAplin Conroy. One thing that she doesn’t want to do though is make life all about money. “I don’t care to be the richest attorney around, or the busiest. What I really want is for my clients to be able to say that I helped them and made their lives a little better. I think that is something all attorneys should strive for.”

TrittProfessor of the Year, Lee-Ford Tritt, who joined the UF Law Faculty in 2005, said that the award meant a lot to him, especially after a difficult year.

“Florida students are phenomenal,” Tritt said. “They are very respectful, and they cheer you up without knowing it.”

So far, Tritt’s experience with the students has been amazing, he said. Just recently, Tritt suffered a loss, and his students were there to make him feel better.

“I have no idea how they found out or how they knew where I lived, but throughout the evening [after the tragedy] I kept on finding on my front door food and beer, which I thought was funny, he said. “I found it really touching.”

Tritt advices law school students to relax, and said they shouldn’t spend all of their time stressing about grades. Though grades are important, he said, they aren’t always the key to being successful.

“Sit back and try to look at the big picture,” he said. “Law is an amazing thing and in this profession the ‘scrappers’ standout. If you are just resilient and you roll up your sleeves and you work, you will be successful. You might not get that grade you wanted or that job you wanted at first, but the best lawyers in the nation are scrappers. They didn’t go to the best law school; they weren’t number one in their class. They make their name another way.”

Tritt said that his favorite thing about teaching is the interaction with his students and the environment at the University of Florida.

“I have lectured many places, but the Florida students are just a unique entity,” he said.

Tritt said teaching is one of the best decisions that he ever made and he wouldn’t trade it for the world.

“I don’t think that I could ever give up teaching,” said Tritt. “It is addictive and is just amazing. I don’t know what heroine is like, but I assume it’s similar.”