Dean’s message: Welcome from Dean Jerry

Published: August 30th, 2010

Category: Feature, News

Dean Robert H. Jerry

Dean Robert H. Jerry

On behalf of our faculty and staff, I welcome all our new and returning students to the college. As we begin this new academic year, Steve Zack, (JD71), serves as the 2010-11 president of the American Bar Association, the fifth UF Law graduate to do so, more than any other school in the past four decades. I doubt that any other law school in the nation has ever been able to celebrate the accomplishment of having all of these offices occupied by its alumni in the same year: ABA President (Steve Zack); and, with its state bar association (for us, the Florida Bar Association), the president (Mayanne Downs, [JD87]); the president-elect (Scott Hawkins, [JD83]); the past-president (Jay White, [JD83]), and the Young Lawyers Division President (Renee Thompson, [JD99]). And Joe Milton, (JD69), received the Florida Bar Foundation’s 2010 Medal of Honor, the highest award presented to a member of the Florida Bar. Whether it’s bar officers, the judiciary, or the private sector, UF Law alumni have been and are leaders, and it all begins here.

This is already shaping up to be an active fall, with events ranging from the Glasser Barbecue (Tues., Sept. 14) to the University of Florida’s Constitution Day Program at the law school (Fri., Sept. 17). Details on other events and announcements, including important information about career development and student services, alumni activities and more, can be found in this and upcoming issues of FlaLaw Online, and I encourage you to make a habit of reading FlaLaw Online each Monday morning.

This year is also a time of great change in the legal profession, and many of our activities and events will explore these changes. The job market for new law graduates, although showing some signs of improvement, remains difficult, and we will have a number of programs designed to help prepare you to deal with these realities. Steve Zack’s ABA agenda for this year includes promoting access to and preservation of the justice system, civic education, and protecting human rights, and we will have programs that discuss each of these imperatives. Indeed, some of your faculty will have key positions on the committees that will work on these issues this year.

We have several new faculty colleagues who are joining us, and I hope you meet them soon: Tom Lin (teaching Business Organizations in fall and Corporations in the spring); Rachel Rebouche (teaching Comparative Family Law in fall and Perspectives on Family in the spring); Paul Gugliuzza (visiting, teaching Legal Research and Writing); Mark Snider (interim tax professor); Sylvia Menendez (visiting, Legal Drafting); and Joel Mintz (visiting; teaching Local Government and a seminar in Environmental Enforcement in the spring). Distinguished international visitors include Guido Pfeiffer (Germany, Introduction to Ancient Law); Tomasz Giaro (Poland, European Legal Tradition); and Adjunct Prof. Attila Andrade (Brazil, Doing Business in Latin America, and Practical International Business Transactions).

There are some new faces in the administration, too. Rick Donnelly has been named acting director of the Legal Information Center (library) following the retirement of Kathie Price, and we welcome two new reference librarians: Jenny Wondracek (teaching Advanced Legal Research via distance learning) and Shira Megerman, who as student services librarian will focus on 1Ls. We also welcome our new registrar, Debby Hyatt, who comes to us from Florida Atlantic, our communications coordinator/FlaLaw Online editor, Whitney Smith, formerly of The Gainesville Sun, and Grace Northern, who comes to us from the White House to join our fundraising team as associate director of Development and Alumni Affairs. Recruiting will soon begin for a new assistant dean position in the Office of Student Affairs who will focus on academic advising, academic support, and professional development.

I am pleased that our newest building, the Martin H. Levin Advocacy Center, has been completed (with the exception of the interior of the second floor, which is scheduled for completion by fall 2011). The completion of the center’s courtroom finishes the total reconstruction of the college’s academic space during this decade. If you have not yet seen the courtroom, I hope you will soon visit it. We will have a courtroom opening celebration later this year and then a building dedication after all construction is completed. We have a new sidewalk on the northwest lawn; returning students will understand what I mean when I say this location for the sidewalk was selected by our students. If you’ve used the new walk, you’ve noticed the new sculpture generously donated to us by Marty Margulies, for whom the northwest lawn is named. As explained elsewhere in FlaLaw, this is a major work of art by an internationally prominent sculptor, which now makes our law school a destination for Gainesville visitors interested in viewing modern art.

This newsletter is for you, and I hope you will speak through it by submitting your news and suggestions to our Office of Communications at You also will find much information on our website,, such as policies and guidelines to which students and other members of our community are expected to adhere, as well as details and updated information on support services, financial information, student organizations, centers and institutes, course descriptions, faculty and staff, maps, and other helpful information.

Again, welcome to and back to the Levin College of Law. It’s great to be a Florida Gator, and I look forward to all of us having a very successful year.

Bob Jerry, Dean and Levin, Mabie and Levin Professor