UF Law to celebrate opening of Advocacy Center courtroom, welcome David Westin

Published: February 21st, 2011

Category: News

The University of Florida Fredric G. Levin College of Law will celebrate the opening of the Martin H. Levin Advocacy Center courtroom with a special ceremony that will feature remarks by UF President Bernie Machen, as well as college namesake Fredric G. Levin (JD 61), his son, Martin H. Levin (JD 88) and a keynote speech by the immediate past president of ABC News, David Westin. The ceremony will be held at the Martin H. Levin Advocacy Center courtroom at UF Law Thursday, Feb. 24, at 10 a.m.

The new Advocacy Center courtroom – as part of the Martin H. Levin Advocacy Center — will serve as a key component in placing UF Law at the forefront of legal advocacy education. The fully functional trial and appellate courtroom contains a 98-seat gallery, a bench for seven judges, a jury box, attorneys’ tables, judge’s chambers and a jury deliberation room.

Before serving as the president of ABC News from 1997 to 2010, Westin graduated from the University of Michigan Law School, was a partner in the Washington law firm Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering and worked as an adjunct professor at Harvard and Georgetown universities, where he taught international civil litigation.

While at ABC News, Westin oversaw all editorial and business aspects of the news division, supervised coverage of President Bill Clinton’s impeachment, the 9/11 attacks, the Afghanistan and Iraq wars and the recent economic crisis. While Westin was president, ABC News was awarded 11 George Foster Peabody Awards, 13 Alfred I. duPont Awards, five George Polk Awards, more than 40 News and Documentary Emmys and more than 40 Edward R. Murrow Awards.

The courtroom opening is by ticket or invitation only. Media are welcome to attend, but space is limited. Please contact Matt Walker in the UF Law Communications office for further information (352-273-0653 or mlwalker@law.ufl.edu).

Tickets will be available to UF Law students on a first-come, first-served basis and will be available in the Office of Student Affairs until they are gone. Students must present a Gator 1 card when picking up tickets. Faculty and staff interested in tickets should see Doris Perron in the Dean’s Office.

Although the courtroom opening ceremony is limited to those who received invitations or obtained tickets, everyone is cordially invited to attend the UF Law Trial Team Exhibition at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 24, in the courtroom and the 27th annual Maguire Appellate Advocacy Competition at 10 a.m. on Feb. 25, also in the new courtroom. The Maguire Competition will feature all seven Florida Supreme Court justices judging the competition. Both events are free and open to the public and will be a good opportunity to view UF Law’s new facilities and see students showcase their advocacy skills.

The Martin H. Levin Advocacy Center and courtroom was made possible by a number of donors including Fredric Levin and his sister-in-law, Teri Levin. Fredric Levin contributed $2 million to the center as the lead gift to this project and Teri Levin contributed a $1 million gift in honor of her late husband, Allen Richard Levin. Teri Levin’s contribution brought the total of Levin family gifts to the law school to almost $30 million, including state matching funds. Other donors who helped make the Advocacy Center possible include the Baynard Trust, the late Robert M. Montgomery, of West Palm Beach and Robert Kerrigan of Kerrigan, Estess, McLeod & Thompson in Pensacola.