1st District Court of Appeal hears arguments at UF Law

Published: October 29th, 2012

Category: News

Bill Moore of Brigham Moore, LLP presents an oral argument during the 1st District Court of Appeal hearings held Oct. 25 at the Martin H. Levin Advocacy Center Courtroom. (Photo by Marcela Suter)

By Felicia Holloman (3L)

When some think about the work of lawyers in a courtroom, they may conjure up images of attorneys giving impassioned speeches to a jury. But there is another side of courtroom lawyering in the form of appellate proceedings.

The 1st District Court of Appeal made its annual visit to UF Law for oral arguments on Oct. 25. The visit is coordinated by the legal skills department in the hopes of better educating first-year students about their chosen field.

Legal Skills Professor Diane Tomlinson believes the opportunity to watch oral arguments is novel for students who have likely never witnessed an appellate-level courtroom.

“The solemnity of a court proceeding, I think, is one of first impression for students preparing to become members of the legal profession.”

Tomlinson also considers the officers and practitioners of the 1st District Court to be the ideal illustration of legal professionalism for students.

“Our 1st District judges are such a fine example of a bench that knows the record, gets right to the legal issues, and respects the lawyers that appear before them. The lawyers that appear are likewise a fine example of officers of the court, as lawyers are sworn, first, to be advocates for their clients.”

UF Law alumnus and founder of the Journal of Law and Public Policy Judge Scott Makar (JD 87), Judge Philip Padovano, and Judge Stephanie Ray presided over four cases in the Martin H. Levin Advocacy Center Courtroom.

The cases covered various areas of law, from divorce and defamation to takings and wills.

Alachua Land Investors v. City of Gainesville garnered the highest attendance and concerned whether the appellant had notice of a zoning restriction on his property that prohibited him from building on a piece of the land. Bill Moore of Brigham Moore, LLP and Timothy J. McDermott of Akerman Senterfitt argued for the appellant and appellee, respectively.

After the arguments, the judges answered questions from students and offered opinions on the importance of oral arguments in appellate courts.

“No matter how much you study or prepare, you always should be open, I think, and I am, to have somebody show you that there is another way to look at this issue,” Makar said.