UF Law’s Semester in Practice Program Earns Florida Bar Group Professionalism Award
UF Law’s Semester in Practice program has earned the 2018 Group Professionalism Award from The Florida Bar’s Standing Committee on Professionalism. UF Law Dean Laura A. Rosenbury accepted the award at the bar’s annual meeting in Orlando on June 14 alongside UF Law alum Nate Harvey (JD 18), who enrolled in the Semester in Practice program this past spring.
The honor has been given annually since 1994 to a program that is enhancing professionalism among law students and lawyers. Past recipients include judicial organizations, inns of court, law schools and local bar associations. This is the first year that UF Law has received the award.
UF Law launched the Semester in Practice program in 2016 to provide more experiential learning opportunities and to foster professional identity by exposing students to practicing attorneys, live clients and real legal matters.
“This program gives students the opportunity to see how lawyers manage ethical concerns, function in their professional roles, and navigate various substantive and procedural demands of practicing law,” Dean Rosenbury wrote in a recommendation letter to the bar.
Harvey, who spent the spring semester at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Orlando, praised the program for enhancing his legal education and providing valuable connections with leaders in the legal profession.
“The program added a new dimension to my legal education,” Harvey said. “The legal market is so competitive. We can’t really rely on the traditional way that law school has operated – you have to be able to apply these concepts in the real world.”
“The Semester in Practice program has sent an increasing number of our 3L students into the workplace, helping them develop their professional identities through closely supervised assignments,” wrote Dean Rosenbury. “Indeed, 20 percent of our 3L class is currently enrolled in the program, which has professional identity formation as its centerpiece.”
The program has also enhanced connections among the Gator Law Nation through networking and mentoring opportunities.
“Gators want to hire Gators,” Harvey said. “It’s such a strong program because it allows us to make those connections with alumni that we would not otherwise have. It puts students closer to other alumni. Alumni make the effort to get to know you or take you to lunch. At the end of the day, Gator Law alumni have a strong passion for the school.”
Harvey says the program sets UF Law apart from other law schools.
“It’s nice to get the insider’s perspective,” he said. “Through this program, we can learn what it’s like to actually practice law in a professional setting.”