News Briefs

Trial Team, Moot Court make impressive showings

During its 2010-2011 competitions, members of the Florida Moot Court team won three regional championships, including the regional title at the ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition,
a Best Brief award at the Thomas Tang Moot Court Competition, three Best Oral Advocate awards at the ABA National Competition, the National Tax Competition, and the Navy JAG Competition, and competed on UF’s team that won the national championship at the National Tax Competition.
The 32 ranking points earned by the Florida Moot Court teams, when combined with the ten points earned by UF’s team for the National Tax Competition, has resulted in the University of Florida Levin College of Law being ranked 11th among all U.S. law schools and third among public law schools in the most recent Blakely Advocacy Institute rankings of moot court programs.

This ranking has earned Florida Moot Court an invitation to compete with the other top 15 programs in the nation in the Kurth Moot Court National Championship in Houston in January.

Meanwhile, the UF Law Trial Team sent third-year law students to the 12th annual National Trial Advocacy Competition at Michigan State University College of Law. The four students competed as advocates and witnesses, alternating roles depending on which side they were assigned to represent during trial. Though nearly 55 teams applied to compete, the tournament selected only the top 28 teams from law schools around the nation. In the quarterfinals, the prosecution, represented by Anita McNulty and Trae Weingardt, won the trial and the team moved on to the semifinals. The defense, represented by Tara Tedrow and Brandon Rose, won the semifinal round, pushing the team to the finals, narrowly missing first place in a split decision.

Nearly 1,400 listen to O’Connor, distinguished guests at Poucher lecture

UF Levin College of Law’s Florida Law Review brought a quartet of the legal profession’s heavy hitters together at the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts where they blasted the practice of using elections in Florida and other states to choose and retain judges.

Nearly 1,400 people packed the Phillips Center to see retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and three other distinguished members of the legal community for the inaugural Allen L. Poucher Lecture Series.

Joining Justice O’Connor in the panel discussion for the Poucher lecture were former ABA President Martha Barnett (JD 73), who served as the moderator, Florida Supreme Court Justice Peggy Quince and U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Rosemary Barkett (JD 70).

Law Review staff brought the panel together using the endowment provided by Betty Poucher, Elizabeth Poucher Reynolds and Allen L. Poucher Jr., which was donated in memory of Allen L. Poucher Sr. All of the panelists appeared without honorarium so the endowment was used to pay expenses and activities surrounding their visit. Allen L. Poucher Sr. was a 1942 graduate of UF Law where he was active in Florida Blue Key, the debate team, and on the staff of The Alligator.

Poucher practiced law for more than 60 years in Jacksonville with the law firm of R.P. Daniel and later joined Knight, Kincaid, Poucher & Harris. See page 12 for a story about O’Connor’s visit.

UF Law Martin H. Levin Advocacy Center construction completed

The advocacy center’s second floor, the Teri and Allen Levin Advocacy Center Suite, was completed over the summer. This completes the total reconstruction of the college’s academic space during the past decade.

The Legal Research and Writing faculty have moved to the new space, which also contains two new multi-purpose courtroom- classrooms. The Environmental and Land Use Law Program moved into the former Legal Research and Writing offices.

Other major office moves over the summer included the Center for Career Development relocating to the first floor of Bruton-Geer Hall, between the cafeteria and the lounge; the Communications Office to the former CCD space in 244 Bruton- Geer Hall; and student organizations to the second floor of Bruton-Geer Hall.

Finally, the student commons area on the first floor of Bruton-Geer hall received a facelift and new furniture.

Browner to headline law school confernece on environmental issues

The 18th annual Public Interest Environmental Law Conference will feature keynote speaker Carol Browner (JD 79), the longest serving administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and a former key environmental adviser to President Barack Obama.

The conference is scheduled Feb. 23-25 and is presented by the University of Florida Levin College of Law and co-sponsored by The Florida Bar Environmental and Land Use Law Section and student government and the UF Office of Sustainability. For more information go to

Browner was EPA administrator from 1993 through 2001. Most recently she was assistant to President Obama and director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy. In that position — known as the president’s environment czar — she coordinated federal climate change, energy and transportation policy. Browner left the administration in the spring and is currently senior counselor of Albright Stonebridge Group, a global strategy firm in Washington, D.C.

1st District Court of Appeal hears arguments in advocacy center

UF Law students saw Florida’s 1st District Court of Appeal in action in October, when the court heard oral arguments in four cases at the college.

“The 1st District Court of Appeal scheduled this special session here at UF so that our students could enjoy the unique opportunity to observe appellate arguments in actual cases,” said Legal Research and Writing Director Henry Wihnyk.

The court travels to UF Law each fall to provide students with this chance to further their understanding of the appellate arguments and to interact with the judges.

New interactive display remembers struggle for equality at UF Law

The Legacy of Virgil D. Hawkins: The Struggle for Equality at the University of Florida, an innovative multi-media exhibit in the lobby of the Lawton Chiles Legal Information Center, was unveiled Sept. 2 at a reception during UF’s Black Alumni weekend.

Speakers included UF Law Dean Robert Jerry; chief judge of the Northern District of Florida Stephan P. Mickle, the first African-American to earn an undergraduate degree from UF (BA 65, M.Ed 66, JD 70); and W. George Allen (JD 62), the first African-American to graduate from UF Law.

A broader grand opening of the exhibit is tentatively scheduled Feb. 9 to coincide with the 50th anniversary celebration of Allen’s graduation from UF Law.

In 1958, after nine years of battle in the Florida and United States Supreme courts, Virgil D. Hawkins withdrew his application to the University of Florida College of Law in exchange for UF desegregating all of its graduate and professional schools. In 1989, Gov. Bob Martinez signed a bill into law naming UF Law’s civil clinics as the Virgil Darnell Hawkins Civil Legal Clinics. And in 2001, Hawkins was awarded UF’s first posthumous honorary degree in its 150-year history.

The exhibit showcases a physical timeline, an accompanying virtual timeline in a touch-screen display, and a panel explaining the integration of education in America in the context of UF Law. A companion website is at

Dean Robert Jerry’s band opens at Gator Growl

This year’s Gator Growl featured the Goo Goo Dolls, but UF Law alumni and students might also be interested in the opening act — Dean Robert Jerry’s rock band, in crisis.

Jerry manned the electric piano and synthesizer, while the band played hits from the ‘50s through ‘80s.

In crisis was formed to give the musicians — all UF faculty or staff — a chance to share their musical talents, but the dean doesn’t intend to give up his day job.

In addition to Jerry, in crisis is comprised of College of Design, Construction and Planning Dean Chris Silver, School of Architecture Director Martin Gold, School of Architecture Assistant Director John Maze, Architecture Adjunct Professor Mick Richmond and Computer Programmer-Analyst Andy Shivers.