News Briefs: Right to Counsel, Judge Huck, Coif Lecture

UF Law celebrates 50 years of right to counsel

UF Law’s Criminal Justice Center commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Gideon v. Wainwright, guaranteeing criminal defendants the right to counsel. The symposium, held Sept. 19, featured the winning attorney in the case and Stetson University Dean Emeritus Bruce Jacob (LLMT 95) as the keynote speaker, along with Paul Rashkind, supervisory assistant federal public defender for the Southern District of Florida.

The Supreme Court’s 1963 decision overruled Betts v. Brady, ruling that the assistance of counsel, if desired by a defendant, was a fundamental right under the U.S. Constitution.

“Fifty years have passed since the court made its decision in Gideon, but have we made 50 years of progress?” Jacob asked. “The answer is a definite no. Under the current conditions, effective representation is just not possible.”

Problems include extremely high case loads, lack of public defenders and a shortage of time for proper investigations.

Huck hosts more than 85 UF Law students for professional development

U.S. District Court Judge Paul C. Huck (JD 65) held an Aug. 1 professional development program in the federal courthouse in Miami for more than 85 UF Law students. “The legal market is changing, and law students and new lawyers must be vigilant and take charge of their own careers,” said Huck, a UF Law Center Association trustee.

The inaugural program — sponsored by local trustees of the LCA — featured networking opportunities for students with UF Law alumni, including South Florida practitioners, law clerks and federal judges. It also included two hourlong discussions about how to navigate law school and the job market.

Coif lecturer explores ‘covering’ identity

yoshino-kenjiNew York University Law Professor Kenji Yoshino explained that three out of four workers, including more than half of straight, white males, cover at least one aspect of their identity in the workplace.

His presentation, “Uncovering Talent: A New Model of Inclusion,” addressed how people hide disfavored aspects of one’s identity in the workplace to avoid stereotypes. His study found that many workers say they have “covered” in some way, despite ideals of diversity and inclusion.

The Coif Distinguished Lecture at UF Law on Sept. 25 was hosted by the UF Chapter of the Order of the Coif, with co-sponsors including UF Law and the college’s Center for the Study of Race and Race Relations, and the Center on Children and Families.

The Coif Distinguished Visitor Program brings distinguished members of the legal profession to Coif Chapter campuses. UF Law is one of only three campuses in the country to be selected for a Coif Distinguished Visitor lecture this year.

UF Law class lectures honor Justice Overton

Four Florida Supreme Court justices lectured this fall in Professor Jon Mills’ Florida Constitutional Law course to honor the late Justice Ben Overton’s (JD 52) legal career and service as a professor at UF Law. The lectures were the inaugural series in the Overton Lectures in Florida Constitutional Law, a new program initiated by friends and colleagues of Overton.

Participating in the fall lectures were: Justice Jorge Labarga (JD 79) on Sept. 23; Justice Barbara Pariente on Sept. 30; Justice Fred Lewis on Oct. 28; and Justice Charles Canady on Nov. 18. In addition to UF Law students who are enrolled in Florida Constitutional Law, the Overton Lectures were open to UF Law faculty and students.

Panel features Anthony prosecutor and Zimmerman attorney

Jeff Ashton (JD 80), who prosecuted Casey Anthony and published a book about the case, and Mark O’Mara, who defended George Zimmerman against seconddegree murder charges, spoke as guests in UF Law’s Introduction to Lawyering class.

The other two panelists were Renee Roche (JD 84) and Frederick Lauten, both circuit court judges with Florida’s 9th Judicial Circuit.

UF Law Professor Jennifer Zedalis said students asked questions about sensitivity to racial issues in criminal cases, how to work with opposing attorneys and how to handle adverse public feelings toward clients.

“The students really wanted to know about those difficult issues — issues that call for courage,” she said.

She said the Oct. 23 presentation rewarded students’ probing questions with frank answers that gave students insight into what to expect in the workforce.

Florida beats Georgia — in the courtroom

fall 2013 moot court teamThe Florida Moot Court team of Heather Kruzyk (3L) and Andrew Silvershein (2L), coached by Dee Dee Scheller (3L), beat the University of Georgia’s team in the 33rd annual Hulsey Gambrell Florida-Georgia Moot Court Competition on Nov. 1.

The competition in Jacksonville’s federal courthouse traditionally is held the day before the football game and more often than not, the team that wins the moot court competition ends up losing the football game. This year was no exception.

A panel of five federal judges decided the outcome. Preparation was the biggest factor when it came to this year’s win, said Mary Adkins (JD 91), a UF Law professor and the team’s faculty adviser.

“They did not let any questions from the judges distract them, they kept their good demeanor toward the court and answered all the questions that were asked to them and handled it in an extremely professional manner,” Adkins said.

Expert praises UF Law e-discovery curriculum as ‘cutting edge’

Electronic discovery expert Craig Ball spoke in the Martin H. Levin Advocacy Center courtroom to law students and professors as part of UF Law’s International Center for Automated Research e-Discovery Project lecture series.

Ball said the digitization of information is changing the procedure of pretrial discovery — the paper trail is disappearing, replaced by a stream of digital documentation.

Ball, who received his J.D. from the University of Texas at Austin, possesses proficiency in electronic discovery and computer forensics that has made him a sought-after expert. Students from Professor William Hamilton’s Electronic Discovery and Digital Evidence attended Ball’s Oct. 10 discussion where he extolled Hamilton’s curriculum as cutting-edge and emphasized the importance of the material.

“What you’re doing here isn’t just making you a better lawyer,” Ball said. “It’s making you a better employee.”

The inexorable flow of digital information means it will soon be impossible to cling to paper documentation. Even now, Ball said, 92 percent of all information is born digitally.