By Roberta O. Roberts
Dwayne Antonio Robinson (3L) doesn’t think of his position as leaving behind a legacy.
“Don’t live your life to create a legacy,” he said. “Live life to do well for yourself, your friends, your family and your community, and that should be enough.”
As the current editor-in-chief of the Fredric G. Levin College of Law’s Florida Law Review, Robinson plans to take the review, his staff and himself to new heights.
“Whatever you do in life, do it to the best of your abilities,” he said.
Robinson’s achievements show these words in action.
Robinson graduated cum laude with bachelor’s degrees in journalism and political science, along with a minor in business administration from the University of Florida in 2005.
As an undergraduate, he was editor-in-chief of The Independent Florida Alligator, and is now a member of its board of directors. After graduation he worked as a reporter for The Palm Beach Post for three years.
At UF Law he has been a speaker for the Ninth Annual Nelson Symposium, a teaching assistant for Legal Research and Writing and Appellate Advocacy, academic chair for the Black Law Student Association, a member of the review by law committee and was review research editor.
Robinson also worked during his second year and summer for Gunster, Yoakley & Stewart, P.A. in West Palm Beach to help pay for law school. He ultimately plans to work for Gunster in business litigation, but said he also has an interest in land use law.
After graduation, he will clerk for Judge Ed Carnes, U.S. Circuit Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit in Montgomery, Ala.
A natural writer, Robinson loves the idea of clerking for a judge whose written opinions often detail the very compelling accounts and lives of the people before the court. However, Robinson wasn’t always interested in clerking.
The opportunity Robinson had to meet U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas when he visited the law school in February revved Robinson up for a clerkship.
“It’s because of Judge Thomas,” Robinson said. “If I hadn’t done that, I don’t think I’d be going to Montgomery.”
Robinson was one of four students selected from a pool of applicants to ask questions of Justice Thomas and participate in a small group discussion with him.
“He’s literally the most impressive person I’ve ever met,” Robinson said.
Robinson covered the 2008 Florida legislative session as a reporter, and his work in the media has made him somewhat jaded to people in the public eye.
He isn’t easily impressed.
“I’ve met or covered events featuring Obama, Crist, Kerry, Bush and Giuliani and none compare to him. He (Thomas) is the one I want to sit down and have dinner with.”
Surpassed only by meeting Thomas, the night Robinson was elected to editor-in-chief of the Law Review is a close second when it comes to his most memorable and rewarding experiences at UF Law.
“The amount of support I got solidified everything in my mind that we were going to go forth and change the way people thought of the Florida Law Review,” he said of the election night.
The face of the review has been changing over the years. This year, the vast majority of new members are women, and last year, three out of the four candidates for editor-in-chief were minorities. All of them are now in executive positions on the review.
“The interesting thing is, I don’t think anyone even realized it,” Robinson said of the diversity in candidates for editor-in-chief. “And that’s a good thing.”
Robinson said the increased diversity is “an indicator of where our country is going” and he appreciates the hard work of his staff, which ultimately encouraged him to run for editor-in-chief.
“I believe in what we’re doing at the law review,” he said. “I saw so much potential. (Review staff) just needed a little inspiration, someone with a vision and drive to get them there. The staff members put their faith in me. I am not going to disappoint them.”