Pictured above: Chelsey Tucker '17, Greyzer Torrico '17,  Kimberly Willkomm '17,  Aimee Schnecker '17

Dear Friends, 

Here we are at the end of another tremendous academic year.
Bravo to our third year students who walked during Commencement. We stand proud in calling them Ave Law Alumni. May they embrace the open road that lies ahead.
We were delighted to welcome Reverend Mitch Pacwa as our Commencement speaker. His speech was nothing short of inspirational. Along with Father Pacwa, we also presented honorary degrees to Mr. Joseph Ricketts, founder of TD Ameritrade, and the late Ambassador Michael Novak.
Congratulations are in order for our students who completed their final exams. It was not an easy feat. 
To our first year summer start students new to the law school, I, along with our faculty, staff and returning students, look forward to personally greeting you on our beautiful campus and into our Ave Law community.
For those considering Ave Law, we will host one more open house this season on June 16. I welcome you to join the Admissions team and me on campus. Applications are due on July 15 and we still have generous scholarships available.
Let's look back and smile at the memories we've created as we await the beginning of the new academic year that will officially kick off in August. Until then, enjoy the summer days and thank you very much for being a valuable member o f our Ave Law community.
God Bless,

Kevin Cieply
President and Dean
For more information on Ave Maria School of Law news and events, visit our website . 
A Fond Farewell: Congratulations Class of 2017
Ave Law Board of Governors with Dean Cieply, Founder Tom Monaghan, and Honorary Degree recipients Mr. Joseph Ricketts and Father Mitch Pacwa. 

Dean Cieply and Founder Tom Monaghan 
2017 Graduates

2017 Graduates

2017 Graduates

Professor Maureen Milliron, Professor Kirk Miller, Graduate Nina Llerena and family

On Saturday, May 13, our students walked across the stage to receive their diplomas. Among the highlights of the event was an inspirational  speech by our 2017 Commencement  Speaker  and Honorary  Degree r ecipient, Reverend Mitch Pacwa,  best known for his appearances on the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN).  We were honored to have Father Mitch Pacwa participate in our day of Commencement celebrating the Class of 2017. We were encouraged by his speech given he is a well-known scholar who has spoken at many conferences and churches around the world.
This year, Ave Maria School of Law also recognized two special individuals who have touched the Ave Law community as Honorary Degree recipients - Mr. Joseph Ricketts, founder of TD Ameritrade, and the late Ambassador Michael Novak. A respected scholar, novelist, professor, diplomat and journalist, Ambassador Novak was an esteemed lecturer at Ave Maria School of Law, and a treasured friend. He is greatly missed.

Andrea Phillips '17 was chosen by her class to be this year's student commencement speaker. Andrea was an exemplary student, having been a Dean's Delegate and Student Ambassador.  The Class of 2017 was a diverse and accomplished group of young men and women that will leave a profound mark on the history of their alma mater.

A special thank you to the Commencement Committee for all of your hard work in putting together this successful event.

View all of the Commencement photos here.

A Wing and a Prayer:
Commencement Eve
Father Mitch Pacwa with Naples area priests at St. Agnes Church

Guests at the Alumni Pinning Ceremony on our Naples Vineyards campus

On Friday, May 12 leading up to Commencement, Ave Law hosted our  Baccalaureate Mass at St. Agnes Catholic Church celebrated by The Very Reverend Robert Kantor, Ave Maria Law Chaplain Monsignor Frank McGrath, and local Naples area priests. Following the Mass, a New Alumni Reception and Pinning Ceremony took place on our campus in St. Thomas More Commons. A special thank you to the Alumni Affairs office and the Alumni Association for all of their hard work in putting this ceremony together. 

Thank you, Class of 2017, for the warm surprise of presenting the school with a special gift - a new commemorative bell installed outside in the courtyard of St. Thomas More Commons.
View all of the event images from this evening  here.

Third Times a Charm: Ave Law Named Most Devout Law School

Ave Maria School of Law has been named the most devout Catholic Law School in the United States by  The National Jurist's 
PreLaw Magazine for a third time.The Spring 2017 issue of the magazine ranked Ave Maria School of Law first among 28 Catholic law schools nationwide.
There is no law school in the country that has a closer fidelity to the Catholic Church and its teachings. Students can come here and get much stronger in their faith and learn to bring their faith to the practice of the law.

You may view the story in the Spring 2017 issue here

Legatus Visits Ave Law

I had the privilege of hosting my friends of Legatus on our campus this month for a tour of our school. For those that may not know, I currently serve as the President of the Naples Chapter of Legatus, the world's premier membership organization for Catholic business leaders committed to learning, living and spreading the Catholic faith.
Our guests were able to tour our Veterans Memorial Law Library and the Administration building housing our dedicated conference room to Cardinal O'Connor and one of our gardens. Legatus members Jim and Moira Fennessey welcomed the visitors to the Lisa di Palma Bonfiglio Memorial Garden that they dedicated to the memory of their niece. 

The next stop on the tour was to visit our on-campus housing area getting a feel of where our students reside. The tour continued in our Moot Court Room with an observation of two law professors, Professor Maureen Milliron and Professor Patrick Gillen, sharing how they conduct their classes. The day ended with a prayer of the rosary and Mass led by Monsignor McGrath and Father Michael Cooney.
Thank you to all of my staff involved in planning the tour, and for all of the guests of Legatus who took the time to come and visit us. Our door is always open.
4th Annual Estate Planning Conference

An impressive line-up of nationally recognized speakers presented at the Fourth Annual Ave Maria School of Law Estate Planning Conference, Southwest Florida's premier CLE Accredited Estate Planning event, held on Friday, April 28 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples. Aaron Farmer, President of Farmer and Associates, PLLC served as the 2017 Estate Planning Conference Committee Chair. I would like to extend a sincere thank you to the entire committee for their year-long efforts in planning for this big day: Aaron Farmer, Committee Chair, Marve Ann Alaimo, Forrest Bass, Preston Came, Kevin Carmichael, Patricia Cingle, Alan Gassman, Jonathan Gopman, Donna Heiser, Jerry Hesch, Gregory Holtz, Ulysses Jaen, Kimberly Delcomyn-Javarinis, Kristy Kryszczak, David Masterson, Amy Owen, Shelley Rhoads Perry, Jim Raley, Fabian Rengifo, Amber Richards, Kimberly Spiker and  Richard Smarg.

This year's program offered an exceptional educational experience to the estate planners, attorneys, trust officers, accountants, insurance advisors, and wealth management professionals attending the conference. Attendees had a unique opportunity to create a conference agenda that responds to their interests and the needs of their specific practices.

The nationally recognized speakers for the 2017 conference were S. Stacy Eastland (Keynote Speaker), Marve Ann Alaimo,Tae Kelley Bronner, Susan Cassidy, Tami Conetta, Joan Crain, Vicki Eskin, Alan S. Gassman, Jonathan E. Gopman, Jerome M. Hesch, Lester Law, Dixon Miller and Suzanne Brown Walsh.

I would like to thank our generous sponsors who made this conference possible: PCE Valuations, Advisor's Trust, Northern Trust, CliftonLarsonAllen, Hawthorn, PNC Family Wealth, Bridgeford Trust, Bray Capital Advisors, LLC, Farmer & Associates, PLLC, Kravit Estate Appraisals, Akerman LLP, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, Pension Planners, BNY Mellon Wealth Management, Abbot Downing Wells Fargo, Cashel Fiduciary Partners, Corporate Valuation Services and Hill, Barth & King, LLC.
Thank you to Northern Trust for hosting our Pre-Conference Kick-Off dinner on April 27, and to Stacy Eastland for being our keynote speaker for the evening.
View all event images:

Please save the date for next year's conference to be held at The Ritz-Carlton Beach Resort on April 27, 2018
In the Spotlight: Interview with Jennifer Lucas-Ross,
Associate Dean of Career Services and Alumni Affairs
You oversee Alumni Affairs and Career Services for the law school. What do you love most about your role?
A:  I love seeing the students develop and move from law student to practicing professional. My favorite experience in my role is watching a student graduate, begin their career, and then asking them back to mentor our current students. Every time they allow me share in their success is a delight. Since taking over Alumni Affairs, I have also been able to see the further progress of our alumni. They are so talented and a deeply caring and receptive alumni community. 

Q:  You and your department are doing an outstanding job of working with our alumni to assist them in finding the perfect career opportunity once they graduate. Can you tell us a little bit about this process and why you feel it's growing with success?
A: Practical skills is the new buzz phrase in legal education. The traditional model of law school was to learn legal theory in law school, and then the first year associate was somewhat of an "apprentice," learning the practical side of lawyering on the job. However, this profession has not bounced back completely since the Great Recession-and some argue that it has changed for good. So while the practice of law is still an apprenticeship, the introduction of the practical skills must begin during law school. Many firms and organizations expect new associates to come in with more practical knowledge than was expected of new attorneys 10, 20, 30 years ago. These practical skills can be developed through hands-on experience gained during legal internships and externships. So my staff and I try to encourage the students from the first time we meet them, in the fall of their 1L year, to plan to work at least one off-site internship or externship during their law school careers. When their resumes reflect their practical skills, they will have an easier time finding positions after law school. Bonus: they begin making connections with mentors!

Q:  Having gone through law school earning your J.D. and practicing as an attorney at one point in your life must be helpful in mentoring students and alumni since you were once in their shoes. What is the best advice you would give to current students pursuing internships, and to new alumni starting out on their legal career path?
A:  Having a plan is essential, but keep your heart open. I believe that our profession is a calling. And as such, sometimes we are called down a path we didn't see when we first began this journey.

Alan Gassman Coming to Campus this Summer
Remembering John F. Donahue
We were saddened to learn of the recent passing of Mr. Jack Donahue. He will be remembered in our thoughts and prayers. The founder of Federated Investors and a philanthropist at heart stood firm in the roots of his Catholic faith and principles that guided his life.

"We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Jack Donahue. His legacy will live on in the many ways he touched all of us: In business as the founder of Federated Investors, in his role as patriarch of his beloved family, in his abiding faith in God, and in his philanthropy and leadership to Catholic education. On behalf of Ave Maria School of Law, we offer our profound sympathy to his wife Rhodora and to his family. They have the assurance of our thoughts and prayers as we mourn his passing and celebrate his remarkable life and works."   
- Kevin Cieply, 
President and Dean,  Ave Maria School of Law

In the News

I am extremely pleased to announce the well-deserved promotions of Professor of Law to Professor Mark Bonner and Professor Brian Scarnecchia

Professor Elizabeth Donovan
was invited to present to individuals who serve as mediators at the Collier County Courthouse. The titles of the two presentations were "Ethics" and "Diversity in Mediation."

Assistant Dean of Admissions, Claire O'Keefe, was interviewed on Annunciation Radio. To listen to the podcast, please visit this link. The 
intervi ew took place on May 19 and begins at approximately 07:49.

Visiting Professor Stephen Mikochik was published in the Fall 2016 University of St. Thomas Law Journal for an article titled, "Unwelcome Guests:  Disabled People and the New Eugenics."
Do you know anyone considering law school for Fall of 2017? We are accepting June LSAT scores and we still have generous scholarships available. 

For further information, our Admissions Department can be reached at  info@avemarialaw.edu 
or call (239) 687-5420.

Honoring Our Vets
I would like to take this time to thank each and every one of our Founding Members who have donated to our library, and to those who have donated to the Veterans Wall of Honor. We are most grateful and blessed to have you as a part of our community.
 "Can You Honor A Veteran?" Please consider making a donation to the Founding Members Naming Program and Veterans Wall of Honor initiative. 

For more information, please contact Sharon Sparrow, Leadership Gifts Officer, (239) 687-5344 or ssparrow@avemarialaw.edu
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Ave Maria School of Law was founded in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1999, and in 2009 relocated to Naples, Florida. It is licensed by the Florida Commission for Independent Education, License Number 4007, and is fully accredited by the American Bar Association. A copy of the official registration and financial information may be obtained from the division of consumer services by calling toll-free within the state. Registration does not imply endorsement, approval, or recommendation by the state. http://www.freshfromflorida.com/divisions-offices/consumer-services 1-800-435-7352.

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