December 15, 2017
From the Dean
As the calendar year winds down and holiday cheer sets in, Florida State College of Law looks back on a year with much to celebrate! We rose in the U.S. News & World Report rankings and started one new LL.M. degree program and three new online master’s degree concentrations. Our students experienced remarkable successes, including passing the July Bar Exam in significantly larger numbers, winning the Student Bar Association Chapter of the Year Award, and securing two Moot Court Team First Place victories!

Below is a snapshot of some of the College of Law’s 2017 highlights. They illustrate the breadth and depth of our energetic, collegial and accomplished community. All of us at FSU Law wish you a very warm holiday season and a most fulfilling new year!
January: Professor Paolo Annino ('83) (pictured right with family) was presented the Father Robert Drinan Award for his distinguished leadership in public and pro bono service at the AALS Annual Conference! Professor Lauren Scholz, whose work focuses on privacy and contracts, made the decision to join our tenure-track faculty. And the Environmental Law Program hosted its Spring Environmental Forum.
February: Professor Courtney Cahill (pictured left) won a Dukeminier Award for her work on regulating family after marriage equality. The College of Law kicked off the Student Give-Back Campaign, where, for the first time, students were asked to donate money or time to the advancement of the College of Law. An impressive 85% of the student body participated, including a whopping 95% of the 1L class!
March: The Moot Court Team won the William B. Bryant-Luke C. Moore Invitational Moot Court Competition at Howard University School of Law! (Winning team members pictured right.) Nobel Peace Prize Winner and Human Rights Leader Shirin Ebadi spoke at the College of Law as part of Diversity Week. And FSU Law rose to rank 48 in U.S. News & World Report’s law school rankings.
April: Justice Alan Lawson’s (’87) investiture ceremony at the Florida Supreme Court took place this month. Professor Fred Abbott (pictured left) hosted a conference on Global Pharmaceutical Regulation. 3L Yameel Robles won the American Bankruptcy Institute’s Medal of Excellence! And Gene (’72) and Diana Stearns opened their Miami home for an alumni reception.
May: At Spring Graduation, the inaugural Blaise N. Gamba Award was given to the graduating student who worked the most pro bono hours. That student, Ellie Goralnick (pictured right), was recognized at Law Day, an event the College of Law co-hosted with the Legal Aid Foundation and Legal Services of North Florida. In May, we also joined Pensacola-area alumni for a reception at the home of alum Terry Gross (’79). Alum Joe Lawrence ('76) also hosted a reception for alumni at his firm in Fort Lauderdale.
June: The College of Law traveled to Boca Raton, where we greeted a very large gathering for our annual Florida Bar alumni reception. Also this month, our SUG program graduated the first group of students to attend the newly named Donald J. Weidner Summer for Undergraduates Program. (SUG participants pictured left at the Florida Capitol.)
July: Assistant Dean Debra Henley (’88) (pictured right) came aboard to head the law school’s brand new and better supported Career Services and Professional Development Center. The office has begun individual counseling, improved programming and substantially expanded employer outreach. And students taking the Florida Bar Exam would later boast an 84% pass rate, the highest percentage for recent FSU grads since the July 2013 exam.
August: As the fall semester opened, we welcomed 180 new 1L students to the College of Law. This class of 2020 (pictured left) has the highest ever median undergraduate GPA (3.61), the largest ever percentage of women (53%), and exceptionally strong racial and ethnic diversity! Upper-class students and recent graduates made the College of Law proud by securing the Student Bar Association Chapter of the Year Award from the ABA’s Law Student Division. Our SBA won this award for the sixth time in 10 years!
September: In September, approximately 250 alumni, faculty, retired faculty, staff, students and friends gathered to celebrate Professor Chuck Ehrhardt’s 50 years at FSU (pictured right). Florida Supreme Court Justices Ricky Polston and Alan Lawson, Chief Judge Jonathan Sjostrom ('89) and Dean Emeritus Don Weidner shared their memories of Chuck as professor and colleague. More than $100,000 in guest and alumni contributions transformed Chuck’s endowment for excellence into a professorship in Chuck’s name.
October: We welcomed visiting law students from the University of Puerto Rico (pictured left), where Hurricane Maria forced an extended closure. Alumni and friends generously provided support for their housing, books, supplies and food. A stained-glass display was revealed at Dodd Hall to honor Professor and former FSU President Sandy D’Alemberte. And we met several incredibly fun alumni at a Southwest Florida alumni reception in Naples.
November: Cooler air brought hundreds of law alumni back for Homecoming Weekend (tailgate attendees pictured right), just in time to see Professor Chuck Ehrhardt ride in the homecoming parade as this year’s recipient of the Bernard F. Sliger Award! Alum Fred Baggett ('70) and wife Lyn hosted the Homecoming Alumni Reception at their home. Also that weekend, the Alumni Association Board of Directors formed a new Alumni Outreach Committee. Our Moot Court Team took first place and won the Best Brief Award at the Appellate Lawyers Association National Moot Court Competition!
December: FSU Law headed to Miami to meet several very impressive students who have enrolled in our online master’s program. The community banking advisory committee for our new Financial Compliance master's degree concentration met to review the curriculum. And noted voting rights scholar Michael Morley (pictured left) agreed to join our faculty starting next fall!

- Dean Erin O'Connor