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SPRING 2012 | Volume 6 Number 1


Alumni Sworn In to Highest Court in the Land

EXECUTIVE EDITOR: C. Douglas Elliott

BARRY UNIVERSITY Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law


BOARD OF ADVISORS The Honorable Thomas Freeman, Chair The Honorable Carmine M. Bravo Kevin Cole Sister Rosemary Finnegan Charles R. Frederick Paul A. Hechenberger, Esq. Keith J. Hesse, Esq. John P. Horan, Esq. Warren W. Lindsey, Esq. The Honorable Donna L. McIntosh The Honorable Jon B. Morgan The Honorable Jose R. Rodriguez Joel H. Sharp, Jr., Esq. David A. Shontz, Esq. Joseph B. Stanton, Esq. Dora Casanova de Toro Virginia B. Townes, Esq.

DEAN’S CIRCLE Thomas Delattre, Esq. Eric Hires, Esq. Sherri McVay, Esq. James M. Russ, Esq. Mrs. Frederick W. Trabold, Jr. Helen Von-Dolteren Fournier, Esq. Ms. Shirley Wiseman

DESIGNER: Audrey Phillips, Design Studio Orlando, Inc. COPY EDITOR: Russ Stacey PHOTOGRAPHERS: Jonathan Aponte, Phelan Ebenhack, Jill Gable, Alan Hancock, Laurence L. Levin, Larry Taylor EDITORIAL BOARD: Leticia M. Diaz, Phill Johnson, Amy Lefkowitz, Kaci Line, Ruth Witherspoon COVER PHOTO: Dean Leticia M. Diaz and Professor Lee Schinasi with Barry Law School alumni who were sworn in to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. PAGE


A Family Affair

Supreme Court Cover Photo by ©Gary Blakeley/Shutterstock

Established in 1999, the Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law in Orlando, Florida, offers a quality legal education in a caring, diverse environment. A Catholic-oriented institution, Barry Law School challenges students to accept intellectual, personal, ethical, spiritual, and social responsibilities, and commits itself to assuring an atmosphere of religious freedom.


National Trial Competition Regional Comes to Barry, Page 12

SPRING 2012 | Vol. 6 No. 1




A Supreme Experience: Alumni Sworn in to Highest Court in the Land

One of the great joys of being part of a growing institution is reaching new milestones and creating new traditions – something we know a lot about at the Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law. One of our latest milestones occurred this past fall when the first group of Barry Law alumni was admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court. The swearing-in ceremony was a proud moment for the 12 alumni and for the entire law school family. The cover story of this issue of Barry Law Magazine shares the story of the induction and the milestone it represents for the school and our alumni. The admission to the Supreme Court is a new Barry Law tradition, with another 12 alumni already signed up for the next ceremony in November. Another milestone reached and celebrated in this issue is the first extramural skills competition held at the law school. Our new Legal Advocacy Center gave us the ability to host the National Trial Competition Southeast Regional, and we look to continue this tradition with more competitions coming to campus.


Faculty Focus Dean Diaz Named Influential Hispanic in Central Florida Professor Serves as Expert on Stand Your Ground Law


Serving Our Community


A Family Affair


A Supreme Experience: Alumni Sworn in to Highest Court in the Land


Finding Felix Grundy: A Conversation with Author Rod Heller


National Trial Competition Regional Comes to Barry


Alumni Today Mark Malek: Putting Others Ahead Tom Leeder: Finding a Perfect Practice Shamir Patel and Dohyun Kim: Down to Business


Campus News Three Presented With Founding Leaders Award Courtroom Named in Honor of Sherri McVay (’02) Trial Team Beats Harvard, Wins ABA National Trial Competition Law Review Symposium Examines Guantánamo’s Legacy


Board of Advisors Profile Virginia Townes: An Accidental Attorney

This issue also looks at families who learn together at Barry Law, alumni who are making their mark in the legal and business arenas, and how our school continues to serve the community. As Barry Law School continues to grow, we will achieve new milestones and continue to celebrate traditions new and old. I invite you join us on this journey, as the school reaches new heights and becomes a great source of pride for all who are part of the Barry Law family.

Leticia M. Diaz, PhD, JD Dean and Professor of Law



Dean Diaz Named Influential Hispanic in Central Florida Leticia M. Diaz’s work on issues impacting Hispanics and the broader Central Florida community recently earned the Barry Law School dean inclusion on Visión magazine’s list of 25 influential Hispanics in Central Florida. The editorial board for the magazine, which is published quarterly by Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando, reviewed more than 100 names submitted for consideration and selected 25 individuals that “demonstrated leadership or contributed to the enrichment and growth of the Hispanic community in Central Florida.” Diaz was the first Cuban-American female to hold the position of dean at an ABA-accredited law school when she was appointed to the position in 2007. She has taken a leadership role on Hispanic issues and serves on the advisory committee for the ABA Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights and Responsibilities. A White House Hispanic Action Summit was held at the law school in September 2011, and Diaz and alumni met with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor in December 2011 when the inaugural group of Barry Law alumni was sworn-in to practice before the Supreme Court. Diaz is a member of the Board of Directors of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando.

Dean Leticia M. Diaz (in blue) is presented with a trophy honoring her inclusion on a list of the 25 influential Hispanics. Presenting the award is Ramon Ojeda, president of the Hispanic Chamber (far left), Diana Bolivar, VP of the Hispanic Chamber, and Keith Raymond, senior VP of Popular Bank.

“It is a great honor to be included among such a distinguished group of Hispanic leaders,” said Diaz. “The Hispanic population in Central Florida has grown significantly in size and influence, and we all are committed to serving and contributing to the entire community.” In a letter congratulating Diaz on the award, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs wrote, “This recognition speaks

volumes on the hard work and dedication you have invested in our community over the years. It is the vision and commitment of leaders like you that continue to move our region toward new opportunities and successes.” The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando honored the 25 individuals recognized in Visión magazine at a reception on Feb. 7.

Professor Serves as Expert on Stand Your Ground Law When Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law came under scrutiny following the Trayvon Martin shooting, Elizabeth Megale, assistant professor of law, provided legal analysis on the law for local, national and international media. Megale, who previously worked in criminal defense, was interviewed by several media outlets, including National Public

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Radio, ABC News, Central Florida News 13 and the Swedish Broadcasting Corporation. Megale wrote an article on the Stand Your Ground law titled “Deadly Combinations: How Self-Defense Laws Pairing Immunity with a Presumption of Fear Allow Criminals to ‘Get Away with Murder’” that was published in the American Journal of Trial Advocacy in 2010.

ServiNG OUr cOmmUNity Service to the community is one of Barry Law School’s core commitments. Below are just a few examples of ways students, faculty, staff and administration have volunteered their time and expertise to help others.

w Barry Law students (from left) Monica Adkins, Rinaldo Cartaya, Christopher Bailey, Christen Keller and and Harlenys Perez with the Big Red Bus brought to campus to support Florida’s Blood Centers.

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Ventura, president & CEO of Easter Seals Florida, (left) spend time with 110-yearold Ruth Leiber during a Valentine’s Day event at the Easter Seals Day Break at the Miller Center, an adult day health care program.


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A Family Affair The Barry University School of Law has always emphasized a caring environment, a close-knit student body, and professors and administrators that are easily accessible. So it should be no surprise that at a school that feels like a family, several actual families have made their way to campus. They study together with their siblings or spouse, discuss the law with each other, and sometimes even walk the stage at graduation together. Following are just a few examples of families that are learning and growing together at Barry Law.

Imperiale Brothers:

Bonding at Barry Together they have learned in class how to argue cases in the courtroom. But once they leave campus, brothers Greg, Andrew and Sal Imperiale insist the arguing stays there. The three Imperiale brothers are all seeking their law degree from Barry, with Greg and Andrew scheduled to graduate this May and Sal in his first year. They come from a close-knit family (a fourth brother, Steve, is currently in college) and live and study together, making their bond tighter and their relationship stronger. “We’ve all been close, all four brothers,” says Greg, the oldest at 29 years old. “We don’t fight. Our family doesn’t allow for bickering and fighting.” The Imperiales grew up in Margate, N.J., and when Greg and Andrew were looking for law schools, they decided

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they wanted to stick together. They found Barry, were drawn to the idea of law school in Florida, and have enjoyed their experiDean Leticia M. Diaz with the Imperiale brothers Greg (far left), Andrew and Sal (far right). ence ever since. “Coming out of but Greg and Andrew plan to return to college, I wasn’t sure about law school, New Jersey after graduation and work in but now I know I really want to be an criminal law. They previously worked for a attorney,” says Andrew. “The professors bail bonds business owned by their mother have been great and really prepare us. and their father was a criminal attorney in I’ve loved it at Barry and will truly New Jersey. miss it.” As for Sal, he will be going overseas It was then a natural choice for Sal, this summer in Barry’s Summer in the youngest at age 22, to follow his Spain program before returning to cambrothers to Barry. The trio has made pus without his brothers. strong connections to the area, even tak“I’m not happy to see them go,” he ing in three rescue dogs – including one says, “but I’m excited to stay and finish they found on campus and named Barry – up at Barry.”

David Rosaler and Colleen Brown:

A Match Made in Law School It’s a competition that tests your ability to produce Bluebook citations early in law school. For David Rosaler and Colleen Brown, the competition led to love, marriage and a family. In 2010 in the fall semester of their first year at Barry, David and Colleen competed against each other in the annual 1L Bluebook Competition. After the competition, a friendship that started in a shared Contracts course blossomed into a romantic relationship. The next spring, they attended the annual Barristers’ Ball as a couple. In the summer, they travelled and studied together in Barry’s Summer in Spain program. By the fall, they were married. And this past January, they welcomed the birth of their baby girl, Marilyn. The couple also has a four-year-old son, Fred, who Colleen had been raising on her own. “We are now a four-person family unit, and it’s all new and a lot of fun,” says Colleen. “My son has gained a father, so it’s been really cool for him.” Even with a newborn, who was delivered on the first day of the spring semester, the couple continues to attend Barry full time and both are on track to graduate in 2013. Colleen’s mother assists with childcare when they have classes, and they make family time a priority when they can. “We have a lot of work this semester, between papers and reading, and it can be tough, but the whole time flies by,” says David.

David Rosaler and Colleen Brown with son Fred and daughter Marilyn.

“We are now a four-person family unit, and it’s all new and a lot of fun.” —Colleen Brown Once they graduate, Colleen wants to go into family law and child advocacy, an area that drew her to law school after a Barry alumna, Andrea Rosser ( JD ’08), helped with her divorce. David is interested in real estate law, a practice area he has experience in working summers in his

brother’s law firm in Deerfield Beach, Fla. As for the Bluebook Competition that launched their relationship, David’s team emerged the victor, but Colleen says with a smile, “I forgive him for beating me.”

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Brothers Jim (driver’s seat) and Jeff Ippoliti have helped raise $1 million for children’s charities through their exotic car festival.

Jeff and Jim Ippoliti:

Driven to Help Kids Brothers Jeff and Jim Ippoliti have loved cars since before they could walk. But if there is one passion they have more than cars, it’s helping kids. That’s what led Jeff, a recent Barry Law School graduate, and Jim, in his third year at Barry, to create a charity event combining their two passions: the Celebration Exotic Car Festival. Having just completed it ninth year, the Celebration Exotic Car Festival is a four-day event held in Celebration, Fla., that benefits children’s charities. Despite being in existence for less than a decade, the festival has found success with both its charitable and entertainment efforts: more than $1 million has been donated to children’s charities, and the festival made the list of Five Best Exotic Car Shows in the World by Made Man magazine. The 2012 festival was held April 12–15.

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The idea for the festival came after the brothers moved to Celebration and envisioned the town as an ideal location for a car show. The brothers grew up around cars – their grandfather was a Ford dealer in New York – and wanted to showcase exotic cars and racecars while helping children in need. “My brother and I have always had an interest in exotic cars and had been to a lot of events across the country,” says Jeff, who traces his love of exotic cars to when he watched The Cannonball Run as a kid and now owns the black Lamborghini used in the film. “We also both really love helping children and thought it would be great to put on a world-class event and have all the money go to children’s charities.” In its first year in 2004, the event was a one-day show with 50 cars, but it still raised $20,000 for the Make-A-

Wish Foundation, where Jeff was a member of the Board of Directors. The festival has grown each year since, with more money going to more charities. The 2012 event drew approximately 40,000 guests and featured Ferrari races at the famed Daytona International Raceway, a concourse of 250 exotic and Hollywood movie cars, an exotic car road rally, and a food and wine party at the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando. Benefitting charities include Make-A-Wish, Special Olympics and Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital. The money raised this year brought the festival over the $1 million mark in donations since being formed. The Ippoliti brothers are the driving force behind the festival, but they rely on a board to help organize the event. The entire board is made up of volunteers, ensuring that all money

Carla Castagno/

A Family Affair

“We have always been entrepreneurs and were looking for the next project to get involved with,” says Jim. “Both of us always had an interest in the law, and both obviously have an interest in business. Law school seemed like a good opportunity.” Once Jim earns his degree, he plans to join Jeff in launching a commercial litigation firm, combining their business expertise and legal studies. And even once they begin legal practice, they vow to continue the car festival so that they can make a difference in the lives of children.

raised goes directly to the charities. “There are a lot of moving parts during those four days, so it takes a lot of coordination,” says Jim. “We probably spend 1,000 hours a year putting it together. We have a small but very good board that helps us out. Since everybody is a volunteer, it’s a job of passion and everyone is doing it for the right reason.” Other Barry Law students have also become involved with the festival, volunteering their time at the event and earning pro bono hours. “The festival shows that pro bono work can be fun and exciting and have a great benefit on the local community,” says Jim. The Ippoliti brothers have been able

to grow the festival while going to law school full time. The foray into law will be a second career for both after successful business stints. Jeff, who completed his degree in December, served as CEO of CellVentures Group, a distributor for AT&T that he grew into 100 retail locations along the East Coast before selling the company to AT&T in 2007. Jim, who is scheduled to graduate in December of this year, worked in the hospitality business, owning and operating restaurants in Syracuse, N.Y.

“These charities help kids who are in a situation in their life through no fault of their own,” says Jeff. “It only takes a few minutes talking to one of these kids to see how much difference you can make in a child’s life. It makes all the work and effort put into the festival worthwhile. For us, it’s very important and gratifying. B For more information on the Celebration Exotic Car Festival, visit

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Alumni Sworn in to Highest Court in the Land They came from as far away as Miami and from as close as just a few blocks. They featured representatives from Barry Law School’s first graduating class 12 years prior and ones much larger graduating classes just a few years ago. And they all came together for the unique honor of being admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court. Twelve alumni from Barry Law School comprised the first group of Barry graduates to be sworn in to the U.S. Supreme Court at an induction ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 28, 2011. The induction ceremony was

member of the school’s first graduating class and the first-ever recipient of the law school’s Dean’s Achievement Award, Santomauro now lives just blocks from the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., where he is executive director/ CEO of HALT: An Organization of Americans for Legal Reform, a nonprofit organization focusing on accountability and transparency in America’s civil justice system. “The circle is now complete,” said Santomauro. “As one of the first graduates from Barry Law School 12 years ago to now be one of the first graduates

“As one of the first graduates from Barry Law School 12 years ago to now be one of the first graduates sworn in to practice law before the highest court in the land, I was honored and humbled to be part of such a ceremony.” —Rodd Santomauro conducted by Chief Justice John G. Roberts. Lee Schinasi, professor of law at Barry, served as movant for the group. The alumni also listened to arguments made in a case before the court. Following the ceremony, Justice Sonia Sotomayor greeted the alumni and Dean Leticia M. Diaz. The swearing-in held special significance to Rodd Santomauro (’00). A

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sworn in to practice law before the highest court in the land, I was honored and humbled to be part of such a ceremony. I hope to be able to use this experience to serve others and will always treasure that day when 20 years of work culminated into a day that all of us will always cherish. This is the personification, and the epitome, of Barry’s mission.”

From left: Rodd Santomauro (’00), Dean Leticia M. Diaz, Laura Shields (’07) and Professor Lee Schinasi.

Rob Witt (’09) coordinated the swearing-in ceremony. Also joining the group was Kevin Cole, who represented the school’s Board of Advisors. “The opportunity to appear before the U.S. Supreme Court and be duly admitted and qualified as an attorney and counselor of the Supreme Court by Chief Justice Roberts was truly a once-in-a-lifetime event,” said David Shontz (’02). “Additionally, to be part of the first Barry Law School alumni to be sworn in before the U.S. Supreme Court was very special and a testament to the continued growth of the law school.” On the evening prior to the induction, the alumni and their guests enjoyed a dinner at The Metropolitan Club in Washington, D.C. They were joined by Rod Heller, who spoke about the biography he authored on Felix Grundy titled Democracy’s Lawyer: Felix Grundy of the Old Southwest. (Read more on Heller’s book on pages 10-11.) Another group of 12 alumni will be sworn in to the U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 6, 2012. B

From left: Rob Witt (’09) with Monica Reyes (’08) and her husband, Ian Welsch.

From left: David Shontz (’02), Octavio Padron (’04), Oneill Martinez (’02).

BARRY ALUMNI SWORN IN: Ada Aviles-Yaeger (’02)

Octavio Padron (’04)

Eric DuBois (’00)

Monica Reyes (’08)

Lenora Easter (’07)

Rodd Santomauro (’00)

Betty Freeland (’02)

Laura Shields (’07)

Sultana Haque-Bolet (’08)

David Shontz (’02)

Oneill Martinez (’02)

Joy Zubkin (’04)

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Finding Felix Grundy: A Conversation with Author Rod Heller


rom renowned criminal lawyer to senator to U.S. Attorney General, Felix Grundy played many roles in early 19th-century America as the country was in its formative years. He was influential as a political reformer and championed the ideals of the American West during the post-Revolutionary period when America’s institutions were forged. Grundy is the subject of a new book, Democracy’s Lawyer: Felix Grundy of the Old Southwest, written by J. Roderick Heller III. Barry Law School alumni who were in Washington, D.C., in November to be sworn in to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court heard Heller speak about Grundy during a dinner at The Metropolitan Club. Heller earned a law degree and a master’s degree in history from Harvard University and was a partner in the law firm of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering in Washington, D.C. He spoke to Barry Law Magazine about Felix Grundy and his impact on America. 10 | B A R R Y L A W

What drew you to Felix Grundy to write a biography on him?

What did you learn in your research for the book?

I have always been deeply interested in history as an intellectual or academic pursuit. The specific interest in Felix Grundy was for two reasons. First, he is an ancestor of mine and I inherited some of his letters. Second, I have always been interested in American history, and specifically Southern history, prior to 1865. I thought Grundy’s career would open a window into a period of history – from the American Revolution to the 1850s – that is imperfectly studied.

The book has been well-received because it focuses on the first post-Revolutionary War generation. I had not fully appreciated the extent that our Founding Fathers believed in government by elites and the extent in which they envisioned the perpetuation of the same kind of system they had fought against. What Grundy and others like him brought was a new type of political leader that was not people born to elites. They were people who made the most of their

own brain power – often lawyers and people from the west. This new type of political leader brought about a significant change in how government was conducted. It was a far more egalitarian country and far more capitalistic. Basically, what America is like now was largely shaped during this period of Grundy’s life. A more simple way to think about it is that Grundy and his fellows took an idea that the Founding Fathers had come up with and they put it into practice, but in different ways than the Founding Fathers had envisioned. You write that Grundy’s dominating belief was “equality in access to power.” How did this belief show itself in his political career? He was a great political leader in early Kentucky fighting for the yeoman farmer against the capitalist designs. It shows up in access to banks and access to the courts. At that time, the merchants of Lexington, Kentucky, wanted to keep the banks to themselves. Courts were centered in the main cities, hundreds of miles away from settlers. So in his early days in Kentucky, Grundy fought hard for the egalitarian access to courts and access to banks. In Tennessee, he was involved in the same battles. Politically, in the great panic of 1819, he fought against entrenched privileges and fought for the debtor. When Andrew Jackson fought against the Second Bank of the United States, Grundy was one of his principal allies. Basically, Grundy, in everything he did, fought against privileged access to power – whether it was access by the government or by people who controlled the government to ensure their own private power. Almost everything he did reflected this egalitarian perspective. He was every bit a capitalist, but he wanted to make sure everybody had equal access to the rights to fail or the rights to succeed. He didn’t want elites in government or elsewhere to have a privileged opportunity.

Author and attorney Rod Heller was a featured guest when Barry Law alumni had dinner at The Metropolitan Club in Washington, D.C., on the evening prior to being sworn in to the U.S. Supreme Court. Heller discussed his book on Felix Grundy.

What impact did Felix Grundy have on the legal system?

What can lawyers today learn from Felix Grundy?

Grundy was probably the first great criminal defense lawyer of the south. He lived in Kentucky and was the third chief justice there and then moved to Tennessee. No one knows how many first-degree murder defendants he represented – the highest estimate is 185 – but what is known is that only one of his defendants was hanged. He was renowned across the country politically, but in the south and southwest he was mainly known for his great legal defense capacities. He achieved that not only by his unique oratory, but he introduced a lot of changes in the law. He was the first lawyer in that part of the world to pad the jury – to try to get jurors who knew the defendants. He was the first to use reputational witnesses to a significant degree. He would tailor his tactics to the situation. He made a lot of innovations at a time when the American criminal system was just coming into play.

The principal virtue of the book is the extent to which this one man represented this full range of activities that we think of as American. He was a political leader, a lawyer, a real estate developer, a land speculator, a leader in education. He did an enormous number of things. As a lawyer, Grundy demonstrated the importance of innovation and deductive trial. He was constantly a step or two ahead of the other side. What do you want readers to get out of the book? The realization that what America is now is due not only to the Founding Fathers’ ideals, but how Grundy and his fellows laid the groundwork from 1800 to 1840. To me, that is the period America was shaped. I don’t think people can fully understand America without understanding that period, so I want them to appreciate that time. B

Democracy’s Lawyer: Felix Grundy of the Old Southwest is available on

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Members of Barry Law School’s trial team after emerging as co-champions.

National Trial Competition Regional Comes to Barry t was a weekend of firsts. On Feb. 3-5, the Barry University School of Law served as host of an extramural skills competition for the first time, welcoming 24 teams of students from 12 law schools to compete in the National Trial Competition Southeast Regional. And for the first time, a team from Barry Law School emerged victorious at the prestigious annual competition to advance and represent the Southeast region at the National Trial Competition.


The Honorable Kenneth L. Williams

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“It was a true honor to advance to the national championship round against such an incredibly talented regional lineup.” —Mitch Frank, associate professor of law and faculty advisor

The Barry team, featuring advocates Jordan Ostroff and Andrew Doyle and witnesses Michael Tricoli and Tamar Gelin, defeated a team from the Stetson University College of Law to be crowned co-champions. In the other finals of the competition, a team from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University defeated a team from the University of Florida College of Law. “It was a true honor to advance to the national championship round against such an incredibly talented regional lineup,” said Mitch Frank, associate professor of law and faculty advisor for the Barry Law trial team. Both Barry and Cumberland School of Law qualified to compete in the 37th annual National Trial Competition held on March 21-24, 2012, in Austin, Texas. The National Trial Competition is sponsored by the Texas Young Lawyers Association and is one of the two largest trial team competitions in the United States. The National Trial Competition Southeast Regional held at Barry featured the presentation of several complete

Dean Leticia Diaz with Judge Jennifer Davis

mock trials by teams of law students from schools in Florida, Alabama and Mississippi. In addition to the final four teams, other schools that competed were Alabama, Ave Maria, Faulkner, Florida Coastal, Florida State, Miami, Mississippi College and Nova Southeastern. The trial chosen for the competition was the fictional motor vehicle negligence and wrongful death case of Dusty Stockard, individually and as administrator of the Estate of Channing Stockard v. Mitch Murphy. Local judges and attorneys, including several Barry Law alumni, served as evaluators and assessed the teams on the basis of their

trial skills as demonstrated through witness examinations, use of the evidence and arguments. “This was Barry’s first time hosting an extramural competition, and administration, students, and local judges and lawyers made it a memorable event,” said Frank. “A great debt is owed to Mike Damaso, a former trial team member and a local attorney who served as coordinator of the competition; Brigitte Debbarh from the Institutional Advancement office, who coordinated all of the logistics and catering; and Nick Primrose, a 2L who arranged for all the excellent student help.” Many of the trials were held in the school’s Legal Advocacy Center, which opened last August and features five moot courtrooms. “The competition was an excellent showcase for our campus, our new Legal Advocacy Center, and our superb trial team,” said Leticia M. Diaz, dean of Barry Law School. “We received very positive feedback from the other competitors and look forward to hosting more competitions.” B

More information on the National Trial Competition is available at W W W. B A R R Y. E D U / L A W

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National Trial Competition Regional

Andrew Doyle, a member of Barry’s trial team, presents in the final round.

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Local attorneys serve as jurors and evaluators.

Dean Leticia M. Diaz (center) with alumni Angela Agostino (’11) and Michael Kraynick (’07), who served as evaluators.


▼ ▼

▼ Jordan Ostroff, a member of Barry’s trial team, presents in the final round. A member of the University of Florida’s trial team presents.

A participant makes opening arguments.

▼ Teams prepare for trial.


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MARK MALEK: Putting Others Ahead An engineering background has certainly helped Mark Malek (JD ’02) excel as a patent and intellectual property attorney, but his sense of family and community fuels the success of his law firm, Zies Widerman & Malek. For Malek, the philanthropy holds as much weight as the sweat equity they put into their business. Some of the organizations that he and his partners volunteer for include Junior Achievement of the Space Coast, Scott Center for Autism Treatment, the Space Coast Early Intervention Center, March of Dimes and Brevard Symphony Orchestra. It’s easy to see where that spirit of giving comes from. Malek’s parents came to the United States from Egypt “with 200 bucks in their pocket.” He calls his father, a manager at a specialty chemical company, and his mother, a retired accountant for the City of New York, “an American success story, providing us with everything we ever needed. They believe that the community and America gave a lot to them, and if you make it you have to give back.” It’s also personal. His six-year-old son Andrew was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder. “If you meet him, he’s doing just fine. That’s because of the abundant resources the Brevard County community offered us. And we didn’t have to go broke doing it. I’m duty bound to pay that back.” He and his wife Aileen have another son, four-year-old Jacob. Malek sort of stumbled into a law career. Working as a civil engineer, he caught a TV commercial for the University of Orlando School of Law (the predecessor to Barry Law School) and decided to give it a shot. There was one problem, though. “I had no idea what many lawyers did,” he laughs.

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“We’re a very tight group. We work hard, but we also do a lot

of volunteering together. I believe that’s what makes our firm so successful.” — Mark Malek

A lunch with the chief international property counsel at Siemens Westinghouse set his course. Malek learned the ins and outs of patent law that day and what a great niche it would be for him with his civil engineering pedigree. Graduating from Barry has paid off in numerous ways. “The network of alumni and dear friends that I have there is just amazing. We’ve hired several alumni as attorneys here,” he says. He even met one of his future partners, Scott Widerman (JD ’02), at Barry. They shared just one class, but hit it off. Later, when Malek was working at an Orlando law firm and considering relocating to Philadelphia, Widerman recruited him to join as an associate at the firm he was working. The two bought the firm in 2005 with Philip Zies.

Headquartered in Melbourne, Fla., Zies Widerman & Malek boasts two dozen employees in three offices. “Last year we played in a charity dodge ball tournament, and it was a blast. We were the Lethal Litigators,” Malek says. “We’re a very tight group. We work hard, but we also do a lot of volunteering together. My focus in life is mainly on my family and volunteering. And to tell you the truth, I believe that’s what makes our firm so successful.” —by Russ J. Stacey For more information on the organizations supported by Zies Widerman & Malek, visit

TOM LEEDER: Finding a Perfect Practice Thomas Leeder (JD ’03) learned to love the law as a child while watching episodes of Law & Order with his father. He dreamed of becoming a criminal defense attorney and protecting the constitutional rights of the accused. But Leeder’s focus changed when he was a teenager: His father was diagnosed with cancer and eventually succumbed to the disease. Battles with insurance companies during his father’s illness prompted Leeder to want to help others in similar situations. Now he’s doing just that with his own personal injury practice in Plantation, Fla. “After the bad experiences with insurance companies, I knew that I wanted to do personal injury and help people who had been hurt,” says Leeder. “It just seemed like the perfect storm for what I wanted to do — both to help people who had been injured and also fight against insurance companies I dislike.” Leeder chose Barry to pursue his law degree because of an intimate knowledge of the school and university. As a child, he was a frequent visitor on Barry University’s campus in Miami Shores where his mother, Dr. Ellen Leeder, was a member of the faculty who taught Spanish for 46 years. He also began his undergraduate studies at Barry before completing bachelor’s degrees in history and interdisciplinary social sciences at Florida State University. Once in law school, Leeder was active in several organizations. He served as president of both the Student Bar Association and Hispanic American Law

Students Association (HALSA). He was a member and officer of the Trial Team, won leadership awards from both HALSA and the Black Law Students Association, and was presented the Dean’s Achievement Award in 2003. Leeder was admitted to the Florida Bar in 2004 and immediately began taking on personal injury cases, working for Scott E. Rovenger, P.A., in Plantation. He became partner in the firm in just three years before opening his own practice, a decision he made with trepidation but also a confidence that it was the best path forward. “It was very scary,” he says. “I had a very small nest egg and used it to start the business and get things up and running. Fortunately, I already had a caseload that was mine and I was able to settle a couple of cases and keep the doors open. Slowly the practice continued to grow and grow, and I’ve been blessed and fortunate to be able to do what I’m doing.” And what he is doing is helping people who may be in a situation similar to his father’s — injured or sick and seeking compensation or insurance claims. It’s a practice he relates to well and finds extremely gratifying. “I had blue-collar jobs and a bluecollar background, so I know what it’s like to work in the trenches and work hard for a living. I’m very personable with my clients and see them as my equal. It’s always great to see a conclusion of a case to the satisfaction of your client, and they are extremely grateful for all the work that you did.”

“After the bad experiences with insurance companies, I knew that I wanted to do personal injury and help people who had been hurt.” —Thomas Leeder

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SHAMIR PATEL AND DOHYUN KIM: Down to Business The value of a law degree can often extend well beyond the courtroom and into boardrooms, hospitals and classrooms. For Barry Law School alumni Shamir Patel (JD ’09) and Dohyun Kim (JD ’09), their law degrees have given them creditability and insight into business dealings that drive their companies.

Patel owns and operates three hotels on North International Drive in Orlando, and only famed hotelier Harris Rosen owns more beds in the area. Soon after completing his degree at Barry, Patel formed Capital Hospitality Management LLC, which operates a 275-room Days Inn, 180-room Howard Johnson, and 120-room Trav-

Shamir Patel owns and operates three hotels on International Drive.

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elodge. He has his hands on all aspects of operating the hotels and finds his legal background invaluable. “Being an attorney gives me credibility with lenders,” says Patel. “And every hotel has about 30 different leases, from the gift shop to buses. I can go in and review all the documents and contracts.” Patel first entered the hotel business in 2009 when he began operating the Howard Johnson. Even though tourism dropped in the recession, Patel set his sights on more hotels and soon added the Days Inn and Travelodge to his portfolio. The gamble paid off, and a record number of tourists visiting the Central Florida area led to his hotels reaching 90 percent occupancy last year. He plans to continue expanding his holdings, which means more negotiating, deals and contracts. “The fact that I have my law degree on my wall and am able to put JD next to my name, people in the business world I deal with see I am an attorney and a hotel owner,” says Patel “They see you in a different light and give you a respect you otherwise would not receive.” The same type of business dealings that Patel is involved with daily is what drove Kim to earn a law degree. Born and raised in Tampa, he assisted running his family’s nursery, a 130-acre farm in Apollo Beach that grows and sells palm trees to customers as far away as Arizona. “Growing up in the business world and seeing transactions from my father since I was five, I learned that many business issues are legal issues,” says Kim. “Determining what is or is not legal is a constant question, and sometimes it’s not clear. If we could address the legal issues quickly, we could continue with business to meet our goals.”

STAY CONNECTED! Make sure you receive Barry Law alumni news, information and event invitations by keeping your contact information current. Updates can be made: ONLINE: E-MAIL: MAIL: Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law Office of Institutional Advancement 6441 East Colonial Drive Orlando, FL 32807

SHARE YOUR NEWS! Let your classmates know what you’re doing. SUBMIT YOUR CLASS NOTES to or online at Dohyun Kim uses his law degree in a number of business ventures, including with his family’s nursery.

CONNECT WITH BARRY LAW Kim’s business background isn’t limited to the nursery. After earning a bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University in 2000, he worked in finance, first for MetLife and then for an independent financial planning and estate firm. In 2006, he helped launch GulfShore Bank in Tampa, working for the bank as one of its founding members while going to law school part time. “Because of my background in finance, I saw law school from a different perspective,” says Kim. “Business is about collaborating and analyzing what the risks are, and then assuming certain risks to achieve certain rewards. On the other hand, law examines those same risks and contemplates a worstcase scenario before creating a strategy. Sometimes the two approaches are polar opposites, but business people need legal analysis to make better business decisions.” Kim resigned from the bank when he

graduated from Barry, and now he is involved with multiple business ventures. He works as a court-appointed receiver, where he focuses on receiverships for condo and homeowner associations and liquidation of businesses. He also is working with respected immigration attorney Philip M. Zyne and his website,, which sells iKits, allin-one guides on immigration for individuals and businesses. Kim has helped increased sales of the iKit by 257 percent from the previous year. And he remains involved with the business transactions for the family nursery. In all these dealings, Kim puts his legal knowledge to work. “With a law degree, I can understand the terms and fully comprehend different legal memos and contracts,” he says. “I can talk with attorneys and discuss the issues. Before, they were giving me the envelope. Now, I’m pushing the envelope back.”


LAW ALUMNI CHAPTER President: Michael Damaso (’05) Vice President: Sultana Haque-Bolet (’08) Secretary: Suzanne Meehle (’06)

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ALUMNI SUPPORTERS OF BARRY LAW SCHOOL The Barry University School of Law thanks the following alumni who made a donation to the school in 2012: DAVID B. ALEXANDER (’07) Bradford Cederberg, P.A. 5210 S. Orange Ave. Orlando, FL 32809 (407) 926-8710 Practice Areas: PIP and Personal Injury, Plaintiff Litigation

BRIDGETTE M. BENNETT (’10) Bennett Law Center 302 W. Orange St. Groveland, FL 34736 (352) 557-8989 Practice Areas: Immigration

MARK A. CEDERBERG (’02) Bradford Cederberg, P.A. 5210 S. Orange Ave. Orlando, FL 32809 (407) 926-8710 Practice Areas: PIP and Personal Injury, Plaintiff Litigation

STEPHANIE COOK (’07) Shuffield, Lowman & Wilson, P.A. Gateway Center 100 Legion Place, Suite 1700 Orlando, FL 32801 (407) 581-9800 Practice Areas: Civil Litigation, Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, Commercial Litigation, Guardianship Proceedings

TERRY COVERT (’02) Copeland & Covert 631 Palm Springs Dr, Ste 115 Altamonte Springs, FL 32701 (407) 830-7220 Practice Areas: Estate Planning, Wills, Trusts, Probate

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Barry Law alumni Dalia Abdelbany (seated) and (standing from left) Denise Kim, Nancy Schofield, Amy Mai and Megan Watson in the new Legal Advocacy Center during Barry Law School’s annual holiday party in December.

PAUL F. DALEY (’06) Daley Law 7331 Office Park Place, Suite 3 Viera, FL 32940 (321) 504-9935

NICHOLAS J. FEDA (’10) McNamee & Mahoney, LTD. 17N208 Rt. 31 Dundee, IL 60118 (847) 428-7500

Practice Areas: Bankruptcy, Foreclosure, Mortgage Modification, Debt Relief

Practice Areas: Criminal Defense, Civil Litigation, Family

AMBER N. DAVIS (’06) Beusse Wolter Sanks Mora & Maire, P.A. 390 N. Orange Ave., Suite 2500 Orlando, FL 32801 (407) 926-7716

SUSAN FELDER (’00) Florida Supreme Court Certified County and Circuit Civil Mediator P.O. Box 1448 Winter Park, FL 32790-1448 (407) 647-3904

Practice Areas: Intellectual Property Litigation, Copyright and Trademark Prosecution, TTAB Proceedings, UDRP Proceedings

Practice Areas: Mediation

MATTHEW P. FERRY (’06) Law Office of Warren W. Lindsey, P.A. 1150 Louisiana Ave., Suite 2 P.O. Box 505 Winter Park, FL 32790 (407) 644-4044

NAYEF A. MUBARAK (‘10) NeJame, LaFay, Jancha, Ahmed, Barker, Joshi & Moreno, P.A. 189 S. Orange Ave., Suite 1800 Orlando, FL 32801 (407) 245-1232

Practice Areas: Criminal Defense

Practice Areas: Immigration, Civil, Criminal Defense, Personal Injury

SULTANA HAQUE-BOLET (’08) Sultana Law, P.A. 115 Maitland Ave. Altamonte Springs, FL 32701 (407) 545-2099 Practice Areas: Small Business, Bankruptcy

MONICA M. HOWARD (’02) Law Office of Monica M. Howard P.O. Box 9339 St. Thomas, USVI 00801 (340) 777-7070 Practice Areas: Civil, Family, Probate, Real Estate, Corporate

JONATHAN D. KNOTT (’11) Holden & Darby, P.A. 201 W. Main St. Tavares, FL 32778 (352) 742-1876 Practice Areas: Family

SUSAN S. MORRIS (’08) The Law Offices of Catherine Henin-Clark, P.A. 1151 N. Orange Ave., #200 Winter Park, FL 32789 (407) 920-0333 Fax: 407 622-7454 Practice Areas: Immigration and Nationality Law

CHRISTOPHER P. NIEMIEC (’06) Service Provider Group, LLC 201 West Marion Ave., Suite 1209 Punta Gorda, FL 33950 (941) 833-5202 Practice Areas: Corporate Counsel: Labor & Employment, Workers Compensation

KEVIN W. WIMBERLY (’08) Walters Law Group 195 W. Pine Ave. Longwood, FL 32750 (407) 975-9150 Practice Areas: Intellectual Property, First Amendment, Internet, Gaming

ROBERT A. WITT (‘09) The Law Office of Robert A. Witt, P.A. 707 Mendham Blvd., Suite 100 Orlando, FL 32825 (407) 285-7609 Practice Areas: Criminal and Civil Litigation

ALEXANDRA STEELE (‘06) deBeaubien, Knight, Simmons, Mantzaris & Neal LLP 332 N. Magnolia Ave. Orlando, FL 32801 (407) 422-2454 Practice Areas: Civil and Commercial Litigation

STEPHEN TALMADGE (’06) Law Offices of Stage & Associates 7635 Ashley Park Ct., Suite 503-T Orlando, FL 32835 (321) 293-4215 Practice Areas: Baker Acts, Homeowners Association

CHARLES A. THURSTON (’05) The Law Office of Charles A. Thurston 3270 Suntree Blvd., Suite 207 Melbourne, FL 32940 (321) 574-8268 Practice Areas: Immigration, Family Law, Personal Bankruptcy, Social Security Disability, Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning, Appellate Advocacy, Landlord/Tenant Law, DUI/DWI Defense

To be listed in the fall issue of Barry Law Magazine, alumni can make a donation online at law/giving or by mailing a check made payable to “Barry University School of Law” to: Institutional Advancement Barry University School of Law 6441 East Colonial Drive Orlando, FL 32807

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Three Presented With Founding Leaders Award Three longtime supporters of the Barry Law School were presented with the Founding Leaders Award at a ceremony during the annual Barry Law holiday party in December. The award recognizes exceptional community leaders who have volunteered their time to shape and build Barry Law School from its beginnings to the dynamic institution of legal education and services it has become. Recipients of the award were Kevin Cole, past-chair of the school’s Board of Advisors and a member of the board since the school’s founding; The Honorable Tom Freeman, current chair of the Board of Advisors, longtime member of the board and a former adjunct professor; and The Honorable Jose R. Rodriguez, a member of the Board of Advisors and the keynote speaker for the 2012 commencement. In presenting the awards, Dean Leticia M. Diaz thanked the trio for “lending their time, wisdom and expertise and putting in consider-

Dean Leticia M. Diaz presents the Founding Leaders Award to The Honorable Tom Freeman (left) and Kevin Cole. (Not pictured: The Honorable Jose R. Rodriguez)

able effort to give Barry Law School the solid foundation we enjoy today.”

Courtroom Named in Honor of Sherri McVay (’02) A courtroom in the recently opened

position under Gov. Charlie Crist until

Legal Advocacy Center has been named in

2007 when she became political director for

honor of Sherri McVay, a 2002 graduate of

Florida of the Mitt Romney for President

Barry Law School.


While at Barry, McVay served as Student

In March 2008, McVay opened

Bar Association president and founded the

The McVay Law Firm in Melbourne, Fla.,

Barry Law chapter of the Women Lawyers

focusing on business and corporate law.

Association. She was also an active member

McVay’s mother, Shirley Wiseman,

of Delta Theta Phi and the Moot Court Board.

was on hand for the unveiling of the

She was recognized with the Outstanding

naming during Barry Law’s annual

Student Award from the Black Law

holiday party in December.

Student Association and received the Dean’s Leadership Award.

For information on

Following graduation, McVay was


appointed by Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to serve

contact the Office of Institutional

as executive director of the Statewide Advocacy

Advancement at (321) 206-5604.

Council. She continued to serve in that

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Dean Leticia M. Diaz (left) and Shirley Wiseman at the unveiling of the Sherri McVay Courtroom.

Trial Team Beats Harvard, Wins ABA National Trial Competition Law Review Symposium Examines Guantánamo’s Legacy The U.S. detention policies in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, were examined during the 2012 Barry Law Review symposium, which featured a diverse group of nationally prominent legal scholars in a series of panel discussions. The symposium, titled “Guantánamo’s Legacy: Reflections on a Decade of Detention” and held on Feb. 24, explored the law of war, military commissions, interactions between Guantánamo and the U.S. Constitution, effects on the legal profession, and repercussions for U.S. national security. Among the symposium’s distinguished speakers were Peter Jan Honigsberg, a professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law and director of the Witness

Hon. Stanley Sacks, presiding judge of the final round, (far left) presents the championship certificate to Barry’s winning trial team (from left): Aboubakr Maaroufi, Ryan Sainz, Ciara Harris, Victor Zamora and Professor Elizabeth Megale.

to Guantánamo project, and Jordan Paust, a professor of international law at the Law Center of the University of Houston and one of the most widely cited law profes-

Barry Law School’s trial team prides itself on competing against the best advocacy

Best Advocate at the competition, which

teams in the country. The team did just that

received perfect witness scores in two separate

when it defeated Harvard University in the

preliminary rounds.

final round to win the ABA National Criminal Justice Trial Advocacy Competition held

Barry went undefeated in the preliminary rounds, beating the University of Alabama,

March 29-31 at The John Marshall Law

Widener and the University of Puerto Rico

School in Chicago.

School of Law. Only four teams advanced, with

The win was Barry’s seventh championship at a national competition since 2008. It was also the second championship in the 2011-12 academic year, marking the second year in a row Barry’s trial team won two championships. Barry’s advocates were Aboubakr

sors in the U.S.

included 19 teams. Both Harris and Zamora

Barry facing and defeating Creighton in the semifinals to reach the finals against Harvard. The team was coached by Barry Law professors Mark Summers and Elizabeth Megale. “The trial team has again proudly represented Barry against some of the top law

Maaroufi (prosecution and defense), Ryan

schools in the country,” said Dean Leticia M.

Sainz (defense, and prosecution witness) and

Diaz. “Under the pressure of competition,

Ciara Harris (prosecution and defense witness).

these students were able to withstand and

The swing witness was Victor Zamora.

respond flawlessly to unexpected rulings and

Maaroufi, a second-year student, was named

arguments from other teams.”

Peter Jan Honigsberg, director of the Witness to Guantánamo project, presents during the 2012 Barry Law Review symposium.

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Virginia Townes: An Accidental Attorney Virginia Townes didn’t plan to be an attorney. It took a series of unplanned events to launch a law career that is now in its 30th year with Townes established as a shareholder at the largest law firm in Florida. The first surprise came as Townes was settling into her career as a teacher in Sarasota. Recently married, she and her husband Phil decided they didn’t want children. Those plans quickly changed. “God figured out what was best for me, and I discovered I was pregnant,” Townes says.

“Barry is more than just a law school, it’s a congregation of people and purpose that is a model of what people of goodwill can do.” —Virginia Townes While on maternity leave after the birth of her son, Townes took a continuing education course on school law. She became intrigued by the law, but as a mother of a young son and already established as a teacher, she didn’t foresee a career change. Her husband convinced her otherwise. “I told my husband that if the world had turned out differently, I might have liked to have gone to law school,” she says. “He figured out how I was going to go to do it. He backed me 100 percent.” They put their house up for sale and prepared to move to Tallahassee so she could attend the Florida State University College of Law. The day their house was sold, the next surprise came: Townes was pregnant again.

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She contemplated giving up the dream of law school, but her husband persuaded her to at least begin her studies. Two weeks after giving birth in early February, she was starting her second trimester of school with her second son in tow. Through support from her family and cooperation from the school – including a professor who babysat while Townes took an exam – she completed her degree in two and a half years. Townes was set to begin her law career at Akerman Senterfitt, until Phil decided he wanted his shot at law school. So they stayed in Tallahassee and Phil enrolled at FSU while Virginia became a clerk for the Honorable Raymond Ehrlich on the Florida Supreme Court – another unplanned move that provided lifelong dividends. “If things worked out according to my plan, I never would have taken that position. And it turned out to be the most amazing experience,” she says. “Ray Ehrlich turned me into a real lawyer.” Following the clerkship, Townes started as an associate at Akerman Senterfitt’s Orlando office on July 1, 1985. She has been there ever since, specializing in banking and finance law, and has been recognized by The Best Lawyers in America and Super Lawyers for business litigation and banking. When Barry Law School offered the opportunity for a return to academia, Townes jumped at the chance. She taught Secured Transactions as an adjunct and also advised students and faculty on preparing for The Florida Bar Exam – lending her expertise from serving as chair of the Florida Board of Bar Examiners from 1991 to 1992. “I fell in love with the class and the students and the school,” she says. “It was a group I resonated with; these were older students and law is a second career for me.” Townes then joined the law school’s Board of Advisors, where she serves as a vocal advocate in the legal community for a school she holds in great esteem. “I really admire what Barry has been through and what it’s become,” she says. “It’s more than just a law school, it’s a congregation of people and purpose that is a model of what people of goodwill can do. There is always the sense of a commitment to a higher purpose.” With retirement nearing, Townes is planning ahead, with hopes to teach and volunteer with literacy programs at local schools. But, as life has shown her, she is keeping her options open. “That’s how my life has worked out. Whatever I have planned is not what happened. And what has happened is more wonderful than anything I could have planned.”



CIRCUIT CIVIL JULY 20-22, 28 & 29, 2012 | Ft. Laud. AUG. 10-12, 18 & 19, 2012 | Orlando

FAMILY JUNE 6-10, 2012 | Orlando JUNE 20-24, 2012 | Ft. Lauderdale 48 CLE CREDITS :: INCLUDING 5 ETHICS


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