Fall 2017 Welcome Letter
Dear NSU Community:
What a semester this has been. With excitement, we welcomed the class of 2020-21 to the Shepard Broad College of Law for orientation. Our class size remained the same as last year while diversity increased for students from the United States and abroad. We now host over ten percent of our class from outside the United States while 59% of our students reflect traditionally underserved and unrepresented minorities.
But we were hardly open before the storm season swept us off our schedule. The damage of Irma was minor on campus, but it had devastating consequences for our students who had families in Houston, Puerto Rico, and the other Islands hit by the storm. We have regrouped and reconvened, with both a formal relief effort by NSU and another by the NSU Law, Student Bar Association.
We reopened after the storm with the best possible response. On the day we reopened, NSU Law held its Swearing-In Ceremony for the 130 newly admitted NSU Law graduates. NSU Law had the highest increase in bar passage in comparison to the previous July exam and our first-time bar takers exceeded the state average for first-time takers.
We had other good news as well. The ILSA Journal of International and Comparative Law was awarded the 2017 Judy M. Weightman Memorial Public Interest Award at the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Law Student Division. The Journal was recognized for its newly created Interpretation and Translation Assistance Program (ITAP). The ITAP service program was created to provide resources to groups serving indigent clients or undocumented children who do not have the ability to hire independent interpreters. ITAP members completed more than 90 pro bono hours assisting non-profits in translating legal documents and serving as asylum interviews, exceeding its goals and expectations.
In addition, the hard work that resulted in the building renovation was nationally recognized. The NSU Law Leo Goodwin, Sr. Hall's modernization was selected to appear as outstanding designs in the 2017 American School & University Architectural Portfolio. The portfolio is the premier showcase celebrating the best in education design. This architectural distinction ranks NSU Law as a top 100 educational facility.
These national recognitions help justify the pride we rightly feel in the work of our students, our faculty, our staff, and our alumni. The impact of the NSU Law community has been outstanding. But we will never rest on our laurels. Our competition program has grown to be a national powerhouse, moving into the top quartile of all programs while providing students appellate, trial, mediation, and negotiation experience in a dynamic intercollegiate environment.
This year, NSU Law launches the Sharon and Mitchell W. Berger Entrepreneur Law Clinic, which provides hands-on, live clinical experience for students to advice entrepreneurs and start-up ventures. Students interested in criminal law or civil litigation can participate in one of the many in-house clinics and field placement opportunities to meet the live-client expectation.
The Shepard Broad College of Law also continues to expand its partnership with other colleges at NSU. We are looking forward to the new opportunities to partner with additional NSU Colleges. In particular, we anticipate further expansion of our Health Law Concentration. Already, NSU Law offers dual degrees, concentration certificates, additional degrees, and field placements with NSU’s leading health care partners.
This partnership received a tremendous boost this year with a dramatic expansion of NSU’s overall health care offerings. In September, NSU received the largest philanthropic gift in its history from Tampa-area cardiologist Dr. Kiran C. Patel and his wife, pediatrician Dr. Pallavi Patel. The commitment from the Patel Family Foundation includes a $50 million gift and an additional $150 million real estate and facility investment in a future 325,000 square-foot medical education complex that will be part of NSU’s new Tampa Bay Regional Campus, in Clearwater.
We continue to grow our live-client clinics, expand field placement offerings, and promote the success of recent graduates with Florida’s only legal incubator. The Incubator is open to recent graduates, helping them develop the skills and independence essential to launch their own practice. In exchange, they commit to providing pro bono service through the NSU legal clinic, helping us expand the community we can serve.
These efforts would not be possible without the generous support of our donors and alumni. For all you do for our students, we are deeply grateful. For the next year's students joining us, we are enthusiastic that they will continue to receive the support of our faculty, staff, alumni, and legal community.
I look forward to continuing our partnership with you to further NSU Shepard Broad College of Law, and making a difference in the lives of our students and the clients they serve. We are thrilled to be back in class.
Jon M. Garon
Dean and Professor of Law