This phrase captures the energy at the Shepard Broad College of Law this spring. For the first time in the law school’s history, The Florida Bar presidency will be held by an NSU Law alumnus. The entire NSU alumni community is proud to recognize John Stewart for his accomplishment. Earlier in the year the school showed its pride when alumna Ariana Fajardo Orshan was confirmed as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. The Honorable Judge Orshan had already served with distinction as a judge in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court. In Broward County, the incoming president of the Broward County Bar Association will be alumnus Michael Fischler, a longtime leader in the region’s legal community. In fact, hundreds of NSU Law alumni serve the voluntary bar associations, governmental agencies, and in leadership roles across Florida.
As with our many alumni serving with distinction, NSU Law is extremely proud of the national recognition the faculty have received by being ranked by U.S. News and World Report with a Top 20 peer recognition for the Legal Research and Writing program and a national ranking at 56 for the Health Care Law program, which places that program first in Florida. The American Bar Association has also released data regarding the law schools’ national bar passage rates, which show that NSU Law’s cumulative bar
passage rate (measured after two years) is 93.3%, placing the law school among the top third (at 65th) in overall bar
passage success. The efforts to improve bar passage, build a world class legal research and writing program, and become a national leader in academic areas such as health care law all require a focus on enhancing the student experience and building a program that demands the best from our students, faculty, and staff from well before the first day of law school.
The process starts with a rigorous admissions process that assures that J.D. applicants are well prepared to attend law school. The law school has reduced its size and raised the entrance credentials for each of the past three years, and we plan to continue doing so in the years to come. Once students arrive, their Torts, Contracts, Criminal Law, and Legal Research & Writing courses are supplemented with Legal Skills and Professionalism, a year-long course designed to develop each student’s critical reading, logical reasoning, and professional identity. All first-year courses retain the Socratic Method at the heart of preparing a student to enter the legal profession, but they also engage each student in his or her learning and preparation.
This spring, for example, students completing their first year had the opportunity to finish their Legal Research & Writing Mock Oral Arguments as part of the Feinrider Moot Court competition at the Broward County Courthouse. The final round of arguments included a judicial panel with The Honorable Justice Robert J. Luck of the Florida Supreme Court and The Honorable Judge Melanie May of the Fourth District Court of Appeal.
Many students spend their first summer participating in the NSU Law’s Judicial Internship Program, which provides them a first-hand look at the court systems and the importance of responsiveness, care, and commitment owed to every person seeking to resolve a conflict through the courts. Students also use their summers to complete their pro bono service obligation, assuring that each student becomes directly involved in legal services. In addition, the students begin to work in paid and volunteer positions to develop the real-world skills they need to transition into the practice of law.
In their second and third years of law school (or fourth year for the part-time students), the students study a wide range of legal subjects, lead law school organizations, and undertake legal work in the clinics. The vast majority of the students take advantage of the commitment to guarantee every student a live-client experience, reinforcing a curriculum that integrates the practical and professional with the theory and context that prepares the graduates both in their first job and throughout their entire career.
Each of these steps helps the NSU Law students develop as professionals and leaders. Their passion for clinics, student organizations, and national competitions translates directly into their leadership in the courtrooms, bar associations, boardrooms, and law firms.
DEEP COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT
In addition, the students see the deep commitment of their faculty and staff engaging in professional bar associations, academic conferences, research projects, international assistance initiatives, and other work that keeps the NSU Law faculty at the forefront of academic and professional growth within legal education and the practice of law. Whether the topic is technology’s impact on the practice of law, access to medical care, business regulation, free speech, or a myriad of other topics, the NSU Law faculty and staff have worked with the academic community and the bar associations to develop improved outcomes and explore the nuances of complex challenges facing society.
And if that were not enough, the Shepard Broad College of Law has become a leader across all
aspects of legal education. In March, the law school hosted the largest national conference ever organized on masters-level education for non-lawyers. The school now offers an LL.M. degree and undergraduate programs in addition to the J.D. and M.S. degrees. By serving a broader array of students, the law school can limit the size of each program to assure that it admits highly
capable students ready to tackle the rigorous academic program designed specifically for that student population.
None of these efforts would be possible without the NSU Law alumni, an accomplished group of lawyers who serve the community with commitment, integrity, and enthusiasm. As employers for the student interns, volunteers in the competition programs, speakers at the student organizations, adjuncts, professional role models, and donors, the law school flourishes because of the alumni, who support the Shepard Broad College of Law. Together, the law school faculty, staff, and alumni foster leadership in our students and each other. Together, we are making a difference for our students and our community. Thank you for all you do!
Jon M. Garon
Dean and Professor of Law