Brandon Dinetz knew he wanted to be a litigator from a young age. After obtaining his bachelor's in International Trade from SUNY Buffalo, he relocated to Florida to be closer to his family, and chose NSU College of Law for its numerous opportunities in trial advocacy and criminal law, and for its solid reputation in the legal community. "As soon as I told people I wanted to be a litigator, focusing on criminal defense, they urged me to take a serious look at NSU Law. The reputation NSU Law and its alumni have in the legal community is unmatched."
In fact, Brandon was hired as a law clerk to NSU Law alumnus Bradford Cohen who has a successful criminal law practice in South Florida. He was hired on the spot and works with Cohen preparing motions and doing legal research. Brandon also accompanies Cohen to court, where he watches everything Cohen does and says, from the way he dresses to the way he addresses the judge and delivers his closing statement. "The opportunity to work for Cohen has been incredible; I've been able to learn and network at the same time," Brandon says, adding that he's met numerous influential judges and attorneys in the process.
In addition to his hands-on experience with attorney Cohen, Brandon is highly involved in trial advocacy competitions and organizations at law school. At the end of first-year, Brandon won the first-year closing tournament with his oral arguments and subsequently made the College of Law's Nova Trial Association where he now serves as Competitions Coordinator. Professor Megan Chaney, Brandon's mentor (he is also Prof. Chaney's teaching assistant) recognized Brandon's insatiable hunger for all things trial advocacy, and appointed him as Second Chair to third-year law student, Jay Dermer, to compete in the 2014 Top Gun National Mock Trial Competition at Baylor University in Texas. Only 16 law students in the U.S. are chosen to compete each year, and it is considered the most prestigious individual advocacy tournament in the country. "She wanted someone who was passionate about trial advocacy to represent NSU Law, and after being there, my hunger grew. Now, I definitely want to compete as First Chair."
Brandon has also competed in the 2014 Buffalo/Niagara Mock Trial Competition as part of a four-student team. Thirty-six law schools traveled to Buffalo, New York to compete, and sixteen teams made it to the finals. Law students try both sides of a homicide case before experienced judges and trial attorneys who volunteer as evaluators. Brandon and his team were quarterfinalists. "I love to travel and compete to make a name not only for myself, but for NSU Law; personal accolades are great, but my goal is to help NSU Law climb up the U.S. News & World Report Trial Advocacy Rankings. In 10 years, I want to be able to say, 'NSU Law is the top-rated trial advocacy school, and I went there.'"
Brandon cites four faculty members as mentors: Professor Megan Chaney, who taught him Criminal Law; Professor Mark Dobson, who Brandon says, "continues to work outside the classrooms with students in an extracurricular setting;" Adjunct Professor Ted Daus, who is an Assistant State Attorney with the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit in and for Broward County, Florida, and teaches trial advocacy at NSU Law; and Brian Engle, a practicing attorney who regularly coaches the Brandon's teams. "These people mold students into gladiators," Brandon says, "I know I can confidently work a courtroom because of them."