Thursday, February 15, 2018

St. Thomas Law Alum, Eneami Bestman, Recognized as Rising Star by Attorney-at-Law Magazine

St. Thomas Law 2016 graduate, Eneami Bestman, recently had the honor of being recognized as a "South Florida Rising Star" by Attorney-at-Law Magazine.

The magazine's January 2018 "Top Lawyers" issue featured an in-depth interview with Ms. Bestman, who was nominated for the recognition by her legal peers. The conversation covered Eneami's reason for pursuing a legal career, mentors who have helped her since graduating law school, and the relationships she has developed with her fellow attorneys.

"When I learned that I was going to be featured, I was humbled and overwhelmed," stated Ms. Bestman. "It is an honor."

She noted how much of her current work ethic and tenacity was learned while she was a law student. She also credits the St. Thomas Law incubator program - L.E.A.D. - for providing the groundwork and mentoring network for her to successfully launch her solo-practice, The Bestman Law Firm.

Eneami plans on continuing her work with a concentration in Elder Law. She sees herself as a public servant who will continue to use her legal platform for the greater good well into the future.

Attorney at Law Magazine is created specifically for  legal professionals providing relevant industry news and trends to the entire legal community.


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

St. Thomas More Catholic Law Society Community Outreach: Packaging Food for the Homeless

On February 1, 2018, the St. Thomas More Catholic Law Society hosted its First Spring Meeting and  community pro bono event.

St. Thomas Law students prepared food packages for the homeless. The packages were distributed by Servidores del Servidor a non-profit, Catholic lay ministry dedicated to providing meals and services to the homeless community.

See images from the event below:

The purpose of the St. Thomas More Society is to focus on community service and promote the highest standards of ethics, civility,human dignity, justice, professional knowledge and skill in the practice of law, with the encouragement of traditional Catholic values within the St. Thomas Law Community. One key goal includes conducting an annual Red Mass, reminding us that we should become outstanding members of the legal community, while exercising St. Thomas' Catholic Values.

St.Thomas Law's Human Trafficking Academy Commemorates International Day of Prayer

On February 8th, the Human Trafficking Academy and Campus Ministry joined millions of people of the global faith community on a day of prayer for the victims of human trafficking. 

In 2015, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace (PCJP) at the Vatican designated this day as an annual day of prayer and awareness against human trafficking. The Human Trafficking Academy, directed by Professor Roza Pati, member of the PCJP, has joined this initiative in line with its social justice mission of educating, researching and raising awareness about the worldwide phenomenon of modern slavery and leave no stone unturned in order to eradicate this affront to human rights and human dignity.

The Human Trafficking Academy commemorated this day with a special mass and prayer service led by Rev. Msgr. Franklyn Casale, President of St. Thomas University. This was followed by a discussion led by Ms. Beatriz Susana Uitts and Father Paul VI Karenga, current J.S.D. candidates of the Intercultural Human Rights Program at St. Thomas Law. Ms. Uitts discussed “Human Trafficking in Cyberspace” and explained how criminals are using the internet to target, entice, groom, and solicit victims for trafficking purposes. Father Paul VI Karenga presented “Trends of Human Trafficking in West Africa” and highlighted some of the key challenges in addressing human trafficking in Africa.

St. Thomas community was joined at this service by a group of high school students from the Chaminade-Madonna College Preparatory in Hollywood, whose presence and desire to learn more about preventing recruitment into human trafficking amongst youth through internet was a most welcome treat.

February 8 is the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita, the patron saint of human trafficking victims, a Sudanese woman kidnapped as a child and sold into slavery. Upon escaping to freedom, she dedicated her life to sharing her testament of deliverance from slavery and comforting the poor and suffering.

Learn more about Human Trafficking Academy at

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

National Champions: St. Thomas Law Beats Harvard and UC Hastings to Win National Trial Team Competition

The St. Thomas University School of Law’s trial team continued its championship run by being crowned the 2018 ABA Labor and Employment Law National Trial Competition champions. This year's national competition was held from January 27-28 in New Orleans, Louisiana, and featured six law schools from around the country - Harvard Law School, Northwestern University School of Law, University of California Hastings College of Law, William and Mary Law School, Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law, and St. Thomas University School of Law; all champions in their own regions. St. Thomas Law’s team was represented by students Luis Garcia, Karina Harduvel, Jillian Tate, and Chanae Wood. The team earned the trip to New Orleans  by besting Emory University School of Law in the regional competition last October.

St. Thomas Law’s team was represented by students Jillian Tate, Karina Harduvel, Chanae Wood and Luis Garcia 
 Each round of the competition consisted of the teams representing either the Plaintiff or the Defendant. As plaintiff representatives, the St. Thomas Law team argued to a jury that the Plaintiff, an employee of the Defendant, was discriminated against, and fired for, religious reasons. As representatives of the defendant, the students argued that the Plaintiff was not fired for religious reasons, but rather, because the Plaintiff was harassing other employees.

In the preliminary rounds, St. Thomas competed against Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law and Northwestern University School of Law. After winning both rounds, St. Thomas Law faced off against Harvard Law School in the semi-finals. Karina Harduvel and Chanae Wood argued on behalf of the Defendant, GEM Corporation. They prevailed over Harvard Law as jurors stated that St. Thomas Law team members were the best advocates of the competition.

“None of this would be possible without the support of each other and the training from our coaches. said Harduvel. “This was truly a team effort.” Teammate Wood exuded with pride as she also stated what an honor and privilege it was to represent St. Thomas on a national level. 

“Every sacrifice our team made was worth it because together we were able to make history! It is an incredible feeling to be a national champion,” said Wood.

In the final round, St. Thomas Law went head to head against the defending national champion, the University of California Hastings College of Law. Luis Garcia and Jillian Tate argued on behalf of the Plaintiff, Jamie Price, and when it was all said and done, the presiding judge, United States Circuit Court Judge of the Sixth Circuit, Bernice B. Donald, announced St. Thomas Law as the National Champions.

“I am honored and blessed to bring this home,” said Garcia . His teammate Jillian Tate also stated that she was beyond honored that the team was crowned national champions. “All the late nights and countless hours of practice were beyond worth the feeling of hearing our team being called national champions.” said Tate. 

The team was coached by St. Thomas Law alum and litigation managing attorney of the law firm PeytonBolin, PL., Michael Mayer, Esq., Assistant School Board Attorney for Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Jeff James Esq., Assistant Public Defender from the Miami-Dade Public Defender’s office, Dionne McDonald-Josephs, and St. Thomas Law Professor Kenya Smith.

“These students deserve this.” said Mayer. “They exemplified the meaning of hard work, dedication and sacrifice. From the beginning, they had one goal in mind and did not let anything get in the way of making that happen. I am so very proud of them.”

Team Coach Jeff James, Esq. also expressed his pride in the St. Thomas Law team and enjoyed watching them transform from law students to attorneys.

Congratulations to St. Thomas Law and the Trial Team organization.

With numerous past awards received, and state and national championships, this newest national championship is yet another reminder of the commitment to excellence in the St. Thomas trial team program. The purpose of the Mock Trial Board is to promote excellence in litigation and trial advocacy skills. Students participate in state, regional and national advocacy competitions, vying for team membership through tryouts. St. Thomas University School of Law trial teams have achieved prominence in numerous competitions.

St. Thomas Law's Human Trafficking Academy Hosts 7th Annual SAO Human Trafficking Forum

Dr. Roza Pati, Director of the Human Trafficking Academy, President Msgr. Franklyn Casale,
State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle and Dean Alfredo Garcia
 St. Thomas Law’s Human Trafficking Academy,  in partnership with the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, recently hosted the 7th Annual SAO Human Trafficking Forum. 

This year’s theme was “Broadening the Scope: Sexual Orientation, Gender Roles, and Developing the Appropriate Response.” Speakers included Meredith Dank, Ph.D., Research Professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City and Aspen Hawke, Program Manager for Chrysalis Health in Fort Lauderdale. 

In her opening remarks, State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle highlighted the extraordinary work of the prosecuting team of SAO and also praised St. Thomas University and its Human Trafficking Academy for being the leading educational institution in South Florida to address the scourge of human trafficking. 

State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle addressing forum attendees

“You really have been the leaders in this way before the rest of us,” she expressed to President Msgr. Franklyn Casale, Dean Alfredo Garcia and Dr. Roza Pati.

President Msgr. Casale, who has been on the forefront of the issue, shared his enthusiasm on the recent partnership between St. Thomas Law’s Human Trafficking Academy and the State Attorney’s Office, and reiterated that “collaboration is the name of the game” in the fight against human trafficking.

The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Annual Human Trafficking Forum gathers stakeholders and community partners to address human trafficking in Miami-Dade County and South Florida. St. Thomas Law’s Human Trafficking Academy is committed to continue working and collaborating with local leaders to develop cohesive and coherent anti-trafficking strategies.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

St.Thomas Law Earns Top National Rankings for Diversity

The 2018 edition of The Princeton Review - Best 169 Law Schools has been released and St. Thomas University School of Law has maintained its Top 10 national ranking for having the
"Greatest Resources for Minority Students" and the "Most Diverse Faculty."

Based on institutional demographic data, as well as on student ratings of whether all students in their law program receive equal treatment by faculty and students, regardless of ethnicity, the survey ranked St. Thomas University School of Law as one of the best institutions to earn a law school degree.

They solicited the opinions of 19,900 students attending these law schools who reported on their experiences at their schools on an 80-question student survey.  The survey asked students about their school's academics, student body, campus life, and their career plans. They also used data on admissions, academics, financial aid, and employment information.

The “Most Diverse Faculty” ranking is based on the percentage of the law school’s faculty that is from a minority group and the student assessment of whether the faculty is made up of a broadly diverse group of individuals.

St. Thomas Law also earned top ranking in preLaw Magazine, where we are nationally ranked Top 5 "Best School for Hispanics." We are one of only two Florida law schools to be highlighted for our diversity.

The newest rankings affirms St. Thomas Law's commitment to every student's success and shines light on the pride we have in our diverse student body.  The recognition is consistent with our mission to provide opportunities to those groups that have been and continue to be underrepresented in the legal profession.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Alumni Spotlight - Tomas Randle LL.M.

St. Thomas Law’s globally acclaimed LL.M./J.S.D. in Intercultural Human Rights program prides itself in offering its students a unique and challenging academic experience.  Tomas Randle, Esq., who graduated Magna Cum Laude from the Master of Laws in Intercultural Human Rights program in May 2017, reflects on his educational experience at St. Thomas Law. 

Tomas Randle at work at the Public Defender's Office in Buenos Aires, Argentina

For Tomas, being a Fulbright Award recipient from Argentina gave him the opportunity to pursue his LL.M. degree at any university of his choice in the United States. After much thought and deliberation, he elected to attend St. Thomas Law’s LL.M. Program. The Intercultural Human Rights Law Review ranking sixth among all human rights law journals worldwide and the eminent instructors served as the magnet that attracted him to the program. During his study, Tomas had the opportunity to meet people from similar professional backgrounds from all over the world, and the result of sharing the same passion and concerns about human rights and the enriching intellectual experience exceeded his expectations.

"After an intense year of reading, researching and studying about human trafficking, the protection of refugees and human rights and religion, I can only be grateful to Professors Siegfried Wiessner and Roza Pati, for the high quality of the program curriculum and the faculty selected to teach each course," stated Tomas.  “I feel myself confident to deal with the daily issues that arise every day and with the knowledge acquired at St. Thomas University, I can help to enforce the human rights of the voiceless and more vulnerable people of my city."

That city is Buenos Aires, Argentina.  After completing his LL.M. degree, Tomas returned there to continue his legal career as a Public Defender. For Tomas, the knowledge and practical skills he learned in the program have had a meaningful impact in his work. 

The LL.M./J.S.D. in Intercultural Human Rights program's world-renowned faculty hail from places such as the United Nations, Oxford University, the Human Rights Watch and international courts. Its one-of-a-kind curriculum creates a highly stimulating learning environment for its students.