Friday, October 21, 2016

Human Trafficking Academy Hosts Human Rights Workshop for Middle School Students

On October 14, 2016,  26 seventh and eighth grade students from  H.I.V.E. Preparatory School visited St. Thomas Law.  Hosted by the Human Trafficking Academy & the LL.M./J.S.D. Program in Intercultural Human Rights the goal of the visit was to have the middle school students learn about universal human rights, the protections of human rights and freedoms in domestic and international law.

Professor Pati Shares her expertise with the students

The students engaged in a lively discussion with Professor Roza Pati on the universality of human rights and the importance of human rights education. LL.M. students Pryscilla Nicolau, Tiffany Caldwell, and Ty’jah Hill led small group activities and discussions about various current issues on human rights including children’s rights, human trafficking of children, and the child refugee crisis in Syria. 

St. Thomas Law LL.M. students led educational group activities 

Coordinated by Ms. Karla Garcia, Executive Assistant of the Human Trafficking Academy, students had the opportunity to tour the law school campus and visit different departments such as the Office for Career Development, Immigration Clinic, and the LL.M./J.S.D. Program. 

These students are part of a special legal-oriented program at H.I.V.E. and their visit to St. Thomas aimed at encouraging their interest in the legal profession and human rights advocacy.  

St. Thomas University School of Law is a law school committed to human rights and social justice—committed to teaching, training, and empowering the next generation of human rights advocates and decision makers through our globally unique LL.M. Program; and, committed to original research in the field through our J.S.D. Program in Intercultural Human Rights. Through programs like our Human Trafficking Academy, we address the cutting edge of global issues of concern and train students to solve these problems responsibly.

Professor Roza Pati Presents at International Conference on Human Rights

Professor Roza Pati
Professor Roza Pati recently presented at an international conference on Human Rights in the 21st Century, organized by the University of Saskatchewan School of Law, in Canada. Her presentation was titled Slavery Then and Now: An Eternal Human Rights Problem.

The conference, held from September 29 - October 1, 2016, brought together internationally prominent speakers, educators and human rights advocates to discuss and share theories and solutions to global human tights issues.

Professor Pati shared the panel with Professor Paul Finkelman, Ariel F. Sallows Chair of Human Rights at the College of Law, University of Saskatchewan and Professor Raymond T. Diamond, Associate Dean and Professor of Law, Louisiana State University.

Other panelists at the conference included Alan Dershowitz of Harvard Law School, Bunji Sawanobori, Dean of the Law School, Nanzan University, Japan, The Honorable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, Dr. John Young, President and CEO, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

Professor Pati teaches International Law, Human Rights Law and Human Trafficking Law. She is a former Member of Parliament and a Cabinet Member serving as the Secretary of State for Youth and Women of Albania, Dr. Pati has a rich experience in public service and academia. In August 2012, the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Professor Pati to be a Member of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, at the Vatican. She is the only Council member representing the United States.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

St. Thomas Law Student Selected for KMMF Summer Fellowship and Scholarship

Daniel Joseph (2L)
St. Thomas Law extends our congratulations to second-year law student, Daniel Joseph.  Daniel has been accepted into the Kozyak Minority Mentoring Foundation (KMMF) Summer Fellowship - a first for a St. Thomas Law student. The KMMF provides summer fellowships to academically and professionally driven first or second year law students.

The Fellowship Committee's selection criteria includes evidence of performance indicative of likely future success in the field of law. The Fellowship Committee considers, among other things, academic excellence, financial need, commitment to community service, commitment to diversity, and leadership skills.

Daniel was elected as a 1L Student Governor for the Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division, where he assisted in furthering the goals of the Florida Bar. He is a candidate for the St. Thomas Law Review and has made the Dean's List each semester while at St. Thomas Law. He also serves as Treasurer for the Black Law Student Association.

"It is an honor to be recognized by such an established and respectable organization for the hard work and diligence I exhibited," stated Daniel upon learning of his selection. "This is an immeasurable opportunity for law students to network with practitioners and judges."

Daniel's passions include mentoring and motivating young people. He considers it an honor to serve as a mentor in the Honorable Peter Palermo Program, which is a community partnership that involves regular visits by St. Thomas Law students to the Law Magnet Program at Miami Carol City Senior High School. Daniel and his classmates teach topics ranging from Constitutional Law to U.S. Government and History. This past summer, Daniel interned with the Honorable Alan Forst at the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal. 

Daniel is a dedicated father of two, and resides in Palm Beach County.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

St. Thomas Law Alumnus, Jorge Fors, Wins $10.4 Million Dollar Verdict on Behalf of Miami Business Owner

Jorge Fors Jr. '11

On September 16, 2016 a verdict six years in the making was delivered in the case involving the alleged breach of business agreements and resulting damages. St. Thomas Law graduate Jorge Fors, Jr., from the firm Fors Attorneys at Law in Coral Gables, represented the plaintiff.

The case, which was filed in June of 2010, involved the plaintiff, a Doral-based business owner, who claimed that his former business partners strategically worked to destroy his company by withholding payments, creating their own company that mirrored his, and attempting to destroy his business relationships.

After a three-week trial and four hours of deliberation,  the jury awarded the plaintiff approximately $10.4 million.

While a student at St. Thomas Law, Jorge was a a judicial intern for Supreme Court Justice Peggy Quince as well a research assistant for Professor Jennifer Martin. He was also a member of the Student Bar Association, Moot Court Team, Mock Trial Team, Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, Rosemary Barkett Appellate Inn of Court.  

Fors Attorneys at Law is a civil litigation law firm, concentrating on commercial and business litigation, personal injury, products liability, and negligence defense.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

St. Thomas Law Student Earns Top Score on Florida Bar Exam

Jaime Lapidus at the Florida Supreme Court
St. Thomas Law salutes alumnus, Jaime Lapidus '16, who received one of the state's highest passing scores on the most recent sitting of the Florida Bar Exam. Jaime's scores placed him among the top of more than 2,400 law school graduates who sat for the exam in July.

Earning the top score earned Jaime a coveted invitation from Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Jorge Labraga, to speak during the induction ceremony of new attorneys in the chambers of the Florida Supreme Court.

"It was truly an honor to represent my school and my peers at the Florida Supreme Court's Induction Ceremony," said Jaime. "I say this because although I gave a speech, none of the success I had on the exam would have been possible had it not been for the help and support system my St.Thomas Law family provided me."

During his remarks before the audience of family and justices, he spoke of being speechless upon receiving his invitation to the Supreme Court.  He also shared his motivation to practice law which was to ultimately give voice to the voiceless, and noted that he views the practice of law in terms of patriotism and service. He is now an Assistant Public Defender in the Office of the Public Defender in Palm Beach County.

"We are proud of Jaime’s unique accomplishment," stated Dean Alfredo Garcia. "He exemplifies St. Thomas Law's dedication to student success at the highest level."

St. Thomas University School of Law continues to train and graduate lawyers capable of applying legal principles to address and solve problems, while maintaining a genuine dedication to scholarship and service. 

You may view Jaime's speech in its entirety here.  His remarks begin at approximately the 30:00 minute mark.

Monday, October 10, 2016

St. Thomas Law Student Named Recipient of American Bar Association Scholarship

D'Bria Bradshaw
Second-year law student, D'Bria Bradshaw, was recently selected as a recipient of the 2016 ABA Forum on Entertainment and Sports Industries Meeting Scholarship.

The scholarship was awarded based on, among other requirements,  demonstrated involvement and interest in entertainment and sports. With this scholarship, she has been given the opportunity to be a Student Reporter for the upcoming forum covering two panels, and will be published in the ABA Forum on Entertainment and Sports Industries Journal "The Entertainment and Sports Lawyer" which will come out in January 2017.

"I'm blessed to have the opportunity to attend this conference with the top entertainment and sports attorneys in the world and honored to represent St. Thomas University," stated D'Bria.  "This is not only a great opportunity for myself but for the school because we will be recognized as an institution that is a leader in the entertainment and sports industries."

Attending this conference will also allow her to build relationships with professionals and fellow law students.  

D'Bria is  Vice-President of  Sports for the St. Thomas Law chapter of the Entertainment & Sports Law Society and serves on the ABA Forum on Entertainment and Sports Industries law student caucus leadership subcommittee; which consists of about 12 law students from across the country who are interested in entertainment and sports. The caucus also develops content and opportunities aimed at fellow law students who would like to thrive in this industry. These students work hand-in-hand with the forum's leadership group.

Friday, September 2, 2016

St. Thomas Human Rights Institute - Helping Asylum Seekers and Refugees Prepare for Court

A 29-year-old Cuban immigrant man suffering from early-onset Parkinson’s was on the brink of ending his life when he walked into STU’s Human Rights Institute. He had lost his job because of symptoms related to his disease, and was living in his car. He hit rock bottom when the car’s tires blew out and the car was towed.

“He walked into our office with two pieces of paper – one with the address of his parents, who live in Cuba, and a letter, essentially his suicide letter. He came to us in this moment of desperation because the institute was all he had,” said Christine Reis, a lawyer and director of St. Thomas University's Human Rights Institute.

Within hours, the paralegal working his case had her husband buy him new tires, get his car out of the towing yard, and colleagues helped her raise money for him. Within days the institute found him a place to live – special housing for people with his condition – and worked with Jackson Memorial Hospital to get him the attention and medications he needed to lead a better life. And within six months, he was on his way to becoming a citizen, and most importantly, he was a completely different, happier person.

“The office [Human Rights Institute] is a great example of what STU is – a family always willing to help one another and others,” Reis said.

Since its inception in 1992, STU’s Human Trafficking Institute has been helping people who have refugee or asylum status become permanent residents, as well as guiding them through complicated legal processes. Over the years, the institute has seen several cases like the one mentioned above ranging from people in the final stages of cancer, to those with Alzheimer’s disease.

“We deal with so many individuals all with a unique, sometimes heart-wrenching story to tell, and we do our best to help them in any way we can,” said Reis. “Our ultimate goal is for these individuals (and sometimes families) to acclimate and become United States citizens with all of its rights and privileges.”

There are similar organizations in South Florida, but STU’s Human Rights Institute is the only one that offers its services completely free of charge – there are no hidden fees or additional charges. And if other services are needed – psychological, special needs, housing – the institute has strong professional relationships with other service providers in the community, and helps guide individuals in the right direction.

“The institute takes care of the legal aspects of their situation, but it has tentacles that reach out to different services,” said Reis.

With offices located in Miami, Broward and West Palm Beach, the institute helps about 200 people a month, and Reis says, she hopes to continue to carry out the institute’s mission for many years to come.