Category Archives: Law School

Anthony Eudelio Varona Will Be MiamiLaw’s Next Dean

I’m very excited to announce the identity of our new Dean, who will take over in less than two months: Anthony Eudelio Varona, currently of American University.  Tony comes to us with a great deal of energy, ideas — and a local connection.

Here’s the official announcement from our Provost, Jeffrey L. Duerk:

June 11, 2019
To the University of Miami Community:

I am thrilled to share that Anthony Eudelio Varona, an attorney and educator who specializes in administrative law, communications and media law, and sexuality and gender law, has been named the new dean at the School of Law, effective August 1.

Tony is currently professor of law at American University Washington College of Law, where he teaches contracts, administrative and public law, and media law. He has been with American University Washington College of Law since 2005, serving two years as vice dean, associate dean for faculty and academic affairs for six years, and also serving as the Doctor of Juridical Science program director and a member of the faculty review/advisory boards of the Administrative Law Review and the Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law. Tony has also acted as faculty advisor to the Latino/a Law Students Association and the Lambda Law Society. He entered teaching full-time as an associate professor of law at Pace University School of Law in 2002.

Tony serves on the national board of directors for Stonewall National Museum and Archives (SNMA), for which he co-founded and for its first year co-chaired the SNMA National Advisory Council. Before entering academia, he spent nearly five years as as chief counsel and then general counsel and legal director for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization. He represented HRC and the HRC Foundation in various coalition work groups, including the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights judicial nominations task force.

Earlier in his career, he was an associate at Skadden Arps and Mintz Levin, and an honors program enforcement attorney at the Federal Communications Commission.

Tony is a consummate and respected professional in the area of law, and is immersed in critical issues impacting our country and culture. His insightful and innovative approach to educating the next generation of lawyers will have a profound impact on the School of Law and in courtrooms across the country.

Born in Cuba, he left the island with his mother and grandparents at age 3, settling for a short time in Spain before the family reunited with his father in Newark, New Jersey. He has family in South Florida and visits the Miami area frequently.

Tony earned his Juris Doctor from Boston College Law School, where he worked as a student attorney at the Greater Boston Legal Services-affiliated poverty law clinic BC Legal Assistance Bureau in Waltham, Massachusetts, and later earned a Master of Laws from Georgetown University Law Center with a focus in civil rights and civil liberties. He received his Bachelor of Arts in political science and French from Boston College.

I would like to once again thank Dean Trish White for her decade of visionary leadership at Miami Law.

A special thank you goes to the members of the search committee, led by Business School Dean John Quelch, for their focused effort and great work in identifying and recommending the ideal candidate.

Please join me in welcoming Tony to the University of Miami.

Jeffrey L. Duerk, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost

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Modified Legal Writing Tips

I’ve been tweaking my student legal writing tips again.  Comments and suggestions for improvement are always welcomed.

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Law School Course Selection Advice Updated

I’ve just updated my page on law school course selection advice. In addition to minor updates, I added a section on what not to take.

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MiamiLaw Student Wins National Writing Award

Congratulations to Elizabeth Montano, whose note The Bring Your Own Tampon Policy: Why Menstrual Hygiene Products Should Be Provided for Free in Restrooms is one of ten student papers to receive a Burton Distinguished Legal Writing Award. The Burton Awards are a “Non-Profit, Non-Commercial program, held in Association with the Library of Congress, with Lead Sponsor Law360 and Co-Sponsored by the American Bar Association.”

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I Think You Can == Good Pedagogy

Via Slashdot,

A huge study at Indiana University, led by Elizabeth Canning, finds that the attitudes of instructors affect the grades their students earned in classes. [Note: Link didn’t work for me, article may not be generally available yet.] The researchers conducted their study by sending out a simple survey to all the instructors of STEM courses at Indiana University, asking whether professors felt that a student’s intelligence is fixed and unchanging or whether they thought it could be developed. Then, the researchers were given access to two years’ worth of students’ grades in those instructors’ classes, covering a total of 15,000 students.

Via Ars Technica:

The results showed a surprising difference between the professors who agreed that intelligence is fixed and those who disagreed (referred to as “fixed mindset” and “growth mindset” professors). In classes taught by fixed mindset instructors, Latino, African-American, and Native American students averaged grades 0.19 grade points (out of four) lower than white and Asian-American students. But in classes taught by “growth mindset” instructors, the gap dropped to just 0.10 grade points. No other factor the researchers analyzed showed a statistically significant difference among classes — not the instructors’ experience, tenure status, gender, specific department, or even ethnicity. Yet their belief about whether a students’ intelligence is fixed seems to have had a sizable effect.

The students’ course evaluations contain possible clues. Students reported less “motivation to do their best work” in the classes taught by fixed mindset professors, and they also gave lower ratings for a question about whether their professor “emphasize[d] learning and development.” Students were less likely to say they’d recommend the professor to others, as well. Is it possible that the fixed mindset professors just happen to teach the hardest classes? The student evaluations also include a question about how much time the course required — the average answer was slightly higher for fixed mindset professors, but the difference was not statistically significant. Instead, the researchers think the data suggests that — in any number of small ways — instructors who think their students’ intelligence is fixed don’t keep their students as motivated, and perhaps don’t focus as much on teaching techniques that can encourage growth. And while this affects all students, it seems to have an extra impact on underrepresented minority students.

I wonder how this applies in law schools?

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We Have an Opening for a Dean

Dean Patricia White is stepping down after a long run as Dean, which means there’s an opening. The official advertisement is here. Personally I’d love to see a candidate who had a theory about how law schools will deal with the coming AI revolution.

I think our Deanship is a surprisingly attractive one given the times. The school navigated the financial side of the enrollment crisis with relative dexterity, and kept up the credentials of our incoming classes. The physical plant is not exceptional, but it works. And there are lot of faculty and students doing interesting and even important things. From here it seems we’re in considerably better shape than a number of our peers. And there’s a lot of going on in the University generally and also in Miami the city.

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