Category Archives: Law School

We Have Great Students

Talia Boiangin

Talia Boiangin

Congratulations to MiamiLaw 3L Talia Boiangin who won third place in a national competition, LSAC’s first-ever Access-to-Justice Legal Tech Competition. Her winning project was the Cyber Civil Rights Resource Guide, an app that places non-consensual pornography statutes and tips for removing such images at victims’ fingertips. Ms. Boiangin won $5,000 for her app.

Well done! Now how about that paper you’re writing for me….

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Great Advice for 1Ls (& 2L & 3Ls)

Prof. Ilya Somin of George Mason (not, certs, one of my ideological bedfellows), has some really good advice for law students. I trust he will forgive me if I do something I almost never do and quote almost all of it:

1. Think carefully about what kind of law you want to practice.

Law is a profession with relatively high income and social status. Yet studies repeatedly show that many lawyers are deeply unhappy, a higher percentage than in most other professions. One reason for this is that many of them hate the work they do. It doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. There are lots of different types of legal careers out there, and it’s likely that one of them will be a good fit for you…. But to take advantage of this diversity, you need to start considering what type of legal career best fits your needs and interests….

Regardless, don’t just “go with the flow” in terms of choosing what kind of legal career you want to try. The jobs that many of your classmates want may be terrible for you (and vice versa). Keep in mind, also, that you likely have a wider range of options now than you will in five or ten years, when it may be much harder to switch to a very different field from the one you have been working in since graduation.

2. Get to know as many of your classmates and professors as you reasonably can.

Law is a “people” business. Connections are extremely important. No matter how brilliant a legal thinker you may be, it’s hard to get ahead as a lawyer purely by working alone at your desk. Many of your law school classmates could turn out to be useful connections down the road….

This is one front on which I didn’t do very well when I was in law school, myself. Nonetheless, I am still going to suggest you do as I say, not as I actually did. You will be better off if you learn from my mistake than if you repeat it.

3. Think about whether what you plan to do is right and just.

Law presents more serious moral dilemmas than many other professions. What lawyers do can often cost innocent people their liberty, their property, or even their lives. It can also save all three. Lawyers have played key roles in almost every major advance for liberty and justice in American history, including the establishment of the Constitution, the antislavery movement, the civil rights movement and many others. But they have also been among the major perpetrators of nearly every great injustice in our history, as well….

Law school is the right time to start working to ensure that the career you pursue is at least morally defensible. You don’t necessarily have a moral obligation to devote your career to doing good. But you should at least avoid exacerbating evil. And it’s easier to do that if you think carefully about the issues involved now (when you still have a wide range of options), than if you wait until you are already enmeshed in a job that involves perpetrating injustice…..

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Local NPR Station Profiles Tony Varona, Our New Dean

Tony VeronaJessica Bakeman, How Being Cuban And Gay Shaped the University of Miami’s New Law Dean .

My favorite bit:

He said the cultural fusion is what attracts him to the Magic City.

I love how there are places here where you can get a Cuban cafe con leche with your bagel and lox,” he said.

Indeed.

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Advice for 1Ls

Above the Law (of all places) has some good advice for 1Ls. I agree with at least eight out of ten.

Although i don’t exactly disagree, I would have put #8 and especially #10 differently. #8’s “Read. Think. Then ask.” doesn’t quite fit how I run a classroom–I see part of my job as going outside the readings and trying to ask questions the either require applying them to something new, or extending them in some way. In other words, the answer isn’t always in the book–the “think” part may be more important sometimes. As for #10, I’m all for ‘engaging with professors (although the author seems to mean more ‘psych out’ than ‘engage’?), but the secret to doing well on exams that seems to elude a lot of people is ….. “Read the directions, read the question, answer the question being asked, not the one you wished was asked. Be as specific as possible. Illustrate your replies with (brief, summary) examples or citations drawn from the readings whenever possible.)”

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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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