GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A new University of Florida Levin College of Law program will help law students bridge the gap between what they learn in law school and legal practice. The Peter T. Fay Jurist-In-Residence Program — named after Peter T. Fay, a senior judge of the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals who graduated from the college in 1956 — will bring judges to the college to provide insights to students and faculty on a broad range of issues relating to judicial process, substantive law, trial and appellate advocacy, and the day-to-day practice of law.
“A jurist-in-residence program is one of the hallmarks of a great law school, and has long been a program I’ve wanted to see established at our school,” said Robert Jerry, dean of the College of Law and Levin, Mabie and Levin Professor of Law. “Our Peter T. Fay Jurist-In-Residence Program will bring extraordinary judges to this law school to enrich the educational experience of our students, and because it is endowed, it will influence the development of UF law students for many generations to come.”
Peter T. Fay, a senior judge of the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of appeals, speaks to Professor Jon Mills’ class.
Jerry announced the Peter T. Fay Jurist-in-Residence Program during a reception welcoming Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts Jr. to campus. At the reception, which was held Sept. 4 at UF President Bernie Machen’s house, the Chief Justice expressed his high regard for Fay and applauded the creation of the program.
“I think it would be absolutely wonderful for the law school to invite all kinds of judges from around the country,” said Fay. “This program will really give students a chance to talk to judges and to realize a lot of different things, number one that judges are human beings striving to do a good job. And number two that jurists deal with everyday questions that are very similar, if not identical, to the questions that are being discussed in class.”
The idea to name the jurist-in-residence program after Fay came from Fay’s colleague and friend, U.S. District Court Judge Paul C. Huck, who graduated from the college in 1965. Huck regards Fay as a judicial mentor, and he wanted to honor Fay in a fashion that represented Fay’s tremendous dedication to the professional development of young lawyers. The program will bring judges to the UF law campus at least once each year for a period of several days to interact with law students, providing them with unusual access to judicial expertise and insight in appellate advocacy.
Peter T. Fay, a senior judge of the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, speaks with University of Florida Levin College of Law students.
“The general concept is that judges would be invited to spend two or three days on campus and participate in law school activities as suggested by a committee comprised of judges, faculty and law students,” said Huck. “While we expect to have judges who are UF law alumni participate initially, it is contemplated that eventually we will also invite Supreme Court justices and other nationally known jurists to participate.”
Perhaps not surprisingly, Fay has been tapped to serve as the school’s first jurist-in-residence later this year.
“This honor is the highlight of my 38 years as a federal judge,” Fay said. “I’m very honored, very embarrassed and very humbled.”
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