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Sandra Day O’Connor to address judicial reform in inaugural UF Law event

GAINESVILLE, Fla – Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor will be a featured panelist at the University of Florida Levin College of Law’s inaugural Allen L. Poucher Legal Education Series on Monday, Sept. 12. The event, hosted by the Florida Law Review, will be held at the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Doors open at 9:30 a.m. and the program will begin promptly at 10:30 a.m. The event is free and open to the public.

The topic of the event is judicial reform and will feature several distinguished legal minds. Former ABA president and UF Law alumna Martha Barnett (JD 73) will serve as moderator. In addition to Justice O’Connor, the panel will also feature Florida Supreme Court Justice Peggy Quince and U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge and UF Alumna Rosemary Barkett (JD 70).

The Allen L. Poucher Legal Education Series was established by Betty K. Poucher in honor of her late husband, Allen L. Poucher Sr. A humanitarian who lived a life dedicated to service, Allen Poucher graduated from UF Law in 1942 and practiced law for more than 60 years. The Poucher Legal Education Series seeks to provide a venue for prominent legal, political and business leaders to discuss important issues facing our nation and world today.

No backpacks or large bags will be allowed at the event. Television cameras and microphones will not be permitted. No flash or candid photography. For more details, visit the Florida Law Review’s website ( or the event Facebook Page.

This installment of the Poucher Legal Education Series also coincides with UF’s celebration of Constitution Day, commemorating the signing of the U.S. Constitution in 1787. Following the event at the Phillips Center, Smathers Libraries will be holding a reading of the Constitution outside of Library West on the Plaza of the Americas. Free copies of the Constitution will be given away along with cake and lemonade.

The Graham Center and ACCENT will also be co-hosting a lecture by O’Connor on the topic of civics education at 6 p.m. in the University Auditorium.

About the panelists and moderator:

Sandra Day O’Connor
O’Connor became the first female to serve on the Supreme Court after President Ronald Reagan nominated her as associate justice in 1981 and she retired in 2006. During her tenure, O’Connor became a key swing vote, balancing conservative and liberal factions on the high court. Where O’Connor came down on issues often determined law and she came to be known as the most powerful woman in the United States. O’Connor graduated from Stanford Law School in 1952 and focused on public service in various roles in California, Germany and Arizona. She served in the state senate in Arizona from 1969-1974, including as majority leader. She was elected judge of the Maricopa County Superior Court and was appointed to the Arizona Court of Appeals in 1979.

Rosemary Barkett
After graduating from UF Law, Barkett was in private practice in West Palm Beach until 1979 when Gov. Bob Graham appointed her as judge to the 15th Judicial Circuit of Florida. She continued her ascent through the judicial ranks in Florida and was finally nominated to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in 1994 by President Bill Clinton.

Peggy Quince
Quince’s legal career began in Washington, D.C. after earning her J.D. from the Catholic University of America in 1975. She moved to Florida in 1978, where she opened a private practice before serving in the Attorney General’s Office, Criminal Division. She became the first African-American female to be appointed to a district appeals court in 1994. In 1998, she was appointed to the Florida Supreme Court.

Martha Barnett
Barnett, who will be moderating the panel, is a partner in the national law firm of Holland & Knight, LLP and was the second female president of the American Bar Association, where she served in 2000-2001. She is one of the nation’s leading administrative and governmental law attorneys and has twice been named one of the “50 Most Influential Lawyers in America” by The National Law Journal.

For additional information:

Matt Walker, UF Law Communications
352-273-0650 or

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Published: August 22nd, 2011

Category: News

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