We welcome the beginning of 2011 with a sense of enthusiasm for the coming year, as well as satisfaction with the many successes of our students and alumni from 2010. In particular, I am pleased to report the school continues in its efforts to emphasize ethics and professionalism in our curriculum and the everyday lives of our students, faculty and staff.
In 2008, we determined we were doing a fine job teaching students the theory and skills required to pass the bar and begin legal careers under the guidance of more seasoned attorneys. However, we believed we could do a better job of infusing professionalism in our already sound program of legal education. To that end we formed a standing committee of professionalism, which includes faculty, staff, students, and alumni. The goal of the committee is to improve the exposure of our students to opportunities to learn about professionalism. One result of the committee’s work is the requirement for all students to complete six hours of continuing professionalism programs during their educational career.
As another part of those efforts, Coastal Law launched an innovative program designed to impart the principles of ethics and professionalism from the perspective of practicing attorneys and judges. We call it The Shadow Program. Through it, we are able to provide students with opportunities to observe state and federal judges, private practice attorneys, public interest lawyers, and governmental law departments at trial and pretrial proceedings, mediations, settlements and other practice related activities. Consistent
with our encouragement of students to gain practical legal experience while in school,
the program bridges classroom instruction with exposure to daily practice activities and the tenets of professionalism.
Over the summer, the program was one of only two programs recognized with the ABA E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Award, which recognizes projects contributing to the understanding of professionalism among lawyers. Presented annually by the ABA Standing Committee on Professionalism, the award was established in 1991 and is named for E. Smythe Gambrell, ABA and American Bar Foundation president from
1955 to 1956.
On a related note, I am pleased to report that the Jacksonville Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) has announced plans to award $250 to the students earning the top grades in each Professional Responsibility section offered annually ñ eight in total. ABOTA stated these book awards are intended to recognize Coastal Lawís commitment to increasing professionalism in legal education and in the legal profession.
I wish you a wonderful 2011, and thank you for your continued support of Coastal Law.
C. Peter Goplerud III