Many things signal the end of the academic year at Miami Law: increasingly hot weather; inescapable urges to hit the beach; frantic scrambling for the perfect outline; extreme exhaustion at the mere thought of studying for exams.
This week, Miami Law began a new tradition that will add to these signifiers – the Passing of the Gavel ceremony on the Bricks. Previously part of the Barristers' Ball, the annual event was brought to the Bricks this year and recognizes the outgoing and incoming presidents of Miami Law's student organizations. During the ceremony, each of the new leaders took possession of their group's gavel, along with the responsibility of leading the organization into the next academic year.
"This is our first time having this ceremony on the Bricks," by Dean of Students Janet Stearns said to the crowd, filled with outgoing presidents on the left and incoming presidents on the right. "We want to increase openness and transparency within the Miami Law community."
Dean Stearns went on to note that with 60 official student organizations at Miami Law, the campus has an extremely diverse array of choices for students wishing to become involved in extracurricular activities and other matters.
"Eight organizations represent diversity or affinity," she pointed out. "Five work within political philosophy. Seven are religious organizations. There are 18 practice-area and bar organizations, a testament to the importance of networking with the professional community. There are five organizations that deal with student governance, two moot court boards and seven law reviews that offer publication opportunities."
Davang Desai, the president-elect of the Law Alumni Association, addressed the student leaders before everyone headed to a catered lunch in the Alma Jennings Foundation Student Lounge. Desai is a partner in the South Florida law firm of Gaebe, Mullen, Antonelli & DiMatteo, and plans to continue building closer relationships between current students and alumni.
"Congratulations to each incoming president," Desai said. "And to the outgoing presidents, I'm sure it feels like a tremendous weight has been lifted off of you. You truly learn more about yourself when you serve others."
As the students gathered in the lounge for lunch, incoming and outgoing presidents talked about their plans for the upcoming year. Outgoing OUTlaw co-president Dale Noll, 3L, said of incoming co-presidents Charles McGinley and Sean Maye: "I know they are going to do a really good job, and I'm happy the organization is in good hands. We've worked really hard the last two years to grow the organization. The momentum will just keep going."
Maye, a second-year student, said it was "a little nerve-wrecking to be accepting the gavel, but I'm eager to build off of everything and keep it going, maybe even do more!"
Shawn Hairston, 2L, the outgoing president of the Black Law Students Association, said he was excited that his final year of law school is now reserved for more personal activities. "Being a 2L president was very beneficial," he said. "In my 3L year, I'm going to take time to do more job hunting and hang out with wife and son."
When asked if she was ready for the added time commitment of being a student leader, incoming BLSA president Pamela Adewoyin, 2L, said, "I've already adjusted my schedule and I'm ready to take this E-Board to the next level!"
Daniel Hanlon, 2L, the incoming president of the Charles C. Papy Moot Court Board, who was sitting next to Adewoyin during lunch, added that he was ready to do the same for his organization. "We are all pumped and ready for big things. Our internal house is in order, but now it's about streamlining and engaging they community – hosting more competitions, bringing more judges and attorneys to the school, and having more practice rounds."
Richard Rosengarten, 2L, is the new incoming Editor-in-Chief of the Miami Law Review. "It feels amazing," he said. "This is what I wanted from day one. I am mostly excited about working with other students to do our job, which is researching, writing, engaging the community, and challenging each other to do great work."
Emily Horowitz, 3L, the outgoing Editor-in-Chief of the Miami Law Review, noted that her work was not over yet, but that she was "excited to have Richard on board so I can train him and we can work together to ensure that the next volume is a success."
When outgoing SBA president Jihan "Gigi" Soliman, 3L, was asked what she was most looking forward to doing now that she had more free time, she quickly answered, "Sleep! I didn't really understand the scope of public service until I had to give it. Serving students this past year will help me become a better lawyer. I really enjoyed it."
On April 20th, the Dean of Students Office will host an orientation session for the incoming student leaders to ensure a smooth transition.
From left, Jason F. Emert, ABA representative; Jenna Winchester, SBA Secretary; Christine Job, President; Genevieve Valle, Vice President; Chris Brennan, Treasurer; Cristin Comiskey, Historian. (Photo: Nick Madigan/Miami Law) Full-Size Photo
Students on the Bricks for the Passing of the Gavel ceremony. (Photo: Nick Madigan/Miami Law) Full-Size Photo