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Quick Facts

2014 - Year the department and college hosted the American Mock Trial Association's National Championship Mock Trial Tournament in Orlando (on April 11-13, 2014)

~40% - Percentage of legal studies graduates accepted into law school within two years following graduation (about 38% actually matriculate)

~740 - Number of legal studies majors in spring 2014, making the program one of the largest of its kind in the country, with approximately 40 substantive law classes from which to chose

9 - Number of books under contract or published by just two legal studies faculty members (Beckman and Bast) in the last nine years

Recent Publications



Foundations of Legal Research & Writing, 5th Edition

By Carol M. Bast and Margie Hawkins
more
Cover of Foundations of Law book

Foundations of Law: Cases, Commentary and Ethics, 5th Edition
By Ransford C. Pyle and Carol M. Bast
more
The Department of Legal Studies at UCF The College of Health and Public Affairs is a global leader in creating positive community change The Mock Trial Team The Department of Legal Studies at UCF

 

Mission Statement

The Department of Legal Studies at the University of Central Florida provides excellence in teaching, research and service related to the law and legal community. Dedicated to its students, the faculty delivers outstanding instruction at the undergraduate level, incorporating learning, service and inquiry. By actively developing meaningful partnerships, it provides exemplary service to the university and the broader professional and academic community.

Legal Studies Events Calendar

Featured News Stories

Ravich Discusses The Law and Drones in Podcast

 

6/25/14
Tim Ravich (right), an aviation and space lawyer who will be joining the department's faculty this August, was Tim Ravichinterviewed recently on The Tom Woods Show. His interview focused on the direction the law is likely to take regarding unmanned aerial vehicles for commercial use. His June 17 interview is available as a podcast. Begin listening at 0:55 at www.schiffradio.com/pg/jsp/verticals/archive.jsp?dispid=310&pid=65711

Beckman to Attend National Security Law Institute

 

5/30/14

James Beckman

Department Chair James Beckman (right) will be attending the 22nd National Security Law Institute from June 1-13 at the University of Virginia School of Law in Charlottesville. The National Security Institute provides advanced training for faculty members who are preparing to teach high-level courses in national security law. The institute will include lectures, panels and debates, and it will feature a distinguished roster of presenters and participants, including senior national security lawyers from the White House, the Department of State and the Pentagon, and senior government officials. For a list of topics and speakers, see 22nd NSLI Program

Department to Host National Mock Trial Tournament this week

 

4/9/14

Courtroom 23Excitement is mounting for dozens of college students from across the country as they descend on Orlando this week for the American Mock Trial Association's 2014 National Championship Tournament.

They're heading to Orlando because the University of Central Florida is hosting the competition.

UCF's Department of Legal Studies will host the national tournament April 11-13 at the Orange County Courthouse. The event will bring together the nation's top undergraduate mock trial teams to compete in a simulated trial. Families of participating students may attend.

Local television station WKMG will provide live streaming of the final round, and Phipps Reporting will provide live streaming of a transcript. To view the live streams, visit www.trialteamucf.com/final-championship-round.html. For the complete tournament schedule, visit www.trialteamucf.com/national-championship-tournament.html.

Read the full story

FSU Law and UCF Lower Cost of Degree With 3+3 Program

 

3/6/14
FSU law students FSU law student and UCF alumna
Students at FSU College of Law (Images courtesy of FSU video at http://fla.st/1cBR6lW) UCF alumna Raiza Leal (B.S., legal studies, '06) is an FSU law student

The Florida State University College of Law will begin accepting applications for fall 2015 admission from college juniors at the University of Central Florida as part of a new 3+3 program. Under the recently approved program, students who meet certain admission requirements can complete a bachelor’s degree and a law degree in six years rather than the traditional seven, saving a year of time and costs.

“I am delighted that President Hitt has approved our new relationship with UCF’s outstanding academic programs,” said FSU Law Dean Don Weidner. “In short, under this program, the first year of law school is double-counted: that is, it is credited both to the law degree and to the undergraduate degree. The result is that students and/or their families save the entire cost of the fourth year of college.”


Florida State has a similar arrangement for its own students. This is the first 3+3 program between the FSU College of Law and another university.

“Our partnership with one of the nation’s top law schools will enable students to receive a first-class education, save an entire year of the cost of college and begin their law careers a year earlier,” said Elliot Vittes, UCF’s interim vice provost and dean of undergraduate studies. “We encourage interested students with majors from around the university to consider this opportunity.”

UCF’s Office of Pre-Health and Pre-Law Advising will have more information available about the new partnership later this spring and may be contacted at 407-823-3033.

To learn more about the 3+3 law school admission requirements, interested students also can contact the FSU Law Office of Admissions at 850-644-3787 or admissions@law.fsu.edu.

Partnership to Bring Center For Justice and Ethics to UCF

 

2/26/14

The Burnett Honors College and the College of Health and Public Affairs are collaborating to build a Center for Justice and Ethics, reported the Central Florida Future. Private funding is being collected for the $3.5-million project that will feature a courtroom, classrooms, conference room and additional faculty offices.

Read more

Beckman to Serve as Judge in Theatrical Trial

 

2/6/14



Department Chair James Beckman will return to the Orlando Shakespeare Theater on Feb. 25 to serve as a judge in an annual mock trial of a fictional character. This year's character is Nicholas Nickleby from Charles Dickens' The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby.

Beckman will be the chief judge on a five-member panel of judges composed of prominent attorneys and other professionals from Central Florida.

"During the trial, we can ask questions of the participants, who are the actual actors in the theater's current production of Nicholas Nickleby," Beckman said. "At the end of the trial, each of the judges issues a three-to-five minute ruling on how the case should be decided."

As chief judge, Beckman will handle any objections or courtroom outbursts, and moderate discussions between judges at the end of the trial.

Learn more about "The Sixth Annual Mock Trial: Nicholas Nickleby."

View the poster announcement   Purchase a ticket

View photos from the mock trial

In 2013, Beckman served as a judge in the theater's mock trial of William Shakespeare's character Othello.

Trial Lawyer Cashman Describes the Rewards of Teaching

 

1/31/14

Patricia CashmanPatricia Cashman, a trial attorney, an author and an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Legal Studies, describes the rewards of teaching in a recent article in Faculty Focus, a publication of UCF's Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning.

"Teaching has made me a better lawyer in the courtroom and a better person in our community," Cashman shared. "An unexpected benefit has been how much I have learned from my students, and how much I continue to learn from my students."

Read the article

Legislative Scholars Heading to Tallahassee

 

1/16/14

2014 UCF Legislative Scholars

Seven of the 11 UCF Legislative Scholars are legal studies majors.

Eleven of UCF’s best and brightest students are heading to Tallahassee this month and next to work in state legislative offices during Florida’s 2014 legislative session.

The students will serve as UCF Legislative Scholars, conducting research, assisting with constituent relations, tracking bills and supporting other daily operations of a legislative office during the session, which runs March 4 to May 2. They will work full-time and receive a stipend and housing in the state capital for a minimum of three months.

Read more

Department Hosts Another Successful Moot Court Tournament

 

11/20/13

Cynthia Schmidt welcomes the student participantsHundreds of students and professionals gathered Nov. 15-16 at UCF to participate in the annual South Atlantic Regional Moot Court Tournament, hosted by the Department of Legal Studies. "One hundred students from 12 universities and colleges competed in this year's tournament," said Cynthia Schmidt, tournament coordinator and lead coach for the UCF teams. In addition, 110 local attorneys and judges volunteered as judges, and 90 local high school students, as well as the department's staff, helped with tournament logistics. "From this tournament, one team from UCF is headed to nationals in Arizona in January," said Schmidt (standing in photo). "This weekend, three more teams from UCF will compete at a regional tournament at the College of Wooster. They could quality for nationals at that event as well."

Affirmative Action is 'Alive but on life support'

 

10/7/13

Seminole Voice reporter Sarah Wilson recently interviewed department Chair James Beckman on the status of affirmative action in the United States. Beckman, an expert on affirmative action, is quoted extensively in her Oct. 2 article, "Last Rounds of a 47-Year Fight."

According to Beckman, "race-based affirmative action in the way it's implemented today is likely on its way out as a diversity maker in U.S. universities."

On Oct. 15, the Supreme Court will begin hearings for a case, Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, which challenges the legality of Michigan’s proposed statewide ban of affirmative action policies. (Article excerpt)

 

Read the full article

UCF, Barry Law Announce 3+3 Accelerated Law Program

 

8/2/13
College Dean Frumkin, Barry Law Dean Diaz and Department Chair James BeckmanUCF and the Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law have entered into a partnership to offer a 3+3 Accelerated Law Program. The program will allow qualified UCF students to earn both a bachelor’s degree in legal studies from UCF and a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from Barry Law in six years. Learn more


Photo: (left to right) College Dean Michael Frumkin, Barry Law Dean Leticia Diaz and department Chair James Beckman at the signing ceremony (Photo by Paul Lefton)

Read "UCF-Barry Partnership Would Help Law Students Graduate Earlier" in the Orlando Sentinel.

Moot Court, Mock Trial Opportunities Highlighted in Local Magazine

 

7/2/13
The June 2013 issue of The Briefs, the magazine of the Orange County Bar Association (Florida), includes an article about UCF's Moot Court and Mock Trial Teams, which are housed in the Department of Legal Studies. The article includes commentary from two participating students and Cynthia Schmidt, Moot Court head coach and director of the Center for Law and Policy.
Read the article:  Page 30  Page 31

Fromang and Meltzer Publish Essays on Illegal Downloading

 

6/26/13

Faculty members Gina Fromang and Brett Meltzer are the authors of separate essays on the costs of illegal downloading of music and other content from the Internet in an issue of ABC-CLIO's Issues: Understanding Controversy and Society. In his essay, "The Cost of Illegal Downloading is Devastating for the Copyright Holder and for Innovative Creativity," Meltzer argues that "llegal downloading is costly not just financially but culturally as well." Fromang provides an alternative view in "The Sounds of Silence: Technology Is Not Piracy." She argues that "the spread of technology has made regulating illegal downloads nearly impossible."

Learn more at http://issues2.abc-clio.com/.

Beckman Weighs in on Affirmative Action Ruling

 

6/26/13

The U.S. Supreme Court decided on June 24 to allow universities to continue to use race as a factor in the admission process. Department Chair James Beckman, an expert on affirmative action in higher education, shared his thoughts about the ruling in two online forums:

ABC-CLIO Blog: Affirmative Action Survives to See Another Day—For Now

UCF Today: U.S. Supreme Court Ruling Maintains Affirmative Action

Alumna Egan Graduates First in Class from Georgetown Law

 

6/4/13

Brenna EganCongratulations to alumna Brenna Egan (B.A. legal studies, B.A. English '10), who graduated first in her class from the Georgetown University Law Center on May 19!

Egan received the Francis E. Lucey, S. J. Award for earning the highest academic average in a class of approximately 500 law students. In addition, she graduated summa cum laude and was inducted into the Order of Coif in recognition of her scholastic achievement.

On July 1, Egan will begin a one-year clerkship with Judge Janice Rogers Brown in the Washington, D.C., Circuit of the United State Court of Appeals.

While at UCF, Egan received the Order of Pegasus award; was named the college's most outstanding student for 2010; and completed her Honors in the Major thesis under the guidance of Kathy Cook, instructor of legal studies.

Bast receives Collegewide Teaching Excellence Award

 

5/1/13

Carol BastCongratulations to Associate Professor Carol Bast on her receipt of a College of Health and Public Affairs' Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award for 2012-13!

Learn about this dedicated faculty member's teaching philosophy at http://bit.ly/14nElmP. Two excerpts appear below:

"When I plan a course, I search for the instructional delivery strategy best suited to the subject matter."

"I am continually reevaluating my expectations to make sure they are reasonable, sometimes in the middle of the semester."

UCF, Touro Law Announce Accelerated Law Program

 

4/23/13

UCF and Touros deans sign the 3+3 program agreement.UCF and Touro Law Center are pleased to announce the creation of a three-plus-three accelerated law program. The program will provide qualified UCF students with an opportunity to complete a Bachelor of Arts or Science in Legal Studies from UCF and a Juris Doctor (Doctor of Law) from Touro Law Center in six rather than seven years. Touro Law Center is part of the Touro College system of nonprofit institutions of higher and professional education based in Central Islip, N.Y.  Learn more

Also see Touro Law, UCF Create Accelerated-Degree Program (Long Island Business News, 4/23/13)

Legal Studies Quick Takes
Legal Studies' Instructor Margarita Koblasz, who coordinates the Mock Trial Team at UCF, and Brenna Eagen (B.A. in legal studies, B.A. in English literature, '10) discuss the skills gained by team members on the Public Affairs Today show on UCF TV.


 

LS Highlights
  • Daniel Friedline
    As an environmental studies student, Daniel Friedline (’13) took PLA 4554 – Environmental Law taught by Mark Woodlock, a legal studies adjunct instructor and practicing lawyer. The course had a great impact on Friedline, who is now working as an environmental specialist for the city of Orlando. Friedline recently wrote Woodlock, “As your student, I was able to learn and better appreciate environmental acts and regulations created by our government as a way of protecting this great nation. Now, I ensure that the many regulations created by the nation and state are followed to protect our beautiful Florida. It is my duty to ensure that businesses and residents operating and living in Orlando adhere to the Federal Water Pollution Control Act. I truly love my job and can say that your class and teaching helped push me to where I am today.”
  • 3+3 Accelerated Law Programs