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Bar’s Standing Committee on Professionalism bestows honors

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Phyllis KoteyFlorida International University College of Law Professor Phyllis Kotey and the Nova Southeastern University College of Law’s Legal Research & Writing Student Outreach Program have been honored by the Bar’s Standing Committee on Professionalism.

Kotey has received the committee’s annual Law Faculty/Administrator Award while the research and writing program received the committee’ Group Professionalism Award.

The faculty/administrator award recognizes a law school instructor or administrator who exemplifies the Professionalism Committee’s mission “To promote the fundamental ideals and values of professionalism within the legal system and to instill those ideals of character, competence, civility, and commitment in all those persons serving and seeking to serve therein.”

Kotey, a former Alachua County judge who still occasionally serves as a senior judge, has organized several student-led programs since joining the FIU faculty in 2004. Those include the Leadership Education and Advocacy (L.E.A.D.) Project — a two week program for middle and high school students; the All-Star Summer Camp Mock Trial — a week long summer program; Law Student for a Day — a one-day program designed for elementary, middle, and high school students; and the Diversity Mock Trial – held during the University’s Diversity Week celebration.

She is a former chair of the Bar’s Criminal Law Section, a vice chair of the Code and Rules of Evidence Committee, and served on the Juvenile Rules Committee. Kotey has chaired the Florida Supreme Court’s Judicial Ethics and Advisory Commission and has served on the National Advisory Board of the Committees on Bias in the Courts and the Florida Supreme Court’s Commission on Bias.

Kotey was a Fulbright U.S. Scholar who in 2012-13 lectured in Ghana and conducted research on alternative dispute resolution and access to justice.

Nova’s Legal Research & Writing Outreach Committee began seven years ago to help primarily first-year law students with legal research and writing skills while promoting professionalism. Since then, it has provided the opportunity for more than 1,000 law students to work with local lawyers and judges

The committee has organized a series of workshops on topics including Writing and Wellness, Citation, Oral Advocacy, Interviewing, Time Management, and Ethics, and student feedback is solicited to improve the workshops. Professor Joe Hnykla is the current chair of the outreach committee, assisted by five volunteer faculty members who organize events.

The Group Professionalism Award goes to a program sponsored by a bar, judicial group, inn of court, or law school that boosts professionalism among lawyers and law students and which can be copied by other legal organizations.

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