Smiling headshot of Silvia Menendez
Greetings from University of Florida Levin College of Law! We are excited to welcome three new clinical faculty to Florida Law: Professor Derek Wheeler leads our new Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic; Professor Juan Caballero leads our Immigration Clinic; and Professor Donna Erez-Navot leads our Mediation Clinic. All of our professors continue to educate and train our students to act as zealous advocates on behalf of their clients. I invite you to explore other recent highlights at Florida. 

–Silvia Menendez, Associate Dean for Experiential Learning
Smiling headshot of Juan Caballero
The Immigration Clinic, directed by new Professor Juan Caballero, provides students with the opportunity to represent low-income immigrant clients before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), immigration courts, and the Board of Immigration Appeals. Students have long worked on a variety of cases involving naturalization, asylum, VAWA, and U-visa requests. Over the last year, the clinic expanded its docket to represent individuals in removal proceedings as well. This expansion created new collaborations with the University of Miami Immigration Clinic, the Florida State University Farmworker and Immigrant Rights Clinic, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida. With these organizations, the clinic created the Baker Legal Assistance Project to improve access to legal representation for non-citizens detained at the Baker Detention Center in Macclenny, Florida. Students have visited the detention center to screen potential clients and review their claims.
Smiling headshot of Donna Erez-Navot
Students in our Mediation Clinic, directed by new Professor Donna Erez-Navot, mediate small claims and federal employment discrimination cases after participating in a 24-hour Basic County Mediation Training that was led by Professor Erez-Navot and Professor Sharon Press (Mitchell Hamline School of Law). Under the supervision of Professor Erez-Navot, students attend Alachua County Small Claims Court and mediate disputes between landlords and tenants, business partners, vendors and consumers, family members, neighbors, and employees and employers. Students also co-mediate Equal Employment Opportunity Commission cases between complainants and federal agencies. In addition to this hands-on mediation practice, students read the foundational articles of negotiation and mediation theory and meet throughout the semester to discuss the challenges and opportunities of their clinical practice. Many students are eligible to apply for Florida Supreme Court County Mediation Certification by the end of the term.
Smiling headshot of Derek Wheeler
Students in our Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic, directed by new Professor Derek Wheeler, represent taxpayers who have disputes with the IRS. Students represent clients with an array of issues, including earned income tax credit audits, refund claims, and collections matters. This past semester students also represented taxpayers as part of the American Bar Association’s Virtual Tax Court Settlement Week, ensuring that three petitioners received resolutions that resulted in no penalties assessed and, in one matter, a full refund amounting to over $8,000. Professor Derek Wheeler was hired to launch the clinic at Florida Law and build it from the ground up to provide necessary tax representation and education to low-income individuals throughout North Central Florida.
Smiling headshot of Judy Clausen
Students in our Veterans and Servicemembers Legal Clinic, directed by Professor Judy Clausen, serve clients in appellate cases referred by The Veterans Consortium. This year students secured an honorable discharge for a veteran who had been discharged other than honorably due to her sexual orientation. Students also obtained over $1 million of retroactive VA compensation benefits and over $3 million in estimated future benefits for another veteran. In addition to this direct representation, students collaborated with veterans clinics at other law schools to draft amicus briefs before the U.S. Supreme Court and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. They also helped prepare Professor Clausen to testify before the House Veterans' Affairs Committee Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity about efforts by law school clinics to address the economic risk factors of veteran suicide. UF Law students are currently drafting a petition for Veteran Affairs rulemaking empowering veterans to obtain mental health crisis intervention, as well as a report to the Defense Advisory Committee on Investigation, Prosecution, and Defense of Sexual Assault in the Armed Forces. To date, the clinic has recovered over $100,000 in Equal Access to Justice Act fees for prevailing in cases brought on behalf of veterans.
Smiling headshot of Teresa Drake
Our newly established Gender Justice Clinic, directed by Professor Teresa Drake, serves low-income clients who face violence, discrimination or other oppression based on their actual or perceived sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Clients include those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, non-binary, questioning, intersex, and gender non-conforming. The clinic participates in state-wide name and gender marker change clinics, offering assistance to adults and guardians of minor children seeking to access these identity-confirming procedures. The clinic also urges schools to use chosen names and pronouns and to provide safe, gender affirming restrooms for all LGBTQ+ students.
Smiling headshot of Stacey Steinberg
Students in our Gator TeamChild Juvenile Law Clinic, directed by Professor Stacey Steinberg, represent young clients placed in foster care, serve as guardians ad litem to youth in the delinquency system, and mentor bright, ambitious teens aging out of foster care. Clinic students also research and write on policy issues impacting children’s lives. Professor Steinberg recently discussed her work on children’s rights and privacy with a panel of international experts at the Association of Internet Researchers International Conference in Dublin, Ireland. With two students, she co-authored Adopting Social Media in Adoption Law, forthcoming in the Utah Law Journal. 
Smiling headshot of Michelle Smith
UF Law offers three unique Criminal Law Field Placements. In each placement, students participate in every aspect of the trial process, including selecting a jury, arguing motions, presenting opening statements, examining witnesses, and delivering closing arguments. Students in our Public Defender Field Placement, supervised by Professor M Smith, zealously advocate on behalf of indigent clients for the Office of the Public Defender for the Eighth Judicial Circuit. Our students engage in client-centered advocacy, utilize cross-cultural competencies and multicultural lawyering, and deploy strong litigation and negotiation skills to represent some of the most vulnerable litigants in our criminal legal system. In addition to trial proceedings, students engage in plea negotiations and research sentencing options.
Smiling headshot of Sarah Wolking
Students in the Prosecution Field Placement, supervised by Professor Sarah Wolking, work in the State Attorney's Office for the Eighth Judicial Circuit prosecuting misdemeanors and felonies. This year, the students also partnered with the State Attorney’s Office for the Fourth Judicial Circuit to solve homicide cases as part of a DOJ grant-funded Cold Case Initiative. Students in our Wrongful Convictions Clinic Field Placement, also supervised by Professor Sarah Wolking, review petitions for factual innocence submitted by those convicted of felonies in the Fourth Judicial Circuit. Students review trial transcripts, depositions, recordings of interviews, jail calls and 911 recordings, and appellate briefs to ascertain whether a petitioner’s claim makes a case for innocence. In many cases, students speak with the petitioner and conduct interviews with witnesses. 
outline of the United States with arrows originating in Florida and radiating out to several states.
UF Law offers our third-year students opportunities to engage in intensive externships throughout the nation in our Semester in Practice Program. During the 2021-2022 academic year, 59 3Ls worked at a wide variety of law practice settings in Florida, as well as in Washington, D.C., California, Texas, New York, and Missouri, among other locations. Semester in Practice sites included public defender and prosecution offices (the Bronx County D.A., U.S. Attorney Offices in Orlando and Miami, and state attorney and public defender offices throughout Florida), federal courts and state appellate courts, legal aid organizations and non-profits (Legal Aid Services of Broward County, Southern Environmental Law Center) and federal and state agencies (USAID, U.S. General Services Administration, the Executive Office of the Governor of Florida, the Centers for Disease Control). Students enrolled in Semester in Practice are supervised by a professor, who works with students to ensure an educational experience with a focus on professional development.
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University of Florida Levin College of Law,
P.O. Box 117623, Gainesville, FL 32611

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