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Miami Law Graduate Named Trump’s Chief of Staff


Reince Priebus

Reince Priebus

UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (November 14, 2016)—Reince Priebus, a Miami Law alumnus and chairman of the Republican National Committee, has been tapped to be White House chief of staff for President-elect Donald J. Trump.

A Wisconsin native, Priebus graduated from the University of Miami School of Law cum laude with a J.D. degree in 1998. He is credited with deftly reorganizing the RNC and digging it out of financial turmoil.

As chief of staff, Priebus is being looked upon as a positive connector between the Republican establishment and the Trump White House.

William P. VanderWyden, assistant dean for professional development at Miami Law, worked closely with Priebus during his three years at the law school.

“Always a positive personality in the law school community, he was an encouraging and influential force among his peers,” said VanderWyden, who was associate dean of students when Priebus was at Miami Law.

While on campus, Priebus served as president of the Student Bar Association from 1997-98. He regularly wrote columns for the law student newspaper, Res Ipsa Loquitur, where he was also a copy editor.

Law Professor David Abraham remembers Priebus as a student in his Immigration and Citizenship Law class.

“Reince was a very engaged campus politician,” Abraham said. “I believe that having seen the complexity around the social, economic, and human aspects of immigration, Reince should be able to provide a nuanced understanding of what’s good for America and its people. Let’s hope he does.”

While in law school, Priebus clerked for the Supreme Court of Wisconsin, the United States District Court, Southern District of Florida, and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in Los Angeles.

VanderWyden said Priebus was also “instrumental in encouraging his peers to participate in the Class Gift Program that we administered in 1998.”

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School of Law Seeks Faculty for New Interdisciplinary Course on Race, Class, and Power


The School of Law is seeking faculty from across the University interested in teaching a session of a new spring 2017 interdisciplinary three-credit course on race, class, and power against the backdrop of Ferguson, Missouri, and the Black Lives Matter movement. The course, which is being coordinated by Osamudia James, vice dean and professor at the School of Law, is tentatively scheduled to meet once a week, on Thursdays at 3:30 p.m.

“We are interested in engaging the multiple lens through which Ferguson, the Black Lives Matter movement, and racial justice in the United States might be explored, including policing and criminal justice, comparative inquiry regarding race and identity, theories of social movements, political processes and democracy, education reform, urban politics, class and labor movements, health care and medicine, environmental justice, and sub-disciplines in the humanities,” said James.

Participating faculty need only commit to one class session, which will involve a three-hour teaching commitment in addition to providing the week’s reading materials. Assessment is conducted through a final paper and two short response papers, the grading of which will be evenly divided among participating faculty.

To participate, please email a paragraph, identifying the analytical lens or theme through which you would engage the course’s topic, by Tuesday, November 29 to Professor Osamudia James, Office of the Vice Dean, at ojames@law.miami.edu. For more information, call 305-284-5837.

 

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Hilarie Bass Named ABA President-Elect

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Hilarie Bass Named ABA President-Elect


Special to UM News

UM.ABA

ABA President-Elect Hilarie Bass, J.D. ’81, center, is pictured with other School of Law alumni and ABA leaders, Edith Osman, J.D. ’83, left, a Florida state delgate, and Deborah Enix-Ross, J.D. ’81, right, who chairs the House of Delegates.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA. (August 9, 2016)—University of Miami alumna Hilarie Bass, co-president of international law firm Greenberg Traurig and vice chair of the UM Board of Trustees, assumed the role of president-elect of the nearly 400,000-member American Bar Association at the conclusion  of the ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco last week. She will serve a one-year term as president-elect before becoming ABA president in August 2017.

Based at Greenberg Traurig’s Miami office, Bass serves as co-president and a member of the executive committee for the multipractice firm that has approximately 1,900 attorneys across 38 offices worldwide. She previously served an eight-year term as national chair of the firm’s 600-member litigation department.

Bass, who earned her law degree at UM in 1981, has been involved with the ABA for more than 30 years, beginning as a young lawyer and working her way up to become chair of the 70,000-member Section of Litigation in 2010-11. As chair, she spearheaded the creation of a Task Force on Implicit Bias in the Justice System. She has held several other notable positions at the ABA, including serving as chair of the Committee on Rules and Calendar (2012-14), member of the Board of Governors (1990-93), House of Delegates (1988-95, 2000-present), and the Florida representative to the Nominating Committee (2010-present).

“I am honored to take on the position of ABA president-elect and look forward to serving my fellow attorneys, while working to eradicate bias, enhance diversity and advance the rule of law,” Bass said. “Giving back to the profession that has given so much to me is something I feel strongly about, which is why I have dedicated myself to supporting the ABA mission for more than 30 years.”

In her practice, Bass has successfully represented high-profile corporate clients in jury and nonjury trials involving hundreds of millions of dollars in controversy. In recognition of that success, Bass was inducted in 2011 to the American College of Trial Lawyers. She has worked and settled more than 100 cases, tried more than 20 cases to conclusion and argued numerous appeals. Among her significant cases, Bass led the effort to eliminate Florida’s 20-year-old ban on gay adoption, which was found unconstitutional in 2010 and led to the state removing questions of sexual orientation from the adoption application.

Outside of her firm, Bass has led many top legal and community organizations and received numerous awards and accolades. Among them, she is listed in “The Best Lawyers in America,” “Who’s Who Legal: Florida,” and “Chambers USA.” In recognition of her work, Bass has been honored with the Euromoney Legal Media Group’s Outstanding Practitioner Award (2016), silver medallion from the Miami Coalition of Christians and Jews (2011), and C. Clyde Atkins Civil Liberties Award from the ACLU in Florida (2009), among several other awards throughout her career.

A member of the UM Board of Trustees since 2003, Bass is also a passionate and longtime supporter of UM. In addition to gifts to the School of Law, where the brick courtyard long considered the heart of the school is named the Bass Bricks in her honor, she has made generous contributions to support the School of Education and Human Development, the College of Arts and Sciences, and UM Athletics.

Two fellow School of Law alumni also serve in leadership roles with the ABA. Deborah Enix-Ross, a 1981 graduate of Miami Law, chairs the  House of Delegates, and Edith Osman, who graduated in 1983, is a state delegate from Florida.

 

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Senate Salutes Faculty for Their Enduring Impact

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Senate Salutes Faculty for Their Enduring Impact


UM News

faculty senate awards 2016

From left are Eugene Schiff; Laurence Sands; Kristin Podack, widow of the late Eckhard Podack; and Richard L. Williamson, Jr.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (April 12, 2016)—The Faculty Senate last week bestowed its highest honors on Laurence R. Sands and Eugene R. Schiff, two pioneering physicians at the Miller School of Medicine, and Richard L. Williamson, Jr., a professor of law known for his pro bono service and international collaborations. For the first time, the Senate also conferred a Special Senate Award posthumously, recognizing Eckhard Podack, the late researcher at  Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, for his life-saving discoveries.

The annual Faculty Senate Awards ceremony took place April 11 in Storer Auditorium at the School of Business Administration. Senate Chair Tomás A. Salerno, chair gave remarks before a welcome video message from UM President Julio Frenk was broadcast.

“While I regret I cannot be with you in person today,” Frenk said, “I’m deeply honored to send this message recognizing four distinguished faculty members who have made a significant and enduring impact on our students, the University, and the creation of new knowledge as our most valuable product.”

Podack, a distinguished cancer researcher and educator at Sylvester, died October 8. His widow, Kristin,  accepted the Special Senate Award, presented by Miller School of Medicine Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, in behalf of her husband. As Frenk noted in his video message, Podack was “a valued colleague and friend as well as a pioneer in the field of cancer research. His discoveries have translated into clinical treatments that will continue to restore hope and extend life for many individuals.”

The chair of the Miller School’s Department of Microbiology and Immunology for 21 years, Podack was  honored for his dedication to teaching and the huge impact his discoveries have had on improving treatment for cancer patients. Perhaps the most significant were the discoveries of Perforin-1 and, more recently, Perforin-2 — antibacterial proteins that help the body’s immune system defend against infectious disease.

A native of Germany and a fellow in the Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy who became interested in cancer research at an early age, Podack joined the Miller School in 1987 and became department chair in 1994. In the early 1990s, he created a monoclonal antibody to seek out and attach to CD-30, a receptor on lymphoma cells. He later sold the technology to Seattle Genetics, which developed SGN-35, a therapy designed to target only cancer cells, leaving healthy tissue alone.

He also developed a novel lung cancer vaccine using gp-96, a heat shock protein, to treat non-small cell lung cancer, which accounts for most lung cancers, as well as tumor necrosis factor receptor (TNFR) 25 agonists and antagonists that allow the immune system to attack cancer cells more effectively.

Williamson received the James W. McLamore Outstanding Service Award, presented by Senate Vice Chair Linda L. Neider and named for the cofounder of Burger King, for “service above and beyond the call of duty”–a hallmark of Williamson’s life. He is known for his gift for mentoring and his devotion to pro bono and community service.

Thanking Williamson for his “exceptional dedication to our University and beyond,” Frenk said, “In addition to your stellar 28 years of teaching and scholarship at the U, you have served in numerous leadership roles, including chair of the Faculty Senate for the second longest term in UM history.”

Serving as chair of the Faculty Senate from 2009-2014, Williamson also has served as associate dean of the School of Law, interim chair of the Department of International Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences, and faculty advisor to the School of Law’s Honor Council.

As a former foreign service officer and division chief of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, he has used his extensive international experience to establish international liaisons between Miami Law and numerous international universities. Intended to be short-term, the initial intensive exchange seminar he organized between Leipzig University and UM is in its 14th year, and has led to the establishment of 17 semester-long exchange programs on four continents.

A treasured mentor to students here and abroad, Williamson also has employed his legal skills to advance the environment and international understanding. He drafted the founding documents and policy statements for UM’s Jayne and Leonard Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy, and has hosted foreign high school students through Rotary International, for which he is a frequent speaker. The Rotary Club has recognized his selfless contributions by naming him a Paul Harris Fellow, an honor usually reserved for members.

As a member of the Opa-locka Brownfields Advisory Committee and chair of its Legal Sub-Committee, Williamson drafted policy documents and recommendations to help the community more efficiently utilize abandoned and contaminated property holdings. Through his efforts, Opa-locka was selected as one of the EPA’s showcase cities and received additional funding for assessing the use of brownfields to be used for green space purposes.

Williamson earned an A.B. in 1967 from the University of Southern California, an M.A. in 1977 from American University, and a J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1984. He received an honorary Doctorate of Laws (Doktor der Rechte (h.c.)) from the University of Leipzig in 2013. Prior to coming to Miami Law, he spent four years as an attorney with the law firm of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton.

Sands, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center professor of clinical surgery, chief of the Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery, and vice chair of medical education in the Department of Surgery at the Miller School of Medicine, received the Outstanding Teaching Award, presented by Laurence B. Gardner.

Sands has a distinguished record and commitment to providing students with the highest quality education and for inspiring them to strive for success. A leader in the use of minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery for colon cancer, he is involved in every element of surgical education for medical students and post-graduate trainees and is known for using his energy and talent to provide students with the best education at every opportunity. For example, in response to a major concern of residents and students about the balance of clinical service and educational opportunities, he reorganized clinical/surgical rotations to increase educational opportunities.

Demonstrating their gratitude for his inspiration and dedication to their education, the Miller School’s 2011 graduating class selected Sands for the 2010 George Paff Teaching Award.

Describing Sands as a “brilliant surgeon” and an “inspirational teacher,” Frenk also praised him for establishing the Laurence R. Sands, M.D. Endowed Research Chair at the Miller School. “You have provided much-needed support for advances in colon and rectal surgery, particularly using noninvasive techniques, to continue in perpetuity.”

Schiff, Leonard Miller Professor of Medicine, Dr. Nasser Ibrahim Al-Rashid chair in the Division of Hepatology, the director of the Schiff Center for Liver Diseases, and the director of the Hepatology Research Laboratory at the Miller School of Medicine, received the Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award, presented by Emmanuel Thomas, an assistant professor at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.

A renowned gastroenterologist and of the world’s leading authorities on liver diseases, Schiff was honored for his outstanding scholarly achievements and presented a short lecture on his research, titled “The Eradication of Hepatitis C.”

For decades, Schiff has led the University’s clinical research aimed at developing improved treatments and cures for hepatitis B, C and D, cirrhosis, and the entire spectrum of liver and biliary tract disorders.

In 2011, he became the first holder of the Dr. Nasser Ibrahim Al-Rashid Chair in the Schiff Center for Liver Diseases, the successor to the informal Center for Liver Diseases he and his late father, Leon, established in 1982.

Co-editor of the Eleventh Edition of Schiff’s Diseases of the Liver, Schiff has authored and co-authored more than 400 articles, books, and book chapters concerning liver diseases and related topics. He is a former president of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (his father was the first president), past chairman of the Biliary Section of the American Gastroenterological Association and past governor of the American College of Physicians for the state of Florida, a post he held for four years. He was a member of the Gastroenterology Subspecialty Board of the American Board of Internal Medicine and former Chair of the FDA Advisory Committee on gastrointestinal drugs. He is also the recipient of numerous honors and awards.

Frenk congratulated Schiff on being honored for his “47 years of remarkable energy, insight, and productivity.”

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Michael Higer, J.D. ’85, Named President of the Florida Bar for 2017


Michael Higer

Michael Higer

The Florida Bar has named Michael J. Higer, J.D.’85, president for 2017. The Miami Beach native will be sworn in at the Florida Bar Convention in Orlando in June to lead the more than 100,000 member organization.

“We are delighted to have another Miami Law alumnus as president of The Florida Bar,” said School of Law Dean Patricia D. White.

While at Miami Law, Higer served as editor of the University of Miami Law Review, was a member of the Trial Advocacy Program, and graduated cum laude.

“I am extremely honored and humbled to be representing Miami Law and the U as president-elect designate of The Florida Bar,” said Higer, a partner at Berger Singerman’s Dispute Resolution Team. “Miami Law is where I learned to be a critical thinker and met some of my best friends and colleagues. It is where my love for the law blossomed.  My law school education at Miami Law was and is the foundation for my career.”

Higer is a both an experienced commercial litigator and civil trial attorney admitted to practice in Florida, Washington, D.C., and the United States Supreme Court. He has been an active member of the Florida Bar, serving on the Board of Governors and the Executive Committee.

After law school, Higer worked as a commercial litigator at Fine Jacobson Schwartz Nash Block & England before joining Coll Davidson Carter Smith Salter & Barkett, where the founding shareholders named him the first non-founding shareholder. In 2006, he formed Higer Lichter & Givner. He joined Berger Singerman in 2014.

Both the Associated Press and Daily Business Review announced the appointment.

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