A perusal of the line-up of speakers, marshals and other notables at the forefront of this year's Miami Law Spring Commencement reveals a deep pool of talent and accomplishment, a vivid illustration of the school's academic and intellectual heft.
The easiest way to gauge the depth of the approximately 440 graduates who will be walking in the May 11 hooding ceremony is to look at the students chosen as marshals:
Santiago Aguilar Garibay, a candidate for Master of Laws in International Arbitration, last year won scholarships from the National Council of Science and Technology in Mexico City and the Youth Institute of Jalisco in Guadalajara, as well as the International Arbitration Award from Miami Law;
Christine J. Job, the retiring President of the Student Bar Association, who in 2012 won the Joseph H. Bogosian Endowed Leadership Award Recipient and was President of the Inter-Club Council; was a James Weldon Johnson/Robert H. Waters Summer Institute Fellow two years earlier; and was on Miami Law Magazine's "Ten to Watch" list.
Daniel Hanlon, the former President of the University of Miami Moot Court Board, Vice President of the Federalist Society, Miami Law Ambassador, Miami Scholar, and member of the Public Interest Leadership Board, was listed in the most recent edition of Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges;
Nicholas Kallergis, an Academic Achievement Program Dean's Fellow; William M. Hoeveler Street Law Fellow; Theophilopoulos Scholar; and recipient of a Public Interest Scholarship; was also listed in Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.
Erin Lewis, former Vice President of the Society of Bar and Gavel; Senior Articles Editor, University of Miami Race and Social Justice Law Review; Print Chair, University of Miami Race and Social Justice Law Review; President of the Student Organization for Human Rights; Center for Ethics Summer Public Interest Fellow; Human Rights Clinic Fellow; HOPE Fellow and HOPE Community Service Award winner in 2011 and 2012; and recipient of the CALI Award in Legal Communication and Writing and the CALI Award for the Juvenile Justice Workshop;
James M. Mahaffey III, former Chairman of the Law Activity Fee Allocation Committee; Staff Editor of the Inter-American Law Review; and member of the Maritime Law Society and the Spellman-Hoeveler American Inn of Court;
Estefania Nasielski, former President of the Miami Law Honor Council; Executive Committee member, Florida Bar YLD Law Student Division Board of Governors; Elections Commission member, Student Bar Association; Secretary, Public Interest Leadership Board; Treasurer, Criminal Law Society; member, International Moot Court Board; a Center for Ethics and Public Service Summer Fellow; and recipient of a Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division Scholarship, a Public Interest Scholarship and a Dean's Merit Scholarship;
Liana Rose Nealon, former Executive Vice President of the Charles C. Papy, Jr. Moot Court Board; Director, Equity Playhouse; Roger Sorino Award Recipient; member of Iron Arrow Honor Society and the Society of Bar and Gavel; George David Gold Scholar; Student Ambassador; HOPE Fellow; and Center for Ethics and Public Service Summer Public Interest Fellow;
Tricia Robinson, a Miami Scholar; former Symposium Editor, National Security & Armed Conflict Law Review; Campus Representative to the Clinton Global Initiative University, for three years; listed on Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges; Outstanding Public Interest Scholarship Recipient; Student Ambassador; member of the Society of Bar and Gavel, the Public Interest Leadership Board, the Environmental Law Society, the Military Law Society, and the Student Organization for Human Rights; and was on Miami Law Magazine's "Ten to Watch" list;
Toam Rubinstein, Roger Sorino Award Nominee; former Director of Philanthropy, Student Bar Association; Philanthropy Coordinator, Miami Law Women; Chair of Student Ambassadors, Class Gift Committee, and Philanthropy Week Committee; member of the Society of Bar and Gavel and American Inns of Court;
Brian M. Stewart, past President of the Society of Bar and Gavel; Eleventh Circuit Editor and recipient of Jack Ankus, J.D. '58 Memorial Award, University of Miami Law Review; Writer and Assistant Director for Equity Playhouse; Dean's Cup Community Service Captain; Historical Service Award winner, Middle District of Florida Academic Symposium; Student Ambassador; Intern, Children and Youth Law Clinic; Executive Board member, Older Wiser Law Students; Center for Ethics and Public Service Summer Public Interest Fellow; and recipient of Dean's Merit Scholarship;
Genevieve Valle, past President and Professional Development Chair, Miami Law Women; Vice President, Student Bar Association; Senator, Student Bar Association; semi-finalist, C. Clyde Atkins Advanced Moot Court Competition; and recipient of American Board of Trial Advocates Award and School of Communication Scholarship;
Shayla N. Waldon, former Vice President, Miami Law Honor Council; active on the Charles C. Papy, Jr. Moot Court Board, the Psychology, Public Policy and Law Journal, the Professional Responsibility and Ethics Program, and the Anti-Defamation League Summer Associate Research Program; Fellow, James Weldon Johnson/Robert H. Waters Summer Institute; and listed in Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.
The event's Grand Marshal will be Professor Anthony V. Alfieri, a Dean's Distinguished Scholar, Director of the Center for Ethics and Public Service, and founder of the Historic Black Church Program.
In addition to the marshals, someone who will undoubtedly stand out at the ceremony is Tara E. Faenza, the student speaker. Faenza worked in the area of trademark law, ethics and contract negotiations for 16 years before embarking on a law degree. She was also a project manager for HandsOn Bay Area, working with homeless shelters, AIDS organizations, children and environmental groups in and around her native San Francisco. She is graduating cum laude from Miami Law, where she earned the Dean's Certificate of Achievement in Alternative Dispute Resolution and honors in both trial and pretrial sections of the Litigation Skills Program. Faenza participated in mock trials all three years in law school and was twice a semifinalist in the Nova Closing Argument Competition. She was a Constangy, Brooks & Smith Diversity Scholar and served as president of the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association.
Another graduating student, Jessica Ann Johnson, has a lovely voice and will sing the national anthem and Alma Mater at the ceremony. Before attending law school, she was a member of Entertainment Revue, a professional song-and-dance ensemble based in Tampa that performed at sports venues, charity events and political rallies. Johnson was also a professional national anthem singer, performing regularly for Tampa Bay teams such as the Rays, the Lightning and the Storm. She also sang the national anthem before President Bill Clinton and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
While at Miami Law, she performed at several University of Miami baseball games. Johnson will be moving to Chicago to practice intellectual property litigation at Sidley Austin LLP, and, she said, "I really hope to continue my hobby by singing for the Cubs or the White Sox." In the meantime, she added, "I am really looking forward to singing at Commencement!"
The "advice to graduates" speech will be given by alumna Hilarie Bass, JD '81, who recently was named President of the Miami-based international firm Greenberg Traurig, P.A., and who last fall received the Alumni Leadership Award from the Law Alumni Association, a prize that recognizes alums who have had a distinguished career in their field of endeavor and have brought honor to their alma mater. Bass is a member of UM's Board of Trustees as well as of Miami Law's Visiting Committee and Momentum 2 Campaign Committee. She is the former Chair of the ABA's 70,000-member Litigation Section, and was board chairman of the United Way of Miami-Dade County.
Toam Rubinstein, JD '13. (Photo: Nick Madigan/Miami Law) Full-Size Photo
Courtney Caliendo, JD '13. (Photo: Nick Madigan/Miami Law) Full-Size Photo
Brian M. Stewart, JD '13. (Photo: Nick Madigan/Miami Law) Full-Size Photo
Tara Faenza, JD '13. (Photo: Provided to Miami Law) Full-Size Photo