Election Sweeps Miami Law Alumni into Office


More than a dozen Miami Law alumni, now politicians and judges, were victorious in the Nov. 6 general election, winning and retaining seats throughout Florida. Many credited their successes to training and practices they learned at Miami Law.

Among the most vocal in their praise for the law school was Florida Supreme Court Justice R. Fred Lewis, J.D. '72, who retained his seat on the bench despite an ideologically driven merit-retention election. While at Miami Law, he was on the University of Miami Law Review, the Honor Council and the Society of Bar and Gavel. An Iron Arrow member, he was also the recipient of the 2006 Law Alumni Achievement Award.

"The University of Miami School of Law prepared me to not only compete at the top level of the legal profession but to contribute to my community and my state," said Justice Lewis. "The preparation was both academic and supportive of my value system that recognizes the legal profession as a journey far more important than personal advancement but one dedicated to the idea that the privilege of being a lawyer requires service to others. Everything I have accomplished in the past and everything I may accomplish in the future I owe directly to the University of Miami for making the opportunities possible."

Kevin Emas, J.D. '82, was retained as a judge in the Third District Court of Appeal. At Miami Law, he was Articles and Comments Editor for the University of Miami Law Review, participated in the Mock Trial program, and was active on the Honor Council, in Phi Alpha Delta, and in the Clinical Program. "I was fortunate to receive the broad support of the members of our community who voted to retain me and allow me to continue my service on the bench," Judge Emas said. "My parents instilled in me, at an early age, the ideal of public service. That ideal was reinforced and crystallized while at the University of Miami School of Law. Any relative success I have achieved in my career is due in no small measure to the strong foundation provided by the professors and administrators at UM Law."

Ivan F. Fernandez, J.D. '92, was also retained on the Third District Court of Appeal after being appointed by Governor Rick Scott in 2011. While at Miami Law he was active in the Hispanic Law Students Association.

"I've always said that my experience at Miami Law taught me not just how to be a lawyer, but how to find the answer to almost any question, resolve any issue, and deal with any situation," Judge Fernandez said. "That knowledge helped me tremendously as a prosecutor, and when I first ran for the office of Circuit Judge and was elected in 2002. I've been able to apply the resourcefulness that I took from my experience at Miami Law throughout my judicial career, and continue to apply it every day as an appellate judge. I've always carried with me the professionalism and ethics that play such a prominent role in the Miami Law experience and believe deeply in the absolute need for professionalism and courtesy in the practice of law."

Judge Richard J. Suarez, B.M. '68, M.M. '70, J.D. '81, was the third alum to be retained on the Third District Court of Appeal. At Miami Law, he was active in the Hispanic Law Students Association and Phi Kappa Phi. He is Judicial Director of the Law Alumni Association Board. Other winners on Nov. 6 included Frank A. Artiles, LL.M.P. '01, who was reelected to the State House of Representatives in District 118, and Lori B. Berman, LL.M.E. '02, who kept her seat in District 90.

Perry Thurston, Jr., J.D. '87, was reelected to the State House of Representatives for District 94. At Miami Law, Congressman Thurston was active with the Black Law Students Association, Honor Council, and Society of Bar & Gavel.

William S. Galvano, J.D. '92, was elected to represent District 26 in the State Senate. At Miami Law, Galvano served as Opinions Editor of the Res Ipsa Loquitur law school newspaper and was active in the Clinical and Litigation Skills programs. "In addition to a very effective and enriching academic experience, the students and faculty of University of Miami School of Law have continued to have a meaningful and positive impact on my life and career," Sen. Galvano said. "As a law student at UM, I was able to establish relationships that have remained part of my professional life for over 20 years now."

Maria Sachs, J.D. '78, was elected to the State Senate representing District 34. At Miami Law, she was a member of the Inter-American Law Review.

James M. McGarity III, J.D. '99, was elected Collier County Judge. Judge McGarity, a former public defender, resigned as a general magistrate to run for the Group 2 seat. At Miami Law, he was active in the Litigation Skills and Clinical programs. "UM Law was a non-traditional sea change in my life," Judge McGarity said. "When I matriculated, in 1996, I had just completed a 24-year career as a combat infantry soldier and officer. I found the academic regimen there challenging, as it cleared away cobwebs of neurons in my thinking processes. The ability to reintegrate into university life after so many years was a constant rush of excitement. I owe a great deal to the many UM professors, among whom Hausler, Doyle, Mahoney, Graham, Ely, and Lehtinen are only a few of the personalities who instilled in me the ability to transfer my military decision making thought processes into legal reasoning. The staff and faculty led me into the arena of public interest law, where I became an advocate for the indigent. I cannot thank UM Law enough for their kind treatment of me and for giving me a second career in life."

On the national stage, Thomas J. Rooney, J.D. '99, was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Florida's District 17. He was formerly with the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps. At Miami Law, he was active in the Litigation Skills and Clinical programs.

José A. Garcia, A.B. '88., J.D. '91, was elected to represent District 26 in the U.S. House of Representatives. At UM, he was inducted into Iron Arrow, was active in Moot Court and Sigma Phi Epsilon, and was a member of the undergraduate student government.

Michael "Mike" J. Satz, J.D. '67, was reelected as State Attorney in the 17th Judicial Circuit. In 2010, Satz received the Law Alumni Achievement Award, in recognition for his service and accomplishments as State Attorney for Broward County.

Catherine Vogel, J.D. '81, was elected State Attorney in Judicial Circuit 16. Vogel had been Assistant State Attorney under Janet Reno, the Dade County State Attorney at the time.