Miami Law Facebook Miami Law Twitter Miami Law Instagram Miami Law LinkedIn Miami Law Youtube Miami Law Youtube
University of Miami School of Law Alumni Newsletter


A message from Law Alumni Association President, Jason P. Kairalla, JD/MBA ‘02

Law Alumni Association President, Jason P. Kairalla, JD/MBA ‘02

My Fellow Cane Lawyers:

What a privilege to be President of the Law Alumni Association during such an exciting time for Miami Law. It is an honor to welcome our new Dean Anthony E. Varona. It has been great getting to know him through the interview process and his ongoing “listening and learning” meetings with alumni and other stakeholders. I can say, without hesitation, that Dean Varona shares our passion for the law and sees the limitless potential of our law school. He is a collaborative and charismatic leader who is diligently collecting and sharing great ideas for improving Miami Law. Thanks to the many individuals and organizations that hosted Dean Varona at small intimate lunches, and larger welcome and cocktail receptions in their firms and homes, both here in Florida and across the country.

Before he officially assumed his office on August 1, the Law Alumni Association introduced Dean Designate Varona to our alumni and the broader legal community in June at the Florida Bar Annual Convention in Boca Raton. There, we honored three distinguished alumni: Richard Milstein, JD ’73, Patricia A. Redmond, J.D. ’79, and Detra Shaw-Wilder, JD ’94. Next, in July, we participated in an alumni reception for admitted students. More recently, we traveled to New York City to visit several firms and celebrate with alumni from Spotify’s headquarters at the top of World Trade Center Tower Four. Then, it was on to Washington, D.C. for an alumni reception at Holland & Knight where we honored Leila Batties, JD '98, Assistant Dean Marni Lennon, JD '95, with alumni achievement awards.

Even if you have been away from Miami Law for a while, now is a great time to return home. There is real energy here—in our world-class faculty, in our incredible administration and staff, among our alumni, and (most importantly) in our students. Miami Law attracts and trains some of the world’s brightest and most innovative law students. Please reach out to meet them. Also, consider mentoring and hiring them. You will not regret it.

All of you should have received a copy of Dean Varona’s vision sent by email. It is also included further below. I hope you will join me in ensuring his vision is a success.


Connect with your Law Alumni Association on the web , and on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. As always, you are welcome to contact me directly.

Thank you and go Canes!


Dean with alumni

Distinguished Alumni Honored at “Morning Spirits” & Homecoming Breakfast

The Law Alumni Association presented several awards at the annual “Morning Spirits” & Homecoming Breakfast, held on November 9th. Honorees were Karen J. Ladis, J.D. ’90, Edith G. Osman, J.D. ’83, Timothy Kolaya, J.D. ’08, Justin Stivers, J.D. ’13, Lauren Quattromani, J.D. ’13, Professor Martha Mahoney, Suzanne M. Aldahan, J.D. ’17, Ravika Rameshwar, J.D. ’16, Mark F. Raymond, J.D. ’83, and Jason Kairalla, JD/MBA ’02.

HT Smith

HT Smith, JD '73, received the Dade County Bar Association's Robert Shevin Public Service Award "for being a trailblazer in his native Miami, FL” in October

H.T. was Miami-Dade County's first African American assistant public defender, Miami-Dade County's first African American assistant county attorney, and founding President of the Black Lawyers Association of Miami-Dade County (now known as the Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr. Bar Association). H.T. Smith is the founding Director of the Trial Advocacy Program at Florida International University College of Law. “We are confident that wherever injustice and racism raise their ugly heads, H.T. will be there to raise his powerful voice of protest and resistance,” wrote the late President Nelson Mandela.

Carlos J. Martinez

Carlos J. Martinez, JD '90, was awarded the Dade County Bar Association's Criminal Justice Award in October.

He has spent the last 30 years serving the residents of Miami-Dade County. He’s the first Cuban American Public defender in Miami and he only elected Hispanic Public Defender in the country. “He has proven he is an effective leader; he las and continues to challenge injustice; he uses his position to champion our children and he fights for Equal Justice for all,” said his colleagues at the Disability Independence Group.

Emily Wasserman

Emily Wasserman, JD ’19, was the inductee speaker at the Oct. 2nd ceremony for new attorneys at the Florida Supreme Court in Tallahassee. The honor is reserved for inductees who received some of the highest scores on the most recent Florida Bar Examination.

“I was honored to be chosen to address my peers in front of Florida’s highest court as a proud member of Florida’s newest class of lawyers,” said Wassermann, a member of Greenberg Traurig’s Miami Corporate Practice.

Peter Prieto, JD ’85 was inducted into the International Academy of Trial Lawyers (IATL).

Allison Anne Freidin-Levy, BSC '07, JD '10, followed her passion and will soon be opening the Museum of Graffiti, along with her business partner, renowned graffiti expert and artist Alan Ket.

Irene M. Recio, BSC '89 MA '92 JD '96, was recently sworn in as an Immigration Judge, on the Miami Immigration Court.


Victoria Kigen, LL.M. ’17
Victoria was the International Arbitration program’s first student from Sub-Saharan Africa and was the recipient of our International Arbitration Institute Scholarship. This summer, she began a new position as Case Counsel for the Nairobi Centre for International Arbitration - NCIA in Kenya, which administers domestic and international disputes, and organizes essential training and accreditation events.

Elizabeth Montano, JD ’19
Elizabeth won Yale Law Journal’s annual Student Essay Competition, with her essay The Rise and Fall of Administrative Closure in Immigration Courts, which focuses on the laws surrounding immigration judges’ use of administrative closure, a case-management tool used to let individuals pursue more promising forms of relief. Not only did Elizabeth serve as the Editor-in-Chief of the University of Miami Law Review, she was also a clinical student and a student fellow in the Immigration Clinic, earning the 2018 CLEA Outstanding Clinical Student Award.

Otavio Borges Carneiro, JD ’19
Otavio has joined Akerman’s Corporate Practice Group as a partner in the Miami office. He is dual licensed in Brazil and the United States, and played an integral role in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, having represented the United States Olympic Committee in a five-year project leading up to the event.


Quicklinks:   Make my Gift     Submit my Class Note


Dr. Francisco Valdes was honored with the first Francisco Valdes Critical Pioneer Award at the LatCrit Biennial Conference at the Georgia State University College of Law, in October.

Catch up with other Faculty Good News


January 2, 2020

RSVP Now: Miami Law Mojitos and Mambo Mixer at Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Washington, DC

January 13, 2020

Save the Date: Heckerling Luncheon, Orlando, FL


Table of Eight featuring The Hon. Thomas Rooney, JD '99 & Tara Rooney, JD '99

Charlotte, NC-area Miami Law Alumni Happy Hour

10th Annual Homecoming Golf Tournament

2019 Homecoming Reunions for Classes of 1979, 1989, 1994, 1999, 2009, SBA Past Presidents and Law Alumni Association Past Presidents

Class of 1979 | 40th Year Reunion

2019 71st Annual Morning Spirits and Homecoming Breakfast

John M. Hogan Scholar Celebration 2019

Gold & Gold, P.A. Happy Hour in Boca Raton

Dean Varona has made many stops on his Listening Tour. Enjoy these photos from just a few of them:

Young Alumni Committee Reception at Jones Day New York

Law Alumni Reception at Spotify HQ in New York

Law Alumni Reception at Holland & Knight in Washington, D.C.


Julienne Gede Edwards, JD '15

Marc M. Watson, BBA '67, JD '70

Joseph H. Kaplan, JD '54


Mindy Reinstein Brodsky, JD '08

Mindy Reinstein Brodsky, Esq., has devoted her career to public interest work and social justice advocacy. She may have been raised in a Gator household, but she is a passionate and committed Miami Law alumna. While at Miami Law she was president of the Bar & Gavel Society, and a HOPE Senior Fellow, as well as working in the Children & Youth Law Clinic, and the Miami Street Law program. Among her many accomplishments Mindy is a member of the Iron Arrow Honor Society, has received our Law Alumni Leadership Award, the Roger Sorino Award, and the UM School of Law’s Exemplary Service to the Poor Award. Now Mindy is bringing her experience to benefit our students as a member of our adjunct faculty, teaching the D.C. Semester in Practice program for the D.C. externship program. The goal of this program is to provide students with an opportunity to learn multiple dimensions of lawyering through integration of real-world practice experience and academic inquiry.

Watch Mindy tell her story.


Thanks to the generosity of friends and family of students at Miami Law, the Law Parents and Partners Student Wellness fund provides resources for students to enhance mental health and wellness through the academic year, and, in particular, during exam time. The Law Parents & Partners Association also sponsors the annual Dean’s Cup, when Law students and Medical students compete in a variety of sporting activities.

In December, thanks to the generosity of the Law Parents & Partners Association, a cohort of Miami Law students will participate as accredited observers to the annual negotiations for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Students get to see treaty-making firsthand, and interact with lawmakers, officials from around the world, advocates and academics. Through a relationship with the non-profit organization Islands First, students will help support low-lying islands by taking notes and writing policy briefs. The 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP25, is being held in Madrid, Spain. This is to be the 25th United Nations Climate Change conference.


The generosity of alumni and friends has nurtured Miami Law for more than nine decades, making possible extraordinary achievements in education and public service. As Miami Law looks ahead to exciting opportunities and unique challenges under the leadership of its new Dean, Tony Varona, those who commit a planned gift to Miami Law will make a significant difference in its future, create a lasting legacy, and be inducted into the prestigious Heritage Society, whose members are catalysts for continued progress – strengthening the University and advancing its mission for years to come.

For further information about different planned giving opportunities that balance philanthropic giving goals with financial needs and tax-planning strategies, please visit the website at or contact Georgie Angones, Assistant Dean of Advancement for Miami Law, at (305) 284-6470 or

Dean Anthony E. Varona Shares His Vision for the School of Law

Dean Varona

Although August 1st feels like it was just a few short weeks ago, I recently have completed my first ninety days as dean of the University of Miami School of Law. I thought I would mark this occasion by reaching out to you with an update and preview of what lies ahead.

But first, thank you. My initial three months have exceeded my most optimistic hopes for how my arrival and launch as dean would unfold. That’s all thanks to Miami Law community members like you.

Within hours of accepting President Frenk’s and Provost Duerk’s offer in early June, I set out to meet both one-on-one and in small groups with as many of Miami Law’s alumni, faculty, students, and staff members as I could. I embarked on what I have called a “listening and learning tour” – not only getting acquainted with my new Miami Law family members, but also learning about everyone’s individual and collective aspirations for our law school’s future.

The Miami Law community welcomed me in a way that only Miami Law could welcome me. By offering me warmth and enthusiasm. By feeding me pasteles de guayaba, bagels and lox, and cortaditos. By hosting “meet the new dean” lunches and dinners and similar events at law firms, government agencies, courts, corporations, and bar associations, not only in Florida but also in Washington, DC, New York, and other cities. Miami Law stakeholders visited me in my office, and for senior staff and faculty gatherings, at my home. Miami Law community members welcomed me into their own offices and homes. Student leaders invited me to their student organization meetings. And countless students and staff colleagues dropped by for Cafecitos with Dean Varona.

In these many gatherings, Miami Law community members shared their dreams for our law school, their concerns, and their advice. To my delight, they also told me how eager and ready to help they are to do what needs to be done so that we all, together, can ensure that Miami Law reaches new levels of success.

I listened. I learned. I was encouraged and energized by the Miami Law community’s love for our law school and our commitment to its success and that of all of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni. We appreciate the great things that Miami Law already has achieved under the leadership of Dean Emerita Trish White and my other predecessors, while seeing tremendous opportunities for the future.

I will continue to meet with many Miami Law community members in the weeks and months to come. I still have listening and learning to do. But now that I have already met with many hundreds of faculty, students, staff, and alumni one-on-one and in small groups, I can share with you what is an even more crystallized vision for my deanship – informed by our many conversations. This is shaping up to be not just my decanal vision, but our vision – our Miami Law community vision, for how we will work together to reach new heights in the years to come.


These were the three overarching values that have encapsulated my vision for the law school since I was a candidate for the deanship. Excellence in our scholarship, in our teaching, in serving our students and alumni and the broader community and profession – ensuring that Miami Law excels as an innovative leader in legal education, domestically, hemispherically, and globally. Prominence in how we share the accomplishments of all of our community members with the world outside of our campus and with each other, and in how we assume a more visible and engaged role in regional, national, and international circles. Community, recognizing that Miami Law’s biggest strength is its people. Us. Every single one of us. Faculty, students, staff, and alumni. Ensuring that every one of us is connected, empowered, and engaged, helps all of us succeed as one law school.

Rooted in these three overarching values – Excellence, Prominence, and Community – are ten specific vision elements, which themselves are intertwined, and very much consistent with the law school’s Strategic Roadmap adopted in December 2018, as well as with President Frenk’s Roadmap to Our New Century.

We will...

Elevate our visibility and reputation nationally and internationally. Miami Law is a “best kept secret” in American legal education. We know about the excellence of our faculty, students and staff, the richness of our curriculum and programs, and how our alumni are national and international leaders of the profession. But we need to do all we can to share this good news with the nation, the hemisphere, and the world – online, in print, and on social media.

Miami Law has tremendous potential for serving as a preeminent center for legal and policy analysis and debate. In the years to come we will be even more of a convener of high-profile, high-impact symposia, conferences, and other gatherings that will further enrich the intellectual life of our community and elevate our standing nationally and internationally as a law school that not only is influencing but actually framing and hosting the most important conversations of our day concerning law, policy, justice, and the legal profession.

We will expand our engagement not only nationally but also hemispherically throughout the Americas and globally, leveraging our location on the campus of a world-class university offering a wealth of interdisciplinary opportunities, in a fast-growing region that already is a world capital brimming with entrepreneurial energy and extensive opportunities for domestic and international law students in both the private and public sectors as well as in non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Promote excellence and innovation in our scholarship and teaching. Miami Law will build upon our excellence in scholarship and pedagogical innovation. We will expand our support for faculty scholarship, promote the outstanding work of our faculty, and create new initiatives for ensuring that our teaching is at the cutting edge of legal education, in traditional “brick and mortar” classrooms, in experiential offerings, and via online and hybrid teaching platforms.

Ensure that our curriculum is state-of-the-art, producing graduates who are well-rounded and practice-ready. We will continue to optimize our curricular offerings while leveraging opportunities across the UM campus for interdisciplinary endeavors in STEM and other fields. We will build on existing areas of curricular excellence as we strengthen or introduce other areas of study linked to significant demand in practice – such as international and comparative law, alternative dispute resolution (ADR), environmental law, criminal law, health law, business law, litigation skills/trial advocacy, and other areas. We will consult with the bench and bar to ensure that our curriculum meets the emerging demands of modern law practice – including challenges posed by artificial intelligence and other disruptive technologies – and that we graduate students ready to excel in practice upon graduation. We, also, will act entrepreneurially in developing new degree programs beyond the JD and LLM that respond to the needs of today’s students, the profession, and the marketplace.

Strive to equip our students to pass the bar exam on their first attempt and to secure good employment at graduation in jobs for which a JD is required or an advantage. The goal of almost all JD students is to pass the bar exam shortly after graduating from law school and to promptly start their careers in law or in an allied field. We will strive to provide an even higher level of individualized and effective services to our students so that they can achieve both goals promptly after receiving their Miami Law degree.

Do all we reasonably can to ensure external measures and metrics better reflect our quality and achievements. External quality indicators (law school rankings, scholarship ratings, etc.) tell only part of the story of a law school’s quality, but we should always endeavor to put our best foot forward to make the most positive impression.

Build our connections with and celebrate the achievements of our alumni. Be more visible and connected to the South Florida legal community and the broader legal profession. Our alumni are extraordinary practitioners, jurists, entrepreneurs, government officials, and leaders of the profession throughout the United States and the world. We will find better ways to connect and communicate with them and to showcase their accomplishments. We also will ensure that Miami Law is more present and engaged with the broader South Florida practice community, not only being in but also of the community.

Improve the student experience at Miami Law. Our network of student services programs and resources already is among the best of any law school in the nation, but we should continue to assess students’ needs and improve our students’ experience and overall wellness at the law school – from 1L and LLM orientation through graduation and beyond. We especially should ensure – with the help of generous law school benefactors – that we maximize financial resources available to students (scholarships, etc.), limit student debt, and reduce law school operational expenses to keep cost of attendance as low as possible.

Ensure that our staff structure is the best it can be to maximize organizational efficiency and effectiveness, as well as the delivery of high quality service to students and faculty. I am honored to have as staff colleagues at Miami Law national leaders in legal education, administration, and student services. We should provide Miami Law’s staff opportunities and encouragement for growth. We should celebrate their achievements, and furnish them with an organizational structure that ensures proper and supportive guidance and mentoring, as well as a work environment that promotes their wellness.

Value and celebrate diversity and inclusion. Miami Law’s diversity – amongst our students, faculty, staff, and alumni – is one of our greatest strengths and competitive advantages. Our diversity enhances the quality and breadth of our curriculum, enriches the classroom experiences of our students and faculty alike, empowers us to make better decisions as faculty and administrators, and helps prepare all of our students for the demands of practice in a richly diverse region, nation, and world. We need to continue to cultivate this diversity, continue to promote a culture of inclusion and thoughtful and civil engagement, and ensure that all members of our community – every single member – feels at home, valued, and welcome to engage as an important part of the Miami Law family.

Modernize our facilities. Our Miami Law physical complex has served us well for many decades, and we are fortunate to call home the beautiful campus of the University of Miami. But we must, immediately, address the challenge of upgrading our facilities to ensure that they are well-matched to our current and future needs.

* * *

You may have noticed that we already have put into place, or have started working towards, many aspects of the vision I describe above. You will hear more about these initial steps, and see other new initiatives in action, in the days, weeks, and months to come.

This vision for Miami Law, our vision, is an unapologetically ambitious one, but it is one that we can achieve if we all work hard towards it, together. I am confident that, with your help and dedication, we will achieve and even exceed the goals I set out above.

Thank you again for the warm Miami Law welcome. I look forward to working with you in the months and years to come.

Go 'Canes!

Dean Varona Signature

University of Miami School of Law

University of Miami School of Law Office of Alumni Relations and Development
Alma Jennings Foundation Suite, C319
Robert E. Dooley Building
1311 Miller Drive, Coral Gables, FL 33146
E-mail:   Phone: 1.866.99.UMLAW

Having trouble reading this e-mail?   View as a webpage