At the core of the Center for Law and Policy is the idea that UCF Legal Studies can impact its community through contact with the people who make up that same community. Whether that is high school students, teachers, lawyers, or the elderly, we strongly believe that through a better understanding of the law, positive changes can start to occur in our communities. But on April 30, 2019, for one night, UCF Legal Studies reverses that motto and focuses on how the community can impact UCF. More specifically, how the legal community can impact UCF’s legal studies students.

In the Fall of 2018, UCF Legal Studies began to address a concern that it had with the preparation of our students going out into the workforce either as employees or interns. For years, we had heard that from an intellectual perspective UCF did a great job preparing the students for life outside of academia. However, from a practical standpoint, the education we were providing was lacking. While our students could brief a case, use Westlaw, and even cite with bluebook, they had difficulty interacting with the public, working in a law office, and unfortunately at times, just behaving in a professional manner. Out of the need to address this concern arose a new class called Professionalism and Civility in the Law.

The class is broken into two parts. The first hammers key concepts that students should have already covered including research, writing, and ethics. But the second is something very different than the students had ever seen before. Its focus in on soft skills such as interviewing, elevator pitches, and resume writing. At the end of the class, the hope is that a more well-rounded individual has been created who is better suited for the “real world.”

The efforts of the Professionalism students culminate in a final exam that is something unlike most people have ever seen. It involves a mixer with the local legal community. Lawyers, judges, and paralegals from all over central Florida are invited in for one evening to interact with our students. The end result is a night where the students are forced to get out of their comfort zone and talk to the professionals in the hope of obtaining ten business cards from complete strangers. The students have to talk about themselves, dress professionally, and otherwise get over their nerves to succeed at the event.

This year the event is occurring at UCF’s main campus at the Morgridge Reading Center. It starts at 6:30pm on Tuesday, April 30, 2019. The mixer last for about an hour-and-a-half and has proven to be a fantastic event in the past. So if you have not gather it by now, this week’s blog is also a pitch to see if you might be interested in attending. If so, please feel free to reach out to me at marc.consalo@ucf.edu. It truly is a great opportunity to impact the UCF Legal Studies student body community. Thanks for your help.

-By Marc Consalo, Director of the Center for Law and Policy