UF law professor honored by The Florida Bar
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida law professor Michael Seigel has become the second UF faculty member to be honored as a co-recipient of The Florida Bar’s 2008 Faculty Professionalism Award. Seigel received the award in recognition of his commitment to instilling the ideals and values of the legal profession through teaching, scholarship and service. He is the first UF recipient since 2000.
The award was received during the association’s Judicial Luncheon, which was held in conjunction with the 2008 Annual Florida Bar Convention recently held in Boca Raton, Fla.
The Harvard Law School graduate joined UF as a faculty member in 1990. After taking time off to serve as the first assistant U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Florida in 1995, he returned to the Levin College of Law in 2000. He assumed the position of associate dean of academic affairs until 2002.
Seigel began presenting an “ethics exhortation” — a lecture on ethics and professionalism — at the college’s orientation for new law students. Later, he participated in redesigning the orientation to involve more faculty, and he added an important diversity component. He also presented this lecture to the Tampa Bay Paralegal Association and the National Federation of Paralegal Associations in 2005 and 2006.
Seigel has furthered the values of professionalism in the classroom, pausing occasionally during his classes for “professional responsibility moments” to discuss what lawyers should do in situations discussed in class. His students are encouraged to contact him throughout their careers to discuss ethics, and he lets them know a “Seigel will be sitting on their shoulders” whispering encouragement to do the right thing when faced with difficult situations.
“In a college with many outstanding teachers, Mike is one of our best instructors, and his commitment to professionalism is second to none,” said Dean Robert Jerry, who nominated Seigel for this honor.
Seigel’s previous honors include being chosen by students for the Teacher of the Year Award in 2007. He also is noted for his scholarship in the area of professional responsibility. Currently, he is editing a book on the Duke lacrosse rape case.
Seigel has been committed to serving The Florida Bar, academia and the legal profession. His innovation in creating programs at the college and his promotion of professionalism throughout the State of Florida were paramount in his selection as a recipient of the award.