Stetson University

2009 Inductees

Stetson Law's Hall of Fame honors the dedication and contributions of alumni, faculty and friends.



David A. Demers

Judge David A. Demers '72

Judge Demers has served as a judge for more than 28 years. During his three terms as Chief Judge of the Sixth Judicial Circuit, he helped pioneer the use of computer research and technology in the courtroom. Demers is frequently referred to as a "scholarly judge" for his work as an adjunct professor at Stetson and his scholarly writings. He is the author of the critically acclaimed Florida DUI Handbook, which many judges keep with them on the bench and refer to as the "traffic law bible." Judge Demers and his wife Susan have worked for years with Stetson's nationally ranked trial team and helped coach Stetson's 2009 first-place team in the American Association for Justice's National Student Trial Advocacy Competition.

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Robert K. Downs

Robert K. Downs '65

Downs is the founding partner, with his wife Barbara, in the Chicago law firm of Downs Law Offices, P.C., which focuses on family law. Downs has long been active in politics and the legal community. Early in his career, he was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives and spent considerable time involved with civil rights issues and consumer cases. He worked with the American Civil Liberties Union creating legal clinics that later became the Chicago Volunteer Legal Services Foundation. Downs has served as president of the Illinois State Bar. In 1995, he received the American Bar Association's Family Law Pro Bono Services Award. He also received awards from the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

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Michael C. Maher

Michael C. Maher '65

Maher is one of the nation's outstanding client advocates, with an impressive list of precedent setting settlements and verdicts. One of his most notable accomplishments is chairing the group of 11 legal firms appointment by the State of Florida in the long-term recovery of more than $25 billion from the industry. Maher has received numerous awards over the years and has been recognized in The Best Lawyers in America every year since 1987. Founding partner of the Maher Law Firm, he is a past president of the American Association for Justice, fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, an American College of Trial Lawyers inductee and past Florida Trial Lawyer of the Year.

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Bernard J. McCabe Jr.

Bernard J. McCabe Jr. '72

After graduating from Stetson University and Stetson University College of Law, "Bernie" McCabe began working as assistant state attorney, eventually moving up the ranks to St. Petersburg Division Director. In 1993, he was elected State Attorney of Florida's Sixth Judicial Circuit, a role he has served in ever since. McCabe has earned a reputation as a diligent prosecutor with a concern for his community, creating divisions and programs to address misdemeanor domestic violence, juvenile delinquency, truancy and juvenile dependency. McCabe has served as an adjunct professor and overseer at Stetson Law. He is active in state, local and national organizations.

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Lizabeth A. Moody

Lizabeth A. Moody

Moody was one of only seven women in her class of 160 Yale Law graduates. Despite the historic glass ceiling, Moody became a partner at a prominent Cleveland law firm and was one of the first women rated AV by Martindale-Hubbell. She rose to leadership positions in state, local and national bar associations before joining the Cleveland State University faculty, later serving as interim dean. As president and CEO of Law School Admissions Services, Moody founded the Access Loan Program which provides billions of dollars in student loans. From 1994 to 1999, Moody served as vice president and dean of Stetson Law. Under her direction, Stetson opened the new library and laid the foundation for part-time and international programs. Moody has remained heavily involved in the American Bar Association, America Law Institute and American Association of Law Schools throughout her career. Her professional recognitions include the Ohio State Bar Medal, Josephine Irwin Award, ABA Glass Cutter and the Author's Award by the ABA Business Law Section.

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Thomas E. Penick Jr.

Judge Thomas E. Penick Jr. '72

Judge Penick is a nine-year active veteran of the U.S. Air Force, serving in Vietnam and receiving the Bronze Star, among other commendations, for his military service. He remained in the military reserves until 1994, retiring as a brigadier general. Penick was appointed to the Pinellas County bench in 1978 and was later elevated to the circuit court, where he served in a variety of leadership posts at the circuit and state levels. He is best known for his work in the probate and guardianship divisions. He has been honored with many awards, including Stetson's Ben C. Willard Award for distinguished humanitarian achievements and the St. Petersburg Bar Association's first General of the Law Award in recognition of lifetime achievements in 2004. He is also a two-time recipient of the St. Petersburg Bar Association's Judicial Appreciation Award, the recipient of the William Castagna Award for Judicial Excellence, and the recipient of the Clearwater Bar Association's John U. Bird Distinguished Jurist Award.

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