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Stetson professor honored at annual Inns of Court


Bruce Jacob with Dean Pietruszkiewicz

Dean Emeritus and Professor of Law Bruce Jacob (left) and Dean Christopher Pietruszkiewicz.

Stetson University Dean Emeritus and Professor of Law Bruce Jacob received this year’s Wm. Reece Smith Jr. Public Service Award on Jan. 28 during the annual Inns of Court Banquet in St. Petersburg.

This year’s lecture and award ceremony took place at the Mirror Lake Lyceum in St. Petersburg.

Jacob J.D. ’59 has twice presented before the U.S. Supreme Court and has dedicated his professional life to improving legal services for the poor. He established the Legal Assistance for Inmates Program at the U.S. Penitentiary in Atlanta and co-founded the Harvard Prison Legal Assistance Project for indigent defendants. In 2013, he received the Constitutional Champion award, the NACDL Champion of Indigent Defense Award, and the Delano Stewart Award from the George Edgecomb Bar Association. Jacob also served as vice president of Stetson University and dean of Stetson’s law school from 1981-94, where he presently teaches courses in constitutional law.

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Anna I. Rodriguez, founder and executive director of the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking, presented the Wm. Reece Smith Jr. Distinguished Lecture.

Rodriguez was recognized by former President George W. Bush and former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft for her efforts combating human trafficking, and was inducted into the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame in 2011. Rodriguez’ organization, the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking, works closely with the FBI, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and law enforcement agencies at the local, state, national and international levels.

Stetson established the prestigious public service award for Wm. Reece Smith Jr., past president of the International, American and Florida Bar Associations and a distinguished professorial lecturer and member of the Stetson University College of Law Hall of Fame. The annual Inns of Court brings together prominent lawyers, experienced teachers and law students to exchange ideas, experiences and education. The adopted Stetson Inns of Court tradition has its roots in England.