Stetson Law's Hall of Fame honors the dedication and contributions of alumni, faculty and friends.
William F. Blews '66
William F. Blews has practiced law continually for the last 41 years in St. Petersburg, Fla. During his illustrious career, he has held numerous positions of leadership, including the presidency of the Florida Bar.
Early in his first term as Florida Bar president, Bill Blews convened the first criminal justice summit, bringing together a cross section of state policymakers to address a funding crisis among the criminal courts, public defenders, state attorneys and related agencies. His hard work paid off with increased funding for the state's justice system.
Judge Susan C. Bucklew '77
Judge Susan C. Bucklew took the oath of office as a United States district judge on Dec. 8, 1993. She presides over the Tampa Division of the Middle District of Florida. Judge Bucklew taught high school writing and literature for five years before earning a law degree from Stetson in 1977.
After completing her law degree, Bucklew was house counsel for the Jim Walter Corporation. In 1982, she became Hillsborough County's first female county judge, serving for the next four years. In 1986, she set yet another precedent, becoming the first woman appointed as circuit court judge in Hillsborough County's Thirteenth Judicial Circuit.
Her professional activities are exemplary, including service as chair of the Advisory Committee on Criminal Rules for the Judicial Conference of the United States, The Florida Supreme Court's Gender Bias Study Commission and the high court's Bench-Bar Commission.
Dolly Hand '49
Dolly graduated from Stetson University College of Law in 1949. The College of Law was located on the DeLand campus at the time, and Dolly was truly a pioneer. She was the only woman in her class, graduating when she was only 20 years old. She was the youngest person ever to complete the law program.
Dolly and her husband, Homer Hand, have given generously of their time and resources over the years. They established an awards program at Stetson for excellence in faculty research that has provided more than 174 grants for professors, including many faculty members at the College of Law during the past 20 years. They have funded more than 70 student scholarships since 1989.
Professor Thomas C. Marks Jr. '63
Thomas C. Marks Jr. has been a part of the Stetson community for more than 45 years. This legendary Stetson Law professor's fascination with law and politics began at an early age. He first earned a bachelor's degree from Florida State University, and then headed directly to Stetson University College of Law.
Upon graduating from law school, he clerked with a local law firm for six months before changing his reserve military status to active duty in the U.S. Army Jag Corps. He served in Vietnam, and remained in the reserves for another nine years, leaving the military with the rank of major. Marks joined Stetson's law faculty in 1973. Professor Marks has been actively teaching U.S. and Florida constitutional law since that time.
Judge Alexander L. Paskay
Born and educated in Hungary, Judge Alexander L. Paskay has distinguished himself as a leader in international bankruptcy law.
After earning his law degree in 1944, Paskay served with the British Army at the close of World War II as an interpreter, helping the British War Crimes Commission to interrogate German defendants. He later worked for the French Occupational Forces until 1949, when he immigrated to the United States.
Paskay earned his American bachelor's and law degrees from the University of Miami, and after graduation, served as a law clerk for the late U.S. District Judge Joseph Lieb. He was appointed bankruptcy judge for the Middle District of Florida in 1963, and he served as chief judge for the court from 1979 to 1999. Judge Paskay is the recipient of two prestigious awards in 2007, the Judge William L. Norton Jr. Judicial Excellence Award and the Lawrence P. King Award for Excellence in the Field of Bankruptcy.
Paskay has lectured in continuing legal education programs throughout the United States and in nine foreign countries, including five international bankruptcy symposia coordinated by Stetson University College of Law.
Judge Paskay also has served as an adjunct professor at Stetson since 1973, authored or co-authored five books and served on the law school's Board of Overseers.
Joseph J. Reiter '68
Having grown up in the slums of Chicago in a neighborhood shared by gangs, Joe Reiter came from a family of 10 children and was an orphan until he was two. He said he learned early on that the only way out of poverty was through education and hard work.
Following graduation from Stetson in 1968, he began his career as a civil trial lawyer in West Palm Beach, where in 1985 he co-founded the firm of Lytal Reiter. Recognized by the publication Best Lawyers in America, Reiter's work in the courtroom has resulted in judgments totaling in excess of $100 million.
Reiter has served his profession in roles that include president of the Florida Bar, chair of the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission, and lecturer on ethics and personal injury law.
Reiter has made significant contributions to the College of Law and has served on the Board of Overseers.
Christian D. Searcy '73
At the age of 30, Chris Searcy became the youngest lawyer in the United States to achieve a million-dollar verdict for a single personal injury lawsuit. Since 1985, he has led the firm of Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart and Shipley P.A..in West Palm Beach.
Searcy's record as a leading litigator is well documented. He was one of two lawyers in 2006 to receive the "War Horse Award" from the Southern Trial Lawyers Association, and in 2005, the Florida Justice Association awarded him their highest honor, the Perry Nichols Award for lifetime service.
A member of the prestigious International Academy of Trial Lawyers, Searcy is listed among The Best Lawyers in America. He is a past president of the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers, and is a current member of the International Society of Barristers, the American Association for Justice and the American Board of Trial Advocates. In addition, he has held many leadership roles in the state bar.
He has given back to his alma mater as a member of Stetson's Board of Overseers, co-chair of Stetson's Cornerstone Campaign and as a generous donor.
Judge Thomas E. Stringer Sr. '74
Judge Thomas E. Stringer Sr. is a celebrated jurist with Florida's 2nd District Court of Appeal. During his distinguished career, he has always made time to guide, counsel, encourage and inspire countless young people.
Judge Stringer graduated with a law degree in 1974 as Stetson's first African-American law graduate.
After law school, he served as assistant state attorney from 1974 to 1976, followed by private law practice until 1984. In April of that year, Governor Bob Graham appointed him to the Hillsborough County Court. During his time at the county court, Judge Stringer served on more than a dozen judicial committees.
In the December of 1987, Governor Bob Martinez appointed him to the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Court. He served as the administrative judge for the family law division until January 1994. He was a member of the Executive Council of the Family Law Section, and the Bench Bar Liaison Committee of the Hillsborough County Bar Association.
In February 1999, Governor Jeb Bush appointed Judge Stringer to the 2nd District Court of Appeal.
Judge Stringer's mentoring skills are legendary. The annual Judge Stringer Youth Prelaw Conference draws countless children seeking his wisdom and guidance.
In 2005, the Black Law Students Association at Stetson dedicated the name of its chapter to honor Judge Stringer. The Stetson BLSA chapter is working to establish an endowed scholarship and to dedicate the second floor atrium of the Tampa campus in his honor.
Judge Stringer has served Stetson College of Law in countless capacities, as an inspirational graduate, overseer, trustee, philanthropist and role model, and now as a 2007 inductee into Stetson Law's Hall of Fame.