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Law Professor Dorothea Beane honored for distinguished career as a trailblazer

Portrait with the College of Law seal behind her

Stetson University Professor of Law Dorothea Beane

Stetson University Professor of Law Dorothea Beane was honored Feb. 8 at a special luncheon in Tampa by the U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida as a “First” in Tampa Bay for her distinguished career as a trailblazer.

Professor Beane is the first minority professor awarded tenure at Stetson University College of Law and the recipient of the Teaching Excellence Award.

She was honored for being a pioneering educator at Stetson Law along with Professor of Law Luz Nagle and Professor of Law Emeritus Ruth Fleet Thurman. Professor Beane serves as co-director of the Institute for Caribbean Law & Policy at Stetson. She joined the College of Law faculty in 1990, where she teaches Federal Pre-Trial Practice, Civil Procedure, International Human Rights Law and the Law of International Tribunals. She also oversees Stetson’s federal, state and municipal law externships.

Professor Beane was founder and director of Stetson University College of Law’s Summer Abroad Program in The Hague, Netherlands, and has written and lectured widely on the role of international tribunals.

The two women stand in front of bookshelves of law books.

Professor Beane with Judge Gabrielle Kirk McDonald, who served as an American arbitrator on the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal seated in The Hague.

Professor Beane is a member of the New Jersey Bar Association, Federal Bar Association, American Bar Association, American Society of International Law, and has served on the executive committee of the International Human Rights Law Section of the Association of American Law Schools since 2003. She is an associate in the American College of Legal Medicine and academic master of the Sarasota County American Inns of Court.

Professor Beane served as a member of Merit Selection Panel for United States Magistrate, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida from 1993-94; non-governmental observer, and past vice president of the International Law Section of the National Bar Association; attendee and reporter on United Nations Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court in Rome, Italy, in 1998; attendee of the Preparatory Commission Meetings on the International Criminal Court at the United Nations, in New York, from 1997-2000; attendee at the Election of Judges for the International Criminal Court at the United Nations in New York in 2003; executive board member of the American-Caribbean Law Initiative; and as a hearing officer for the City of St. Petersburg, Florida from 1999-present.

The two women pose together at a function

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with Professor Dorothea Beane.

Professor Dorothea Beane began her career as trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., and worked briefly for the law firm of Robinson & Geraldo, P.A. She was appointed assistant U.S. attorney from the Middle District of Florida in 1983, serving as senior civil litigating attorney from 1985-90. Professor Beane practiced in the areas of personal injury, medical malpractice, bankruptcy law, regulatory enforcement and environmental law. In 1986, she received the Attorney General’s Special Achievement Award for Sustained Superior Performance of Duty.

Stetson University College of Law is home to a legacy of leading women. The first woman in Florida to attend law school and earn a law degree was Mary Stewart Howarth Hewitt, who received her LL.B. from Stetson and passed the bar in 1908. Between 1900-1930, Stetson was the only law school in Florida to admit and graduate women attorneys. Stetson Law graduate Edith Meserve of the class of 1922 was the first woman elected judge in Florida. Law alumna Charlotte Inez Farrington (Volger) of the class of 1927 was a charter member of NOW who was among 100,000 who marched on Washington, D.C., in 1976 in support of the Equal Rights Amendment.

Professor Elizabeth M. Leeman was the first female professor, joining the College of Law faculty in 1970. Professor Luz Nagle joined the law faculty in 1998, and became the first Hispanic professor to gain tenure and a full professorship. In 1999, Professor Roberta Flowers became the first director of the Center for Excellence in Advocacy at Stetson. In 1994, Lizabeth Moody was named the first woman law dean at Stetson. She built the law library, dedicated in 1998 by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The Black Law Students Association at Stetson was founded in 1979-80 by Amelia G. Govan and Malcolm J.L. Harper, who both became judges after graduating from Stetson Law.

-Brandi Palmer