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Dean Emeritus and Professor of Law Bruce Jacob retires

Dean Emeritus and Professor of Law Bruce Jacob retires this month after 13 years as dean, from 1981-1994, and 20 years as a faculty member at Stetson University College of Law.

Bruce Jacob

He graduated in 1959 with his law degree from Stetson, went on to become assistant attorney general of Florida and argued his first case before the U.S. Supreme Court, the historic Gideon v. Wainwright, at age 27. Hundreds of law students at Stetson have learned about the pivotal Gideon case in Jacob’s class. The Court’s landmark decision in the 1963 case opened the door to public defender offices across the country.

“We’re incredibly proud that Bruce Jacob has dedicated so much of his professional life to Stetson, first as a student, and later as a dean and professor, a mentor and friend to so many,” said Stetson Law Dean and Professor of Law Christopher M. Pietruszkiewicz.

Shortly after the ruling in Gideon, Jacob signed up to become a public defender in Florida’s 10th Judicial Circuit. For more than 50 years, Jacob has represented hundreds of defendants in pro bono criminal cases. As a member of the faculty at Emory University, Jacob started a legal assistance program for inmates in Atlanta in 1965, and he launched a legal assistance program for inmates in Massachusetts while working on his S.J.D. at Harvard.

At Ohio State University, Jacob served as law professor and director of clinical education, then as dean of the law school at Mercer University, and became dean of Stetson University College of Law in 1981. He supported Stetson’s participation in moot court competitions. He has taught more than 20 different law school courses, including constitutional law, administrative law, criminal law and criminal procedure at Stetson University.

“He is so focused on helping students learn and he genuinely cares about his students,” said Erin Okuno J.D. ’13, a fellow in Stetson’s Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy and former member of Stetson’s internationally recognized Moot Court Board. “He wants them to learn and succeed.”

“The ability to help others is one thing that makes law the greatest profession,” said Jacob.

Jacob has been featured in media outlets including the Washington PostEsquire, the Atlantic, CBS News, NBC News, the National Law Journal and the ABA Journal. Read more about his contributions to Stetson in the latest issue of the Stetson Lawyer.

-Brandi Palmer

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