by Michael Tamayo
With a gorgeous view of the St. Johns River, and a who’s who list of alumni, the “Beat the Bulldogs” alumni reception in Jacksonville was an elegant affair.
Organized by the office of Alumni & Volunteer Engagement, the reception brought UF alumni and students from the last 50 years together at the River Club in Downtown Jacksonville. As a 1L, I made the journey from Gainesville to check out the festivities and try my hand at some old-fashioned networking.
When I arrived, I was stunned by the beautiful views that only the 32nd floor of the Wells Fargo Center could offer, and was warmly welcomed by the UF staff. After some introductions and a quick speech on what I enjoyed about law school so far, I made my way through the crowd of alumni and met graduates from as recent as the 2016 class to as far back as members of the 1965 graduate class.
The UF alumni truly love to sit down and chat, and I relished the opportunity have some amazing conversations with lawyers who worked in all type of practices, from solo criminal defense practices, to massive firms like Holland & Knight. From newly minted lawyers to seasoned appellate judges, all the alumni were welcoming and funny, giving the students hints and tips to navigate school, and giving out business cards to stay in touch. All in all, it was a refreshing experience to meet and converse with lawyers and judges outside of Levin’s classrooms and over a glass of wine and hors d’oeuvres.
As the sun set over the river, the alumni began to file out. I looked over the deep, blue twilight skyline and felt the bundle of business cards that had accumulated in my pocket over the last two hours. A spur-of-the-moment networking trip had turned into a great night of food, wine and advice from some of the top attorneys in the state. And when you’re just 1L, it doesn’t get much better than that.