Levin College of Law Chapter
—The Order of the Coif
(Updated 22 February 2021)
Dear Levin College of Law graduates and community:
Thirty-Two New Members!
I am delighted to announce that the voting faculty members of the University of Florida Levin College of Law Chapter of the Order of the Coif held our annual meeting, virtually of course, on 3 December 2020 and we selected thirty-two (32) recent Levin College of Law graduates to join our chapter. I will be sending out letters in this regard in the coming weeks after the holiday break. Thank you to our faculty chapter members for their participation even in the middle of the current pandemic and exams!
The letters to our newly-elected members were mailed out last week, on February 15, 2021.
Feel free to email me directly if you have any inquiries or to electronically submit the form updating us on your mailing address.
Please stay healthy and safe.
Prof. Pedro A. Malavet
The certificates for last year have yet to be prepared for mailing because physical presence at college facilities is difficult. But I expect that they will be prepared and ready to be mailed out early in the Spring of 2021. Please be sure to update your mailing address if it changes.
NONGRADED CREDITS COVID POLICY
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic emergency, the National Order of the Coif has issued a waiver of the non-graded credit rule for the Spring of 2020, because many schools, including the Levin College of Law, have adopted mandatory S/U grading in response to the COVD-19 pandemic. This allows each chapter to decide how to treat the current credits when making its selections for 2019-20.
The Executive Committee of the National Office of the Order of the Coif has provided the following guidance:
For the graduating classes affected by Covid-related P/F grading, each Coif school may decide whether to base membership on five semesters of graded courses or to follow the constitutional provision, based on what the school has determined to do about grades during the pandemic.
Thus, the 75% graded course requirement is suspended for graduating classes affected by P/F grading for online semesters and courses dictated by the Covid19 crisis.
On 3 December 2020, the Levin College of Law voting faculty chapter members unanimously adopted the following policy based on the waiver by the Executive Committee:
For any graduate who otherwise becomes eligible to join our chapter, credits successfully completed during the spring of 2020 by students who earn their J.D. degree from the University of Florida Fredric G. Levin College of Law that were graded on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) basis under the emergency policy adopted by the faculty at the Levin College of Law, shall be counted towards meeting the number of credits required for graduation from the Levin College of Law, but they shall not be included in the computation of the 75% graded course requirement of Section 5.1. of the Constitution of the Order of the Coif.
Brief History of the Chapter
The Order of the Coif is an honorary scholastic society that invites law students in the top ten percent of their graduating class to join it every year.
The thirty-two (32) graduates selected to join on December 3, 2020, bring the number of Fredric G. Levin College of Law Alumni who have been inducted into the Florida Chapter—The Order of the Coif since 1955 to 2,073.
Selection to the Levin College of Law’s Chapter of The Order of the Coif reflects the demonstration of outstanding effort and ability throughout a law school career.
I always look forward to sending out selection letters, which usually happens during the fall semester, although this year, due to very unusual circumstances, the letters were mailed out in January of 2021.
—Prof. Pedro A. Malavet, Chapter President
In Memoriam: Fletcher N. Baldwin
The Levin College of Law Chapter of the Order of the Coif mourns the passing of our colleague and chapter member Fletcher N. Baldwin on February 18, 2020.
Professor Baldwin joined the Levin College of Law faculty in 1962 as Assistant Professor, was named Associate Professor in 1965, Professor in 1968, and Chesterfield Smith Professor in 2000. Baldwin taught continuously until he assumed Professor Emeritus status in 2008. Baldwin was an internationally renowned expert on Constitutional Law, Political and Civil Rights and International Financial Crimes, among other fields. He earned his B.A. and J.D. degrees from the University of Georgia and earned LL.M. degrees from the University of Illinois and Yale University. Baldwin served in the United States Marine Corps from 1950 to 1956, when he was honorably discharged; he then served in the United States Army from 1956 to 1958, while attending Texas Christian University, and was honorably discharged in 1958. Baldwin was inducted into the University of Georgia Chapter of the Order of the Coif when he graduated with honors in the class of 1961.
Professor Baldwin was born in Portsmouth, Virginia. He is survived by his wife Nancy and their two children.
May he rest in peace.
Please Let Us Know How to Contact You
- Access a printable pdf form that may be filled out online
- Access a printable pdf form that may be filled out online
Faculty Notice to Students Regarding Membership
(Approved on September 19, 2007 and amended by a change to the Interpretation of Section 5.1 the Coif Constitution approved by member chapters on November 12, 2013, effective prospectively on selections for 2014 and thereafter.)
The Order of the Coif is an honorary scholastic society the purpose of which is to encourage excellence in legal education by fostering a spirit of careful study, recognizing those who as law students attained a high grade of scholarship, and honoring those who as lawyers, judges and teachers attained high distinction for their scholarly or professional accomplishments.
An invitation to become a member of the University of Florida Chapter of The Order of the Coif marks the completion of a distinguished career as a student at the Levin College of Law.
History and Applicable Rules
The Order of the Coif traces its roots to the centuries-old English practice of designating serjeants-at-law who were also known as serjeants-of-the-coif because of the headdress they wore. “What gave significance to The Order was the fact that for centuries only its members were appointed judges of the Court of Common Pleas or, later, of King’s Bench.” This practice effectively ended in 1877.
The modern Order of the Coif in the United States traces its roots to the creation of an honorary society at the University of Illinois College of Law in 1902.
The University of Florida Fredric G. Levin College of Law has been a member of the national society since 1955. The professors at the College of Law who are allowed to vote at faculty meetings and are members of The Order of the Coif constitute the voting membership of the chapter and are thus responsible for selecting new members from our graduating classes.
Non-Graded Credit Rule with Transfer and COVID-19 Waivers
- SECTION 5.1. Eligibility of Law Students.
a) For each academic year, measured from July 1 to June 30, or any other twelve-month period designated by a member school, a Chapter may elect to membership in The Order any graduating senior (1) who has completed at least 75 percent of his or her law studies in graded courses and (2) whose grade record ranks in the top 10 percent of all the graduating seniors of the school. “Graded courses” are those for which academic accomplishment is recorded on the basis of educational measurement involving four or more discriminators.
- b) A Chapter need not elect the maximum eligible under subsection (a). The criterion should be the election of those eligible who, in the opinion of the voting members of the Chapter, are deemed truly worthy of the honor. Accordingly, in addition to scholastic standing, a Chapter may take into consideration law school activities contributing measurably to the total legal education of the candidate. The Chapter may set forth rules listing additional factors, or may make selections on an individualized basis. A Chapter may decline to elect an eligible student whose character is unfitting for membership in The Order.
“Strictly Enforced.” Please note that both the 75 percent graded course and the top 10 percent class rank requirements must be strictly enforced.
“Graded Course.” Generally, determination of what is a “graded course” must be made at the time of selection, in accordance with the grading policies of the University of Florida Levin College of Law. Therefore, any course that is treated as a pass/fail or s/u course for purposes of computing your graduation GPA must be treated as a non-graded course.
Transfer Students' Credits. Historically, all transfer credits had to be considered as coming from “non-graded courses” because those credits are not counted in the Graduation GPA at the Levin College of Law. However, the member chapters have approved a new interpretation of Section 5.1 under which, when determining compliance with the 75 percent graded course requirement for Coif membership, a student who transferred into the Levin College of Law from another law school will have the transferred credits considered as having been earned in a “graded course” if, at the time the course was taken, a grade was received. Graduation GPA and class rank will continue to be determined as provided in the grading policies of the University of Florida Levin College of Law. This change is effective prospectively on selections for 2014 and thereafter.
Covid-19 S/U Credit Policy. For any graduate who otherwise becomes eligible to join our chapter, credits successfully completed during the spring of 2020 by students who earn their J.D. degree from the University of Florida Fredric G. Levin College of Law that were graded on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) basis under the emergency policy adopted by the faculty at the Levin College of Law, shall be counted towards meeting the number of credits required for graduation from the Levin College of Law, but they shall not be included in the computation of the 75% graded course requirement of Section 5.1. of the Constitution of the Order of the Coif. (Adopted by the Voting Faculty Chapter Members on 3 December 2020).
For more information on the history of The Order, please refer to Frank R. Strong, Order of the Coif, English Antecedents and American Adaptation, 63 Amer. Bar Assoc. J. 1725 (December 1977), or visit the society’s website at http://www.orderofthecoif.org.
- At the start of the Fall Semester, the Office of Student Affairs certifies the list of those students who have graduated between July 1, and June 30 of the previous academic year who are eligible for membership.
- Although our academic year at the Levin College of Law starts in the fall, the Coif Constitution requires us to start with the summer graduation for the previous academic year and then include the next academic year's fall and spring graduates when identifying the aggregate size the fiscal year’s graduating class and membership eligibility.
- Dean Inman and Dean Rosenbury refer the list to the Faculty Chapter.
- The Faculty Chapter votes to admit those who meet the membership requirements, usually right after the first faculty meeting of the Fall Semester.
- Selection becomes effective upon the faculty chapter vote.
- Letters of selection are sent out soon after the faculty vote —to the student's mailing address registered with the Office of Student Affairs— asking each selectee how they wish their name to appear on the certificate and on the national Order’s rolls.
- As per our chapter policy, the Chapter President will forward the names of all selectees to the national Order in December or January.
- There are no annual dues for membership in The Order of the Coif. However, an initial sum of $45.00 is needed to cover an initiation fee of $35.00 that we must pay to the national Order of the Coif, which is required to confirm a graduate's election as a member and to prepare an engraved certificate. There is a $5.00 fee for the calligraphy for this certificate and a $5.00 fee to cover the costs of this and future mailings.
- The fee increased to $45.00 starting with the 2015 selections because the National Order increased the initiation fee to $35.00 as of that year.
- Certificates and Names. The certificate reflecting your membership will be sent to you, if you have completed the acceptance process.
- The Chapter receives a limited number of certificates from the National Order. It is our practice to generate all the certificates for each annual group at the same time, usually towards the end of the spring semester.
- When a graduate completes the acceptance process, she or he may specify how they wish their name to appear on the certificate.
- Otherwise, we have historically used the graduate's name as it appears on university records.
- However, since 2017, we have used each graduate's name as they requested it appear on their diploma from the College of Law, unless the student specifies otherwise in the acceptance form.
- Checks for $45.00 should be made payable to: “Florida Chapter, The Order of the Coif,” and mailed, together with the attached form, to: Professor Pedro A. Malavet, Fredric G. Levin College of Law, PO Box 117625 (alternately, 309 Village Drive), Gainesville, FL 32611-7625.
- Certificates are usually mailed out towards the end of the Spring Semester.
- Or to access a printable pdf form that may be filled out online CLICK HERE.
Constitution SECTION 4.2. Chapter Composition.
A Chapter of The Order is composed of the charter members, of the other faculty members of the applicant School accepting membership at the time of Chapter organization, of members thereafter elected in accordance with provisions of Article V, and of any members of other Chapters invited into association. Voting membership consists of members of The Order who are currently members of the faculty of the Chapter's School and, if the by-laws of the Chapter so provide, of others elected by the Chapter to membership in The Order.
- Angelo, Mary Jane, Chapter Secretary/Treasurer
- Burke, Karen C.
- Dawson, George L., Dean Emeritus (Ret.)
- Drake, Teresa A.
- Endo, Seth Katsuya
- Harrison, Jeffrey L.
- Jackson, Joseph Steven
- Lear, Elizabeth Tyson
- Luke, Charlene
- Malavet, Pedro A., Chapter President
- Mashburn, Amy Rebecca, Associate Dean
- McAlister, Merritt E.
- McMahon, Martin James, Jr. (Ret.)
- McCouch, Grayson
- Mills, Jon L., Dean Emeritus
- Page, William H.
- Peters, Don C. (Ret.)
- Reid, Teresa Jean (Rambo)
- Stein, Amy L.
- Tomlinson, Diane A.
- Willis, Steven J.