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Student Spotlight


College of Law Student Uses Passion for the Environment to 

Encourage Others to Take Action


2011 College of Law Enrollment

Leave things better than you found them.  This philosophy is one way Jerry Leakey, a third-year law student at Florida A&M University (FAMU) College of Law, has faced each day.  

As a student member of the Second Annual Environmental Law and Justice Symposium Planning Committee, Leakey is helping to construct the program that will feature panelists from around the world who share a similar passion for the environment.

“I have been a firm advocate for the environment my whole life, and my decision to become a lawyer  has since combined with my desire to protect our natural resources,” stated Leakey, who holds a B.S. degree in Biology and M.S. in Criminal Justice from the University of Central Florida.

The Second Annual Environmental Law and Justice Symposium will feature panelists and speakers who will offer international perspectives while representing several countries including Brazil, Nigeria, Philippines, China, Israel and the United States.  Leakey, who serves as President of the Environmental Law Society, hopes that students who attend the Symposium will be encouraged to do more for the environment.

“The natural environment provides us with so much,” said Leakey.  “Some of us need to step up and provide protection for the environment, and for those that are disparately impacted by our currunt environmental policies,” Leakey said.

The Environmental Law Society was established at FAMU College of Law in the Spring of 2009 with the mission to increase minority awareness and representation for environmental law issues.  Members feel the importance of the organization is immesurable because it furthers the mission of the College of Law as minority communities are greatly impacted with pollution and environmental neglect.

“I arrived at the College of Law in time to take over the Environmental Law Society while the founding members prepared to graduate.  Now we are a huge part of the Environmental Law and Justice Symposium, our membership is increasing, and we are set to have a very active spring semester,” Leakey said.

Through the Environmental Law Society, Leakey and other members have been able to spearhead efforts to petition the university to increase the environmental law course offerings in order to enable students to be competitive with other universities with established Environmental Law programs.  They also worked with the facilities department at the law school to place more recycling bins around campus.  The blue bins have been a fixture at the college for several years.

Along with his role in ELS, Leakey is a Commissioner and 3L Senator of the American Association for Justice, and active member of the Hispanic American Law Students Association, Phi Alpha Delta, and law student member of both the American Bar Association and Orange County Bar Association.  

He has participated in the “Clean Up Parramore” event for the past two years, and has worked with the Farmworker Association of Florida to provide the Toxic Tour of Lake Apopka for FAMU College of Law students to help raise environmental awareness in the Central Florida community.

“Lawyers are pillars of the community and have the ability to enrich the world around them in real ways,” Leakey said.  “I feel we as law students have an obligation to help others in an attempt to make the world a better place.”



More on Leakey


What might someone be surprised to know about you?

I think I am pretty much an open book.  Although, everyone seems to be pretty surprised that I have a background in biology.  I usually get some pretty interesting looks from people while they are trying to figure out what I am doing in law school with a hard science background.


What was your first impression of the College of Law? 

I actually visited an open house with a good friend who was thinking about going.  While we were there, they started saying how hard it was and as the glutton for punishment that I am, I said "I could do that!"


How do you feel about the City of Orlando and location of the College of Law?

I've been living in Orlando for the past eight years and I love this city. There's a vibrancy and divergence that you rarely see elsewhere. The College of Law's downtown location has opened my eyes to yet another facet of Orlando's culture and I feel attending classes here is a singular experience.


How do you balance classes, studying and leading a semi-normal life as a law student?  Is there such a balance?

You do what you need to do.  It can be tough, but after I made it this far, and I put out that much money, you are not getting rid of me.  As far as leading a semi-normal life as a law student, I'm not really sure what that is.  The way I see it, I'm sacrificing three years of my "normal life" now for an opportunity at a much better life later.


What one word would you use to best describe yourself?  What word would your friends use?

I would say I'm dedicated; my friends would say I'm stubborn.