January 8, 2020 –
Distinguished Lecture Series
Mary Adkins, Professor of Legal Writing and Appellate Advocacy, University of Florida Levin College of Law
“Making Modern Florida: How the Spirit of Reform Shaped a New State Constitution”
Florida recently underwent its third Constitution Revision Commission, adding a bewildering array of amendments. We citizens complained, but approved them all. What was that process, and why do we have it? The answer lies in the history and politics of the 1950s and 1960s, and in Florida’s transformation in just a few years from a bastion of post-Reconstruction rebellion to a paragon of modern government. That change helped Palm Beach County go from being politically irrelevant to having the clout it deserved—even in the Governor’s Mansion. Based on her research of the 1968 Florida Constitution and its revisions, Adkins will discuss her book Making Modern Florida: How the Spirit of Reform Shaped a New Constitution (University Press of Florida, 2016).
Adkins presents on Florida Constitution revision throughout the state and consulted on the most recent constitution revision. She has conducted numerous oral history interviews of Florida legal, political and historical figures, is a leader in national legal writing organizations, and is a vice president of the Florida Supreme Court Historical Society. Her next book is a biography of “America’s Lawyer,” Chesterfield Smith. Adkins earned her B.S.J., M.A., and J.D. from the University of Florida.