Brett Alan Barfield is an Associate Professor of Legal Writing and Clinical Legal Education. Professor Barfield was a partner with the international law firm of Holland & Knight in the area of commercial and international litigation, with a strong emphasis on complex commercial disputes. He has represented domestic and international business clients in the areas of international contract and business claims as well as various business torts.
Over the last 15 years, Professor Barfield has also represented more than 70 clients seeking the return of their children under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. He will seek to develop a clinic for STU Law students in this unique and important practice area.
Professor Barfield is a national officer of the Federal Bar Association and is a past president and current board member of the South Florida Chapter of that association. He has been recognized numerous years by Florida Super Lawyers and Florida Trend magazines as a leading business litigation attorney in Florida.
Prior to joining Holland & Knight, Professor Barfield served as a law clerk to the Honorable Edward B. Davis, Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Professor Barfield will employ his extensive litigation experience in teaching Civil Procedure this Fall.
Francoise J. Blanco
Francoise J. Blanco is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Programs and Assistant Director of Student Affairs. He directs and teaches in the Law School’s renowned Tax Clinic, which gives STU Law students the opportunity to work with underserved communities and represent low-income clients involved in tax controversies before the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) and the U.S. Tax Court.
Previously, Professor Blanco advised high net worth individuals and multinational families in the areas of international compliance and tax planning. He also advised clients in the creation, operation, and liquidation of their businesses. In addition, Professor Blanco provided estate planning solutions to families in Europe and Central and South America. Professor Blanco has represented clients before the IRS and the Florida Department of Revenue in their personal and business tax controversies.
Professor Blanco earned his J.D. from STU Law School and an M.B.A. from St. Thomas University School of Business. He also holds an LL.M. in Tax from the University of Florida, Levin College of Law. Professor Blanco was born in Honduras.
Carol Castleberry is an Assistant Professor of Academic Success at St. Thomas University School of Law. Professor Castleberry joined STU Law in October 2016. Prior to joining STU Law, Professor Castleberry spent most of her legal career in the appellate judiciary, having served as Senior Staff Attorney to the Honorable Edward C. Larose at the Second District Court of Appeal, where she handled civil, criminal, and administrative appeals. She also has experience in private practice and working for the Hillsborough County Attorney’s Office. She taught Social Justice as an adjunct professor at the University of South Florida from 2011 to 2013.
Professor Castleberry received her Juris Doctor from Stetson University College of Law, an M.A. in Social Justice from Loyola University Chicago, and an LL.M. and Ph.D. in Intercultural Human Rights from St. Thomas University School of Law. She received her undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University. She is a member of the Florida Bar.
Professor Castleberry teaches Advanced Legal Skills, Bar Prep Skills, and Legal Methods. She also schedules, monitors, and evaluates comprehensive programs and materials for law students and works with individual law students to improve their academic skills.
Todd J. Clark
Todd J. Clark is a Professor of Law at St. Thomas University School of Law. He comes to STU Law from North Carolina Central University School of Law, where he was a tenured Professor of Law and taught Business Associations, Contracts, Corporate Justice, Employment Discrimination, and Hip Hop, Law & Justice. At NCCU, he also served on the ABA Compliance team and was the Director of the Justice in the Practice of Law Certificate Program and the Director of New Initiatives. Before that, Professor Clark was a Lecturer in Law at West Virginia University College of Law, where he taught Legal Writing and Appellate Advocacy.
Professor Clark earned his B.A. in Political Science from Wittenberg University, his M.B.A. from West Virginia University College of Business and Economics, and his J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Following his graduation from law school, he practiced law at the law firm of Steptoe & Johnson.
His scholarship includes a book, CORPORATE JUSTICE (Carolina Academic Press), as well as numerous law review articles and other scholarship on social justice, corporate discretion, and sexual harassment. He is currently working on a casebook on Sports Law.
Professor Clark teaches Contracts, Business Associations, Corporate Justice, and Sports Law, among other courses.
Jeremiah Chin is an Assistant Professor of Law, teaching courses in Civil Procedure and Constitutional Law. He received his J.D. from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Law Journal for Social Justice, graduating with the Pro Bono Service Distinction. He also earned his Ph.D. in Justice Studies from Arizona State University. His dissertation, Marginalized Significance: Race, Science, and the Supreme Court, analyzes the Supreme Court’s use of social science data in affirmative action and fair housing cases. Professor Chin also served as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Center for Indian Education at Arizona State University. There, he co-founded the Critical Legal Preparation Program, dedicated to helping underrepresented students succeed in law school through test-preparation, critical theory, and mindfulness training. He has also taught undergraduate courses on Organized Crime, Introduction to Justice Studies, and Power and the Law.
Professor Chin’s research emphasizes the connections between law and social science through Critical Race Theory, examining uses of social science data in Civil Rights and Federal Indian Law. His recent publications focus on the intersections of race, law, and indigeneity; the school-prison pipeline; and issues of Blackness, American Indians, and Citizenship. He is a member of the Arizona Bar.
Brendan M. Conner is an Assistant Professor of Law, teaching Torts, Constitutional Law, and Appellate Advocacy. Prior to joining STU Law, Professor Conner served as Visiting Professor of Legal Practice at William & Mary Law School, where he taught Legal Research & Writing. Professor Conner has also taught Professional Responsibility at the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law, and supervised upper-level law students as a Clinical Adjunct Professor for the Economic Justice Project clinic at the City University of New York School of Law.
Professor Conner earned his J.D. from City University of New York School of Law and an M.A. in Political Science from the New School for Social Research. After graduating law school, Professor Conner was awarded the Yale Initiative for Public Interest Law Fellowship to serve as an attorney for a community-based runaway and homeless youth organization in New York City. There, he represented young people in a wide range of matters, including eviction, public benefits, criminal defense, and civil rights litigation challenging police misconduct and conditions of confinement affecting transgender and gender non-conforming youth.
Building on this experience, Professor Conner’s current scholarship focuses on contemporary “interlegality,” identifying and explaining emerging patterns of convergence across historically distinct legal subject matter areas such as criminal law, torts, property, and land-use law. Professor Conner has also widely published in interdisciplinary academic journals and national, international, and civil society reports on the subject of U.S. and international legal protections affecting youth in conflict with the law, particularly youth accused of drug- or prostitution-related offenses.
Linh Dai is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Law at St. Thomas University School of Law. Professor Dai was an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice (with an endowed professorship) at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana. She taught Judicial Systems, Court Administration, Corrections, Policy Analysis & Criminal Justice Administration, Leadership Theory, and Social Research Methods, among many other courses. Before that, she was an Instructor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Northern Arizona University, where she was nominated for the Teacher of the Year Award.
Professor Dai earned her Ph.D. from the School of Justice and Social Inquiry at Arizona State University. Her dissertation, A Bridge Over Troubled Waters: Power, Exploitation, and Gender in International Online Matchmaking, is available on ProQuest. During her time at Arizona State, Professor Dai was awarded a Teaching Associateship and numerous other competitive grants.
In addition to her Ph.D., Professor Dai has earned an LL.M. in Law and Government from American University with a concentration in Civil and Constitutional Rights and a specialization in Gender and the Law, a J.D. from Barry University School of Law, an M.P.A. from Hamline University, and a B.A. in Healthcare Administration from Metropolitan State University in Minnesota.
Professor Dai teaches Torts, Criminal Law, and Women and the Law.
Tia Gibbs is an Assistant Professor of Academic Success at St. Thomas University School of Law. Before joining the faculty, Professor Gibbs represented lending institutions throughout the state of Florida in real estate transactions. As a real estate attorney, she worked as a mediation manager, facilitating mediations throughout Florida. Professor Gibbs is also a registered mediator in the state of Alabama, where she had a mediation practice.
Professor Gibbs received her B.A. in Legal Studies from the University of Miami, her Juris Doctor from Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University College of Law, and her Juris Master in Banking Compliance from Florida International University College of Law. She is a licensed member of the Florida Bar.
Professor Gibbs teaches Bar Prep Skills and Legal Methods, among other courses, and coordinates STU Law’s extensive academic success and supplemental bar preparation program.
Nachman Gutowski joins the faculty as an Assistant Professor of Academic Success and Bar Preparation, teaching the third-year required course Bar Prep Skills and other courses. He works with the Academic Success team to mentor law students and to help coordinate STU Law’s extensive bar preparation programs. Previously, Professor Gutowski spent eight years in legal education and the bar exam industry, providing bar preparation and related services to more than a half-dozen law schools in Florida and Puerto Rico and supervising up to 100 law student representatives. He has helped thousands of individual students successfully prepare for the bar exam. Professor Gutowski has passed multiple law licensing exams, including those in Florida and Washington, D.C., and scored high enough on the Uniform Bar Exam to meet the required score for nearly three dozen jurisdictions.
Professor Gutowski earned his J.D. at the University of Miami School of Law, where he was the recipient of numerous prestigious academic scholarships and fellowships and earned membership in the Society of Bar and Gavel Honors Organization. At the same time, he earned a Master of Music degree at the University of Miami Frost School of Music, focused on Music Business and Entertainment Industries.
Jacob Hurst is the Director of the STU Law Library and Assistant Professor of Law Librarianship and Technology. Professor Hurst oversees the Law Library’s staff of librarians and support specialists in providing resources and facilities to the Law School’s students, alumni, and faculty. Professor Hurst was appointed Director of the Law Library in January 2020 after serving there more than eight years in various public services roles. He teaches courses focused on legal research and provides advice and guidance to students completing research papers. Professor Hurst has taught advanced legal research courses at STU Law and at Florida International University College of Law and has lectured in numerous other courses. Professor Hurst’s research interests include environmental law, election law, and Constitutional Law issues, particularly those where governmental powers are at issue.
Professor Hurst obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree from The University of Utah, graduated cum laude from St. Thomas University School of Law, and received a Master of Library and Information Sciences degree from the University of South Florida, graduating magna cum laude. While a law student at STU Law, Professor Hurst was an editor of the St. Thomas Law Review, a member of the student government, and an intern with the Honorable Judge Adalberto Jordan at the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida and the Honorable Justice James E.C. Perry at the Florida Supreme Court.
Prior to attending law school, Professor Hurst was employed in the banking industry in his native Utah. He was active in several civic and professional organizations including the Rotary, and participated in many political campaigns and volunteered with organizations focused largely on environmental issues supporting his love of the rural areas and National Parks in his native Utah and the American west. Jacob is an avid camper, hiker, backpacker, and river-rafter, and is slowly visiting all U.S. National Parks.
Maria Florencia Cornu Laport
Maria Florencia Cornu Laport is an Assistant Professor of Academic Success and Bar Preparation, teaching Bar Prep Skills and other courses. Professor Cornu Laport thereby continues the work she began as a student at STU Law, serving as an Academic Success Program Fellow to mentor junior law students.
Prior to law school, Professor Cornu Laport practiced law in Montevideo, Uruguay, specializing in consumer rights and the right to access medical treatment on constitutional grounds. Also in Montevideo, she served as a Law Clerk to the late Justice Hipolito Rodriguez Caorsi at the Supreme Court of Justice, lectured as a Professor Candidate in Civil Law Torts and Contracts at Universidad De La Republica School of Law, and was a member of interdisciplinary academic consumer and patients’ rights organizations. Professor Cornu Laport has authored and co-authored publications on consumer and patients’ rights, access to health care as a human right, and judicial ethics.
In 2016, she earned an LL.M. in Intercultural Human Rights at STU Law, then continued to earn her J.D. there in 2020. At STU Law, Professor Cornu Laport found the ideal environment for developing her biggest passions: passion for law education as a mechanism of personal development for students, and passion for the legal profession conceived as a tool to protect the vulnerable, to serve the underserved, and to work for social justice. As a law student, she participated in the Immigration Law Students Association Detention Projects led by Professor Lauren Gilbert, representing immigrants at the Karnes Detention Center in Texas, and was a PACT Fellow (People Acting for Community Together).
Terry Smith joined St. Thomas University School of Law in the Spring 2020 semester as a Visiting Professor of Law teaching Constitutional Law and Election Law. Tragically, he passed away at the end of that semester.
Professor Smith was a nationally recognized election law scholar as well as an outspoken and courageous champion of civil rights. His scholarship forged a compelling intersection between election law and critical race theory and is highly regarded in the academy. Professor Smith published numerous articles in this area as well as two critically acclaimed books, WHITELASH: UNMASKING WHITE GRIEVANCE AT THE BALLOT BOX and BARACK OBAMA, POST RACIALISM, AND THE NEW POLITICS OF TRIANGULATION.
Professor Smith’s role as a mentor in the academy was equally impressive. He was instrumental in establishing the John Mercer Langston Scholars Writing Workshop, a program that centered on creating a safe and encouraging environment to assist black male professors in the legal academy. He helped numerous black male and female law professors and helped to improve diversity within the academy.
Professor Smith was also a highly respected and well-regarded classroom teacher and colleague. His students regularly sang his praises and his colleagues at STU Law held him in high esteem. Upon hearing about Terry’s untimely death, his students immediately shared their heartfelt condolences with the law school’s administration and expressed the honor they received by participating in his classes.
Professor Smith is deeply missed, but his life accomplishments will continue to inspire those he touched to maintain his fight.
Donald F. Tibbs
Donald F. Tibbs is a Professor of Law at St. Thomas University School of Law. Professor Tibbs comes to STU Law from Drexel University School of Law, where he was a tenured Professor of Law and taught Criminal Procedure, Criminal Law, and Critical Race Theory, among other courses. While at Drexel, he was twice awarded the Dean Jennifer L. Rosato Excellence in the Classroom Award.
Prior to his tenure at Drexel, Professor Tibbs was an Assistant Professor of Law and Executive Director of the Institute for Civil Rights and Justice at Southern University Law Center. He has also taught at the undergraduate level at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte (Criminal Justice) and Arizona State University (African American Studies).
Professor Tibbs earned his B.A. in Criminal Justice from Georgia State University, his J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, his Ph.D. from the School of Justice Studies at Arizona State University, and his LL.M. from University of Wisconsin Law School.
His publications include a book, HIP HOP AND THE LAW, and numerous law review articles and other scholarship focusing on criminal procedure, race and the law, civil rights law, incarceration, and legal history. He has given a multitude of media appearances (including interviews on CBS News, Fox News, and Bill O’Reilly and the O’Reilly Factor), academic presentations, and keynote addresses on his areas of expertise across the country.
Professor Tibbs teaches Criminal Procedure, Criminal Law, and Race and the Law, among other courses.
Claire Wright joins the faculty as a Visiting Associate Professor of Law, teaching Wills and Trusts, Property, and Property Focus for the Bar. Professor Wright’s scholarly writings focus on property, environmental, international, international trade, and domestic violence law. Following her graduation from law school, Professor Wright clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, primarily for then-Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg. In 2000, Professor Wright was elected a member of the American Law Institute (“ALI”), where she has worked primarily on the ALI’s World Trade Organization (“WTO”) Project.
Professor Wright has been a visiting scholar twice at the WTO in Geneva, Switzerland and once at the Chinese Rule of Law Institute in Hangzhou, China. She has also has taught international law classes at the University of Nice Law School, in Nice, France, and at Zhejiang University (Guanghua) College of Law in Hangzhou, China.
Professor Wright taught for sixteen years at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, in San Diego, California, where she was awarded tenure in 2010 and received numerous awards for her teaching. She established two innovative clinical programs, the Domestic Violence Project, which provided pro bono legal assistance to domestic violence victims, and the Trade Monitor Institute, which helped developing countries assert their rights in the WTO.
Prior to commencing full-time teaching at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, Professor Wright taught international trade law at Stanford Law School and the University of California, San Diego. She also was a full partner at the international law firm Baker McKenzie, where she practiced property and international trade law for a number of years, and a full partner and the Director of the WTO Center at the consulting firm of Ernst & Young LLP.