Florida Circuit Court Judge John F. Lakin did more than just attend Massachusetts School of Law when it first opened its doors. He named it as well.
“I was one of the original Commonwealth School of Law students who transferred to Massachusetts School of Law in 1988,” Lakin, who was elected in 2012 to the 12th Judicial Circuit Court for Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto Counties, said in a release.
“This group was made up of a dynamic group of individuals, driven to become lawyers, against big odds. I can recall meeting with Dean Velvel, Diane Sullivan, Dick Ahern, Al Zappala and others to discuss the process. I suggested changing the name of the school to Massachusetts School of Law, and to my amazement, everyone agreed on the name.”
Lakin used his degree as a springboard to a legal career that includes a number of notable “firsts,” such as becoming the first MSL graduate to become a licensed lawyer in Florida and Washington, D.C.; the first to be voted a Florida “Super Lawyer” by his peers and now the first Circuit Court Judge in Florida.
These achievements also gained him a spot as the school’s keynote speaker at its commencement ceremonies, which are being held Friday, May 31, in the Collins Center, 80 Shawsheen Road, Andover.
Lakin started his legal career in Boston in 1990, working for a Boston-area criminal defense firm.
Thereafter, Lakin was with the Andover law firm of Broadhurst, Lakin and Lakin, where he was partners with his brother, Kenneth A. Lakin, and then state Rep. Arthur Broadhurst until 2000.
In 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010, Lakin was selected as one of the Florida Super Lawyers. Only 5 percent of the attorneys in the state of Florida are selected for inclusion.
Lakin has appeared as a guest on Court-TV (now TruTv), CNN Headline News and MSNBC as a legal analyst for criminal trials. He has been interviewed on BBC international radio regarding the American legal system.
He is also a frequent lecturer for numerous organizations, including the American Bar Association.
He credits his Massachusetts School of Law education, along with his practical experience, as the keys to his legal success.
“The talented professors at MSL provided practical experience, excellent education and a passion for teaching, which combined to create a valuable learning environment,” he said. “The experience I gained from the lawyers, combined with the first-rate legal education and practical hands-on experience, made for my easy transition into the legal world.”