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FSU alum appointed to Florida Supreme Court

Gov. Rick Scott appoints FSU law school alumnus Alan Lawson ('87) to the Florida Supreme Court at a news conference Dec. 16, 2016. (Credit: State of Florida)
Gov. Rick Scott appoints FSU law school alumnus Alan Lawson ('87) to the Florida Supreme Court at a news conference Dec. 16, 2016. (Credit: State of Florida)

A Florida State University College of Law alumnus — Alan Lawson — has been appointed as the 86th Justice to the Florida Supreme Court.

Florida State is now the only university with two law school graduates on the Florida Supreme Court. Lawson (’87) joins fellow alumnus Justice Ricky Polston (’86) on the court.

“Alan Lawson is a distinguished alumnus of the FSU College of Law, and his success reflects well on the college and the entire university,” said FSU President Thrasher. “Justice Lawson is eminently qualified for this position. He has the education and experience to serve the State of Florida and its citizens with honor, and we wish him all the best.”

Erin O’Hara O’Connor, dean of the FSU College of Law, also offered her congratulations.

“We are so very proud of Justice Lawson’s accomplishment,” O’Connor said. “We look forward to Justice Lawson returning to Tallahassee and sitting just one block from the College of Law. Today’s appointment means that FSU now has two law graduates sitting on the state’s highest court, which is more than any other law school.”

Gov. Rick Scott announced Lawson’s appointment Friday. He will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice James E.C. Perry. Prior to this appointment, Lawson served as the Chief Judge of Florida’s 5th District Court of Appeal. It is Scott’s first appointment to the Florida Supreme Court and is effective Dec. 31, 2016.

“I am incredibly honored today to appoint Alan Lawson as the 86th Justice to the Florida Supreme Court,” Scott said. “Justice Lawson has devoted the past 20 years of his life to serving the State of Florida and I am confident he will serve the Florida Supreme Court with the utmost honor, integrity and humility. Throughout his career, Justice Lawson has focused on defending the constitution, strictly adhering to the rule of law and not legislating from the bench.”

“Justice Lawson has gained incredible experience on issues ranging from civil law to appellate cases to adult drug court. His breadth of experience and knowledge of our state’s judicial system is an asset that will undoubtedly benefit Florida’s highest court.”

Justice Alan Lawson said, “I am humbled and honored today to be appointed as the 86th Justice to the Florida Supreme Court and would like to thank Governor Scott for his leadership and faith in me to serve on our state’s highest court. I will bring to the bench the respect, integrity, and experience upon which I have built my career. I look forward to working with my fellow associates on the Court to uphold the Constitution of the State of Florida and protect the future of our great state.”

After graduating from the Florida State University College of Law, Lawson worked in the private sector before becoming the Assistant County Attorney for the Orange County Attorney’s Office in 1997. In 2002, Lawson was appointed to a circuit judgeship in the Ninth Judicial Circuit by Governor Jeb Bush where he presided until being appointed to a district judgeship in the Fifth District Court of Appeal by Governor Bush in 2005. Lawson has been retained in his position twice by the electorate and in 2015, was elected Chief Judge of the Fifth District Court of Appeal.