TheLawInsider.com recently sat down with Devang Desai, the new President for the University of Miami Law Alumni Association to speak with him about the state of the legal profession and his goals as LAA president. A partner with Gaebe, Mullen, Antonelli & DiMatteo, Devang graduated from the University of Miami School of Law in 2003. He concentrates his practice in the areas of insurance defense, products liability, transactional and commercial litigation, and bad faith consultation and litigation.
What are a few of your big goals as the new president of the law alumni association for the University of Miami?
First and foremost my goal is to continue to increase awareness of the LAA and encourage law graduates to support the mission of the Law School. We want to explore ways to increase engagement for our younger alumni in particular. And part of that will be to support our current students and create mentor opportunities between alumni and students. It will also be important for the LAA to be involved in the law school’s strategy to increase post graduate job placement as alumni continue to hire UM grads in large numbers.
As a partner at Gaebe Mullen, how do you budget your time so you can still be involved with organizations like LAA?
Every attorney has to juggle responsibilities and it’s our job to work as efficiently and effectively as possible in the representation of our clients. At Gaebe Mullen, we have a great infrastructure to support and service our clients. I’ve also learned when to say no to new work to keep my existing client load from getting out of control. Of course, with commitments like LAA, it often means that I have to come back to the office on weekends to stay on top of everything. But that comes with the territory. And since the LAA is made up of some of the best and hardest working attorneys in South Florida, we all
understand that work comes first and not every LAA meeting or event can be attended. As with all things, it’s about striking the right balance. It’s a lot of work but I’m very thankful to be so involved in
the legal community in Miami.
Would you encourage younger attorneys to get involved in LAA or other organizations?
Absolutely! It is always great to be involved and to give back. Frankly, I think it is expected of us to give back since we have received so much (whether it is from our alma mater or our communities). I believe we have an obligation to work on behalf of the next generation in this life and in doing so, we will truly learn more about ourselves and each other. As has been said, one of the best ways to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.
I am also actively involved in the Boy Scouts of America, the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity, the University of Miami Alumni Association and other legal related organizations (FDLA and DRI).
What are the challenges facing law alumni associations in a down economy– especially considering the shortage of new jobs for recent law grads?
a. Job placement and raising funds for scholarships to keep tuition as low as possible for incoming students and our current students.
b. Law associations and law schools need to think creatively and maintain an open dialogue with prospective students, current students and alumni in these economically uncertain times. We need to take care of our own and ensure that students receive the best law school education and opportunities available, while trying to manage and minimize the financial impact our students and recent
alumni have to saddle themselves with.
c. Continue to only recruit and admit the best, brightest and most talented students; while maintaining the highest of academic and ethical standards.
d. Continue to highlight and showcase our alums and faculty who continue to do amazing work and defy odds.