Not many people know, but Judge Bernard Bober of the Broward County Circuit Court is of Hispanic descent. His family emigrated from Cuba in 1972 during the Castro regime. He has a number of family members who keep his Cuban/Hispanic traditions as alive and true as when they first came to the United States. This makes Judge Bober cherish and take pride in his Cuban heritage.
Judge Bober grew up in Broward County and received his undergraduate degree in Public Administration from Florida Atlantic University. Thereafter, Judge Bober attended Tulane University School of Law. Judge Bober was a practicing litigator in Broward County before being elected in 2008 to serve as a Circuit Court Judge for the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit. Currently, Judge Bober presides over one of two criminal divisions that handle habitual criminal offenders and those who are prison releasee reoffenders. Judge Bober’s advice for anyone who comes in his courtroom is to be prepared. Throughout his career, he has encouraged Hispanic high school students, college students, law school students, and attorneys to be proactive within their Hispanic organizations and to bring awareness to the issues impacting their communities.
During this election month, Judge Bober asks everyone to consider the impact of their vote and how it will help shape their future, not only for national elections, but for elections that impact our local communities as well. It was a privilege to have the opportunity to interview Judge Bober, who has been selected as the Broward County Hispanic Bar Association Judge of the Month for November 2020. If anyone wants to see a courtroom with integrity, fairness, fascinating criminal law issues, and the best legal minds at work, we encourage them to observe his courtroom (after the pandemic is over).
Judge Bober is a wonderful addition to the bench, to the Hispanic community and to Broward County. We are pleased to have him representing the Hispanic community and we are honored to name him as our Judge of the Month this November.
by Carla Lowry, Director
Michelle Denis started her legal career in civil litigation. However, she dreamed of becoming a teacher when she was younger and found her true calling in academia. She currently serves as the Associate Director of Recruiting for the Office of Career and Professional Development at the University of Florida Levin College of Law (UF Law), and is an adjunct professor at Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law (NSU Law). Prior to joining UF Law, she served as an Assistant Director for the Office of Career Services and Professional Development at NSU Law and was subsequently promoted to Associate Director.
Michelle was born in New Jersey and grew up in South Florida. Her father is from Puerto Rico, and her mother is a naturalized U.S. citizen from Ecuador. Both her parents were extraordinarily hard working. Her mother worked in retail; her father was a plumber. At times, they worked two jobs. Michelle and her sister became first generation college students, and Michelle worked full time during college to pay for her education at Florida Atlantic University.
Law school was not something Michelle really considered before she became close to one of her mentors; an optometrist she worked with for seven years. While working together, Michelle’s mentor was impressed by Michelle’s work ethic and ability to think critically. These were qualities her mentor saw in her own husband, who happened to be a lawyer. She encouraged Michelle to become a lawyer, and as such, Michelle became the first in her family to attend law school.
As most (if not all) lawyers can relate, law school presented academic challenges Michelle never faced before. On top of that, Michelle ended a serious relationship on the eve of final exams in her first year at NSU Law. This threw a wrench in her ability to focus and study and caused her to be held back. However, failure was not an option for her, and this experience gave her the opportunity to refine her finest quality–perseverance. Michelle re-applied to the school and was accepted. This time she went above and beyond to put in the effort and excel. She ended up receiving 5 book awards, working as a TA, serving as a bilingual editor, and graduating in the top 8% of her class. Michelle credits the successes she has had in her career to the perseverance she learned to wield during law school.
Michelle is happily married to her law school sweetheart, Geovanni J. Denis, Esq., and recently became a working parent. She juggles many responsibilities but makes it a point to dedicate herself to both her personal life and her career. Her diverse background and life experiences have helped her connect with the students she advises. Michelle especially enjoys encouraging students to create their own paths, and to use aspects of their culture, such as the ability to speak other languages, to their advantage. Michelle recognizes that students tend to focus on school and exams, and not the real world. Her goal is to help students find their way so that they can have rewarding and fulfilling careers.
The Broward County Hispanic Bar Association is proud to have Michelle Denis as one of its members!
by Karina Rodrigues, President