UWF grads join ‘Careers in Law Panel’

By Rachel Witbracht
Staff Writer

The University of West Florida’s legal studies department held a Careers in Law panel, which consisted of three local judges, a local attorney and a judicial assistant, during which the group offered advice to undergraduate students interested in going to law school or entering the legal field.

Charlie Penrod, a lecturer from the legal studies department, organized the event for the third consecutive year. He said that the event is to show students that lawyers and judges are real people, just like us.

Two of the judges, Jennie Kinsey and Darlene Dickey, are UWF alumna. They credit many of their successes to their time at the university. The judges both serve in the First Judicial Circuit Court of Florida in Escambia County.

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Judge Kinsey was a theater and criminal justice major during her years at UWF. Both of her parents were lawyers, but she said that she was convinced that was going to Los Angeles.  Instead of pursuing her career in the performing arts, Kinsey went to Florida State University College of Law and has been serving as a county judge since 2014.

Judge Dickey originally entered UWF as an accounting major, until she and a friend posed as undercover prostitutes for the police department. After that experience, she switched her major to criminal justice, even though she already had more than two years of accounting classes under her belt.

She served as a law enforcement officer, both locally and with the UWF police department, before attending FSU College of Law. Dickey was appointed as a county judge by Gov. Rick Scott in 2015.

Both Kinsey and Dickey took classes at UWF that are still being offered to legal studies students. Legal research and writing, which the two mentioned to be one of their favorites, is still being taught by the same instructor today. They said they specifically remember that class immensely contributing to their law school success.

Kinsey says that UWF got her to where she is today, and she is thankful that the classes she took helped ease the difficulty of law school.