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Press Release for Thursday, September 4, 2014

CNN Legal Analyst and Lawyer Discusses Race and Justice at UNF

Mark O’Mara, a CNN legal analyst and attorney who led the high-profile defense of George Zimmerman, will discuss “Race and Justice” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 2, at the Adam W. Herbert University Center, Building 43, Banquet Hall, on the UNF campus.

O’Mara has been a fixture in the Central Florida legal community since 1983. While he started his career as a prosecutor for the State Attorney’s office in Seminole County, he quickly crossed to the other side of the courtroom and has served as a defense attorney ever since.

After leading the George Zimmerman defense, O’Mara received acclaim for his even-handed management of the controversial case. His on-camera experience during the trial won him a spot as a CNN legal analyst. Since the verdict, he has decided to use his voice to contribute to the national conversation about race, guns, self-defense, media and the criminal justice system and speaks frequently on these topics.

In partnership with Dr. JeffriAnne Wilder, UNF associate professor of sociology and race expert, O’Mara is promoting a venture called the TalkingRace Project. The TalkingRace Project asks people from all walks of life to answer four simple questions: What year were your born?, Where were you raised?, How do you self-identify in regards to race? and What is your first personal memory where you had a significant encounter with racism? The answers will be part of a sociological study designed to find ways to facilitate a constructive conversation about race in America.

O’Mara is one of the very few lawyers in Florida who is board certified in criminal trial law as well as marital and family law. He is also certified in collaborative law and is a Supreme Court-certified family mediator and circuit civil mediator. He’s practiced in both state and federal courts throughout the southeast and has co-counseled on matters throughout the nation. As a trial consultant, O’Mara helps other lawyers perform at their peak in trials with complicated legal issues and intense media scrutiny.

He started a non-profit organization, Justice Outreach, designed to identify and fix problems with the justice system. He is an advocate for change in state and national laws that lead to the over-prosecution of American citizens, whether it be by unbridled prosecutors or inappropriately applied minimum mandatory sentencing schemes.

O’Mara earned his Juris Doctor from Florida State University College of Law in 1982 and received his undergraduate degree from the University of Central Florida in 1979. He has taught at the University of Central Florida and Harvard Law School and numerous seminars for various organizations and programs, including the criminal law section of the Florida Bar, Central Florida Family Law American Inn of Court, the Florida Homicide Investigators Association, to name a few. O’Mara is Martindale-Hubbell A.V. Preeminent rated and served as president of both the Seminole County Bar Association and the Central Florida Family Law American Inn of Court.

This Distinguished Voices Lecture is co-hosted by UNF, the Commission on Diversity and Inclusion as well as the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work. The event is free and open to the public; however, an e-ticket is required. To obtain an e-ticket, visit or call (904) 620-2117.

UNF, a nationally ranked university located on an environmentally beautiful campus, offers students who are dedicated to enriching the lives of others the opportunity to build their own futures -rounded education.