The Center for Law and Policy is housed in the Department of Legal Studies in the College of Health and Public Affairs at the University of Central Florida. The center was established in August 2012.


The Center for Law and Policy will become renown for the development, sharing and promotion of innovative ideas that advance the legal field and benefit the broader community. The center will maintain flexibility in content but have two broad themes: partnerships and multiple audiences.

The center will provide service to the community through partnerships. This service
will motivate social change while simultaneously furthering UCF’s goals of being America’s leading partnership university and achieving prominence in key programs of research and community outreach. Center and department faculty members will collaborate with legal practitioners on joint research orchestrated by the center.

Media and the public will access timely and relevant legal and policy information through panel discussions, seminars and a dedicated website.



Cynthia Schmidt, J.D., (B.A., legal studies, ’87) is the founding director of the center. She is an attorney and educator with 26 years’ experience practicing and teaching law and motivating social change.

Cynthia Schmidt, J.D.
Office: HPA I – Suite 343
Phone: 407-823-1670

Project Highlights

Center Director Cynthia Schmidt is a leader of a Think Tank and a participant in a second.

  • Dr. Schmidt leads a Think Tank based out of the Callahan Center, in Parramore.  The diverse group of participants have met every few weeks since November, 2014 discussing race, implicit bias, social justice and police practices.  They are currently developing a project called “Flipping the Panel.”
  • At the request of City Commissioner Regina Hill, Dr. Schmidt serves on the Black on Black Crime Task Force. Dr. Schmidt co-chairs the Poverty Subcommittee.  The Task Force announced their recommendations to the community during February and March of 2015. The Task Force will work for the balance of the Commissioner’s term, ie. three more years.

For more information about Commissioner Hill’s Think Tank or Dr. Schmidt’s work on the poverty subcommittee, click here

Blue Ribbon Panel Facilitation
Creating a Dialog Between a City’s Police Department and the Community

After the death of Trayvon Martin, center Director Cynthia Schmidt facilitated meetings of a Blue Ribbon Panel of community stakeholders for the city of Sanford, Fla., and authored a report with their recommendations on how the Sanford Police Department could improve relations with community members. By January 2014, 80 percent of the recommendations were implemented.For a copy of the full Blue Ribbon Panel report, click here

Sanford Blue Ribbon Panel Twenty Month Progress Report

Regional Moot Court Tournament Coordination
Hosting of a Major Undergraduate Competition with Support from the Legal Community

Hundreds of students and professionals gathered Nov. 15-16, 2014, at UCF to participate in the annual South Atlantic Regional Moot Court Tournament, hosted by the Department of Legal Studies. Center Director Cynthia Schmidt coordinated the event, which included 100 students from 12 universities and colleges and 110 local attorneys and judges who volunteered as judges.

To view other projects involving Cynthia Schmidt and the Center for Law and Policy, view our events calendar.

Upcoming Events

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Health Care Community Conversation

Nine years after its first Health Care Community Conver...

13th Annual State of Health Care Symposium

The College of Health and Public Affairs invites health...

Criminal Justice Lecture Featuring Rod Brunson, Ph.D.

The College of Health and Public Affairs, along with th...

Public Service Career Showcase

The UCF School of Public Administration and UCF Career ...

Distinguished Speaker Series

The Center for Law and Policy brings distinguished speakers to the campus to discuss contemporary issues in law in the United States and around the world. See the Events links (above) to learn more.


Previous distinguished speakers include:

  • Professor Peter Zablotksy, Touro Law Center
  • Professor Larry Birdsong, Barry University School of Law
  • Jeff Ashton, State Attorney, Ninth Circuit
  • Federal District Judge Svetlana Zinovieva, Russia
  • Lawrence Walters, Esq., Walters Law Group

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