SFPA is proud to announce the winners of its 2017 Student Scholarship Essay Contest.  The quality of this years' submissions was impressive -- a good indicator of what our local colleges are producing.  Good luck to all those that participated.  

Congratulations to our winners:

First Place - Lenora Gray, $1000.00 (The Law Center at Miami Dade College, Paralegal Studies Program)

Second Place - Jessica Mendez, $500.00 (The Law Center at Miami Dade College, Paralegal Studies Program)



The South Florida Paralegal Association (SFPA) is accepting entries for its annual student scholarship: first prize is $1,000.00 and second prize is $500.00.  You must be currently enrolled in a 2017/2018 Paralegal/Legal Studies Program to participate.  Award checks will be made payable to your school for your benefit.  Each winner will also receive a free, one-year SFPA student membership plus a special invitation to our holiday party to be personally presented with the award.

The deadline for submission is Sunday, December 3, 2017 by midnight.  Submit via email to  You should receive a confirmation email within 24 hours.  Please refer to “General Instructions” for specific details.

General Instruction

  • Entry should not be longer than three pages maximum.  Please, no handwritten submissions. 
  • You must submit your entry as an attachment to an email with subject line: SFPA 2017 Scholarship Entry.  Email to:
  • The attachment must not contain any personal identifying information; it must simply be your entry.  On your essay, refer to yourself as Paralegal or some generic variation thereof.
  • In the body of the email and not on your attached entry, please be sure to include the following:
  1. Your full name, mailing address, phone number, and email address;
  2. Name of program and school of enrollment; and   
  3. Name of program director or your advisor with best contact phone number and email address.


Florida has recently enacted legislation authorizing the use of medical marijuana.

This morning, your client, Sybil Merrill (“Merrill”) of Orlando, Florida, was terminated by her employer, Mycone Industries (“Mycone”), also of Orlando, Florida, for not passing a surprise workplace drug screen; Merrill tested positive for marijuana in her urine.  The drug screen and termination of Merrill were done in accordance and compliance with Mycone’s employee policy manuals. 

The bulk of Mycone’s revenues come from federal government contracts.  Mycone’s management is concerned that the federal government may stop hiring Mycone if the federal government becomes aware that Mycone employs known marijuana users.

Merrill suffers from Crohn’s disease and claims to be properly authorized to use marijuana in Florida.  While Merrill has a prescription for medical marijuana, she admits on occasion, in her words, “to smoking marijuana the old-fashioned way”.  She also admits to having smoked marijuana a few times off to the side of the parking lot of Mycone’s offices when the Crohn’s related pain has flared up while at work.

Please write a memo that contains the following:

  1. An answer to the questions: based on these preliminary facts provided, can Merrill be terminated for testing positive for marijuana? Can Merrill be terminated for smoking marijuana on work premises?
  2. Your answer should encompass a discussion of applicable law [hint: in the minimum you should be citing the Florida Constitution and the Florida Statutes].  Provide a basic summary of what is currently legal in Florida regarding medical marijuana.
  3. See “Additional Information” below for further criteria.

Additional Information

  • You should cite Florida authorities in accordance with Fla. R. App. P. 9.800. [Look it up.  If you are unaware of this rule, you just learned something useful.]
  • There are many styles for a memo.  You could you use any format as long as it reflects an organized format.
  • Please do not advocate a position for or against the use of medical marijuana.

Remember, please submit your memo via email with subject line “SFPA 2017 Scholarship Entry” to  Deadline is Sunday, Dec 3, 2017 at midnight.  Include your identification information in your email, but not on your memo. Winners will be announced by December 8.

Please contact Arturo Rodriguez, CP, at 305-579-7859 or with any questions

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