R. Alexander Acosta became the second dean of the College of Law at Florida International University in 2009. A native of Miami and first-generation lawyer, Dean Acosta earned his undergraduate degree from Harvard College and his law degree from Harvard Law School. After serving as law clerk to Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., then a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Dean Acosta practiced law at the firm of Kirkland & Ellis and taught law at the George Mason School of Law.
Dean Acosta has served in three presidentially-appointed, senate-confirmed positions. He was a member of the National Labor Relations Board, where he participated in or authored more than 125 opinions. He went on to be the first Hispanic to hold the rank of Assistant Attorney General. Most recently, Dean Acosta served as the U.S. Attorney for Southern District of Florida, and was the longest serving U.S. Attorney in the District since the 1970s.
While Dean Acosta served as U.S. Attorney, the Southern District prosecuted a number of high-profile defendants, including Jack Abramoff for fraud, Jose Padilla for terrorism, Charles “Chuckie” Taylor Jr. for torture, (the first torture case of its kind in the U.S.), and the Cali Cartel founders Miguel and Gilberto Rodriquez-Orejuela for the importation of 200,000 kilos of cocaine, which resulted in a $2.1 billion forfeiture. The District also targeted white collar crime, prosecuting several bank-related cases, including one against Swiss Bank UBS. The case resulted in UBS paying $780 million in fines, and for the first time in history, the bank provided the United States with the names of individuals who were using secret Swiss bank accounts to avoid U.S. taxes. Under Dean Acosta’s leadership, the District also focused on health care fraud and because the top district in the nation in health care fraud prosecution, charged more than 700 individuals responsible for more than $2 billion in fraud.
Dean Acosta has twice been named one of the nation’s 50 most influential Hispanics by Hispanic Business Magazine. He was named to the list of 100 most influential individuals in business ethics in 2008. He serves on the Florida Innocence Commission, on the Florida Supreme Court’s Commission on Professionalism, on the American Bar Association’s Commission for Hispanic Rights and Responsibilities, and on the American Bar Association’s Council for Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Education Pipeline.
Miami Lawyers Chapter
October 10, 2012