Britney Deas: University of Florida Appoints Its First Black Woman Chief Justice


In a historic move, the University of Florida (UF) Supreme Court has appointed Britney Deas as its first Black woman chief justice.

At just 25 years old, Deas, a Haitian UF Levin College of Law student, has shattered barriers and made waves in her career path, marking a significant milestone for representation and diversity within the university’s legal system.

Deas, a native Floridian who hails from Miami and currently resides in Gainesville, received the groundbreaking news via email, sparking a moment of joy and accomplishment. The announcement, made on January 31, coincided with the onset of Black History Month, adding a deeper layer of significance to her achievement.

Reflecting on the importance of Black history and representation, Deas emphasized that her appointment serves as a testament to the enduring legacy of African Americans and their contributions to American society. “Black history is American history,” she remarked, underscoring the need for ongoing recognition and celebration of Black achievements.

Having joined the UF Supreme Court as an associate justice in Spring 2023, Deas set her sights on the role of chief justice, a goal she realized in a remarkably short period. Now entrusted with new responsibilities, she is committed to upholding the principles of justice and fairness while serving as a beacon of inspiration for future generations.

Prior to her current position, Deas made history at the University of South Florida (USF) as the first Black woman to serve as student body president, breaking down barriers and paving the way for increased representation in student leadership roles. Her journey from USF to UF law school reflects her unwavering dedication to effecting positive change and championing diversity.

As chief justice, Deas oversees hearings, resolves disputes, and ensures the integrity of the judicial process within the university’s legal framework. Her vision for her term includes initiatives aimed at fostering inclusivity, such as creating resources for undergraduate students interested in law school and hosting educational panels featuring legal experts.

Deas’s milestone achievement resonates deeply with her supporters and peers, who recognize the transformative impact of her leadership. Joanna Auchettl, an adviser at Levin College of Law, commended Deas for her accomplishments, noting their significance for both Deas and the institution as a whole.

Despite the challenges she has faced as a Black woman navigating predominantly white spaces, Deas remains undeterred, drawing inspiration from the strong women who preceded her. Her journey is a testament to resilience, determination, and the power of representation to inspire change.

For Deas, her appointment as chief justice is not just a personal triumph but a symbol of hope and progress for marginalized communities everywhere. As she continues to break down barriers and challenge stereotypes, she remains committed to uplifting others and leaving a lasting legacy of inclusion and excellence.

As she embarks on her tenure as chief justice, Britney Deas stands as a shining example of the transformative impact of diversity and representation in academia and beyond.