Founded in 1974 in Miami metropolitan area, the Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law (Nova Law) received accreditation from the American Bar Association in 1975. The law school is named for Florida attorney Shepard Broad who founded the Miami law firm Broad and Cassel in 1946. After his successful legal career, Broad became a philanthropist. Through his generous donations of money and leadership, he helped found the law school. The school’s main building is named for another benefactor, Leo Godwin Sr., who founded the GEICO insurance company. Today, Nova Law offers multiple degrees and graduates over 200 Juris Doctor students every year.
The Juris Doctor degree from Nova Law may be earned through either a full or part-time curriculum. Additionally, there is an accelerated option for foreign attorneys who have already earned their law degree from an international law school. Students may also commence their studies in either the fall or spring semester. Regardless of the program (or starting semester), all J.D. students complete the same first-year curriculum that includes a mixture of traditional, core courses and practical, skill-based lessons. The first-year program includes all six of the fundamental courses of American legal education: civil procedure, constitutional law, contracts, criminal law, property, and torts. Students take a two-semester course covering legal research and writing as well as a unique, non-credit course covering legal skills and professionalism.
After completing the first-year program, full and part-time students must complete additional required courses as they also choose elective to meet their professional goals. The required courses include business entities, criminal procedure, the second semester of constitutional law, evidence, and professional responsibility. Nova Law also requires students to complete either a course in family law or wills and trusts as part of a menu requirement. Prior to graduation, students also complete a major writing requirement, six hours of experiential learning credits, and a course covering either the Florida Bar Exam or the Multi-state Bar Exam.
In selecting their elective courses, Nova Law has curricula for over a dozen areas of specializations. These curricula suggest core offerings, advanced courses, and related studies to held prepare students for various professional practices. Additionally, Nova Law offers three formal concentrations in health law, international law, and intellectual property, technology, and cybersecurity law. Concentrations appear on students’ transcripts and establish that they have completed a rigorous set of courses designed to prepare them for complex areas of the law.
Foreign-trained attorneys complete 60 hours of coursework (as opposed to the standard 90 hours) over the course of two or three years. The first and second-year required courses remain the same. The sixty hours of required courses may be completed in either two or three years.
All students must also complete 30 hours of service work prior to graduation.
Nova Law offers a number of additional degree programs targeted at lawyers, non-lawyers, and paralegals. The law school offers a flexible Master of Laws (LL.M) program that can be completed online, in-residence or through a hybrid approach. The LL.M trains U.S. or foreign law school graduates in one of five practice areas: intellectual property, cybersecurity, and technology law; business and entrepreneurial counseling; health law; international law; and, litigation and dispute resolution. All programs require 30 hours of coursework that may be completed in one full-time year or in two part-time years. The program in intellectual property, cybersecurity, and technology is offered completely online while all other programs require some (or all) classes to be completed on campus.
Nova Law also offers a Master of Science in Law degree that is available through a completely online program. The program is designed for working professionals and does not require a GRE or LSAT score for admission. Students complete 30 hours of online coursework over the course of two years in one of four subject areas: education law, employment law, health law, or law and policy. These subjects represent professional careers where law often overlaps with other careers making the M.S.L. degree an excellent option for professionals in these areas.
Nova Law also offers a complete, four-year paralegal program that awards students a Bachelors of Science in Paralegal studies. Students who have already earned their undergraduate degree may opt instead for a post-baccalaureate certification in paralegal studies. Both programs prepare graduates for a career as a paralegal by introducing them to the core academic and skills required to succeed as a paralegal.
For Juris Doctor candidates, Nova Law also offers a range of dual-degree programs where students combine their legal studies with a degree from another professional school at Nova University. Dual degrees require students to be admitted to both programs separately. Students can count a portion of their other degree credits toward the required J.D. coursework which saves time and money on completing both degrees. Additionally, Nova Law offers students the option to earn a dual degree from a foreign university allowing students to study civil and comparative law.
Undergraduate students a Nova University may also pursue a dual admissions program that enrolls them in both a bachelor’s program and the law school. After completing their undergraduate studies in 3 to 4 years, students matriculate directly into the law program.
Career and Career Placement
Based on the most recent employment outcome data, over 76% of all graduates of Nova Law are employed within the first 10 months of graduation with 93% finding long-term, full-time employment. The majority of students employed found careers that either requires a law license (84%) or prefer a Juris Doctor degree (8%). Nearly 45% of all employed graduates opted for work in small law firms with less than 25 attorneys. Mid-size and large law firms accounted for another 21% of students’ first career choice. In all, law firms accounted for two-thirds of all employed graduates’ first careers. Other than law firms, a substantial percentage of students chose careers in the business sector (15%) or in either a government office or public interest role (16%). Just under 90% of all graduates remained in Florida to begin their professional careers.
The Nova Law Office of Career Services and Professional Development (OCS) is staffed by all former law school graduates with a wealth of experience and institutional connections that they bring to help all students achieve their professional goals. The OCS provides unique, focused programming to help students in a variety of ways. The school hosts periodic lunch presentations that introduce students to a wide range of employment options with a law degree. Throughout the year, the OCS offers career skills clinics where students work on their resumes, interview skills, and job search strategies. Students may participate in more formal mock interviews as they prepare for their on-campus interviews (OCIs). The OCS also pairs alumni mentors with students, hosts and supports numerous career fairs for students, maintains a job database with thousands of careers, and maintains a wealth of job search materials in their career resource library.
Experiential Learning/Distance Education
The heart of the experiential learning program at Nova Law is the clinical program which includes both the school’s in-house clinics as well as their external clinical placements. The in-house clinic program includes four practice areas where students engage with real clients while under the supervision of faculty members. The external (or field placement) clinics place students in working law offices in five different practice areas. These field placements also provide students with the opportunity to work with real clients and alongside practicing attorneys. This builds their practical skills as well as their professional networks.
Nova Law legal research and writing program–required courses for all students–is also a nationally ranked and recognized program that ensures all students graduates with a mastery of these critical skills. The school trial and appellate advocacy program is also one of the most successful in the country. Students learn practical skills through competition.
Nova Law offers a number of program–such as their LL.M and M.S.L programs–that allow students to learn in a completely online program.
Nova Law has a full-time Office of Student Services which provides every student a number of services to ensure their success both in and out of the classroom. The Office provides students with support for financial aid, bar admissions, and personal advising. The campus is home to two academic, student-run journals as well as a robust student organization program that ranges from social groups to academic fraternities.
The campus of Nova Law is located on the main campus of the university north of the city of Miami. Students have access to many of the university’s amenities plus a wide variety of dining and recreation opportunities in walking distance of the campus. Housing is abundant in the area and the law school is located only minutes away from the beaches of Fort Lauderdale. To the West, the Big Cypress National Preserve offers access to the stunning everglades of Southern Florida. Students enjoy the excitement of Southern Florida’s most dynamic city with access to its unique interior.