Founded in 1926, the University of Miami School of Law (Miami Law) is located in Coral Gables, Florida, a part of the Miami metropolitan area–one of the most densely populated cities in the United States. The school of law is one of the most diverse in the country with almost 50% of students identifying as a minority and over 60% of the student body speak more than one language. Not surprisingly, Miami Law is ranked in the top law schools for Hispanic students. The law school has a history of educating both judges and politicians including Florida Senator Marco Rubio as well as Belizan Prime Minister Dean Barrow.
The first-year curriculum at Miami Law requires 32 hours of coursework split evenly between both semesters. Between both semesters, students take the six core courses of first-year legal education: civil procedure, constitutional law, contracts, criminal, property, and torts. In their first semester, students are introduced to the institutions that create, regulate, and enforce the law in a course on “elements” of the law. Students are also introduced to the principles of legal research and writing with a two-semester course. During the spring semester, students also take one elective.
Upper-level students at Miami Law enjoy one of the most robust course catalogs in the country due, in part, to the outstanding number of faculty at Miami Law. Law students have the option of pursuing one of the law school’s four areas of specialization or pursuing their own interest. Specializations include dispute resolution, innovation and technology law, social justice, and immigration and asylum. Students are required to complete a course in professional responsibility, satisfy the requirement for experiential education, and complete a writing project through one of the many writing courses. Students may also opt to take one of Miami Law’s unique “short courses” that generally offer 1-2 weeks of intensive study on a variety of subjects.
Miami Law offers a diverse range of Master of Laws (LL.M) degrees for both U.S. and foreign-trained lawyers. For U.S. educated lawyers, the law school offers nine different programs, one of which is an online option in real estate and property development law. Residential LL.M programs are offered in a number of subject areas including maritime law and in Miami Law’s acclaimed program in entertainment and sports law. For foreign-educated lawyers, Miami Law offers both a generalized LL.M that covers the U.S. and transnational law as well as nine additional specialized LL.M programs. The program for international students is one of the country’s most dynamic with over 30 countries represented each year in various LL.M programs.
Juris Doctor students can also combine their J.D. with an LL.M program in order to graduate with both degrees in less time than pursuing them separately.
For students interested in combining their Juris Doctor degree with another professional degree, Miami Law offers ten separate joint degree programs with promote an interdisciplinary approach to law. Students must be accepted into both programs separately. By pursuing both degrees concurrently, some course credits count towards both degrees which allows students to complete both programs in less time.
Miami Law also has one of the most complete international exchange programs in the country. Students are able to pursue a semester of learning at over a dozen universities around the world.
Career and Career Placement
Based on statistics from the most recent graduating classes, over 87% of Miami Law graduates find work or pursue additional education within 10 months of graduation. Only 5-6% of students–on average–are unable to find work after graduation. Almost 95% of students who did find employment did so in careers that either required a law degree or preferred a Juris Doctor degree. Traditional law firm work is the most popular career choice with over 56% of graduates opting to work in a law firm. Small law firms were more popular than large firms with Miami Law graduates. A substantial number of graduates also opted for positions in the business sector (11%), government offices (10%), and public interest positions (8%). Over 65% of graduates remain in Florida to begin their careers.
The Miami Law Career Development Office (CDO) serves the student body with a team of ten professional counselors (all of whom have J.D. degrees) plus additional support staff. The staff partners with students to provide a range of services including multiple recruiting programs each year, on and off-site career fairs, plus a broad selection of resources to help students prepare and plan for their career search. The CDO leverages the vast alumni network to offer students formal and informal opportunities for mentorship and networking. For example, the “Coffee Connectors” program allows graduates to meet alumni all over the world to learn about practice areas and opportunities.
Experiential Learning/Distance Education
Miami Law recently appointed its first Associate Dean for Experiential Learning, a reflection of the school’s commitment to hands-on learning and graduating practice-ready attorneys. Law students build practical skills through a variety of programs. Miami Law’s clinical program offers students nine different legal clinics that provide a broad range of practice areas where students can work with real clients on real legal issues. Students not only benefit from hands-on experience but become immersed in the local court system where most students will begin their law practices.
Students at Miami Law may also learn through an experience in a local or remote externship. Locally, students work in the law offices of corporations, government agencies, public interest organizations, and the judiciary. Students may also opt to participate in Miami Law’s unique litigation skills externship which is specifically tailored for law students who aspire to work in litigation. Finally, Miami Law also has externships available in Washington, D.C. for students who wish to pursue a career in a federal office.
Miami Law also offers a host of courses that teach students practical skills such as legal writing courses, advanced research techniques, and practicums where students explore a legal problem in a simulated environment. The school’s fellowship program also allows students interested in public interest careers to obtain financial support to practice summer internships in a public interest office.
With a student body of almost 1,000 students, the University of Miami School of Law is an active and busy campus. Since 2011, Miami Law has pioneered a program to teach students “Mindfulness in Law” which offers an array of classes aimed at development ethic, mental, and spiritual awareness while engaged in the study and practice of law. As part of the main campus, Miami Law students also enjoy access to a host of wellness and recreational facilities spread across the beautiful campus.
The law school is also located only a few miles from Biscayne Bay and less than 30 minutes from the famed sands of Miami Beach. Students enjoy all the nightlife, cuisine, and amazing recreational opportunities that fill the Miami area. For sports fans, law students can enjoy the cities professional sports scene or enjoy the Miami Hurricanes who compete in the Atlantic Coast Conference.