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ACADEMIC ADVISING GUIDE  

   

I. II. III. IV. V. VI. VII.

Introduction and Overview J.D. Requirements Designing a Curriculum That is Right for You Course Grouping by Subject Matter Experiential Learning: In-House Clinics and Externship Programs Finding a Mentor Faculty Perspectives on Course Selection

 

   

Appendix A: Course planning worksheets for the day and evening programs        

I.

Introduction and Overview

  A successful law school experience requires planning your academic schedule with your professional objectives in mind. To plan your course of study effectively, you need to articulate your goals.

  Goals vary from student to student. Many law students start law school without a clear sense of what type of legal practice they wish to pursue. Others arrive knowing precisely the area of law in which they will practice. Many students develop preferences as they study and, gain further experience and many will modify or change their goals during the course of law school. Keeping a clear focus on your long term objectives will allow you to get the most out of your law school experience.

  The goal of this guide is to give you a framework for identifying your professional goals. We start by posing a series of questions that will help you determine your professional goals.

  Do you want to practice law? If yes, what type of law do you want to practice? If not, how do you want to use your law degree?

  What type of clients would you like to serve?

  If you are going to practice, where do you intend to practice? Which state’s bar exam will you have to take? Which subjects are tested on that exam?

  Which professors or administrators have a background in what you want to practice, and who might be a good mentor?

 

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Considering the time demands and other obligations that you have, how many credits can you handle in a given semester?

  Which fundamental lawyering skills do you want to build during law school? What are the best ways of building those skills?

  How do you want to fulfill your continuing obligation to help others with your legal training?

  By answering these questions you will be better prepared to develop your goals and a coherent law school plan. With the answers to these questions in mind, and your goals in focus, this guide will help you structure an academic plan.        

II.

Requirements to receive a J.D. from FIU Law

  There are certain courses or types of courses that you must complete to receive a J.D. from FIU Law. The requirements are outlined below. All students can track whether these requirements have been fulfilled by accessing the degree audit in PantherSoft at myfiu.fiu.edu You can find the Panther degree audit under the Academic Advisement link in PantherSoft. It is located to the left of the Student Center main page.

  The foundation requirements you will take in your first year - or, year and a half if you are an evening student - are Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Introduction to International and Comparative Law, Legal Skills and Values (“LSV”) I and II, Property and Torts. Each semester after you complete your foundation requirements you will receive a registration memorandum which contains a list of the upper-level requirements. If the requirements change you will be notified.

  You must pass all foundation courses with a “D” or better to avoid having to repeat the course. No foundation course can be used to fulfill an upper level requirement. The foundation courses represent the core requirements of legal training, and all of them, with the exception of LSV and Introduction to International and Comparative Law, are subjects that will be tested on the Florida Bar (and the bar exams of most other states). See the comprehensive Guide to the Bar Admissions at http://www.ncbex.org/assets/media_files/Comp-Guide/CompGuide.pdf Upper division courses will deepen your legal skills and training.

  In addition to the foundation courses, you must fulfill several other requirements—as set forth in § 1901 of our Academic Policies and Regulations—to receive a J.D. from FIU Law.

  1. Complete at least 90 credit hours of law school course work with passing grades, of which at least 78 credit hours must be in graded courses. When calculating whether you satisfy the 90 credit hour requirement, you will NOT receive credit for more than 13 credit hours in which you received a grade of “D”;

  2. Earn a cumulative grade point average of 2.00 or greater in your graded course work;

  3. Satisfy all degree requirements within the time periods specified in § 201;

 

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4. Satisfy the ethics requirement by passing Professional Responsibility with a grade of “C” or better;

  5. Complete Legal Skills and Values III no later than the fourth semester after enrollment for day students or the sixth semester for evening students;

  6. Satisfy the Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution requirement by completing two (2) Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution courses;

  7. Satisfy the upper level International Law requirement;

  8. Satisfy seminar requirement;

  9. Satisfy the community service requirement by performing at least thirty (30) hours of qualifying pro bono community service. This must be completed no later than the Friday prior to the beginning of registration for your penultimate semester. Qualifying community service can be performed with a number of organizations.

  For a current list of authorized placements please contact Professor Phyllis Kotey at koteyp@fiu.edu call (305) 348-5950 or visit the Community Service Program web page at http://law.fiu.edu/academic-information/community-service-program/.        

III.

Designing a Curriculum That is Right for You

  Your first year of classes will expose you to the basic areas of law practice. If you know the area or type of law in which you want to practice, you should select upper-division courses which will deepen your knowledge of this area.

  There are no precise rules or proven methods for selecting your upper-division courses. To a large extent, your choices will reflect your goals and your career plans, however tentative these may be.

  An additional consideration when selecting upper-division courses, beyond the area of law you want to practice, is which subjects you are likely to see on a state bar exam. Each state sets their own requirements, so you should consult the bar examiners’ web site for any state in which you plan to practice. See the comprehensive Guide to the Bar Admissions at http://www.ncbex.org/assets/media_files/Comp-Guide/CompGuide.pdf  

The table below outlines the courses you can expect to see on the Florida Bar Exam. These subjects are in addition to those you studied in your foundation courses. Note: The Florida Board of Bar Examiners changes the tested subjects frequently.

 

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Bar-Tested Courses Criminal Procedure: Investigation Criminal Procedure: Adjudication

Florida Law and Procedure Medical Malpractice

Business Organizations Evidence

Products Liability Professional Responsibility

Family Law

Sales

First Amendment Florida Civil Practice

Secured Transactions Remedies

Florida Constitutional Law

Wills and Trusts

 

   

Strongly Recommended Elective Courses Administrative Law Federal Income Tax

Conflict of Laws  

   

It is difficult to navigate your three or four years of law school on a purely ad hoc basis. Indeed, it is critical that you have some coherent plan for how you are going to spend the next couple of years efficiently, so that you have the necessary background to attain your long-term professional goals.

  Consider taking not only courses that are directly relevant to the type of legal work you expect to do, but also those that will give you a broader perspective on the law. You should take advantage of the opportunities you will find here to expand your horizons.  

   

Pre-requisites to Effective Course Planning

  To formulate a plan you have to be aware of course availability. Not every course from the catalog is offered every semester, or even every year. The basic courses that most students elect to take, such as Business Organizations, Criminal Procedure: Investigation, Evidence, Wills and Trusts, Sales, First Amendment, Products Liability, Federal Taxation, and Remedies are offered more frequently. Other courses are only offered every other year, or in some cases, once every several years.

  Opinions are mixed as to whether it is advisable to concentrate your course work in one specialized area. If you are pretty certain as to the area of law in which you will practice then it certainly makes sense to focus on those courses and experiential opportunities that will build your expertise and make you marketable to employers. As with most things, however, broad exposure is also a viable approach. Whether you decide to focus your study or take a broader approach, do not take a haphazard approach to course planning. Map out a plan and incorporate experiential learning via an externship or clinical work where appropriate.

 

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Identifying the Skills Content of Courses

  When selecting your courses, consider the skills the particular courses develop. A number of other courses require the preparation and/or writing of a brief; Appellate Advocacy, for example. These are skills which are vital to appellate advocacy practice. Other courses develop litigation skills (Trial Advocacy), or negotiation and mediation skills (Negotiation, Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution). Consider not only the substantive matter of the courses you select, but also the skills you will develop and refine.  

   

State Bar Examination Focus

  Many students seem to think that their course selection in law school will have little effect on their ability to pass the bar examination. It is true that you take a separate bar exam preparation course, however, a condensed overview will not necessarily prepare you for the bar exam as well as a semester (or more) of diligent study.

  Particularly for the very challenging bar examinations in Florida, California, and New York, you will be better prepared if you have taken most of the Bar-related courses in law school. To ensure that you are able to enroll in these important courses, try not to leave them until your last semester or two. If you are planning on practicing in Florida, it is suggested that you try to take at least one bar-tested course each semester.        

IV.

Course Grouping by Subject Matter

  Below is a general classification of selected law school courses by specialty area. Students intending to concentrate in one of these areas should give serious consideration to taking the courses listed. They should also consider taking a related seminar and clinic, participating in relevant cocurricular and extracurricular activities (like moot court competitions); exploring relevant internship and externship placements; and developing independent study proposals for research projects with faculty.

  Note that many courses fall within the ambit of more than one skill group and are repeated. For more precise advice within a given group, you should consult the faculty teaching in that area. Be aware of both formal prerequisites and informal notions of precedence.  

   

I. Pre-Requisites and Co-Requisites

  The following courses have pre-requisites or co-requisites:

   

 

Course

Prerequisite(s), Co-requisites or Highly Recommended

Bankruptcy

Secured Transactions (highly recommended before taking Bankruptcy)

Corporate and Partnership Tax

Federal Income Tax

Estate and Gift Tax

Federal Income Tax and Wills and Trusts

The Law of Corporate Finance Securities Regulation  

  Business Organizations 5

Trial Advocacy

Evidence

White Collar Crime

Criminal Procedure

Securities Law Enforcement

Securities Regulations, Business Organizations and The Law of Corporate Finance

Mergers and Acquisitions

Business Organizations

Appellate Advocacy Competitions

Appellate Procedure I

Real Estate Transactions

Property (highly recommended), 1L evening students should not take this course in their first summer if offered.

 

   

Specialty Areas

  Alternative Dispute Resolution Bankruptcy Law Business Law Civil Litigation Commercial Law Criminal Law Labor and Employment Law

Estate Planning and Probate Environmental Law Family Law Intellectual Property International and Comparative Law Public and Regulatory Law

 

   

Alternative Dispute Resolution

  In recent years the legal system has come to rely to a much greater extent upon alternative dispute resolution mechanisms. It is likely that any lawyer whether in a litigation practice or not, will have occasion to participate in some form of alternative dispute resolution procedure. Courses that offer exposure to these processes include:

  • • • •

Alternative Dispute Resolution International Commercial Arbitration Negotiation Mediation

 

   

Business Law

  Business and commercial law, in both the litigation and transactional contexts, makes up a large segment of the legal sector. Courses that offer exposure to these areas of law include:

  Corporate • Business Organizations • Corporate Finance • Mergers and Acquisitions • Non-Profit Organizations

  Banking and Securities • Antitrust • Banking Law • Securities Law Enforcement  

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• Securities Regulation

  Bankruptcy • Bankruptcy Law • Payment Systems • Sales • Secured Transactions

  Commercial • Bankruptcy • Consumer Bankruptcy • Payment Systems • Sales • Secured Transactions • International and Comparative Sales (normally taught in the Spain Study Abroad Program)

  Taxation • • • •

Corporate and Partnership Tax Estate and Gift Tax Estate Planning Federal Income Tax

  Other Transactional Courses • Construction Law • Insurance Law • Real Estate Transactions

  Civil Litigation • Appellate Procedure I (moot court) • Appellate Procedure II • Complex Litigation • Conflicts of Law • Evidence • Federal Courts • Florida Civil Practice • Florida Constitutional Law • Medical Malpractice • Products Liability • Trial Advocacy

  Criminal Law The basic offerings in this area include Criminal Law (which covers the substantive definition and treatment of crimes and is part of the foundation curriculum) and Criminal Procedure (which covers the constitutional limitations on criminal investigations). Other relevant courses are: • Advanced Criminal Procedure • Appellate Procedure I (moot court) • Appellate Procedure II • Evidence • International Criminal Law • Pre-Trial Practice  

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• • • • • • •

Trial Advocacy White Collar Crime Employment Law Administrative Law Employment Discrimination Employment Law Labor Law

  Environmental Law Environmental law is complex and involves the intersection between application of treaties, conventions, statutes, regulations, and common law to regulate the interaction of humanity with the natural environment. Students interested in pursuing environmental law in practice, are encouraged enroll in the following courses: • Administrative Law • Conflicts of Law • Environmental Law • Federal Courts • Health Law • International Environmental Law • Land Use Planning and Control

  Estate Planning and Probate The intergenerational transfer of wealth in the United States is controlled by statutes and common law principles. Students that plan on practicing estate planning and the creation of trusts are encouraged to take the following courses: • Business Organizations • Estate and Gift Tax • Estate Planning • Federal Income Tax • Florida Civil Practice • Real Estate Transactions • Wills and Trusts

  Family Law There are a number of courses devoted to subjects within the broad area of family law. Students who know that they want to pursue legal practice in the area of family law should considered enrolling in these courses: • Administrative Law • Alternative Dispute Resolution • Bankruptcy • Children and the Law • Elder Law • Estate and Gift Tax • Estate Planning • Family Law • Federal Income Tax • Health Law • Immigration Law • Wills and Trusts

 

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Intellectual Property Students interested in technology, entertainment, and publishing will find this area of particular interest. Students interested in general business law should also seriously consider taking a course in this area as the increasing importance of technology makes intellectual property part of every business: • Antitrust • Computer and Internet Law • Copyright Law • Entertainment Law • Intellectual Property • Intellectual Property and Human Rights Seminar • International Intellectual Property • Internet Law • Internet Seminar • Patent Law • Sports Law • Trademarks and Geographic Indicators

  International and Comparative Law The increasing globalization of society and the economy makes literacy in international law important to the modern lawyer. In addition to the foundation international law course (Introduction to International and Comparative Law) our offerings in the international and comparative field include: • International Business Transactions • International Commercial Arbitration • International and Comparative Sales • International Criminal Law • International Environmental Law • International Human Rights Law • International Intellectual Property • International Litigation • International Organizations • International Trade Law and Policy • Profesión Jurídica Comparada (Comparative Legal Profession)

  Public and Regulatory Law A large proportion of modern legal practice involving public law is dominated by rules made not by courts or legislatures, but rather, by government agencies. All law students should pursue sufficient studies in this area to feel comfortable with the processes of how regulations are created and implemented in the modern administrative state. The course offerings in public law are: • Administrative Law • Antitrust • Conflict of Laws • Election Law • Employment Discrimination • Environmental Law • Federal Courts • Florida Constitutional Law • Florida Law and Procedure • International Environmental Law • Immigration Law • Labor Law  

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• Land Use Planning and Control • Local Government Law • Securities Law Enforcement

 

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V.

Experiential Learning: In-House Clinics and Externship Programs

  The clinical and externship programs are designed to further develop your lawyering skills. Essentially, what you have learned in doctrinal courses is put to use in concrete, “real life” situations and circumstances. The clinical and externship programs provide legal education, along with handson experience, that enables students to apply course work to actual cases and to examine the institutional, ethical, and personal problems inherent in the lives of today’s practicing lawyers. The program offers exposure to client advocacy and litigation in a supervised setting.

  Some Legal Clinics do have required pre or co-requisites and/or highly recommended courses. These are outlined below:  

   

Clinical Offerings (Vary by Semester)

Required and Recommended Course(s)

Community Development Clinic

Required: Professional Responsibility and Business Organizations

Consumer Bankruptcy Clinic

Required: Bankruptcy Law, Evidence and Professional Responsibility

Death Penalty Law Clinic

Prerequisites Completion of Foundation Courses & Death Penalty Law Recommended: Evidence

Environmental Law Clinic

Required: Professional Responsibility. Recommended: Environmental Law

Family and Children’s Advocacy Clinic – CLI clearance required

Required: 60 credit hours; Professional Responsibility and Evidence Recommended: Family Law and Trial Advocacy

Health, Ethics, Law & Policy Clinic

Required: Professional Responsibility

Immigration & Human Rights Clinic

Required: 60 credit hours; Professional Responsibility and Evidence Recommended: Immigration Law, and Trial Advocacy Required: 60 credit hours; Professional Responsibility and Evidence Recommended: Trial Advocacy All foundation courses must have been completed

 

Immigrant Children’s Clinic – CLI clearance required

Investor Advocacy Clinic  

 

Externship Offerings

  Criminal, Civil and Judicial Externships  

The criminal, civil, and judicial externships are one semester courses that combine a classroom component with fieldwork at an approved criminal, civil or judicial placement. Students will work under the supervision of a member of the state bench or bar. Students must meet the criteria of the criminal, civil, or judicial externship and additional prerequisites may be imposed by the field placement.

  Please see Professor Kotey for further information e-mail: koteyp@fiu.edu, telephone 305-348-5950.  

 

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(CLI). Certain clinics and/or externship placements require that you become a Certified Legal Intern

 

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What is a “Certified Legal Intern” (CLI)?

  A Certified Legal Intern (CLI) is a student who can represent individuals in court under the supervision of a licensed attorney.  

   

How can you become a “Certified Legal Intern’ (CLI)?

  A student who participates in either a clinic or an externship (except Judicial) can request to be certified as long as the following criteria have been met: (a) you have received a letter of clearance from the Florida Board of Bar Examiners, and (b) you have completed a minimum of 48 credit hours. Through the clinic or externship program, the student becomes certified by the Florida Supreme Court to represent clients in court under the supervision of a Florida licensed attorney pursuant to Rule 11.  

   

How do I meet the clearance requirement for the Certified Legal Internship (CLI) program?  

   

Rule 11-1.3(a) of the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar requires that law students register with the Florida Board of Bar Examiners and receive registrant clearance as one of the eligibility requirements for participating in the Certified Legal Internship (CLI) program for law school practice. There are two ways to obtain CLI clearance:

  • Student Registration – FIU asks that students submit a bar application during the first year of study. From the Home page www.floridabarexam.org click on “checklists,” and then select “Register as a First Year Student.” This filing status begins the processing track for bar admission in Florida. It also provides registrant clearance that is one of the eligibility requirements for participating in the Certified Legal Internship program.

  • Certified Legal Intern (CLI) Registration – From the Home page www.floridabarexam.org click on “checklists,” and then select “Register for Certified Legal Internship (CLI) Clearance only.” This filing status provides CLI clearance only, which is one of the eligibility requirements for participating in the Certified Legal Internship program. It does not pursue admission to practice law in Florida.        

  VI.

FILING THE FLORIDA BAR APPLICATON

  As the majority of our students plan to enroll either in a legal clinic, the externship program or ultimately practice in the State of Florida, the College of Law now asks that all entering students file an application with the Florida Board of Bar Examiners by January 15 of the second semester. Why? The sooner you register the more money you will save, and because you must register to become a certified legal intern. In addition, the Bar clearance can be a lengthy process and can take between 6 and 8 months to complete. A multi-question bar application as well as an extensive background check is among some of the requirements. Without bar clearance you will not be able to participate in many of our clinics or externship offerings. With clearance and the Certified Legal Internship (CLI) designation, under the supervision of a licensed Florida attorney, you are allowed to represent clients in the public sector such as the state attorney, public defender, legal aid or a municipal attorney’s  

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office. Moreover, you are able to maintain your CLI designation for up to a year after graduation allowing you to still appear in court while studying for the bar examination and then waiting for your results.

  Without clearance, you could potentially find yourself in a situation where you have graduated, passed the bar but still not have received clearance and therefore cannot practice law.        

VII.

Finding Mentors

  An important part of preparation to practice law is finding mentors and building professional networks. Local bar associations are an important source of these relationships. Our faculty can also serve that role if you take the time to build successful relationships. You want to find faculty who will be able to serve as mentors - advising you and (hopefully) serving as a reference in the future. Faculty references are extremely important in the judicial clerkship selection process, as well as when applying for other types of legal employment.

  You can get to know faculty by: • Enrolling in a Seminar (graduating students have priority)

  • Completing an independent study with a professor. You have the opportunity to pursue a research and writing project under the supervision of a faculty member who has a special interest in the subject area of the project. You must obtain the consent of the faculty member and the permission of the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs before registering for the course. For further information speak with Ms. Yff or Dean Mason.

  • Serving as a research or teaching assistant. Watch for e-mail announcements from the Career Planning and Placement Office or directly from the professor.        

VIII.

Some Faculty perspectives on course selection

  PROFESSOR MEGAN FAIRLIE

  • Do take courses that you find intimidating, especially those that are bar-tested. (Bar-tested material varies by state, so you need to determine the relevant subjects for your chosen state.) • Do take evidence and criminal procedure, especially if you plan to be a part of a clinical program. • Do contact a professor if you would like to learn more about a course s/he teaches. • Do not select classes solely on the basis of having an attractive schedule. • Do plan carefully so as not to overload any one semester. Taking on too many concurrent obligations makes it unlikely that you will be able to excel at any of them. At best, students who do this make the already challenging experience of being a law student much more stressful.

 

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PROFESSOR ELIZABETH FOLEY

  So do you want to be an "okay" lawyer or a "really good" one? If the latter, my advice is to take everything that's hard and that you're afraid of. Take Evidence, Federal Courts, Administrative Law, Criminal Procedure, First Amendment, Business Organizations, and all the other challenging "core" doctrinal courses that every good lawyer should know. Once you're finished with them, take the more "specialized" courses in areas of your particular interest-- e.g., Health Law, Intellectual Property, Women & the Law, Environmental Law, etc. Remember, nothing worthwhile ever came easy.  

   

PROFESSOR JOSE GABILONDO

  Although this is a rough generalization, most graduates of law school end up following one of three career paths: litigation, business/transactional law, or, to a much smaller extent, public interest employment. As reflected in our graduation requirements, extracurricular activities, and culture generally, law school is overwhelmingly biased in favor of the litigation path rather than the business/transactional path.

  There is no good reason for this bias. Another expression of the dead hand of the past and force of habit, the bias exists mostly because law professors and administrators tend to reproduce and favor what they know and most of us received a court-centric education.

  What this means for students interested in becoming business/transactional lawyers is that you have the burden of swimming upstream and figuring out for yourself how to get ready for a business law career. So consider taking the following courses: business organizations, international business transactions, corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, nonprofit organizations, securities, individual income tax, banking, corporate and partnership tax, secured transactions (UCC Article 9), bankruptcy, administrative law, sales (UCC Article 2), and negotiable instruments (UCC Article 3).  

   

PROFESSOR PEGGY MAISEL

  Most law students who enroll in a legal clinic say it is the course that brought together for them what they learned in the classroom by having the chance to apply both knowledge and skills to solving client problems. Many students have said they believe that participation in a clinic should be required because the experience is so valuable. The six in-house clinics, located here at the law school, provide an opportunity for you to be the lawyer representing clients faced with real problems. The clinics help to prepare you for practice and grow through your relationships with clients, other lawyers, supervising faculty and other members of the legal profession. You will also work closely with other students in a law firm setting. I recommend taking at least one clinic and externship before you graduate.  

   

PROFESSOR MATTHEW MIROW

  After first year, take as many core and bar-tested courses as you possibly can such as Evidence, Wills, Business Organizations, Tax, Administrative law, UCC courses, Family law, First Amendment and Professional Responsibility. Don't focus on what is a comfortable schedule for you; focus on learning what you need to pass the bar and to practice law. Three years is a short time to do this. Bar review courses are to review things you already know, not to learn something new. Take  

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some courses that will give you a broad perspective on law and legal institutions like, my favorite, legal history, and some comparative courses, perhaps in our summer abroad program. Outside classes, law review is an outstanding experience and you should do everything you can to do this. For those of you interested in practice that is centered on international and comparative law, we have a number of good courses to consider and particular strengths on the faculty in these fields. Ask all of us for advice, which is one reason we are here in our offices. Our building's architect Robert A.M. Stern has hidden our offices from you and has installed massive spring-loaded mechanical devices to slam our doors shut. Believe it or not, these things are really not meant to discourage you from seeing us. Just knock. Matthew Mirow, Professor of Law.  

   

PROFESSOR KERRI STONE

  Think about what your goals are both long and short term. On one hand, you may have certain aspirations for after you graduate from school. Lay the foundation for them now. So, for example, if you dream of being a federal law clerk, Federal Courts is a class you'll likely want to take. If you dream of working for the United Nations, you'll want to load up on international law classes. You should also, however, have goals that you set for yourself to achieve by the time you finish law school. If you dream of publishing an article by the time you graduate, consider taking a seminar (or more) that will enable you to write something publishable. If you want to join one of the College of Law's renowned competition teams, think about classes that you'll need and want to take to hone the skills you'll need for that. Think about both your long and short range goals, what you want to get out of your law school experience, and what kind of career you want to set yourself up to have. Think about professors who have been particularly effective teachers with respect to your learning style and who have gotten you to feel passionate about the subject matter of their courses. Talk to anyone who's willing to share his or her experiences or advice with you, and then go with whatever's going to remind you of the reasons why you were so excited to come to law school in the first place and whatever's going to make you want to get out of bed every morning and keep showing up at the College of Law.  

   

PROFESSOR HANNIBAL TRAVIS

  I would tell the students that when I was considering course selection in school, I considered three or four factors:

  1. What would help me pass the bar exam and start working (I chose evidence, others wills and trust or other topics). 2. What would help me become a specialist in an area and have a competitive advantage (I chose intellectual property, others health law or civil rights). 3. What areas were intrinsically interesting to me as electives due to my college studies or who was teaching them (I chose jurisprudence, others finance). 4. What subjects should a generalist know (I chose fed courts, corporations, and income tax, others chose securities).

 

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PROFESSOR HOWARD WASSERMAN

  1. Remember that legal education is (or should be) a mix of professional education and liberalarts education. You must take classes that will do three things give you the experience and knowledge that will enable you to pass the Bar Exam and successfully practice law. But you also must take classes that will provide you with well-rounded legal ideas and knowledge. Pick a range of courses that will meet all three goals.

  2. During second year (especially Fall Semester), load up on foundational upper-level classes-Evidence, Professional Responsibility, Business Associations/Corporations, Tax, Trusts and Estates, Criminal Procedure. These provide the necessary and important background knowledge and understanding for the programs you will want to do later in law school: Seminars, smaller/narrower upper-level courses, and practice-based learning (Externships, Clinics, Trial Practice, etc.).

  3. Take Appellate Procedure I and participate in the moot court competition.

  4. Diversify and expand your horizons. You have a large number of academic/doctrinal course offerings available during 2L and 3L years. Take advantage of the many offerings and sample. If you came to law school thinking you wanted to practice in a particular area (say, Intellectual Property), obviously take courses in that area--you may find your pre-law-school interests confirmed or you may find your interests going in a different direction. Take courses just because the topic sounds interesting. Take courses that might touch on an area in which you would like to work as an extern/clerk/clinic student. Take courses just to learn about a new and different area of law, even if you believe you never will encounter.

  5. Talk with professors individually about the classes they are teaching and find out more about them (subject, grading mechanisms, etc.). We are the best source of information about individual courses.      

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  Closing Observations

  If you have questions concerning your academic and/or professional goals, please feel free to set up an appointment to speak with Dean Mason (e-mail: masonm@fiu.edu or telephone: 305-3482444).

 

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APPENDIX A   Planning and requirements worksheets

  These worksheets are offered only as examples of the kind of medium-term, sequential planning that you should do to ensure that you meet your professional goals while at FIU Law. Feel free to improvise, expand on, and customize these documents.  

     

REQUIREMENTS WORKSHEET FOR STUDENTS IN THE FULL-TIME PROGRAM

 

 

Distributional requirements  

 

Other professional development goals

Bar-tested courses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1st Semester  

  2nd Semester  

  3rd Semester     4th Semester     5th Semester     6th Semester     Summer study

 

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REQUIREMENTS WORKSHEET FOR STUDENTS IN THE PART-TIME PROGRAM

 

 

Other professional Bar-tested courses

Distributional requirements  

 

development goals

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1st Semester     2nd Semester

  Summer semester (1)  

  3rd Semester     4th Semester

  Summer semester (2)  

  5th Semester  

  6th Semester

  Summer semester (3)  

  7th Semester  

  8th Semester

 

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HOW DO I…?

  HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT…? WHO DO I SEE… ? The College of Law provides an extensive range of services to our student body. Questions concerning academic performance, policies and procedures, professional development, community service requirements, transitioning to law school, academic support, financial aid and other personal matters should be directed to the individuals identified on this page whose responsibility it is to be of assistance as you have questions and/or concerns throughout your academic career at FIU.

  • Academic Advising (Associate Dean Mason, masonm@fiu.edu)  

• Academic Probation/Academic Supervision Advisement (Associate Dean Ansah, tansah@fiu.edu)*  

• Academic Correspondence & Documentation (Donna Yff, Registrar, yffd@fiu.edu)  

• Academic Support Program (Associate Dean Ansah, tansah@fiu.edu)  

• Accommodations for Students with Disabilities & Special Needs (Associate Dean Mason, masonm@fiu.edu)  

• Amendments to Law School Application (Associate Dean Mason, masonm@fiu.edu)  

• Bar Admissions Applications (Donna Yff, Registrar, yffd@fiu.edu, and Associate Dean Mason, masonm@fiu.edu)*  

• Bar Preparation Program (Professor Christine Rickard, crickard@fiu.edu)  

• Book Awards (Donna Yff, Registrar, yffd@fiu.edu)  

• Career Planning & Placement (Ana Bierman, acbierma@fiu.edu)  

• Class Rank (Donna Yff, Registrar, yffd@fiu.edu)  

• Community Service (Professor Phyllis Kotey, koteyp@fiu.edu)  

• Course Offerings and Scheduling (Donna Yff, Registrar, yffd@fiu.edu)  

• Dean’s Certifications for State Bars (Donna Yff, Registrar, yffd@fiu.edu)  

• Enrollment Certifications for Loan Deferments & Insurance (Donna Yff, Registrar, yffd@fiu.edu)  

• Evaluation of Transfer Applicants Transcripts (Associate Dean Ansah, tansah@fiu.edu)  

• Examinations (Administration, Delays) (Donna Yff, Registrar, yffd@fiu.edu and Associate Dean Mason, masonm@fiu.edu)*  

• Examsoft and other IT Support Services (Information Technology Office, lawitsupport@fiu.edu)  

• Family Emergencies (Associate Dean Mason, masonm@fiu.edu)  

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• Financial Aid, Scholarships & Loans (Admissions and Financial Aid, Michelle Pestaina, pestam@fiu.edu)  

• Grades (Donna Yff, Registrar, yffd@fiu.edu)  

• Graduation Degree Audit (Donna Yff, Registrar, yffd@fiu.edu)  

• Interpretation of the Code of Academic Regulations (Donna Yff, Registrar, yffd@fiu.edu, and Associate Dean Mason, masonm@fiu.edu)*  

• Joint Degree Programs (Associate Dean Ansah, tansah@fiu.edu)  

• Law Review (Professor Christyno Hayes, chayes@fiu.edu)  

• Letters of Good Standing (Donna Yff, Registrar, yffd@fiu.edu and Associate Dean Mason, masonm@fiu.edu)*  

• Medical Leaves (Associate Dean Mason, masonm@fiu.edu)  

• Moot Court (Professor David Walter, walterd@fiu.edu)  

• Notary (Myriam Girado, giradom@fiu.edu and Zoraya Ledesma, ledesmaz@fiu.edu)  

• Registration, Drop/Add & Scheduling Support (Donna Yff, Registrar, yffd@fiu.edu and Associate Dean Mason, masonm@fiu.edu)*  

• Student Code of Conduct Matters (Associate Dean Ansah, tansah@fiu.edu)  

• Referrals to University and Community Resources (Associate Dean Mason, masonm@fiu.edu)  

• State Attorney Certification of Enrollment Forms (Donna Yff, Registrar, yffd@fiu.edu and Associate Dean Mason, masonm@fiu.edu)*  

• Student Records (Donna Yff, Registrar, yffd@fiu.edu)  

• Study Abroad Programs (Julie Beineke, jbeineke@fiu.edu and Professor Mirow mirowm@fiu.edu)*  

• Transcripts (Donna Yff, Registrar, yffd@fiu.edu)  

• Trial Advocacy Program (Professor Scott Fingerhut, fingerh@fiu.edu, and Professor H.T. Smith, htsmith@fiu.edu)*  

• Visiting Students (Donna Yff, Registrar, yffd@fiu.edu)  

   

* Where multiple administrators are listed, please consult with the individual listed as the first point of contact

 

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Academic Advising Guide