With its renowned faculty, rich curriculum and stimulating geographic location, the University of Miami School of Law's Robert Traurig-Greenberg Traurig LL.M. in Real Property Development is widely regarded as one of the nation's best.
The School of Law is located in Coral Gables on the 260-acre main campus of the University of Miami, one of the largest private research universities in the United States. Known as one of Florida's most desirable residential areas and increasingly recognized as an international business center, Coral Gables offers all the benefits of large-city living in a relaxed suburban setting. Next door to Coral Gables is the City of Miami, a burgeoning international center for trade and finance and the nation's gateway to South America. Greater Miami has one of the most dynamic and rapidly expanding legal communities in the country. Greater Miami—with its international flavor and cultural diversity — is also an extraordinary setting in which to live. Its many distinctive neighborhoods — such as Art Deco inspired South Beach, "Little Havana," fashionable Coconut Grove and South Miami, with its small-town ambiance — offer a wealth of cultural attractions, sporting events and natural treasures to enjoy year-round.
The LL.M. Program in Real Property Development (RPD) is designed for the law graduate or attorney committed to the practice of law as it relates to planning, structuring and financing real estate projects, and counseling real estate professionals who need to acquire or upgrade his or her knowledge of the area. The Program includes nine months of intensive study and experience in real estate law and practice. The Program has four components:
Students are generally full-time and should fulfill the degree requirements in a nine-month term. No outside employment is permitted during this period of study. If some unforeseen circumstance causes a student to leave the program prior to completion of the degree requirements, all requirements must be completed within three years of matriculation in order to earn the degree. No thesis is required. However, written papers will be required in various forms, including project reports, development plans, transaction and condominium documents, critiques and evaluations.
Students are required to participate in one internship. The preferred schedule is to have the internship during the fall semester, with a government or public sector entity or in the private sector. Students may indicate preferences regarding a spring internship, which is also available to students as an elective, from a list of preapproved firms and organizations. All internships are done under the direct supervision of an attorney.
Each internship lasts approximately six weeks and requires a ten-hour-per-week commitment. One credit is given for each of the internships and each is graded on a pass/fail basis.
As a part of the Introduction to Real Estate Development and the Real Estate Project Development Workshop courses, approximately five times during the year, usually on Fridays, students gather at a construction site or developer's office to hear presentations by real estate professionals who have been involved in significant residential or commercial real estate projects. The story of the project is told from the various perspectives of participants, including experts in zoning or environmental issues, architects, developers, lenders or tenants. The students tour the site of the project, and the entire experience is incorporated into the ongoing work of the relevant course offering.
In order to keep the RPD Program's direction and course offerings as focused as possible on both critical long-term and short-term real estate legal issues, the director and advisor work with a Strategic Planning Committee, made up of members of academia and the practicing bar. The committee meets on a quarterly basis to revise and update the RPD Program Strategic Plan, to discuss ways to make the course offerings more effective and efficient in meeting students' needs, and to recommend expansion and revision of the program.
Courses are scheduled during the day as well as in the evenings. Candidates for the LL.M. must successfully complete 30 credit hours of required and approved courses with a C+ (2.5) or better average plus one internship. Students may elect to take one course per semester on a pass-fail basis. This option must be elected at registration or within two weeks of the first class meeting. Full-time students may take as many as 16 credits each semester without incurring additional tuition expenses. Flexibility in the RPD Program is emphasized, so the director may make adjustments based on an individual student's experience and needs. If the student does not complete the degree requirements within one academic year, they must be completed within three years after matriculation.
Modern, moderately priced apartments within a convenient distance of campus have been and are expected to remain plentiful. The Metrorail, a clean, elevated rail system, connects the campus at University Station to downtown Miami and other stops in Miami- Dade County. Tri-Rail offers stops as far north as West Palm Beach. Upon acceptance to the program and payment of the commitment fee, a packet containing an apartment guide and detailed maps of the area is provided to each student.
The School of Law, through its Career Development Office, is committed to assisting graduate law students by providing:
Unique to the Miami Law program is the Developer in Residence Program (DIR) which includes active involvement of a real estate developer who is able to complement the theoretical law learned in the program with "real world" application to legal concepts. The current DIR is Adjunct Professor Howard Shapiro who works with law students and faculty to lecture and assist them in the classroom setting by presenting the client's point of view and the reality of the real estate development industry.
"The Real Property Development Graduate Program is a wonderful program for any recent law school graduate, attorney, or business person interested, or currently practicing, in the field of real estate development because it exposes the students to so many important areas of both real estate law and real estate development. Further, students obtain hands-on experience in addressing these complicated issues through internships and class projects, which makes them more marketable to prospective employers."
Benjamin E. Wilson
Shutts & Bowen LLP
"I enrolled in the Real Property Development LL.M. Program so I may transition my private litigation practice to an in-house practice. The curriculum, taught by dedicated and highly experienced faculty, enabled me to develop an expertise in the laws that govern real estate acquisition, financing, development, and disposition which could not possibly have been achieved by the practice of law alone."
Betsy L. McCoy
The Related Group