Miami Law provides students with broad academic and experiential learning opportunities in the field of human rights. Course offerings and experiential learning programs – including clinics, externships, fellowships and summer programs – provide students with the opportunity to develop their knowledge and skills working on human rights issues, both in the U.S. and abroad.
Academic & Experiential Learning Opportunities in Human Rights
International Human Rights Law: This course examines the substantial body of human rights law that has emerged in the last sixty years, following the foundational 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It covers international and regional human rights treaties, organizations, and bodies, including courts and tribunals. It will also look at practice, implementation, and domestic application of international law. Lectures and seminar style components are complemented by class exercises to facilitate analysis of practical human rights issues.
International Human Rights Law is offered as a 1L elective and as an upper level course. Students present 5-minute "TED talks" on topics in human rights law. Click here to see TED Talks from former students.
Miami Law Clinics: Miami Law's award-winning clinics give students practical, hands-on lawyering experience, while also helping needy and under-represented individuals and groups in Miami and across the nation and the globe.
The Human Rights Clinic provides students with firsthand experience in cutting-edge human rights litigation and advocacy at the local, national, regional and international levels. Students engage with the Inter-American Court and Commission on Human Rights, the European Court of Human Rights, the United Nations, and other tribunals.
Projects have included:
HOPE Public Interest Resource Center (HOPE)
Home to many opportunities to do human rights work nationally and internationally, HOPE also regularly hosts information sessions on landing a job, fellowship or internship in the public interest and in human rights. Opportunities include:
- Scholarships granted to students with outstanding academic achievements and commitment to public service.
- HOPE Fellowship Program - provides summer stipends to students to create their dream jobs in human rights and public interest anywhere across the globe.
- Public Interest Leadership Board a student-run board comprised of a dynamic group of Miami Law students dedicated to public service, including human rights.
Career Development Office (CDO)
The CDO supports human rights law placements, advises students looking for human rights-related work, and provides information on Post-Graduate Fellowships.
Externship Program - Through this program, Miami Law students have had externship placements at regional and international human rights bodies and courts and organizations, including at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Anti-Defamation League and the Florida Justice Institute.
Human Rights Courses & Seminars
Every semester the law school offers a range of human rights-related courses and seminars taught by our world-renowned faculty and visiting faculty from across the globe.
See Sample List of Courses and Seminars
- American Indian Law
- Children and the Law
- Children & the Law
- Cultural Property and Heritage Law
- Democracy, Constitutionalism and Human Rights
- Guantanamo Seminar
- Human Rights Advocacy in Latin America
- Human Trafficking, Immigration, Ethnicity and Public Policy
- Immigration Law
- International Economic Law
- Inter-American System of Human Rights
- International Criminal Law
- International Human Rights Law
- Race & Class in American Public Education
- Sexuality, Gender Identity and the Law
- Torture and the Law
- Voting Rights and Election Law Seminar
Faculty in the Area of Human Rights
Miami Law is home to many world-renowned faculty who teach human rights courses, include human rights issues in their curriculum and/or are conducting human-rights related research. (Pictured: Faculty book, Making Sense of Human Rights by James W. Nickel, explains and defends the contemporary conception of human rights. Combining philosophical, legal and political approaches, Nickel explains international human rights law and addresses questions of justification and feasibility.)
Faculty Experts in Human Rights
- David Abraham, Professor of Law Emeritus
- Paula Arias, Lecturer in Law, Director International Moot Court Program
- Caroline Bettinger-Lopez, Professor of Clinical Legal Education, Director of the Human Rights Clinic
- Donna K. Coker, Professor of Law
- R. Denisse Córdova Montes, Practitioner in Residence & Lecturer in Law, Human Rights Clinic
- Tamar Ezer, Lecturer in Law, Associate Director of the Human Rights Clinic
- Mary Anne Franks, Professor of Law
- Elizabeth M. Iglesias, Professor of Law
- Samantha Knights, Adjunct Faculty
- Romy Lerner, Associate Director, Immigration Clinic & Lecturer in Law
- JoNel Newman, Associate Professor of Clinical Legal Education
- James W. Nickel, Professor of Law Emeritus
- Bernard Oxman, Richard A. Hausler Professor of Law
- Bernard P. Perlmutter, Associate Professor of Clinical Legal Education
- Ileana Porras, Senior Lecturer
- Alejandro Portes, Professor of Sociology and Law
- Stephen J. Schnably, Professor of Law
- Rebecca Sharpless, Professor of Clinical Legal Education
- Kele Stewart, Associate Dean for Experiential Learning; Professor of Clinical Legal Education
- Irwin P. Stotzky, Professor of Law
A complete faculty list and detailed bios can be found in the faculty directory.
Human Rights Lecture Series and Conferences
Renowned human rights scholars, lawyers and advocates from around the world regularly visit Miami Law, giving public lectures, attending conferences and meeting with students and faculty. Miami Law faculty and students also contribute to these series and conferences on human rights issues.
The Louis Henkin Lecture Series on Human Rights
Louis Henkin, the prominent law professor at Columbia University School of Law, was one of the founders of the academic study of human rights and inspired a whole generation of human rights lawyers, scholars, and activists, including some of Miami Law's professors. Miami Law created a lecture series in his memory, which has included the following lectures by illustrious speakers:
- Race, Gender, and Nation in an Age of Shifting Borders: Catherine Powell, Professor of Law, Fordham University School of Law. Click here to watch the October 15, 2019 lecture.
- What Future for Human Rights: James W. Nickel, Professor of Philosophy & Law, University of Miami School of Law. Click here to watch the April 17, 2018 lecture.
- The Human Right to Property: Featuring José Enrique Alvarez, Herbert and Rose Rubin Professor of International Law at New York University School of Law. Click here to watch the March 2, 2017 lecture.
- Examining Human Rights and Global Business – A New Frontier: Professor Michael Posner, New York University Stern School of Business. Click here to watch the September 15, 2014 lecture.
- Destroying What We Seek to Protect: Interrogation, Values and U.S. Foreign Policy: Lecture By Alberto Mora, JD ’81, Former General Counsel to the Navy. Click here to watch the September 30, 2013 lecture. Read Article.
- Rights at War: The Interface between Human and Constitutional Rights and the Laws of Armed Conflict: Lecture by Sarah H. Cleveland, the Louis Henkin Professor of Human Rights and Constitutional Law at Columbia University Law School. Click here to watch the September 13, 2012 lecture.
- Law & Terrorism: Lecture by Professor Owen Fiss, Sterling Professor of Law, Yale University. Click here to watch the February 17, 2011 lecture.
- Obama's War on Terror: Change We Can Believe In?: This first lecture was by David D. Cole, the John Carroll Research Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center and prominent civil liberties lawyer, scholar and frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books. Click here to watch the November 11, 2010 lecture.
Defending the Human Rights of Migrants Lecture Series
- A New Kind of “War on Poverty” – The Trump Administration’s Policies Toward Vulnerable Immigrants - February 18, 2020
- Careers in Crimmigration - January 22, 2020
- Family Separation and Immigration Detention in the US - November 7, 2019
- SB 168: Florida’s New Anti-Immigrant Law - September 16, 2019
Human Rights Clinic: Events
Human Rights Clinic: Events
International Law Lecture Series
The International Law Lecture Series is run by the International Graduate Law Programs which often teams up with the Human Rights Clinic (HRC) to host lectures on human rights and international law. Watch videos of past lectures which have included:
- Judge Sérgio Moro, "Facing Corruption in Brazil"
- U.N. Independent Expert on the Situation of Human Rights in Haiti, Mr. Michel Forst
- Professor Sandra Babcock from Northwestern Law School on Law, Politics and Morality of the Death Penalty in the United States
- Professor Monisha Bajaj from Columbia University on Human Rights Education in India
- Jessica Lenahan (Gonzales), international human rights advocate and plaintiff in Town of Castle Rock v. Jessica Gonzales, on Domestic Violence as a Human Rights Violation
- Steve Hitov, General Counsel, Coalition of Immokalee Workers on Farmworker Justice, Fair Food, and Organizing
- Former vice-president and deputy general counsel of Yahoo! and founder of Yahoo!'s Business and Human Rights Program, Michael Samway on internet privacy and human rights, and surveillance
Immigration Symposia, Conferences and Speaker Series
The Immigration Clinic has organized lectures relating to Immigration Law and Human Rights. Specific events have included:
- Immigration Defense Conference – This was a CLE Seminar & Stakeholder Meeting in April 2014 for advocates, organizers, and other nongovernment stakeholders to provide a forum for lawyers and nonlawyers in Florida to discuss strategies for defending immigrants against unlawful government action. Sponsors included: Miami Law Immigration Clinic, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, Miami Law Student Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, Florida Immigrant Coalition, and We Count!
- Immigration Damages Litigation - This all-day CLE training in January 2013, focused on using litigation as a tool to hold law enforcement accountable for misconduct and abuse committed against noncitizens in detention facilities, on the border, and during vehicle stops and raids. Topics included litigation under the Federal Tort Claims Act, Bivens, § 1983 as well as motion and discovery practice. The training was co-sponsored by National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, National Police Accountability Project, and National Lawyers Guild, Miami Law Student Chapter Southern Region Chapter.
- National Lawyers Guild Southern Regional Conference – This annual event was hosted by Miami Law’s Immigration Clinic in May 2012. Progressive lawyers, law students, and legal workers from around the South got together for inspiration, sharing, learning, and community building, to explore ways to promote and defend human rights. For more information see NLGSouthernRegion.
Immigration Speaker Series
Past presentations have included, amongst others, Roxana Bacon, former chief counsel of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service and Esther Olavarria, Department of Homeland Security, on immigration reform; and Lee Gelernt and Judy Rabinovitz of the American Civil Liberties Union, on immigrants' rights and the federal courts.
- Immigrants' Rights and the Federal Courts, Lee Gelernt and Judy Rabinovitz (March 2012)
- Book Talk: Green Card Stories, Saundra Amrhein and Tomas Castellanos (February 2012)
- Immigration Reform: Is It Possible?, Roxana Bacon and Esther Olavarria (January 2012)
- Immigration and Other Important Matters, Dr. Joseph Chamie (January 2012)
Student Organization Sponsored Lectures
- Perspectives on environmental/climate/energy policy in Brazil under the Bolsonaro government by Dr. Eduardo Viola, Emeritus Professor of International Relations, University of Brasilia. Click here to watch the lecture.
- Human Rights Defender Lilia Pena by Colombian Human Rights Defender Lilia Peña Silva.
- Victims' Rights and Colombia's Peace Process: A Conversation with Human Rights Defender Lilia Pena by Colombian Human Rights Defender Lilia Peña Silva.
- Human Rights at Home: A forum on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the United States - A Forum on the October, 2013 review by the United Nations Human Rights Committee of the United States' compliance with its treaty obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights co-hosted by the Human Rights Clinic and the ACLU, Florida. Click here to read an article by Human Rights Clinic Student Jessica Sblendorio.
- A Conversation on The Future of International Environmental Law - Featuring Dan Magraw, distinguished international environmental lawyer and Jim Nickel, UM Professor of Philosophy and Law.
- Human Rights at Home: A forum on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the United States - A Forum on the October, 2013 review by the United Nations Human Rights Committee of the United States' compliance with its treaty obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights co-hosted by the Human Rights Clinic and the ACLU, Florida.
- Human Rights Advocacy in the U.S. - A Training for Attorneys, Organizers, and Other Public Interest Practitioners in the Greater Miami Area - A training session on integrating international human rights strategies into advocacy co-hosted by the Human Rights Clinic and the Local Human Rights Lawyering Project at American University, Washington College of Law. Click here to read an article by Human Rights Clinic student Vanessa Joseph.
- Controversy over Contraception - sponsored by Law Students for Reproductive Justice and Student Organization for Human Rights, discussed access to contraceptives as a human right.
- When Diplomacy Fails: The Syria Dilemma - a seminar sponsored the International Law Society, Muslim Law Students Association, National Security and Armed Conflict Law Review, Criminal Law Society, Military Law Society, and Student Organization for Human Rights
- National Security and Armed Conflict Law Review Symposium: Child Soldiers and International Law - featured Tchicaya Missamou, former Congolese child soldier, and was sponsored by the Student Organization for Human Rights among others.
- The Future of the Death Penalty in America – was held in 2012 and was sponsored by Miami Law Review.
Domestic Violence Panel discussion
- Miami Law Review in the Spring 2011 ran a special symposium issue on the law school's groundbreaking global conference on Gender Justice and Human Rights in the Americas, publishing articles and essays from world-renowned advocates and academics in the field of women's rights. Miami Law Review's 2012 annual symposium was on the death penalty and life without parole.
- The Inter-American Law Review hosted symposia on the Inter-American human rights system and on the situation of human rights in Haiti. Its 2012 symposium titled, The Haitian State: Creating Sustainability Growing Forward, addressed the political and legal situation in Haiti pre- and post-earthquake. Its previous symposium, The Human Element: the Impact of Regional Trade Agreements on Human Rights and the Rule of Law, focused on human rights and featured distinguished guests from around the world.
Miami Law has over 50 dynamic and diverse student organizations. Many include domestic and international human rights concerns in their work. Organizations such as American Constitution Society and International Law Society place a heavy emphasis on human rights issues.