"Practicum" - a course of study designed especially for the preparation of teachers and clinicians that involves the supervised practical application of previously studied theory. (“Practicum.” Merriam-Webster.com Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 1 Dec. 2017.)
Hands-on learning is a focus of Miami Law and practicums give students insight into a specific area of legal interest and a window into what it is like to practice in that area. In practicum classes law students get real-world experience working under the supervision of attorneys and professors in a non-lawyering role as they work on cases.
Practicum Options for J.D. Students
Affordable Housing Practicum: Students work on a variety of documents which are part of an actual affordable housing transaction and have the opportunity to meet clients, attend public hearings, and nurture a further understanding of the affordable housing area. Students complete 40-50 hours of client-related work most of which takes place at the offices of Legal Services of Greater Miami. This practicum builds on the course "Introduction to Affordable Housing." More on this practicum
Civil Rights Practicum: This provides an opportunity for students to work directly with prominent civil rights attorneys on important civil rights issues. Students are generally assigned to work on actual cases or projects with civil rights organizations, lawyers, government agencies, or legislators, and students have opportunities to do interviewing, drafting documents, research and/or participating in hearings or in trial. Read: "Miami Law Launches Civil Rights Practicum"
Criminal Justice Policy Reform Practicum: Students examine criminal justice reform from two trajectories: the harms to individuals, families, and neighborhoods of mass incarceration and punitive criminal justice responses; the failures of governmental policies to provide security for communities and support for victims of crime, with a focus on violent crime. Students work with community or national organizations that are addressing one two aspects of criminal justice reform: meeting victims’ needs and creating fair processes for those accused or convicted of having committed a crime. Read: "Criminal Justice Practicum - Students Explore Harms Borne in Life Behind Bars"
Cyber Civil Rights Initiative Practicum: Students work for CCRI in one or more of three teams: Legislative and Tech Policy, Communications, and Fundraising. The projects potentially include: legislative drafting at both the state and federal level; legal research, amicus briefs and testimony on relevant legislation and significant cases; collaboration with tech industry leaders on anti-harassment policies; community outreach, victim support, and training programs for law enforcement and educational institutions; and fundraising efforts.
Death Penalty Practicum: Students work with the Office of the Public Defender or with other highly qualified death penalty attorneys who are litigating capital cases. Students work on different aspects of the case preparation such as client and witness interviews, depositions, development of mitigation, motions practice, and plea negotiations.
Federal Criminal Motion Practice: Students learn from a judge how to write criminal motions, how substantive criminal law informs prosecution and defense motions, and how to write and argue these motions persuasively and effectively. Students use fact patterns in criminal cases to study various pretrial motions, write four such motions, and argue a motion to suppress at the end of the course.
Social Impact Advocacy Practicum: This advanced course allows students, working in small teams under faculty supervision, to design and execute a systemic justice project framed by the principles and practices of social impact advocacy to address a “real-life” systemic problem of special interest to students.
Startup Practicum: This practicum connects University of Miami School of Law students with new ventures in need of legal assistance. Students help clients with organizing, financing, talent, intellectual property, risk, regulation and other legal issues that arise for entrepreneurs as they launch their new businesses and organizations.
Practicum Options in Post-Graduate LL.M. Programs
Not only does Miami Law’s J.D. curriculum offer an array of practicums, this hands-on component is also required in many LL.M. programs including:.
Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law
In the Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law LL.M., a practicum requirement affords students the opportunity for additional training in the workplace. Practicum placements have included: NBC Univiversal/Telemundo, HBO Latin America, BBC Worldwide Americas, Warner Music, Universal Music, Universal Creative, Spotify, Ultra, Jazwares, the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Chase Lawyers, and Attorneys David Ehrlich, Janine Small, Henry Root and Lita Rosario.
Read: "LL.M. Student Steps Towards Dream with Hands-On Practicum at NBC Universal Telemundo"
The practicum component of the Heckerling LL.M. in Estate Planning comes together as a Capstone Project. This is a part of a semester-long drafting course that culminates in the preparation of an estate plan under the supervision and guidance of an experienced estate planning attorney.
Select students in the White & Case International Arbitration LL.M. may complete a two-credit legal practicum with prominent international arbitration firms in Miami during their study. This includes completing a minimum of 80 field hours at an approved practicum placement and attending a number of on-campus lectures pertinent of international arbitration and transnational litigation.
Read: "Students Gain Hands-On Training with Newly Launched International Arbitration LL.M. Practicum" and "Growth of LL.M. Practicum Broadens Opportunities for International Arbitration Students"
Real Property Development
The Affordable Housing Practicum is a requirement of the Robert Traurig-Greenberg Traurig Real Property Development LL.M. It provides a deep overview into issues to consider in affordable housing development. Students work on a variety of documents which are part of an actual affordable housing transaction and have the opportunity to meet clients, attend public hearings, and nurture a further understanding of the affordable housing area. Students complete 40-50 hours of client-related work most of which takes place at the offices of Legal Services of Greater Miami.