Miami Law Coronavirus FAQs

The Bricks

Updated as of October 22, 2020

Fall 2020 classes will resume on Monday, August 17, 2020 in an in-person, online, and blended format. In alignment with the University of Miami Administration’s proactive measures—following the guidance of public health and government agencies—to safeguard the health and safety of students, faculty, staff, and the larger community, Miami Law will reopen with many services continuing to operate remotely. We will soon be announcing additional health and safety measures concerning testing, tracking, tracing, PPE and other matters, in coordination with the University’s public health experts.

Here’s how you can access Miami Law services and departments as well as get answers/guidance for some questions you may have during this time:

Visit the University of Miami’s Coronavirus Response Website

View the University of Miami’s Fall 2020 Reopening Plan

Read prior messages about Coronavirus/COVID-19 from Dean Varona here.

Read the Letters from the Florida Law Deans

View Miami Law’s 2020-2021 Academic Calendar

 

FAQs Content

Note: Questions beginning with an * have been updated within the past 24 hours.

 

 

 IT/AUDIO VISUAL

As the law school continues to deliver online education into Fall 2020, the specific format and delivery platform will continue to be determined by each faculty member. Please keep an eye on your law school email for further direction from the faculty member teaching your course or from your clinic supervisor. LL.M. students should follow the individualized direction of their Coordinators and Program Directors.

 

 

 

 

 CAREER DEVELOPMENT OFFICE

The Miami Law community continues to closely monitor the developments related to COVID-19. Our priority is the safety and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff. For this reason, the Career Development Office has temporarily suspended all in-person services, including career advising. Until further notice, all career advising will now take place either by phone or virtually using the Zoom or BlueJeans videoconferencing platforms.

A Note of Appreciation Amid the COVID-19 Crisis
On behalf of Miami Law, the Career Development Office would like to show our appreciation to the judiciary, local, state and federal government agencies, corporations, law firms, public interest entities, and all other organizations both far and near - that hired our students this summer amid the COVID-19 crisis. We are especially grateful to our alumni who, in response to our Dean's request for help, were able to create unique employment and learning experiences for our students. The opportunity for our students to gain practical legal experience and to develop their professional skills is an integral part of their legal education. With the limitations imposed by the pandemic, we are thankful for all of the organizations that were able to restructure their summer programs to accommodate the current remote working environment and to give our students the ability to gain professional experience. We realize that this was a challenging undertaking! We are so appreciative of your continued support of Miami Law and our students. From us to you, a heartfelt thank you!

 

 FACULTY & STAFF

As we continue to monitor COVID-19 and the related public health guidelines, the well-being of our community remains our priority. These are extraordinary times, so we are implementing temporary exceptions to our policies to encourage social distancing and minimize the number of people on campus.

Please refer to the University’s central page for important faculty & staff updates: https://coronavirus.miami.edu/information-for/index.html

 

 LAW SCHOOL ADMINISTRATION

The Administration remains open and available with many teams offering the ability to meet remotely using Zoom, BlueJeans or by phone. Contact the team or individual you need directly using our online directory https://www.law.miami.edu/directory.

 

Additional Questions

Have a question that isn’t listed? These FAQs will continue to be updated throughout the summer.

To request additional information about the upcoming fall semester, please reach out to the Dean of Students at deanofstudents@law.miami.edu.

To request that a question be added to this list, please reach out to the Office of the Dean at officeofthedean@law.miami.edu.

 


 

ACADEMIC SERVICES

When will classes resume?

Classes are set to resume on Monday, August 17th, 2020 in an in-person, online, and blended format.

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Can you explain what you mean by in-person, online, and blended classes?

In-Person (Residential) - The entire course will be offered in person.

Blended - Part of the course will be offered in person and part of the course will be offered online. The online component could be scheduled synchronously (at a particular day and time) or asynchronously (self-paced). If scheduled synchronously, the course schedule will include the scheduled day and time for the residential portion and the scheduled day and time for the online portion with the room noted as DL (Distance Learning).

Online - Courses offered fully online can be offered in three different ways:

  • All Synchronous - The entire course will meet online at a scheduled day and time.
  • All Asynchronous - The entire course will be self-paced. There will be no day and time listed.
  • Synchronous and Asynchronous - Part of the course will include online asynchronous content and part of the course will meet online synchronously (at a scheduled day and time).

Upper-level students can self-register for one modality or combination of modalities on CaneLink. For example, when registering for a course like Evidence, students can opt for the fully online section or a section that has an in-person component. If students are seeking a medical accommodation, they should contact Jessie Howell (Director, Accessibility and Inclusion) at access@law.miami.edu.

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How will students and faculty access online classes?

Students and faculty will use the online learning platform as determined by each faculty member. It may be Zoom, BlueJeans, AdobeConnect or other similar platforms. These are all web-based platforms. Students will receive links to the platforms from their professors.

Some courses may be delivered synchronously (at the same time as the scheduled class) and others will be recorded and delivered asynchronously (students can watch the lecture at a time they choose). Even if your professor chooses synchronous delivery, we have asked that she record her lectures as a backup for students who have challenges connecting to the internet. Each faculty member may implement additional requirements around the video content. Follow the direction of each faculty member.

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Are there any helpful tips for students who opt to take online classes?

As we continue online instruction into the fall, we would like to offer some guidance on how to set yourself up for success with online classes. Some of you already have experience with online classes, but for some of us, this format is new. Either way, we will all need to lean into our self-directed learning skills—students and faculty alike. Luckily, many of the same habits that served you well for traditional classroom learning will also serve you well with online learning. We encourage you to read the tips below and take advantage of the time between now and when classes begin on Monday, August 17th, 2020 to make any necessary adjustments.

Treat online classes as seriously as you would in-person classes
This is more of a reminder for your friends and family than it is for you. For those that live with others, they may be tempted to expect more from you since you are not going to campus. Remind them that even though you are taking online classes you are still in school and still have the same academic commitments you otherwise would.

Keep a schedule
Even though you are not physically in a classroom, that does not change the amount of time it takes to do well in law school. You will still “attend” just as many class-time hours whether you opt for in-person or online instruction and will still need to devote as many hours to your studies outside of class. Time management is still an important skill, whether the class is online or on campus.

Minimize distractions
With online learning, potential distractions are everywhere—on your computer, on your phone, and in your surroundings. Some of you have made the choice to not use a laptop during class time. Online instruction will require you to use a laptop or some other device to access lectures. Using a laptop comes with its own set of temptations. Be mindful and avoid doing other activities on your computer during class. Then there is your personal space. A pile of dirty dishes is distracting when you have important work to complete! While you are engaging in online learning, set up a space you will use for “attending” class. Keep it organized and if possible, keep it separate from other common areas.

Stay focused and engaged during class lectures
This can be a bit more challenging because there is more distance between you and your professor. Minimizing distractions will help, but you will need to prepare yourself to follow along with the lecture. Taking breaks between classes to move around also helps. Take class notes just as you would if you were sitting in a classroom. In other words, treat it as much as possible as if you were in class with the professor in front and surrounded by your classmates. Practicing active participation and holding yourself accountable for your own success will help you stay on track.

Some tips for attending synchronous (live) online classes:

  • Mute your mic when you are not talking. This will lead to a better audio experience for all participants.
  • Everything the camera can capture will be on display for all participants to see. Make sure they are seeing what you want them to see. Use the same etiquette that you would during a live class.
  • In a traditional classroom setting, professors can often tell if a student seems confused by material. In an online class, it is difficult to pick up on these same non-verbal cues. Reach out to your professors for help if you need it.

We are here to support your academic success! Let us know how we can help.

University of Miami School of Law
This was adapted from guidance originally written by Natalie Rodriguez, Assistant Dean of Academic Success at Southwestern Law School, and shared with her permission.

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What will the academic calendar look like in the fall?

The 2020-2021 Academic Calendar has been revised for Fall 2020. Miami Law classes will resume on Monday, August 17th, 2020 and continue until Tuesday, November 17th, 2020. Classes will end prior to Thanksgiving Break, and exams will begin on Monday, November 30th. All exams will be administered online. Please keep an eye out for an email from the Law Registrar’s Office regarding any changes.

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How will grades be assigned in Fall 2020?

Fall 2020 courses will be graded on the standard Miami Law grading system as identified in CourseLink. For most courses, that will mean a traditional letter grade with some courses offered P/F (Pass/Fail) or on a H/P/F (High Pass/Pass/Fail) basis (like Litigation Skills).

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How will final exams and assessments be handled?

Exams for all classes (online, in-person, and blended) for Fall 2020 will be administered in an online take-home exam format.

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What about services for our international students with F-1 status?

The Department of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) continues to provide support and guidance for international students. If you have any questions, please reach out to your ISSS advisor. For COVID-19 related updates for international students, please visit COVID-19 Information Updates for UM International Students. For all other inquires related to international students and scholars please contact ISSS at isss@miami.edu. You can also read the Message from Dean Anthony E. Varona, Associate Dean for International and Graduate Programs Caroline Bradley, and Assistant Dean for International and Graduate Programs Carmen Perez-Llorca to Miami Law F-1 Students here.

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Will our LL.M. Programs follow the same schedule?

LL.M. Programs will follow the same general schedule for fall except as specified by your Program Coordinator or Program Director.

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Will there be spaces on campus where I can log in to my online classes?

We are working on that now and anticipate having such online spaces (“Zoom labs”) on campus, especially as we know some students may have online and in-person classes on the same day.

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IT/AUDIO VISUAL

What different platforms will be used for online classes?

BlueJeans, Zoom, Blackboard, TWEN, Lexis Classroom, Blackboard, Email

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What is the difference between a synchronous class and an asynchronous class?

Synchronous classes resemble traditional on-campus classes in that students must be (virtually) present at the same time. Though they are conducted over the Internet, synchronous courses occur in real-time. Classes typically occur at their regularly scheduled times and students must sign onto their virtual learning platform on schedule.

Asynchronous classes do not require the students to log into the virtual classroom at a specified time. Lectures are pre-recorded and students can view them and complete their coursework on their own schedules.

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What training materials are available for faculty and staff?

There are a number of training documents and tutorials available on the Miami Law website:

Online Collaboration Tools

Teaching Law Online

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What equipment do I need to participate in an online course as a faculty member? As a student?

You will need a desktop computer, a laptop or a tablet. Your device will need to be equipped with either a built-in or an attached webcam and microphone. You should use a headset or earbuds with a microphone to prevent audio feedback. Webcams and headsets can be purchased online or at an electronics store.

What equipment do I need to participate in an online course as a student? You will need a computer, tablet or smartphone with a webcam, and a headset or earbuds with a microphone.

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Is there an ideal internet connection I should have to participate in a class online? How can I test my internet speed?

Internet Speed will be very important for online classes. If you have slow internet service, you will find that it takes a long time to down/upload content. Video performance will lag too, making it difficult to watch. We recommend internet speeds of 6-10 Mbps speed or higher. A broadband connection is recommended.

You may test your internet connection by visiting https://www.speedtest.net/. The higher your download/upload results, the better your video performance will be.

Please note: Due to the current greatly increased use of the Internet for online teaching and business operations, you may experience latency in your Internet connection and/or your virtual classroom platform as they support a significantly greater volume of traffic than usual. Internet connection speed in specific locations may be periodically impacted based on the number of people there who are simultaneously accessing high bandwidth resources.

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Who should law faculty, staff or students contact for IT support regarding online learning platforms?

For student support, please contact the Student Technology Help Desk (STHD) at 305-284-5297 or via email at sthd@miami.edu.

Faculty and Staff may contact the following:

Law School A/V at 305-284-3801 or via email at av@law.miami.edu.

Ellen Greenfield at 305-284-3744 or via email at egreenfi@law.miami.edu.

Ryan Erickson at 305-284-3103 or via email at rerickson@law.miami.edu.

Jose Marcos at 305-284-8053 or via email at jmarcos@law.miami.edu.

Andrea Tejera at 305-284-3065 or via email at atejera@law.miami.edu.

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STUDENT SUPPORT

Should I come to campus if I am ill?

If you are ill, please contact Student Health at studenthealth@miami.edu or 305-284-9100. Please reach out first by email or phone before coming to campus.

You should then contact our office at deanofstudents@law.miami.edu. We can help advise you as to academic accommodations as per our guidelines on medical and family emergencies. If needed, we will address absence policies, exam scheduling, and assignment deadlines on a case-by-case basis.

The UM Counseling Center continues to provide services via Telephone or Telemed as described here.

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I have been in an impacted area; do I need to self-quarantine? Who should I contact?

Any member of the University community who travels to or from any Level 3 country will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon return. Students returning from these countries or areas must contact Student Health Service at studenthealth@miami.edu.

Please also refer to the University’s travel guidance page here: https://coronavirus.miami.edu/travel-guidance/index.html

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What if I have questions about the Bar Exam or the Bar Application?

Please contact Dean VanderWyden for questions relating to the upcoming Bar Exam and for questions pertaining to finalizing the Bar Application process: wvander@law.miami.edu

Reference is made to the updates from the Florida Board of Bar Examiners, and to the National Conference of Bar Examiners. These sites are updated regularly.

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What if I have emergency financial or other needs?

Please contact deanofstudents@law.miami.edu

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What about Fall 2020 Commencement?

We recognize how important commencement is for you, your classmates, and loved ones. However, following guidance from state and federal agencies to suspend large events and promote social distancing due to COVID-19, undergraduate, graduate, and law May 2020 commencement ceremonies will be postponed until December 2020. Fall 2020 commencement is currently scheduled for December 2020.

See the full Commencement Update from Vice President for Student Affairs Pat Whitely regarding May 2020 graduation.

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If I opt for all-online classes, can any of my student fees be waived?

Fully virtual/remote learning students will be charged regular (in-person) tuition rates, along with the Student Activity Fee, and the Student Health and Counseling Centers Fee (for those students with Florida residency). Fully virtual/remote learning students will not be charged the Athletics Fee, the Student Center Fee, or the Wellness Center Fee.

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Will I be required to get vaccinated for the seasonal flu prior to classes beginning?

Influenza immunization will be required for all students during the Fall 2020 semester. Additional details will be posted on Student Health Center Flu shot page as they become available.

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As a rising upper-level student, do I need to clean out my locker before the semester starts?

Yes. Our annual student locker clean-out process has begun. If you are a returning student who had a locker in the previous academic year, please remove all personal belongings and locks by Monday, August 3rd at 5:00 P.M. Any locks and possessions remaining in/on lockers after that date will be removed by UM Facilities. If you have already left Miami and will not be back before the August 3rd deadline, we encourage you to contact a friend in Miami who can empty your locker and remove your lock for you. If you return to campus, please observe social distancing, and wear a mask. Please also complete this Google questionnaire to let us know your locker information. If you have any questions please email the Dean of Students at deanofstudents@law.miami.edu.

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How do I apply to purchase a parking permit?

UM is offering students many options for the fall semester, including many options for parking.

Purchase a semester or annual parking pass here

If students opt out of the fall parking pass, they will be able to purchase spring semester only passes, based upon availability. The spring permits normally go on sale in November and the price is the same as a fall permit (i.e., $276 this academic year).

Students can cancel their permits at any time. If a student cancels before August 15th, 2020 that student would receive a full refund. From August 16th, 2020 onwards, the value of the permit decrements on a daily basis and any student cancelling after this date will receive a prorated refund based on the date the permit was cancelled.

The options below may be better if your fall academic plans will not bring you to campus on a regular basis or more than once a week:

  • Nights and Weekend Permit - Approximately half the price of a regular permit but only valid after 4 p.m. on weekdays and any time on the weekend.
  • Pay-by-Phone - Only available in the yellow, gray and burgundy lots between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays (available in all color zones at all other times), this is a pay-as-you-go option. Rates are $1.50/hr or $8/day.

Please do not hesitate to contact Parking and Transportation at 305-284-3096, or parking.gables@miami.edu if you have any questions and/or concerns.

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How do I request an adjustment of fees if I am taking all of my classes online?

As referenced in Dean Varona's July 20 message to the community, students that are taking all online classes will receive adjustments in their financial aid package and a reduction in University fees. If you will be taking classes entirely online (with no in-person component) please complete this form by 8/5 at 12pm so we can communicate with financial aid and ensure no delay in the adjustments. Late submissions will be processed and accepted, but they might delay adjustments.

By taking all Fall 2020 classes online, the following Fall semester adjustments will be made:

  • Specific University fees will be removed from your account and bill and adjusted in your financial aid package
    • The Student Center Fee
    • The Wellness Center Fee
    • The Student Health and Counseling Fee (for students who will be out of state this semester)
  • Your financial aid package will be reduced to remove the $700 transportation allowance from your cost of attendance

By signing this form now, you are committing to being online all semester. If you are currently taking some in-person courses but move to fully online between now and the end of add/drop, you can submit this form once that change is made, subject to the following:

If you are submitting this request, to participate exclusively online, after a refund has been issued to you by the Office of Student Account Services, you may incur a balance as a result of the adjustment to your Financial Aid Cost of Attendance. You are responsible for repayment of these funds to the University and will have a financial hold placed on your account as a result.

 

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What information has been shared about the COVID-19 policies at the law school? Who should I contact if I have questions?

Miami Law hosted a student town hall on August 27, 2020 called COVID-19 & Off-Campus Activities: A Town Hall Meeting for Law Students.

You can watch a recording of the town hall here.

You can also view the PowerPoint slides that were shared by our Dean of Students, Janet Stearns, during the presentation.

If you have any questions about our COVID-19 policies, feel free to contact our Student Affairs Team at deanofstudents@law.miami.edu.

 

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LAW LIBRARY

What are the law library's hours?

The Law Library is closed right now, but it will return to regular hours when classes begin in the fall.

Please continue to monitor the Law Library contact and hours page for updates here: https://www.law.miami.edu/iml/library/library-contact-and-hours

We will still provide virtual reference services for law school faculty, students and staff. From 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM, Monday through Friday.

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What if I need access to physical textbooks?

Law School faculty, students, and staff should contact reference if you need access to print formats of material in the law library, and we will work out an appropriate delivery method.

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What virtual services will be offered?

CALI Lessons: CALI has over 1,000 interactive lessons, covering many different subjects – from evidence to trademark.  For those who have not yet registered on CALI, the authorization code is available here.

West Academic Study Aids: West Academic Study Aids have many different series to help you supplement your understanding of class material as well as practice for exams and quizzes. It contains explanatory material, such as the nutshell and hornbook series, and it provides sample questions and answers with the exam pro series. If you miss hearing about the law, West Academic Study Aids includes the Sum and Substance Audio series, as well as the Law School Legends Audio.

In addition to the specific sites above, you continue to have access to all of our databases, e-books and e-journals (in uSearch, make sure you are searching “Everything”).

For any help with legal research, virtual reference services continue to be available Monday-Friday from 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM. (Virtual reference services include email, chat, or text options.)

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How do I return items that I have checked out from the library?

Most items were automatically renewed until September, but the law library has a book drop to the left of the main entrance for anyone wishing to return material before the library reopens.

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ADMITTED STUDENTS

How can I join a webinar to learn more about the Miami Law experience?

To join an upcoming webinar or view a recorded one, please visit our Pre-Law Webinars webpage.

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How can I get in touch with faculty, alumni or even a current student?

You can connect with our vast community - faculty, alumni or current students - via email: admissions@law.miami.edu.

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Can I schedule an appointment with an advisor?

It is easy to schedule an appointment with an advisor and reach out with any questions.

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What do I need to do before I start school?

We have prepared a checklist of important reminders and tasks to be completed prior to the first day of classes.

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Where can I find information about Orientation?

The latest Orientation updates are available here.

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How should I register for Orientation?

The Orientation RSVP form is available here, and the deadline to register is July 29.

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How do I review loan options?

An overview of the financial aid process, including options, is outlined here.

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When will I know my section? Can I request a different section?

1L sections will be assigned in early August, along with your schedule, first class reading assignments and booklists. You will receive an email when they are posted. Students will not be able to request to change their first-year section.

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When will the booklist and reading assignments be released?

The link to booklists and first-class reading assignments will be posted on the CourseLink website in the upper right hand corner.

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Where can I purchase my booklist?

Most students purchase their books online or in person at the Campus Bookstore or Book Horizons.

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When will my email account be set up?

When you are officially matriculated, your email account will be generated and you will be able to access your account. Beginning the week of July 27, our IT team will begin holding virtual office hours to demonstrate how to connect to CaneNet, configure your UM email to your smart phones/devices, and install UPrint (the campus wireless printing solution) to your laptop. Zoom links for these office hours will be included in Miami Law Memo Monday.

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How do I update my addresses in CaneLink?

Students have a continuing obligation to update their records with the Law School. Before you arrive and once you have secured new housing, log into CaneLink to check your information. Once you are logged in, follow these steps:

  • Under Personal Information: Select Update E-Mail Address to update your preferred email address.
  • Select the Green Button labeled Go to Student Center
  • Under Personal Information: Update your Permanent Address (if necessary), Local Address (used for mailing), and Cell Phone number.
  • Ensure that your Emergency Contact Information is up to date.

Visit our Setting Up Services page to learn more about how to update your personal information in CaneLink, including your local address, cell phone number, and emergency contact information. This is a very important step in your matriculation at Miami Law.

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Is there free software available for law students?

Free software is available for students to download once they are fully enrolled. Miami Law's Information Technology team will be available to assist in setting up such software during the academic year. Programs include Microsoft Office Suite, Windows10, McAfee VirusScan and Adobe Creative Cloud. To learn about software licensing agreements please visit the Information Technology website.

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When/how should I request disability services?

You can learn about and request accommodations by visiting our Student Accessibility and Inclusion webpage.

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CAREER DEVELOPMENT OFFICE

How will the CDO communicate with me in the fall?

The CDO will continue to communicate with students via email (sent to the email address listed on students’ Symplicity account) and will also post updates on the Symplicity homepage.

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Will I be able to meet with my CDO advisor?

Yes. Your CDO advisor will remain available to provide career and professional development advising, including resume and cover letter review. Advisors can respond to inquiries by email. Moreover, telephonic and virtual appointments will also be available. Students should contact their CDO advisor directly with their questions and to schedule telephonic/virtual appointments. Unsure to whom you are assigned? Email cdo@law.miami.edu to request the name and email address of your CDO advisor.

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Will the CDO be conducting mock interviews?

Yes. The CDO will continue to conduct mock interviews when requested by students. These interviews will be conducted by telephone or virtually using Zoom or BlueJeans meetings. The CDO advisor conducting the mock interview will initiate the telephone call or video conference; students will be asked to provide their phone number when scheduling the mock interview.

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FACULTY & STAFF

I am having trouble getting back to Miami, who should I contact?

For Faculty, please contact Vice Dean for Academic Affairs Andrew B. Dawson directly by email or phone. For Staff, please contact Director of Law School Human Resources Jorge Pineda directly or by email or phone at (305) 284-3076 or jpineda@law.miami.edu.

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I have been in an impacted area; do I need to self-quarantine? Who should I contact?

Any member of the University community who travels to or from a Level 3 country will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon return. Staff, faculty members, or visiting scholars returning from these regions must contact UHealth Infection Control at 786-427-5018 prior to coming to campus. Please refer here for specific information and updates: https://coronavirus.miami.edu/travel-guidance/index.html

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Who do I contact if I need to travel?

All University-related international travel is prohibited. University-related domestic travel must receive prior approval by Dean Varona.

Please reference the University’s travel guidance page for updates: https://coronavirus.miami.edu/travel-guidance/index.html

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