Q & A on Concentrations with Vice Dean Osamudia James


Osamudia James, vice dean and professor of law, writes and teaches in the areas of Education Law, Race and the Law, Administrative Law, and Torts.

Professor Osamudia James

What are concentrations and areas of focus?

Concentrations and Areas of Focus are courses of study that have been curated by faculty members to help students acquire legal knowledge, skills, and competencies through a particular practice area or legal lens.  Both concentrations and areas of focus have core, distributional, and elective requirements, although areas of focus are more limited in scope and can typically be completed in less time than a concentration.  Students may select one concentration, a concentration and an area of focus, or—if not selecting a concentration—up to three areas of focus.  

Why embark on a concentration or area of focus?

An optional Concentration or Area of Focus allows students to engage Miami Law course offerings with added purpose and coherence.  In addition to receiving a transcript notation upon completion of either option, students will also reap the following benefits:
•    A customizable, well-rounded course of study specially curated by faculty members who are experts in the Concentration/Area of Focus subject-area
•    One-on-one faculty mentorship
•    The possibility of meeting graduation requirements, including the upper-level skills writing and skills requirements
•    A substantive basis on which to develop a marketable and coherent employment profile  

Who can complete a concentration and/or an area of focus? Do the requirements vary depending on concentration?

Concentrations and areas of focus are open to all 2L students, although requirements and timing for enrollment may vary from program to program.

What is important to consider before undertaking a concentration or area of focus?

As with all course offerings at UM Law, there are many factors to consider, including your practice area interests, your outstanding graduation requirements, and your post-graduation goals.  Although subject-matter interest is certainly helpful in completing a concentration or area of focus, even students who have not yet developed an interest in a particular subject can benefit from a focused exploration in one area of the law.  Think also, then, about what skills and competencies you can acquire through one of the programs, as well as about how a concentration or area of focus can help you market yourself to employers.  Consider also whether enrollment in a concentration or area of focus will allow you to fulfill upper-level graduation requirements.  Concentrations are, however, capped at 28 credits, allowing plenty of time to take other courses and explore other interests during your time at the law school.  As always, faculty, including the faculty coordinators for each program, are your best source for course and program advising.

What concentrations does Miami Law currently offer?

•    The Business of Innovation, Law, and Technology: BILT 
•    Social Justice & Public Interest
•    Litigation & Dispute Resolution