Miami Law Offering Summer Course - “COVID-19: Lawyering in a Pandemic”



The University of Miami School of Law is offering an online summer course, “COVID-19: Lawyering in a Pandemic.”

The for-credit class will include two components: a doctrinal 2-credit course, taught by a different faculty member each session, focusing on the societal impacts of COVID-19 from a legal perspective; and an experiential component, allowing students to engage in distinct, experiential projects to aid in important problem-solving, policy advocacy, and provide assistance as our country and world work to rebound from the impacts of COVID-19.

“Miami Law is again on the front lines of legal education not just giving the students an overview to the relevant law and scholarship for this exceptional and novel moment but also by giving them hands-on opportunities to be practice-ready and to give back to our local and global communities,” said Professor Kathleen Claussen, who will be teaching the unit, “Cross-Border Movement of Goods and Services in a Pandemic.”

The opening session “Crisis Leadership in Law: Ten Fundamental Elements” and the accompanying panel, “Lawyers as Leaders in Times of Crisis,” led by Dean and M. Minnette Massey Professor of Law Anthony E. Varona, will include Jaret Davis, J.D. ‘99, co-managing shareholder at Greenberg Traurig; Chief Judge Spencer Levine, J.D. '82, 4th Circuit Court of Appeals; Marilu Marshall, J.D. '69, senior vice president of global human resources and chief diversity officer, The Estee Lauder Companies Inc. and a University of Miami trustee; and Laurie Silvers, J.D. '77, president and co-founder of Hollywood Media Corp. and a University of Miami trustee.

“My co-professors and I have a wide array of topics and distinguished guest speakers in store,” said Varona, “and we look forward to engaging our students in a deep look at what this crisis teaches us about law and how it, and we as lawyers, can help solve problems and alleviate suffering in difficult times like these. This course, and other curricular and intellectual life offerings this summer, are examples of how Miami Law is one of the most innovative law schools in the nation.”

Also of note is “Trends in Education” with Professor of Law & Dean's Distinguished Scholar Osamudia James, discussing the lawsuits and debate about the value of education that the migration online has prompted and the racial and economic disparities in education that the pandemic has both highlighted and deepened.

Other units tackle the full scope of trending legal topics raised by a pandemic that encircles the globe, such as regulatory and statutory responses, bankruptcy, and workplace safety and job loss.

“The course reflects Miami Law’s educational mission and spirit of service, training our students to be lawyer leaders when leadership matters most,” Claussen said. “I’m delighted to be a part of it.”

The assigned projects, organized by Associate Dean Kele Stewart, will be related to COVID-19 and the role lawyers need to play now and in the months and years ahead. Each project will be led by a faculty or adjunct faculty member and may include supervising experiential work with outside organizations or courts, writing white papers, or engaging in other policy advocacy work.

The projects include: “The Impact of COVID-19 and International Action on Climate Change” with Professor Jessie Owley; “Workers' Rights Policy Advocacy Project” with Professor Andrew Elmore; “Zoom in the Sunshine?” with Jan Jacobowitz, director of the Professional Responsibility and Ethics Program; a Bankruptcy Research Project with Professor Drew Dawson, vice dean for Academic Affairs; and a Wage Theft Advocacy Project, with Marni Lennon, assistant dean for Public Interest & Pro Bono.

“I applaud and thank Vice Dean for Academic Affairs Drew Dawson and Associate Dean for Academic & Student Services Greg Levy for quickly and creatively devising this course that uses the ongoing COVID-19 crisis as a critical lens through which to view the many areas of law and lawyering impacted by the pandemic,” said Varona.

Students must enroll in the course if they wish to enroll in the experiential component (as an add on), however, the experiential component is not a requirement of the course. The Zoom-delivered sessions will meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:30 p.m. until 6:20 p.m. from May 15 until June 27, 2020.