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Florida International University (College of Law)

The mission of the Florida International University College of Law is to serve the citizens of the State of Florida, particularly South Florida, by providing access to the legal profession through a contemporary, high-quality educational program. Like the University and metropolitan communities of which they are a part, the student body, faculty and administration reflect a wide variety of backgrounds and interests. Out of this diversity, the College of Law seeks to create a scholarly community in which students and faculty discuss issues freely and with respect for differing perspectives.

The FIU College of Law occupies a brand new state of the art building, designed by renowned architect Robert A. M. Stern. The facility is one of the largest and most modern in the state,and will host classes as of the Fall semester of 2006. A groundbreaking ceremony was held for the law school's building on May 22, 2005 (the same day as the inaugural commencement), although the foundation had already been laid, and principal construction had already begun at that time. $34 million was budgeted for the construction of the facility, which was . The new building is also on the University Park campus, across from the Pharmed Arena and adjacent to the newly constructed recreation center and a 1,000-car parking garage.

Construction of the facility suffered setbacks when the University Park Campus suffered direct hits from Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Wilma as each passed through South Florida in the Fall of 2005. In each instance, damage to the structure was accompanied by increases in the costs of labor and materials.

Initially, the school had occupied several floors of the Green Library building at FIU's University Park campus. The fourth floor of that building contained faculty offices and the Dean's suite. The law library was located on the third floor, and several classrooms on the first floor were dedicated to law student use.

The College of Law offers a curriculum that prepares students for ethical and effective practice of law in an increasingly global and multicultural world. The curriculum includes a full and faithful presentation of the courses traditionally offered at nearly all U.S. law schools. In addition, building on the parent university’s distinction in its international programs, the curriculum incorporates important developments in the globalization of both public and private law. The academic program takes a pervasive approach to international and comparative law, incorporating these perspectives into all domestic law classes, and includes a required introductory course and a rich array of upper level electives in international, transnational and comparative law. Recognizing the importance of a solid grounding in the skills and values of the profession, the College of Law curriculum further provides students with extensive, rigorous legal research and writing experiences, introduces other lawyering skills such as counseling and negotiation, and introduces the important professional values of civility and ethical practice.

The curriculum is taught by a faculty committed to excellence in both teaching and scholarship. Faculty members are actively engaged in research in their respective areas of expertise. The scholarly mission of the College of Law enriches classroom teaching and learning; contributes to the understanding, development and reform of the law; and promotes the University’s mission as one of the nation’s leading urban public research institutions.

As a community of legal scholars, the College of Law has obligations to the region, state, nation and the international community to assist the legal profession and the society it serves. The FIU College of Law seeks to graduate students who appreciate the lawyer’s professional and ethical obligations to serve the community. The College of Law will educate future lawyers who will understand the value – to the community and to them personally – of helping those in need. Students are required to satisfy a community service requirement, and the College of Law will offer clinical legal education programs in which students represent indigent clients. Faculty members model these values by participating in local, state, national and international professional service activities.

The College of Law seeks to advance the intellectual growth of its students as well as their development of skills and values useful to the ethical, effective practice of law. The curriculum includes the core courses traditionally offered at almost all American law schools. In addition, the academic program is committed to special experiences in International and Comparative Law and Community Service. All courses in American law will include a short component contrasting how other countries address common issues.

All students must complete a minimum of 90 hours of course work with a cumulative g.p.a. of 2.0 or higher to earn the J.D. degree. In addition, students must satisfy the community service requirement and the residency requirement.

The Clinical Program advances the law school’s goals of educating lawyers for ethical and effective practice of law and of promoting community service through the representation of real clients. The first clinics at the College of Law are an Immigration/Human Rights Clinic and a Criminal Law Clinic. In the first, Professor Troy Elder supervises students representing clients seeking political asylum. Professor Phyllis Kotey, formerly a County Court Judge, leads the Criminal Law Clinic in which students either prosecute cases through the State Attorney’s office or defend clients accused of crimes. The Clinical Program offers students the opportunity to develop competency in lawyering skills, including interviewing, counseling, fact-gathering, developing a litigation plan, negotiations, discovery techniques, other pre-trial and trial skills, and law office management skills. Students learn substantive and procedural law related to their clients’ needs. Clinical law students acquire problem solving abilities, learn to cope with facts, and experience the relationship between legal theory and practice in the context of providing assistance to an under-served population. Students assume responsibility for matters of great importance to real clients. They also have the opportunity to work collaboratively with other students and clinic faculty.

The Clinical Program and its clinical courses provide legal education along with hands-on experience that enables students to apply course work to actual cases and to examine the institutional, ethical and personal problems inherent in the lives of today's practicing lawyers. The Program offers students exposure to client advocacy and litigation in a supervised setting. Presently there are three clinics available, the Carlos A. Costa Immigration and Human Rights Clinic, the Community Development Clinic, and the Criminal Law Clinic.

The Carlos A. Costa Immigration and Human Rights Clinic and the Community Development Clinic are in-house clinics. Students in the Carlos A. Costa Immigration and Human Rights Clinic represent low-income clients in political asylum and other immigration and human rights cases. Students in the Community Development Clinic represent clients on primarily transactional matters involving nonprofit organizations and small businesses. The Criminal Law Clinic is an externship program in which students are certified interns at the Public Defender’s Office and State Attorney’s Office while participating in a seminar at the law school.

The Clinical Program plans to begin one new clinic in the Spring of 2005: a Judicial Clinic . The Judicial Clinic will be an externship program where students will be able to obtain practical experience in the chambers of a trial or appellate judge or other judicial officer.

Professor Peggy Maisel is the Director of the Clinical Programs. She comes to FIU with both national and international law teaching experience. She was a Fulbright Professor and then joined the University of Natal law faculty in South Africa from 1996-2002 where she worked with the University law clinics and introduced her knowledge of clinical legal education into the development of course materials and the teaching of skills in the core law school curriculum. In the U.S., she has been the Dean of New College of California School of Law, and has taught in clinics at Harvard, Antioch Law School, and the University of Maryland. She is licensed to practice law in Florida, California, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia.

The FIU College of Law founding faculty is a group of outstanding teacher-scholars with exceptional credentials, experience and reputations. They are people for whom teaching and mentoring of students is the first priority. In addition, they are distinguished scholars who have published in the country’s leading law reviews. All are committed to the College of Law’s mission to serve the community and the legal profession in Miami, South Florida, Florida, the United States and the world.

The Law Library is a research facility designed to support the work of students and faculty of the Florida International University College of Law. FIU College of Law is a brand new law school which first opened its doors in August of 2002. The library currently has about 200,000 volumes and the collection is growing rapidly. The law librarians and staff are committed to providing a high level of service to the students and faculty of the College of Law, as well as to assisting the FIU community, the local bar and the general public. The full-time staff of ten includes five professional librarians and the library director.

In addition to our collection, the Library houses group study rooms, computer labs, carrels, and connections for laptops. Students have access to the Library’s electronic resources, including the web-based library catalog, subscription databases, research guides, and selected Internet resources.

The FIU College of Law Library is open to guests doing legal research, but some restrictions are observed.

School name:Florida International UniversityCollege of Law
Address:University Park Campus, Green Library Suite 484
Zip & city:FL 33199 Florida

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