Law school hires new dean, changes to begin come fall

The University of Miami School of Law will be implementing a number of changes for the 2009-2010 school year.

These changes will be made under newly appointed Dean Patricia White who joined the school this summer.

In addition to the new dean, UM’s law school will hire 12 new faculty members over the next few years.

A new state-of-the art facility will be built on the campus, and a multitude of new programs and initiatives will be added to the roster.

A new Immigration Clinic where students will be able to gain experience working in immigration law. Rebecca Sharpless, who received a Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School and has served as a supervising attorney at the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center, will direct the program.

“South Florida has one of the largest immigrant populations in the country and Miami is one of the poorest cities in the country,” former Academic Associate Dean Donna Coker said. “The new immigration clinic expands our ability to assist those in desperate need of legal representation while also providing wonderful training for our students.”

There will be a new Business and Financial Law Certificate Program that will further educate students who are interested in business law and will be taught by well-respected practitioners from the Miami community. Students who complete the program will gain special recognition on their transcripts and diplomas.

The law school has also implemented a new program of Transactional Externships where students may receive three hours of credit, something most schools do not offer. Students will work 12-15 hours a week in a private practice under the supervision of a practicing attorney.

“Joining our very successful litigation externship program, the transactional program places students in the law offices of major corporations, including MTV-Latin America, Odebrecht Construction and HEICO, as well as major law firms,” Coker said. “Students are exposed to various transactional undertakings, including mergers and acquisitions, subcontracting, licensing and reorganizations. The transactional externships prepares our students to ‘hit the ground running’ in transaction work.”

Another exciting venture for law students, the school will be offering a short-term exchange program with the University of Zurich in Switzerland. The program will focus on international law, business law and comparative business. It will give students the opportunity to learn about the field in a foreign country.

Finally, a new study-abroad program titled “Total China” will also be available in the summer of 2010 as will other opportunities in Greece, Italy, central Europe and yet-to-be-released locations.

Contacts: School of Law

School of Law: Dean Patricia White 305-284-2394

Director of Publications: Michelle Valencia 305-284-2784

Assoc. Dean for Admin: Raquel Matas 305-284-3418