FIU Law offers the possibility of advanced standing for students who already hold a first degree in law from another country. The JD with advanced standing program allows students to receive up to 30 hours of credit towards their JD for prior legal studies in another country. If the maximum amount of credit is applied towards the JD at FIU Law, students may complete their JD in approximately 2 years of full-time study. Students with advanced standing may also be admitted to the evening/part-time program, allowing them to complete their studies in as little as 3 years. Students may also receive credit towards the JD for coursework completing as part of a graduate degree in law, such as a LLM, here in the United States at an ABA accredited law school. In any event, students must complete at least 59 credits in residence at FIU for an award of the JD.
The total amount of credit towards the JD is assessed on an individual basis by the Office of International and Graduate Studies, the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, and the Dean of the College. The ABA Standards for the Approval of Law Schools govern advanced standing credit for applicants from foreign law schools. In general, course work at the foreign law school must have been done “in residence” at the law school and have been of satisfactory quality to apply to the graduation requirements of the foreign law school. Furthermore, the ABA Standards require FIU Law to verify that the quality of the educational program at the foreign law school was at least equal to that of an ABA accreditied school.
In general, the application process is the same as for any other student applying for admission to the College as a candidate for the JD. The general requirements and process for admission are found at the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid. Please click here for the application requirements or call the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid at 305-348-8006 for more information.
Students requesting advanced standing for prior legal studies must submit a letter to the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid when applying for admission. The letter should contain the following reference line near the top: “Re: Addendum to Application; Request for Advanced Standing for Prior Legal Studies.”
Transcripts from outside the United States must be submitted for evaluation and translation, if necessary, either (1) to a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) or (2) to the Credential Assembly Service of the Law School Admission Council for transcript authentication and evaluation. To become a candidate for the JD degree, students must have either a bachelor’s degree from a US regionally accredited institution or an equivalent degree from an international institution. This process will determine if your international degree satisfies this requirement. To view a list of NACES approved agencies visit www.NACES.org/or call the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid at 305-348-8006. For the Credential Assembly Service of the Law School Admission Council visit www.lsac.org/Applying/lsdas-jdcas-educated-outside.asp.
All applicants for the JD with advanced standing must take the LSAT. Scores are submitted on application to the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid.Some applicants must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Candidates for whom English is not their first language must take the TOEFL if their LSAT score is under 156. Candidates must request that scores be sent directly to the FIU Office of Admissions and Financial Aid. Candidates who receive a score of 156 or higher on the LSAT may request a waiver of the TOEFL from the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid. Information on the TOEFL may be found at www.ets.org/toefl.
Required First-Year Courses
Because credit for prior legal studies is awarded for elective courses only, students in the JD with advanced standing program must complete the entire required first-year curriculum.
Full-time students will take Torts, Contracts, Constitutional Law, Legal Skills and Values I & II, Property, Civil Procedure, Criminal Law, and Introduction to International and Comparative Law and Legal Skills in their first two semesters. Part-time students will take these courses over three semesters, usually in evening classes. Depending on their prior studies, students with advanced standing may seek a waiver of Introduction to International and Comparative Law.
Upper-Level Study to Complete the JD
After completing the required first-year courses, students with advanced standing should structure their studies to give them maximum exposure to core areas of United States law. Thus, a rigorous course of study is expected as students complete their work. All such students are required to meet the regular requirements for graduation including Legal Skills and Values III, Professional Responsibility, and a seminar. Students with advanced standing do not have to take an upper-level international or comparative law course or litigation or alternative dispute resolution courses, but may choose to do so after considering their prior studies, intellectual interests, and future professional goals.
With focus on the goals of practicing law and success on the bar exam, students should consider the following courses to finish their degree: Administrative Law, Business Organizations, Criminal Procedure, Evidence, Family Law, Federal Courts, Federal Income Tax, First Amendment, Florida Civil Practice, Florida Constitutional Law, Immigration Law, Real Estate Transactions, Sales, Secured Transactions, and Wills and Trusts. Students with advanced standing should consult with the Office of International and Graduate Studies when selecting courses to complete the requirements for their JD.
Cost, Financial Aid and Other Support
For the 2012 – 2013 academic year, the yearly tuition and fees for the College’s JD program are:
- The FIU College of Law charges tuition comparable to the other state supported law schools in Florida. The 2012-2013 academic year law tuition is approximately $595.00 per credit hour for Florida residents and $1,055.00 per credit hour for non-Florida residents. A customary incremental increase in tuition can be expected for the 2013-2014 academic year. View the full tuition and fees for 2012-2013.
- To qualify for federal financial aid, students must be United States citizens, permanent residents, or otherwise eligible for financial aid. Please contact the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid for further information at 305-348-8006.
- The FIU Office of International Students and Scholar Services maintains information for international students about other sources of funding such as private loans. This office is located in FIU’s Graham Center, room 355, phone 305-348-2421.
Visas and Other Information: International Student and Scholar Services
- Assistance with visas and other helpful information for international students are provided by the FIU Office of International Student and Scholar Services, Graham Center, room 355, phone 305-348-2421.
Important Considerations and Helpful Hints
- Students are strongly advised to begin the application process as early as possible, as it requires approval from several parties. This task is lengthy and time consuming.
- Once admitted as a JD candidate, students with advanced standing have equal status with all other JD students and are subject to all the same regulations and requirements. International students may also have additional regulations and requirements administered through the Office of International Student and Scholar Services. Once admitted as a JD candidate, students with advanced standing may take advantage of all the benefits and activities offered students in the College and University. The FIU Housing office can supply information about living on campus or elsewhere. Campus Dining has a number of plans for eating on campus. The College’s Career Placement Office will provide information and offer assistance in finding employment upon graduation.
- Finishing your JD is just one step to being able to practice law in the United States. Remember that you will have to pass all aspects of admission to the state bar where you hope to practice. If you are an international student, your ability to work in the United States will depend on your immigration status and you should investigate this fully and consult with a United States Consulate before undertaking study. Many law students also accept summer employment in legal fields. Employment rules vary depending on your immigration status and special employment rules apply to students in the United States on F-1 visas. To determine if you are eligible to accept summer legal employment under your visa, contact a United States Consulate.
- We are delighted that you are thinking about continuing your legal education at FIU Law. If you have any questions or concerns please contact either Matthew C. Mirow, Associate Dean of International & Graduate Studies, or Julie Beineke, Coordinator of International & Graduate Studies, via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. The phone number for the office is 305-348-7595.