The landscape for the practice of law is changing due to advances in technology and other economic factors, which is causing a shift in the type of prospective students that law schools are attracting. Due to this shift, law schools around the nation are seeing an increase in students applying with STEM-focused degrees (science, technology, engineering, mathematics).
“My STEM background has helped me develop strong critical thinking skills, which are essential for success as a law student.,” said Nicole Peet, rising 2L. “In my legal studies, I find that I am able to apply certain principles of scientific methodology, facilitating effective integration of information and ideas.”
As the economy continues to evolve, so will the demand for lawyers with differentiators such as STEM backgrounds. Due to rapid digitization, companies view STEM backgrounds such as math and science useful in understanding the complexities of conducting business not only today, but in the future.
“FIU does an exceptional job of providing opportunities, like law review Symposia and weekly seminars, for STEM students to interact with distinguished professionals from comparable backgrounds,” said Peet. “These experiences, when combined with the superior legal education offered at the College of Law, make me feel that I will be a strong competitor in the job market.”
FIU Law has anticipated rapid growth in STEM fields and has expanded legal services offered through its Small Business Clinic, renaming it the Business, Innovation and Technology Clinic (BIT), which reflects better its interdisciplinary and community-focused approach. Students have the opportunity to work on a range of transactional and corporate matters assisting non-profits, small businesses, and startups in various industries including business, technology, science, and research. The United States Patent and Trademark Office recent grant of approval to participate in its clinic certification program permits the law school to offer patent law counseling and direct representation, which have enhanced these existing legal services. “BIT clinical students have the singular opportunity, under the supervision of expert attorneys, to take the lead on identifying issues, providing counsel, and delivering legal services to diverse business clients”, said Michelle Mason, Senior Associate Dean. “As South Florida’s only public law school, we are proud to offer experiential learning programs to prepare our diverse student body for the future job market.”