Miami Law Human Rights Clinic

Students: Basic Information & Requirements

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Hear Miami Law students discuss how this clinic enables them to do broad work advocacy locally, nationally and internationally.

The Human Rights Clinic exposes students to the practice of law in the international and cross-cultural context of human rights litigation and advocacy.

Through an intensive critical seminar, students examine the actors, subjects, and tools of the human rights movement, as well as critiques coming from left and right. Specifically, the seminar considers the evolution of the human rights movement, how to locate litigation in human rights work, the difficulties in applying 'traditional' human rights methodology beyond the civil and political rights context, the developing human rights movement in the United States, and economic issues that arise in human rights norms and analysis.

The critical seminar lays out an analytic framework for much of the course, and it is combined with a skills seminar, which introduces students to specially-tailored exercises to familiarize them with international human rights practice. In addition, guest speakers will cover both substantive themes in human rights and provide guidance in skills-oriented exercises.

In the seminar, students participate in exercises and discussions that develop fundamental lawyering and advocacy skills including:

  • Interviewing techniques, fact investigation and development
  • Project and case organization and management
  • Legal drafting, and oral and written advocacy (including media advocacy)
  • Ethics and professional development, and collaborative project work

To bridge theory and practice, the Human Rights Clinic provides students with hands-on experience working on active human rights cases and projects. Students apply and test the skills-training and critical examinations imparted through classroom instruction and simulations in the context of real-world advocacy. Working in partnership with experienced attorneys and institutions engaged in human rights activism, both in the United States and abroad, students contribute to effecting positive change locally and globally as they hone their professional skills.

Duration: One-Semester Clinic

Credits: 6

Prerequisites: Commitment to social justice and human rights advocacy. Completion or concurrent enrollment in a basic human rights or international law course is expected.

Time Requirements: This clinic entails a very substantial time commitment in addition to the time spent preparing for and attending class. Clinic class meets for one hour and fifty minutes, twice weekly. Students are expected to spend approximately 15-18 hours per week on clinic project/case work.


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Caroline Bettinger-LópezCaroline Bettinger-López, runs the Human Rights Clinic and is currently on a leave of absence after being appointed the White House Advisor on Violence Against Women in 2015.

Watch video and presentation of Bettinger- López discussing the clinic.


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    Flickr See more photos of the Human Rights Clinic in action on Flickr.

    Miami Law Human Rights Clinic students with Professor Bettinger-López

    Miami Law Human Rights Clinic students Lea Dartevelle and Miya Patel discuss the plight of Haitian deportees from the U.S. with a representative of the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) at UNHCR headquarters in Washington, DC.

    Our delegation, consisting of Professor Caroline Bettinger-Lopez and 3L Charlotte Cassel from the University of Miami School of Law Human Rights Clinic; Ahmad Abuznaid from Dream Defenders; Meena Jagannath from Community Justice Project of Florida Legal Services; Niaz Kasravi from NAACP; and Alisa Bierria and Aleta Alston-Toure from Free Marissa Now Coalition, pose for a photo after the hearing with Sybrina Fulton, Ron Davis, and IACHR Commissioner Rose Marie Belle Antoine.

    Charlotte Cassel, 3L, makes opening remarks during a thematic hearing before the IACHR.

    James Slater, 3L, delivers statement on immigration and deportations to Haiti before the UN Human Rights Committee

    Human Rights Clinic students Daniella Peterson, James Slater, and Charlotte Cassel, together with Professor Caroline Bettinger-Lopez, Marleine Bastien from Haitian Women of Miami (FANM), and Meena Jagannath from the Community Justice Project of Florida Legal Services, stand in front of the UN Palais des Nations, Geneva.

    Flickr See more photos of the Human Rights Clinic in action on Flickr.