This year, Miami Law has instituted a personal, hands-on approach to counseling its students through a new Student Development Initiative. The goal is to make a real connection with all 1Ls and to provide them with sound advice, compassionate care, and professional attention. This new initiative is a testament to Miami Law's commitment to students' academic, emotional, and professional well-being.
Three attorneys – Michael Bossone, Sarah Klein, and Joanna Sackel – meet one-on-one with all incoming 1Ls to learn their stories and to understand and appreciate their unique backgrounds, values, adversities, and goals. Together they develop a relationship that results in ongoing conversations of unlimited scope, ranging from informal talks about law school life and understanding the law school dynamic to structured discussions about study and exam strategy and course selection. They are available to students 24/7/365 and connect with them in person and by email, text, skype, Gchat, cell phone, and Facebook.
The program addresses a deficiency in the American law school model that allows far too many students to disengage and grow increasingly dissatisfied with their law school experience, explains Bossone. This new model assumes that a law school should be a synergistic institution where students are respected as key contributors to the enterprise of building and sustaining a culture of collaboration and trust between the various segments of a law school community.
"Dean (Patricia) White's leadership has allowed Miami Law to provide each and every one of our students with a talented and compassionate person who is available 24/7/365 to help make the law school experience more personal, positive, and affirming," said Bossone. "We are so fortunate to have Sarah and Joanna as part of our team, for they are both very special people who possess rare gifts. I continue to feel blessed to have the opportunity to play this role in our students' lives, and I deeply cherish those relationships."
Klein, who recently received the 2010 Dr. Robert Greenberg Award for Innovation by the Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities (COSD), works closely with students with disabilities to provide them with counseling and resources. Since joining Miami Law, she has created a webpage specifically catering to disabled students that is regularly updated with career opportunities, helpful resources and current news relating to disability law.
"It is a tremendous privilege to have the chance to sit with each and every incoming 1L to learn their stories," said Klein. "I am consistently in awe of the talents, gifts, and incredibly diverse life experiences that our students are bringing to the classroom and to our community. We take into account the total person as we help our students navigate law school and life. It is our hope and our experience that these relationships span well beyond the three years spent here at Miami Law."