Some lawyers and other criminal justice workers specialize in the field of contract law, which is the field that concentrates on setting the terms of legal agreements, particularly agreements between two or more parties. Unfortunately, in the state of Florida, there are no specialty degree programs that focus on contract law, but most law programs include coursework in this area.
As of 2013, there were 11 schools in Florida that provided law degree or legal studies programs. The majority of law schools in Florida require students to participate in pro bono hours, which is where law students provide free legal services to public agencies or individuals.
The following schools have the largest student populations and are either public or private not-for-profit institutions. The comparison table near the end of the article includes a full program list for each school.
Located in Orlando, this University's law school offers juris doctor (JD) degree programs in law with specialization options in such fields as children and family law, prosecution, Earth advocacy and immigration law. To be accepted into the JD program, students must already hold bachelor's degrees. Applicants must also submit their applications electronically, accompanied by college transcripts, Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) scores and proof of registration with the Credential Assembly Services (CAS). Students must complete 90 units of coursework, 27-32 of which are required courses, but the rest are elective courses that allow students to focus on their preferred fields of specialty. First year students are required to take two courses of contract law, and other required courses include torts, civil procedures, criminal law and legal research. This university allows students to take classes in the evenings to accommodate daytime work schedules, and there is also a bar preparation program to help students train for the state bar exam, which is the exam individuals must pass to become lawyers.
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University
Tallahassee's JD program at this university can be completed in three years with full-time studies or in four years through the part-time evening study program. Admissions requirements to the JD program include a CAS report, which provides a review of each student's undergraduate transcripts and LSAT scores. As of 2013, the university listed 45 faculty members associated with the law department. This university only requires law students to take two introductory courses in contracts. Although many of the elective courses mention contracts, there is only one contract specific elective course, which is the contract drafting course. While this university does not offer a bar preparation program, they do provide a list of elective course recommendations that students may want to consider in preparations of the Florida state bar exam, and some of these courses include estates and trusts, Florida constitutional law, criminal procedures, multistate bar law, payment systems and family law.
Florida International University
Miami's research-based university provides a law department with 50 professors, as of 2013, and four of those professors specialize in contract law. Although some professors may specialize in this field, the school does not list any program emphasis in contract law, but students are always welcome to choose elective courses geared toward their professional goals. During the first year of law school, students are required to take 31 unit hours of core coursework, and four of those unit hours are in contract law. This university offers law students the opportunity to take full-time daytime classes, full-time twilight classes, which are classes offered in the mid-and late afternoon, or part-time evening classes. Besides the traditional JD degree program, students can choose to participate in joint degree programs, which result in students earning JD degrees and master's degrees in specialized fields, such as business administration, psychology, international business or social work.
Florida State University
Also located in Tallahassee, this Florida State University campus provides an extensive law department that offers traditional JD degrees, Masters of Law (LL.M.) degrees and nine joint degree programs. In 2013, the university's law department listed 57 faculty members and nine deans. Students are required to take four units of contract law during their first year of law school, but the only elective course related directly to this field is contract drafting. During the second and third year of law school, students are expected to choose elective coursework that pertains to their professional goals, and many of the elective courses offered by this university are designed for certain industries, such as sports law, pharmaceuticals, entertainment and healthcare. The university also offers opportunities for additional legal training, including legal clinics, study abroad programs and externships at law firms.
Nova Southeastern University
Fort Lauderdale's campus does not offer JD or other law-related graduate degree programs, but it does offer bachelor's degree programs in legal studies. Students who are thinking about going to law school may want to consider this undergraduate degree program, since it prepares students for writing legal arguments, interpreting legal systems and understanding legal statutes. To major in legal studies at this university, students must complete 42 units within the major, including core classes, such as argument and debate, American government and American politics. Students also take courses that discuss ethics, logic and philosophical systems. Those who want to go on to law school can choose elective courses in the pre-law track, but there is also an international law track for students to consider. There are no undergraduate courses at this campus that focus specifically on contract law.
St. Thomas University
This private university located in Miami Gardens has several law-related degree programs, including a combination bachelor's degree/JD degree program, a traditional JD degree program, two LL.M. degree programs, five joint graduate degree programs and a Juris Scientiae Doctor (J.S.D.) degree program in intercultural human rights. To accommodate so many degree programs, there is a large full-time faculty pool of 41 professors. Although this university allows for a great deal of legal specialization, none of the degree programs have a direct focus in contract law, although students in the JD degree programs must take a minimum of two contract law classes. Individuals who want to specialize in contract law may consider one of the joint graduate degree programs, especially in such areas as sports administration or international business, since these industries often deal exclusively in contract negotiations.
The school of law for this university is located in Gulfport, which is actually about two and half hours southwest of the university's main campus in DeLand, and some of the law courses are offered at the Tampa campus, which is about half an hour northeast of Gulfport. This university offers the standard JD degree program, but it also offers three LL.M. degree programs and four joint graduate degree programs. During the first year of the JD degree program, students must take four unit hours of contract law. There are no electives specifically related to contract law at this time. The law department has 59 faculty members available, as of 2013. Students may complete any of the degree programs at either full-time or part-time status, although part-time students will have to travel back and forth between the Tampa and Gulfport campuses to complete evening coursework.
University of Florida
The Gainesville campus offers students the traditional JD degree program, but students can also choose to combine the JD degree program with practically any of the graduate degree programs available on campus. Degrees offered in the law department include several LL.M. degrees in such fields as environmental and land-use law, international taxation, comparative law and taxation law, and there is also a Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) degree program in taxation available. The university offers five law concentration areas, but none of them deal specifically with contract law, although the concentrations of estate and trusts law, environmental and land-use law and intellectual property law may deal heavily with contract drafting and negotiations. Of all listed courses, law students are only required to take a four-unit course in contract law. This university's law department has over 75 faculty members, as of 2013, and one professor actually specializes in contract law. Law students can also take advantage of the externship programs and the study abroad legal research programs.
University of Miami
Located in Coral Gables, this university offers the general JD degree program, five LL.M. degree programs, and 13 joint graduate degree programs. Law students at this university can choose to specialize in such areas as sports and sports entertainment law, corporate law, environmental law, international law and criminal law. While none of these specialties focus specifically on contract law, extensive knowledge of legal contracts is required for many of these areas. Nevertheless, according to the core course listing from 2013, law students have the option of taking a course in contract law or property law, meaning that contract law courses are not mandatory. The law department at this campus employs over 100 faculty and visiting faculty members. Students can gain additional legal training through participating in any of the ten legal clinics or through any of the other academic programs, such as externships, study abroad programs and litigation skills programs.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||FIELD Degrees Offered||In-State Tuition & Fees 2018-2019||Out-of-State Tuition & Fees 2018-2019|
|Barry University||4-year private institution, large suburban area||Juris Doctor Degree||$30,014*||$30,014*|
|Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University||4-year public college, medium-size city||Juris Doctor Degree||$5,785*||$17,725*|
|Florida International University||4-year public university, large suburban district|| Juris Doctor Degree
Juris Doctor Degree/Master of Business Administration Degree
Juris Doctor Degree/Master of Latin American & Caribbean Studies Degree
Juris Doctor Degree/Master of Public Administration Degree
Juris Doctor Degree/Master of Science in Environmental Studies Degree
Juris Doctor Degree/Master of Social Work Degree
Juris Doctor Degree/Master of Science in Psychology Degree
Juris Doctor Degree/Master of International Business Degree
Juris Doctor Degree/Master of Science in Criminal Justice Degree
|Florida State University||4-year public school, midsize city|| Juris Doctor Degree
Masters of Law Degree in American Law for Foreign Lawyers
Masters of Law Degree in Environmental Law and Policy
Juris Doctor Degree/Masters of Business Administration
Juris Doctor Degree/Masters of Science in Economics
Juris Doctor Degree/Masters of Science in Family and Child Sciences
Juris Doctor Degree/Masters of Science in Information Studies
Juris Doctor Degree/Masters of Science in International Affairs
Juris Doctor Degree/Masters of Public Administration
Juris Doctor Degree/Masters of Social Work
Juris Doctor Degree/Masters of Science in Sports Management
Juris Doctor Degree/Masters of Science in Planning
|Nova Southeastern University||4-year private college, large suburban area||Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies||$30,900*||$30,900*|
|St. Thomas University||4-year private university, large suburban district|| Bachelor of Arts Degree/Juris Doctor Degree
Juris Doctor Degree
Juris Scientiae Doctor/Doctor of the Science of Law in Intercultural Human Rights
Juris Scientiae Doctor/Masters of Law in Intercultural Human Rights
Masters of Law in Environmental Sustainability
Juris Doctor Degree/Masters of Science in Sports Administration
Juris Doctor Degree/Masters of Business Administration in Sports Administration
Juris Doctor Degree/Masters of Science in Marriage and Family Counseling
Juris Doctor Degree/Masters of Business Administration in International Business
Juris Doctor Degree/Masters of Business Administration in Accounting
|Stetson University||4-year private school, medium-sized suburb|| Juris Doctor Degree
Masters of the Law Degree in Advocacy
Masters of the Law Degree in Elder Law
Masters of the Law Degree in International Law
Juris Doctor Degree/Grado en Derecho
Juris Doctor Degree/Masters of Business Administration Degree
Juris Doctor Degree/Doctorate of Medicine Degree
Juris Doctor Degree/Masters of Public Health Degree
|University of Florida||4-year public college, mid-size city|| Juris Doctor Degree
Masters of Law in Comparative Law Degree
Masters of Law in Environmental and Land Use Law
Masters of Law in Taxation
Masters of Law in International Taxation
Doctor of Judicial Science in Taxation
|University of Miami||4-year private institution, large suburban area|| Juris Doctor Degree
Masters of Law in Estate Planning
Masters of Law in International Law
Masters of Law in Ocean and Coastal Law
Masters of Law in Real Property Development
Masters of Law in Tax Law
Juris Doctor Degree/Masters of Law in International Law
Juris Doctor Degree/Masters of Law in Ocean and Coastal Law
Juris Doctor Degree/Masters of Law in Real Property Development
Juris Doctor Degree/Masters of Law in Tax Law
Juris Doctor Degree/Masters Of Business Administration
Juris Doctor Degree/Masters of Arts in Communications
Juris Doctor Degree/Masters of Arts in Arts and Entertainment Management
Juris Doctor Degree/Master of Professional Science in Marine Affairs & Policy
Juris Doctor Degree/Doctor of Medicine
Juris Doctor Degree/Masters of Arts in Music Business and Entertainment
Juris Doctor Degree/Masters of Arts in Public Administration
Juris Doctor Degree/Masters of Arts in Public Health
Juris Doctor Degree/Doctorate of Philosophy in Environmental Science and Policy
Sources: *NCES College Navigator.