Certificate Programs

St. Thomas Law offers ten certificate programs. St. Thomas Law offers a certificate in Admiralty and Maritime Law, Business Law, Criminal Litigation, Elder Law, Environmental Sustainability, Immigration Practice, Intellectual Property Law, Intercultural Human Rights, Real Estate Law, and Tax Law. These programs are designed for students who want to focus on a particular area of practice while in law school. To qualify for a certificate the student takes a number of classes and in some cases takes continuing legal education courses in the area of focus and/or performs pro bono work in the area of focus.

The certificate programs allow the student to gain greater insight into a particular area of the law. If the student completes all the certificate requirements then, upon graduation, he/she is provided a certificate and would have greater familiarity with that area of practice which the student might then continue to explore in practice or post-J.D. education. The requirements for each of the certificates can be found in the law school catalog.

The Law School requires students to declare a certificate program at least one semester prior to completion of degree requirements for the Juris Doctor program.

Applications for the certificates can be found at the links below.

Admiralty and Maritime Law – Director, Associate Dean Cece Dykas (Application)

A certificate in Admiralty and Maritime Law will be awarded to J.D. students who successfully complete:

  1. A minimum of 12 credit hours of designated course work, including the following:
    • Required Courses:
      • Admiralty Law (3 credits);
      • International Business Transactions (3 credits);
    • At least two (2) of the following courses:
      • Boating and Cruising Law (2 credits);
      • Environmental Law Practice (2 or 3 credits);
      • Federal Courts (3 credits);
      • International Law (3 credits);
      • Marine Insurance (3 credits);
      • Transnational Litigation (3 credits);
    • Any of the following, if necessary, to reach the total of 12 credit hours:
      • Alternative Dispute Resolution (3 credits);
      • Federal Income Tax (4 credits);
      • Seminar – International Law in the 21st Century;
  2. A skills component, which may be met by completing two (2) Continuing Legal Education (CLE) seminars sponsored by the Admiralty Law Section of the Florida Bar.
Business Law – Director, Prof. Jennifer Martin (Application)

A certificate in Business Law will be award to J.D. students who have satisfactory completed:

  1. At least 12 credits hours of designated course work, including the following:
    • At least two (2) of the following required courses:
      • Bankruptcy (3 credits);
      • Corporate Finance (3 credits);
      • Federal Income Taxation (4 credits);*
      • Legal Accounting (3 credits);
      • Payment Systems (3 credits);
      • Secured Transactions (3 credits);
      • Sales (3 credits);
    • Any of the following additional courses to reach the total of 12 credit hours:
      • Bankruptcy (3 credits);
      • Commercial Law Amicus Initiative (2 credits);**
      • Commercial Law Survey (3 credits);
      • Consumer Law (3 credits);
      • Corporate Finance (3 credits);
      • Debtor and Creditor Rights (3 credits);
      • Essential Concepts of Business for Lawyers (1 credits);
      • Family Wealth Management (3 credits);
      • Federal Income Taxation (4 credits);*
      • Insurance Law (3 credits);
      • Intellectual Property Overview (1 credit);
      • International Business Transactions (3 credits);
      • Law Office Management (3 credits);
      • Legal Issues for Startups (2 credits);
      • Negotiations (1 credit);
      • Payment Systems (3 credits);
      • Real Estate Development & Finance (3 credits);
      • Transactional Skills (3 credits);**
      • Transnational Business and International Human Rights (3 credits);
      • White Collar Crime (3 credits);
  2. Completion of one of the following:
    • One of the following field placements or skills courses:
      • Bankruptcy Law Externship
      • Civil Practice Externship (in a business law-related area, with the specific placement approved by the Director of the Business Law Certificate Program);
      • Commercial Law Amicus Initiative;***
      • Transactional Skills;***
    • Thirty (30) hours of Continuing Legal Education (CLE) programs sponsored by the Business Law Section of The Florida Bar or the American Bar Association;
  3. A minimum of 4 hours as part of a Continuing Legal Education (CLE) program sponsored by the Business Law Section of The Florida Bar or the ABA.

*Tax courses other than Federal Income Tax are excluded from this Certificate; students interested in taxation are encouraged to pursue a Tax Certificate.
**If not used to satisfy the skills requirement.
***If not used to fulfill the course requirements.

Criminal Litigation – Director, Prof. Jay Silver (Application)

A Certificate in Criminal Litigation will be awarded to J.D. students who have applied to the Certificate program at least a semester prior to completion of the J.D. degree requirements and who have satisfactorily completed:

  1. Either the Criminal Practice Externship (6 or 8 credits) or the Appellate Litigation Internship (12 credits); and
  2. Criminal Procedure I (3 credits); and
  3. Florida Criminal Procedure (2 credits); and
  4. At least seven credit hours from among the following courses:
    • Capital Punishment (2 credits);
    • Criminal Procedure II (3 credits);
    • Florida Criminal Practice (3 credits);
    • Human Trafficking Law and Policy (3 credits);
    • International Criminal Law (3 credits);
    • Juvenile Law (2 credits);
    • National Security and Fourth Amendment (1 credit);
    • Topics in Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure Seminar (2 credits);
    • Transnational Criminal Law (3 credits);
    • White Collar Crime (3 credits);
Elder Law – Director, Prof. Gordon Butler (Application)

A Certificate in Elder Law will be awarded to J.D. students who have satisfactorily completed:

  1. At least 12 credit hours of designated course work, including the following:
    • Elder Law (3 credits); and
    • Elder Law Externship (4 credits); and
    • Guardianship Law (3 credits); and
    • Any of the following additional courses to reach the total of 12 credit hours:
      • Administrative Law (2 or 3 credits);
      • Advanced Trusts (2 credits);
      • Disability Rights: Law and Practices (2 credits);
      • Essential Concepts of Business for Lawyers (1 credit);
      • Estate Planning (3 credits); and
      • Family Wealth Management (3 credits);
      • Federal Estate and Gift Taxation (3 credits) or Federal Income Taxation (4 credits);
      • Government Benefits (3 credits);
      • Health Care Compliance (3 credits);
      • Health Law and Policy (3 credits);
      • Law and Bioethics (3 credits);
      • Legal Accounting (3 credits);
      • Legislation and Regulation (1 credit);
      • Selected Issues in Taxation (3 credits);
      • Seminar: Advanced Problems in Taxation (2 credits);
      • Seminar: Poverty Law and Economic Justice (2 credits);
      • Statutory Interpretation (3 credits);
  2. Two (2) Continuing Legal Education (CLE) seminars presented by the Elder Law Section of The Florida Bar.

These courses introduce the student to all fundamental principles of elder law that are tested on The Florida Bar’s Elder Law Certification examination.  Students pursuing the Elder Law Certificate must file a statement of intent with the Registrar and the Director of the Elder Law Certificate Program as soon as they desire to pursue the program.

Environmental Sustainability – Director, Prof. Alfred Light (Application)

Environmental lawyers, whether in private practice, government, or public interest, must have a sound grounding in the technical issues and concepts that form the basis for environmental regulatory programs and that frequently arise in environmental litigation, transactions, and site cleanups.

A Certificate in Environmental Sustainability will be awarded to those J.D. students who have satisfactorily completed at least 12 credit hours of designated course work, including:

  1. Environmental Law (2 or 3 credits); and
  2. Human Rights and the Environment (1 credit); and
  3. Any of the following additional courses to reach the total of 12 credit hours:
    • Administrative Law (2 or 3 credits);
    • Admiralty Law (3 credits);
    • Comparative Environmental Law (3 credits);
    • Comparative Water Law (1 credit);
    • International Environmental Law (3 credits);
    • Land Use Planning (3 credits);
    • Legislation and Regulation (1 credit);
    • Natural Resources Law and Policy (2 or 3 credits);
    • Negotiations (1 credit);
    • Real Estate Development and Finance (3 credits);
    • Remedies (3 credits);
    • Seminar: Environmental Law Policy (2 credits);
    • Seminar: Regulatory Compliance (2 credits).
Immigration Practice – Director, Prof. Lauren Gilbert (Application)

A Certificate in Immigration Practice will be awarded to J.D. students who have satisfactorily completed:

  1. At least 12 credit hours of designated course work, including:
    • Immigration Law (3 credits); and
    • At least one of the following courses:
      • Asylum & Refugee Law (2 or 3 credits);
      • Human Trafficking Law & Policy (3 credits);
      • Seminar: Immigration Law (2 credits); or
      • The Protection of Refugees (1 credit); and
    • Any of the following additional courses to reach the total of 12 credit hours:
      • Administrative Law (2 or 3 credits);
      • Comparative Immigration Law (3 credits);
      • Family Law (3 credits);
      • Guardianship Law (3 credits); or
      • Immigration Clinic: Students enrolled in the Immigration Clinic for a full year may count six credits towards
      • Interviewing, Counseling, and Negotiation (2 credits);
      • Juvenile Law (3 credits);
      • Law Office Management (2 credits);
      • Legislation and Regulation (1 credit).
      • Seminar: Hispanics, Civil Rights, and the Law (2 credits); or
      • Seminar: Poverty Law and Economic Justice (2 credits); and
  2. One of the following field placements:
    • Civil Practice Field Placement (4 credits summer or 8 credits fall/spring);
    • Immigration Clinic (6 credits fall and 6 credits spring); or
    • At least 30 hours of service at a placement approved in advance by the Immigration Practice Certificate Director.
Intellectual Property Law – Director, Prof. Ira Nathenson (Application)

A Certificate in Intellectual Property Law will be awarded to J.D. students who have satisfactorily completed at least 12 credit hours of designated course work, including:

  1. At least three of the following four courses:
    1. Branding and Trademark Management (3 credits);
    2. Copyright and Content Management (3 credits);
    3. Innovations and Inventions through Patents & Trade Secrets (2 or 3 credits); and
    4. Intellectual Property Overview (1 credit); and
  2. Any of the following additional courses to meet the total of 12 credit hours:
    • Administrative Law (2 or 3 credits);
    • Advanced Civil Procedure: Complex Litigation (2 or 3 credits);
    • Blockchain & Cryptocurrency Law (1-2 credits);
    • Cyberlaw (3 credits);
    • Entertainment Law (3 credits);
    • First Amendment Law (3 credits);
    • Seminar: Bioethics: Controversies in Law and Medicine (2 credits);
    • Seminar: Cybersecurity Law & Policy (2 cr.);
    • Seminar: First Amendment Law (2 cr.);
    • Seminar: Internet Governance Law & Policy (2 credits); or
    • Sports Law (2 credits).

The program course options provide innovative skills and writing opportunities to help students prepare for the digital economy.  Many of the program courses provide an emphasis on integrating doctrinal studies with a practical context.  Students will often engage in simulations of legal practice in order to develop practice skills, professional knowledge, and to assemble job placement portfolios.

Intercultural Human Rights – Director, Prof. Siegfried Wiessner (Application)

Courses offered in the LL.M. program in Intercultural Human Rights are open for credit to all J.D. students at St. Thomas University.  A Certificate in Intercultural Human Rights will be awarded to J.D. students who have satisfactorily completed at least 12 credit hours of designated course work, including:

  1. International Bill of Rights (LL.M.) (3 credits); and
  2. International Law (3 credits); and
  3. Any of the following additional courses to meet the total of 12 credit hours:
    • Armed Conflict and Individual Liability (LL.M.) (2 credits);
    • Ethical Moorings (LL.M.) (1 credit);
    • First Amendment Law (3 credits);
    • Human Rights and Religion (LL.M.) (1 credit);
    • Human Rights and Terrorism (LL.M.) (1 credit);
    • Human Rights and the Environment (LL.M.) (1 credit);
    • Human Rights Lawyering (LL.M.) (1 credit);
    • Human Trafficking Law and Policy (3 credits);
    • International Economic Law and Human Rights (LL.M.) (1 credit);
    • Protection of Refugees (LL.M.) (1 credit);
    • Regional Systems of Human Rights Protection (LL.M.) (3 credits);
    • Seminar: International Law in the 21st Century (2 credits);
    • Seminar: Rule of Law (2 credits); or
    • Women’s Rights and the Rights of the Child (LL.M.) (1 credit).
Real Estate Law – Director, Prof. Carol Zeiner (Application)

A Certificate in Real Estate Law will be awarded to J.D. students who have satisfactorily completed:

  1. At least 12 credit hours of designated course work, including:
    1. At least 2 of the following courses:
      • Florida Condominium Law (2 or 3 credits);
      • Florida Construction Law (3 credits);
      • Land Use Planning (3 credits);
      • Real Estate Development & Finance (3 credits) (skills course); or
      • Real Estate Transactions (2 credits); and
    2. Any of the following courses to reach the total of 12 credit hours:
      • Administrative Law (2 or 3 credits);
      • Bankruptcy (3 credits);
      • Corporate Finance (3 credits);
      • Environmental Law (2 or 3 credits);
      • Essential Concepts of Business for Lawyers (1 or 2 credits);
      • Family Wealth Management (3 credits);
      • Federal Income Taxation (4 credits);
      • Interviewing Counseling and Negotiation (2 credits);
      • Legal Accounting (3 credits);
      • Legal Issues for Startups, Entrepreneurs, and Small Businesses (2 credits);
      • Negotiations (1 credit);
      • Seminar: Contracts Drafting (2 credits);
      • State & Local Taxation (2 credits); or
      • Transactional Skills (3 credits); and
    3. One of the following:
      1. A four (4) credit hour Civil Practice Externship in real estate (this is the preferred method of attaining the Real Estate Certificate); or
      2. An additional 4 credit hours (for a total of 16 credit hours) from among the designated doctrinal courses above.
Tax Law – Director, Prof. Mark Wolff (Application)

A Certificate in Tax Law will be awarded to J.D. students who have satisfactorily completed:

  1. At least 12 credit hours of designated course work, including:
    • Federal Income Taxation (4 credits); and
    • Federal Estate and Gift Taxation (3 credits); and
    • Corporate Taxation (3 credits); and
    • Any of the following courses to reach the total of 12 credit hours:
      • Advanced Problems in Taxation (2 credits);
      • Comparative International Taxation: Aspects of Law & Policy (3 credits);
      • Elder Law (3 credits);
      • Estate Planning (3 credits);
      • Family Wealth Management (3 credits);
      • Federal Tax Practice and Procedure (2 credits);
      • Guardianship Law (3 credits);
      • Legal Accounting (3 credits);
      • Partnership Taxation (3 credits);
      • Selected Issues in Taxation (2 or 3 credits); or
      • Taxation of International Transactions (4 credits); and
  2. At least two Continuing Legal Education seminars that qualify for credits awarded by The Florida Bar;* and
  3. One of the following:
    • One semester of the Tax Clinic (4 credits); or
    • At least 25 hours of volunteer service in the St. Thomas Law School Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.**

*Students must provide proof of attendance at the two CLE’s to the Tax Law Certificate Director.  If a student wants to take American Bar Association or other tax-oriented CLE’s for the Certificate they must receive advance approval from the Tax Law Certificate Director.

**Students must provide certification of the hours of tax return preparation services to the Tax Law Certificate Director.