shapiro_940.jpg

Faculty Spotlight: Mark Shapiro

By Mark Shapiro

Faculty Spotlight: Mark Shapiro

By Mark Shapiro
After 20 years of practicing law at a large law firm in Miami, Mark Shapiro decided to pursue his original passion, teaching. Get to know Mark Shapiro in this faculty spotlight!

My name is Professor Mark Shapiro and I’m an associate professor of professional practice in business law. I’m also the academic director of career resources in the Miami Business School. In these two roles, I teach business law, and I also partner with our Toppel Career Center, helping students to identify possible career paths, conduct job searches, and prepare for interviews.

I am frequently asked why I have two such different jobs and why I would want two seemingly unrelated roles on campus. The answer really comes in the form of a story: When I was in high school and college, I actually wanted to be a teacher, but I let my parents talk me out of it. They thought I was better suited to be a lawyer. I liked to speak, argue, and write, and they believed that my skill set was best utilized as a lawyer.  So I went to law school, and, for 20 years, practiced law at a large law firm in Miami. I really liked being a lawyer (most of the time!), but I always wanted to teach.

Five years ago, I made the decision to finally do full time what I always knew I wanted to do. While at my law firm, in addition to being a litigator, I was responsible for our summer internship program and for young lawyer training, mentoring, compensation, and promotion. In my career switch, I didn’t want to throw away all of the experience I had gained in identifying, recruiting, and developing young talent. As luck would have it, there was a need at the Business School for someone to teach and work with students in preparation to enter the workplace.  

Now I’m able to combine these two worlds: teaching law and helping to prepare young people as they enter the workforce. My classes are highly interactive, with students doing as much (or more!) talking than I do, and with a focus not just on the substantive material that we’re studying, but on the critical thinking, communication strategies, and people skills necessary to interact in a workplace environment, including oral quizzes (just the student and me, with the student “reporting” on findings relating to a topic assigned, designed to replicate a frequent work interaction) and group projects and presentations, replicating the team environment in the workplace. Outside of the classroom, I work with students one-on-one to help them determine the right major for their career aspirations, the right careers for their skill set and personality, and the right search to connect them with the career opportunities they seek.  

We have great students at the University of Miami, and I’m really lucky I get to do this every day!