College of Law
Dean: Erin O’Hara O’Connor; Associate Deans: Nancy L. Benavides, Rosanna Catalano, Shi-Ling Hsu, David E. Landau, David L. Markell, Manuel Utset, Jr.; Assistant Deans: Janeia Daniels Ingram, Jennifer Kessinger, Catherine Miller; Assistant Dean for Development: TBD; Interim Director of the Research Center: Elizabeth Farrell Clifford
The Florida State University College of Law’s highly-accomplished and accessible faculty delivers a program with a liberal-arts orientation designed to produce well-rounded and effective lawyers.
U.S. News & World Report (2016) ranks the College of Law as the fiftieth best law school in the nation. Florida State’s environmental program is ranked the nation’s eighteenth best and our tax law program the twenty-third best. National Jurist magazine consistently ranks the school as one of the nation’s top ten “Best Value” law schools, based on employment rate, bar passage, tuition, and indebtedness. Additionally, Hispanic Business magazine (2014) ranked the law school as the nation’s number two law school for Hispanics. In 2014, readers of the influential Brian Leiter’s Law School Reports blog voted our faculty the nation’s thirty-fifth best in a survey on the nation’s top law faculties. Florida State University College of Law students have extremely strong credentials. The current student body represents 30 U.S. states and territories, 19 countries, and 150 colleges and universities. The 2016 entering class has a median LSAT of 159 and a median GPA of 3.52. Students continue to succeed after they enroll in our school. Since 2010, the Moot Court Team has won first place in eleven national competitions and in one international competition. In 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013, and 2014, the Student Bar Association received the national Student Bar Association Award, a top honor, from the Law Student Division of the American Bar Association. In 2016, our Black Law Students Association (BLSA) won first place in two regional advocacy competitions. In addition, BLSA won first place in the 2015 National Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition and in the 2014 National Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition. In 2006, 2011, 2012, and 2015 our BLSA was named National Chapter of the Year by the National Black Law Students Association.
Because of its liberal-arts orientation, the law school places great value on close working relationships among students and faculty. Students consistently say that the accessible faculty of experts is what makes their law-school experience outstanding. The dynamic faculty is comprised of scholars who make it a priority to be available to students inside and outside of the classroom. Many of our law professors have worked at prestigious national law firms. The faculty is very much at “the cutting edge.” They are productive and successful, and want students to be, too.
Florida State University offers law students a wealth of legal employment opportunities. Located in Tallahassee, a city with more than 500 law firms and numerous government agencies, Florida State Law is just steps away from the state capitol, the Florida Supreme Court, and the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida. In their second and third years of law school, students have ample opportunity to work part-time in private law firms, with trial or appellate courts, at the Florida Legislature, or for government agencies.
Florida State College of Law graduates are highly valued in the legal marketplace. According to ABA data, Florida State is the number one law school in Florida in terms of the percentage of 2015 graduates employed ten months after graduation in full-time, long-term, bar passage-required or JD-advantage jobs. The College of Law alumni network is a primary reason why our graduates fare so well in the legal job market. Alumni are extremely engaged in helping to connect students with job opportunities. From practicing attorneys to business and government leaders, alumni frequently appear as guest lecturers or adjunct professors. Many participate in “networking noshes,” coming to campus or engaging by videoconference technology. Many host placement receptions in their communities to help students network. More than 900 alumni have specifically volunteered to serve as Placement Mentors, helping students with job placement in Florida and around the world.
The College of Law offers unique programs to undergraduates interested in attending law school. Under a 3+3 Accelerated Bachelor’s/JD Program specifically for Florida State University undergraduates, students who meet certain admission requirements can complete a bachelor’s degree and a law degree in six years rather than the traditional seven, saving a year of time and costs. Undergraduate students who gain admission into the JD program through the 3+3 program will follow the usual prescribed course of study for full-time, first-year law students. Upon successful completion of the first year of law school, the thirty credits earned will be counted toward the undergraduate degree, sufficient to complete university requirements for the bachelor’s degree. The Juris Doctor degree will be awarded upon successful completion of the required minimum eighty-eight total course credits in the law school (including the thirty hours earned as part of the 3+3 program) and all other JD graduation requirements. The College of Law has similar 3+3 programs with other institutions.
The Donald J. Weidner Summer for Undergraduates program is the largest of its kind and has become a model for other law schools in the nation. Approximately sixty undergraduate college students are chosen to participate in this month-long program which exposes students to the law school experience. During the program, undergraduates attend daily classes taught by law-school professors and writing instructors. Lectures familiarize students with the functions of the American legal system and the process by which conflicts are resolved. Writing workshops help students develop their writing and communication skills. In addition to classes, the program provides guest lecturers from the legal community and includes observation of courtroom proceedings and visits to local law firms. The Florida State University College of Law provides room and board, course materials, and a $500 stipend to all participants. Students are responsible for their travel to and from Tallahassee. For more information about this program, please contact the Office of Student Affairs at (850) 644-7338 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The College of Law also offers an honors program to Florida State University undergraduates. Each year, a select number of Honors Program undergraduate students are invited to apply to the Florida State University Honors Legal Scholars Program. This competitive program provides honors students the opportunity to become members of the law school community as undergraduate students. As a member of the Honors Legal Scholars Program, students have the unique opportunity to meet and interact with College of Law faculty and administrators, observe law classes, attend law school events and lectures, and gain valuable information and insight into law school and the legal profession. Upon completion of the bachelor’s degrees, these scholars will receive automatic admission to the FSU College of Law, provided that they complete and submit an FSU law school application; have an LSAT score of 162 or higher and an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.6; and have a record that reflects the fitness of character to study law. For more information about this honors program, please contact the Admissions Office at (850) 644-3787 or email@example.com.
Curriculum and Special Programs
The College of Law’s three-year curriculum for the Juris Doctor (JD) degree is rich and diverse; it begins with traditional courses and expands to include the latest in theoretical and interdisciplinary analyses. The school has especially strong programs in environmental law, international law, and business law, with certificate programs in all of these areas.
The College of Law has five co-curricular academic organizations, including three student-edited journals and trial and appellate advocacy teams. The journals include the Florida State University Law Review, the Journal of Land Use & Environmental Law, and the Journal of Transnational Law & Policy. The College of Law’s advocacy teams are regionally and nationally competitive.
The College of Law offers a Master of Laws (LLM) in American Law for Foreign Lawyers, which provides law-trained foreign graduate students with the opportunity to develop an understanding of the American legal system and the role of law in the United States. The LLM in American Law degree requires students to complete twenty-four credit hours, within three years (an American LLM student may not take more than thirty-five law credit hours).
The College of Law also offers a Master of Laws (LLM) in Business Law, which gives Juris Doctor (JD) holders and law-trained foreign graduate students training in advanced business law and finance in areas of growing demand, such as regulatory compliance, in-house counsel and financial regulation. The LLM in Business Law degree requires students to complete twenty-four credit hours, within three years (a Business LLM student may not take more than thirty-five law credit hours).
Building on its highly ranked environmental law program, Florida State Law offers a Master of Laws (LLM) in Environmental Law and Policy, which gives Juris Doctor (JD) holders the opportunity to concentrate in or enhance their knowledge of environmental law, land use law, natural resources law, and energy law. The LLM in Environmental Law degree requires students to complete twenty-four credit hours, within three years (an Environmental LLM student may not take more than thirty-five law credit hours).
The College of Law offers a Juris Master (JM), a one-year master’s program in law that is intended for those who possess a bachelor’s degree and who want to advance their careers with a year of legal studies and training. The program is flexible with few required courses – students can tailor their curriculum for their specific professional advancement goals. The Juris Master degree requires students to complete thirty credit hours, within three years (a JM student may not take more than forty-five law credit hours).
Additionally, the College of Law offers one of the most extensive externship programs in the United States, with more than one hundred placements throughout Florida and elsewhere. Clinics at the law school’s Public Interest Law Center provides “live client” training for second- and third-year students on a wide variety of legal services, specializing in everything from foster care and health care access cases to child support and juvenile delinquency cases. In addition, students in the Business Law Clinic learn transactional skills and earn academic credit by helping advise business and social entrepreneurs within the Florida State University community.
The College of Law offers ten joint-degree programs in cooperation with other colleges, schools, and departments at Florida State University. The joint degrees bring together the study of law and aquatic environmental sciences, business, economics, family and child sciences, information studies, international affairs, public administration, social work, sport management, as well as urban and regional planning.
Summer Program in Law at Oxford
The College of Law conducts a summer program in Oxford. As the oldest ongoing program in Oxford sponsored by a U.S. law school, this program provides students with a unique opportunity to study comparative law and the history of the common law and its institutions in their original setting. Since its establishment in 1973, law students from the United States and Canada as well as a limited number of graduate students in related fields, lawyers, and others have been taught by tenured members of the Oxford University and The Florida State University law faculties.
For information contact: Director, The Florida State University Summer Program in Law at Oxford, Tallahassee, FL 32306-1600; (850) 644-4578; http://www.law.fsu.edu/academics/jd-program/study-abroad/oxford.
All academic policies of the College of Law can be found at: http://www.law.fsu.edu/academics/academic-resources/rules-and-policies.
For August admission, students must apply one year in advance, between September 1st and July 15th, or the deadline published by the College of Law. The College of Law enrolls only one JD class in the fall of each year, and does not offer a part-time or evening program. Submit and complete an application as early as possible.
Factors considered by the admissions committee include numerical credentials (LSAT and GPA), exceptional personal talents, interesting or demanding work or service experience, leadership potential, rigorousness of the undergraduate course of study, maturity, a history of overcoming economic or other social hardships, ability to communicate effectively, and other factors. Decisions on applicant files are made as early as October.
One of the greatest strengths of the College of Law is its student body, which currently represents 30 U.S. states and territories, 19 countries, and 150 colleges and universities.
Admission to the College of Law is a competitive process; twenty-five percent of the students in the 2016 entering class had LSAT scores of 160 or higher, the median LSAT score was a 159, and the median GPA was a 3.52.
All registrants are required to have a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university prior to commencing law study. Every prospective law student must take the Law School Admissions Test given by the Law School Admission Council. For more information about the LSAT, please visit http://www.lsac.org. Registration with the Credential Assembly Service is also required.
Juris Master students are admitted for the fall semester, with an application deadline of July 31st, or the deadline published by the College of Law.
Applications for the LLM Program in American Law should be submitted by May 15th and students in the program begin studies during the fall semester.
Applicants for the LLM in Environmental Law and Policy program may apply for fall semester admission, with a completion deadline of June 15th, or for spring admission, with a completion deadline of November 15th.
For more information about the admissions process, please visit http://law.fsu.edu/admissions-financial-aid/admissions/jd-procedures or call (850) 644-3787.
The Student Affairs Office is responsible for coordinating a number of different services, activities, and programs for the benefit of all law students. The Student Affairs Office assists students in all facets of student life, from financial aid to the adjustment to law school. The Placement Office within the college assists students in finding employment both during and after law school. The primary goal of the Placement Office is to provide students and alumni with the tools and skills that they need to launch successful job searches and fulfilling legal careers.
The law school Research Center is a dynamic, highly responsive force in the life of the College of Law. An indispensable resource for faculty, students, alumni, attorneys, and members of the public, the Research Center is dedicated to research, teaching, and service. The distinctive feature of our Research Center is that its faculty proactively trains students and other faculty members to produce highly sophisticated, cost-effective legal research. For example, we offer specialized courses in efficient research relating to environmental law, economics, business and tax law, and international law. Students also have 24/7 access to one of the most comprehensive collections of legal materials, including databases, current awareness services used in law firms and practice resources used by lawyers.