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Florida State University
2015-2016 General Bulletin - Undergraduate Edition

College of Law

Dean: Donald J. Weidner; Associate Deans: Nancy L. Benavides, Rosanna Catalano, David E. Landau, David L. Markell, Mark B. Seidenfeld, Manuel Utset, Jr.; Assistant Deans: Janeia Daniels Ingram, Catherine Miller; Director of Development : Jeanne B. Curtin; Director of the Research Center: Faye Jones

U.S. News & World Report (2014) ranks the College of Law as the number one law school in Florida, and forty-fifth best nationally. The College encourages close working relationships between students and faculty—relationships that are characteristic of the best liberal arts colleges. Expert faculty members are accessible to students inside as well as outside the traditional classroom setting.

Prelegal Education

The College’s liberal arts orientation helps foster a strong sense of community in its students. This sentiment translates into student pride in the College of Law as an institution and a mutually held pride in one another. The liberal arts orientation also places great value on the insights of other disciplines that can be brought to bear upon the study of law. It is important to the faculty to integrate insights from such diverse disciplines as history, philosophy, psychology, sociology, economics, and finance.

Florida State offers law students a wealth of law-related employment opportunities. Located in Tallahassee, a city with more than 500 law firms and numerous government agencies, the College of 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.

The College of Law receives more than thirteen applications for every seat in its entering class. The College values students from a wide variety of backgrounds. Currently, the talented and diverse student body represents thirty U.S. states and territories, nineteen countries, and 147 colleges and universities. Florida State University’s College of Law has been repeatedly recognized by Hispanic Business magazine as one of the nation’s “Top Ten Law Schools for Hispanics.”

The College of Law offers unique programs to undergraduates who want to continue on to 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 cost. 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 Summer for Undergraduates Program is the largest of its kind and has become a national model for other law schools. 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 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 on this program, please contact the Office of Student Affairs at (850) 644-7338 or saffairs@law.fsu.edu.

The College of Law also offers an honors program to FSU undergraduates. Each year, a number of honors program undergraduate students are invited to apply to the FSU Honors Legal Scholars Program. This competitive program provides FSU 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 a unique opportunity to meet and interact with FSU 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 their 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 on the honors program, please contact the Admissions Office at (850) 644-3787 or at admissions@law.fsu.edu.

Students from all majors have completed programs in law school. Undergraduate students considering law school are encouraged to visit the College of Law. Tours of the College and class visitations may be arranged through the Admissions Office. For more information please call (850) 644-3787 or e-mail admissions@law.fsu.edu.

Curriculum

The College of Law offers a rich and diverse three-year curriculum for the Juris Doctor (JD) degree. It begins with traditional courses and expands to include the latest in theoretical and interdisciplinary analyses. The first-year curriculum is rigorous, traditional, and prescribed. It provides a foundation in history, doctrine, process, and analysis. The second- and third-year curriculum is deliberately structured to provide students with the opportunity to obtain a broad, interdisciplinary exposure to various areas of law.

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 competitive regionally and nationally.

Requirements for Admission

For August admission, students must apply one year in advance, between September 1st and May 15th, or the deadline published by the College of Law. The College of Law enrolls only one class in the Fall of each year, and does not offer a part-time or evening program. Submit and complete law school applications as early as possible. Files must be complete by May 15th to receive full consideration. 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.

Admission to the College of Law is a competitive process. For more information about the admissions process, please call (850) 644-3787 or visit the Web site http://www.law.fsu.edu/prospective_students/index.html. 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 (LSAT) given by the Law School Admissions Services. For more information about the LSAT, please visit the Web site http://www.lsac.org. Registration with the Credential Assembly Service is also required.

Special Programs

The College of Law has especially strong programs in three areas: environmental law, international law, and business law, with certificate programs in all three areas. The law school’s program in environmental law is recognized as one of the best in the country. For more information on these programs, please visit http://www.law.fsu.edu/academic_programs/index.html.

The College of Law offers ten joint-degree programs in cooperation with other colleges, schools, and departments at Florida State. The joint degrees bring together law and aquatic environmental science, business, economics, family and child sciences, information studies, international affairs, public administration, social work, sport management, as well as urban and regional planning.

Building on its highly ranked environmental law program, Florida State Law offers a Master of Laws (LLM) in Environmental Law and Policy. The law school’s newest degree offering 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. Florida State Law’s program is designed to provide LLM students with individualized, one-on-one attention. Incoming students are matched with program faculty members who will mentor them and help design a curriculum that will best suit their interests, educational background and professional needs.

The College of Law also offers an LLM program for foreign lawyers, which provides foreign graduate students trained in law with the opportunity to develop an understanding of the American legal system and the role of law in the United States.

The law school’s newest degree offering is a one-year 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.

Additionally, the College of Law has one of the most extensive externship programs in the United States. The clinical externship program places students in more than one hundred offices throughout Florida and elsewhere.

Clinics at the law school’s Public Interest Law Center provides “live-client” training for second- and third-year students. Students are certified by the Florida Supreme Court to practice law as interns and, under the supervision of licensed attorneys, are responsible for all facets of cases to which they are assigned, specializing in everything from foster care and health care access cases to child support and juvenile delinquency. 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 also sponsors a Summer program at Oxford University in England. As the oldest ongoing program in Oxford sponsored by a U.S. law school, it provides students with a unique opportunity to study comparative law and the history of the common law and its institutions in their original setting. For information write to: Director, The Florida State University Summer Program in Law at Oxford, Tallahassee, FL 32306-1600; call (850) 644-4578; or visit http://www.law.fsu.edu/academics/jd-program/study-abroad/oxford.