Florida State University College of Law

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Florida State University
College of Law
Parent schoolFlorida State University
DeanErin O'Hara O'Connor
LocationTallahassee, Florida
USNWR ranking48th (2018)[2]

Florida State University College of Law is the law school of Florida State University located in Tallahassee, Florida.

The law school borders the southeast quadrant of the University's campus, near the Donald L. Tucker Center, an arena and part of the Tallahassee civic center area. The College of Law campus consists of four major buildings, four historic houses around a green and five parking lots. It occupies two full city blocks and is directly across the street from the Florida Supreme Court and one block from the Florida Legislature. The school's most recent addition is its 50,000-square-foot Advocacy Center, which includes five courtrooms.

According to Florida State University's 2016 ABA-required disclosures, 72.6% of the Class of 2015 obtained full-time, long-term, bar passage required employment ten months after graduation.[3] According to those same disclosures, 81.7% of the Class of 2015 obtained full-time, long-term, bar passage required jobs or JD preferred positions within ten months of graduation.[4]


The B.K. Roberts Main Classroom Building at Florida State University College of Law in Tallahassee, FL

The College of Law was founded in 1966, and holds classes in the B.K. Roberts building, named in honor of the Florida Supreme Court Justice's role in creating Tallahassee's first law school at nearby Florida A&M University, in 1949.[5] Roberts held the State of Florida must provide African Americans some form of legal education in denying Virgil D. Hawkins admissions to the University of Florida Law School.[6][7] Sixteen years later, the Florida legislature voted in 1965 to close FAMU law and open a law school at Florida State University by transferring allocated funds from FAMU law to Florida State University's law school.[5]


The College of Law offers the Juris Doctor (J.D.), which is the first professional law degree. The three-year program provides students a foundational first-year program, a legal writing program, and a varied offering of upper-level courses, seminars, clinics, and co-curricular activities.

Externship programs exist in the United States and abroad — including at the International Bar Association in London, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in the Hague, the Special Court of Sierra Leone, in Washington, D.C., and in every major city in Florida, allowing students to spend a semester outside of Tallahassee.

The College of Law offers a Master of Laws (LL.M.) program in Environmental Law and Policy, as well as an LL.M. program for foreign lawyers. Additionally, the College of Law offers certificate programs and its faculty also offer a significant range of courses in Criminal Law.

The College of Law offers joint degree programs allowing students to earn other degrees in conjunction with the J.D., including Master of Arts, Master of Science, Master of Business Administration, and Ph.D. degrees.

National rankings[edit]

The D'Alemberte Rotunda, part of the College of Law, is used to host special events and in the past has been used by the Florida Supreme Court to convene special sessions

U.S. News & World Report (2018 edition)

  • College of Law - 47th overall
  • Environmental Law - 10th overall

In 2016, "Above the Law" ranked FSU 37th in the U.S., based on job placement success, low cost, and alumni satisfaction.[8]

In 2015, The National Jurist has ranked Florida State University College of Law the 13th best value law school in the nation.[9]

In 2014, National Jurist ranked the College of Law as the 10th "Best Value Law School" in the country based on employment, bar passage rates, tuition, cost of living and average debt upon graduation.[10]

A 2012 update of Leiter's Law School Rankings rates the law school faculty the nation's 33rd best in terms of per capita scholarly impact.[11]

Hispanic Business magazine (2014) ranks Florida State the nation's 2nd best law school for Hispanic students.[12]

In 2011, PreLaw magazine ranked Florida State the nation's 3rd "Best Value" law school and has been ranked "top 10" for three years in a row.[13]

National Jurist magazine (2010) ranks the law library the 30th best in the nation.[14]

National Jurist magazine (2013) ranks Florida State the nation's 34th best law school in the country.[15]


According to Florida State University's official 2016 ABA-required disclosures, 72.6% of the Class of 2015 obtained full-time, long-term, bar passage required employment ten months after graduation.[3] Florida State University's Law School Transparency under-employment score is 8.3%, indicating the percentage of the Class of 2015 unemployed, pursuing an additional degree, or working in a non-professional, short-term, or part-time job nine months after graduation.[16]


Tuition at Florida State University College of Law for the 2016–17 academic year is $20,643 for Florida residents and $40,655 for non-Florida residents.[17] Most non-residents are eligible to reclassify as Florida residents for tuition purposes after their 1L year. According to Florida State University's ABA-Required 509 Disclosure, approximately 60% of current students receive a scholarship, with the median award being $10,500.


In a recent study of faculty productivity of law schools Florida State Law ranked third and was the top law school in Florida and the most productive in the Southeastern U.S.[18] The faculty scholarship of Florida State Law regularly ranks among the top 30 law schools based on downloads, according to the Social Science Research Network, which hosts working papers by Florida State Law Faculty in Public Law and Legal Theory,[19] Law, Business & Economics[20] and Sustainability Law & Policy.[21]

Nationally prominent law professors at FSU include faculty in: Administrative and Regulatory Law (Mark Seidenfeld); Constitutional Law (Nat Stern); Criminal Law (Wayne Logan, Gary Kleck); Environmental, Energy and Land Use Law (Donna R. Christie, David L. Markell, Hannah Wiseman); International Law (Frederick M. Abbott, Fernando Tesón); Law & Humanities, including Legal Philosophy (Rob Atkinson and Fernando Tesón); Law, Economics & Business (Bruce L. Benson, Manuel Utset, Kelli Alces, Shawn Bayern); and Tax Law (Joseph M. Dodge, Steve Johnson, Jeffrey Kahn).

Florida State Law faculty members have published their own casebooks in environmental law — David Markell and Donna Christie. Other faculty authored books are widely used in law schools across the country for courses in Tax Law (Joseph M. Dodge), International Intellectual Property Law (Frederick M. Abbott), and Law and Economics (Mark Seidenfeld). Beyond the classroom, Florida State Law faculty members are regularly cited as authorities by courts, law reform bodies and other scholars. One faculty member, Sandy D'Alemberte, is a former president of both the American Bar Association and the National Judicature Society.

Affiliated faculty from other university departments holding courtesy appointments at the law school include John Scholz, a leading political scientist addressing regulatory enforcement; Bruce L. Benson, an economist focused and law and economics; R. Mark Isaac, a leading experimental economist; and Gary Kleck, a criminologist known for his work on guns and deterrence.


The Florida State University Law Review is the flagship law review of Florida State Law. It publishes four issues a year.

The Journal of Land Use and Environmental Law is the state's first and remains its only student publication in the field. It ranks among the top environmental and land use law journals based on citations.

The Journal of Transnational Law & Policy publishes articles in the field of international law, including human rights, comparative law and U.S. foreign policy.

Law students also publish the Florida State University Business Review a biannual publication which examines the interrelated disciplines of business and law but is not an official cocurricular journal.


Alumni Notability
John Antoon Current U.S. District Court Judge for the Middle District of Florida
Jim Bacchus Former U.S. Representative; justice and chairman of the World Trade Organization Appellate Body
Rick Baker Former mayor of St. Petersburg, Florida
Kenneth B. Bell Former Florida Supreme Court justice
Terry Bowden Current Head Football Coach, University of Akron
Shannon Bream Fox News Channel correspondent
Kathy Castor Current U.S. Representative
Lacey A. Collier Current U.S. District Court Judge for the Northern District of Florida
Benjamin Crump Lead attorney for the family of Trayvon Martin
W. Thomas Cumbie Current Senior Judge for the United States Air Force, also a Colonel
Dwight Dudley Former member of the Florida House of Representatives
Steven Geller Former member Florida Senate Minority Leader
Adam Hasner Former Florida House of Representatives Majority Leader
Eleanor J. Hill Former United States Department of Defense Inspector General
Skip Horack Writer, and currently a professor at Stanford University
Tim Howard Current director of Northeastern University's Executive Doctorate Program in Law & Policy
Mark E. Kaplan Former Secretary for the Florida Department of Transportation
Tony La Russa Former manager for the St. Louis Cardinals
C. Alan Lawson Justice of the Supreme Court of Florida
Steven Leifman Judge on the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court of Florida
Marcelo Llorente Former member of the Florida House of Representatives
Stephen MacNamara Former Chief of Staff for Florida Governor Rick Scott
John Marks Former mayor of Tallahassee, Florida
Mel Martinez Former U.S. Senator; former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Craig McCarthy Attorney on a number of high-profile cases and candidate for the Florida House of Representatives
Anne McGihon Current member of the Colorado House of Representatives
Seth Miller Executive Director of the Innocence Project Florida
Gary Pajcic Former attorney and philanthropist
Ricky Polston Current Florida Supreme Court justice
Ion Sancho Former Supervisor of Elections for Leon County, Florida, gained notoriety in the 2000 presidential recount
Mary Stenson Scriven Current U.S. District Court Judge for the Middle District of Florida
John E. Thrasher Current president of Florida State University, former member of the Florida Senate, former chair of the Republican Party of Florida, 90th Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, former member of the Florida House of Representatives, Captain in the United States Army
Carlos O. Torano Current president of Toraño Cigars and Central America Tobacco
H. James Towey Current president of Ave Maria University, and former director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives
J. Alex Villalobos Former member of the Florida Senate
John Wood Former member of the Florida House of Representatives


  1. ^ http://www.ir.fsu.edu/Factbooks/2014-15/Enrollments_College.pdf
  2. ^ "Florida State University". Best Law Schools. U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Employment Summary for 2015 Graduates" (PDF).
  4. ^ "Class of 2015 employment data" (PDF).
  5. ^ a b FAMU Law, Retrieved May 19, 2017.
  6. ^ State Ex Rel. Hawkins v. Board of Control, 83 So. 2d 20 (Fla. 1955), [1] Retrieved May 19, 2017.
  7. ^ UF Law Virgil D. Hawkins Story, [2] Retrieved May 19, 2017.
  8. ^ http://abovethelaw.com/careers/2016-law-school-rankings/ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ Christi Morgan 10/12/2015 12:33 pm. "Florida State 24/7". News.fsu.edu. Retrieved 2015-11-15.
  10. ^ "FSU Highlights". Fsu.edu. Retrieved 2015-11-15.
  11. ^ "TOP 70 LAW FACULTIES IN SCHOLARLY IMPACT, 2007-2011". Leiterrankings.com. Retrieved 2015-11-15.
  12. ^ "National Recognition | FSU College of Law". Law.fsu.edu. 2015-02-26. Retrieved 2015-11-15.
  13. ^ Post-grad employment rate: 80.40%. "Florida State University College of Law". the National Jurist. Retrieved 2015-11-15.
  14. ^ "National Jurist - March 2010". nxtbook.com. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  15. ^ "National Jurist - February 2013". nxtbook.com. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  16. ^ "Florida State University Profile".
  17. ^ "Cost of Attendance: Fall 2014/Spring 2015".
  18. ^ "Faculty Scholarship Study". rwu.edu. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  19. ^ "SSRN Florida State University Public Law & Legal Theory Research Paper Series". Papers.ssrn.com. Retrieved 2015-11-15.
  20. ^ "SSRN Florida State University, Law, Business & Economics Research Paper Series". Papers.ssrn.com. Retrieved 2015-11-15.
  21. ^ "Sustainability Law & Policy". Ssrn.com. Retrieved 2015-11-15.

External links[edit]