Florida State University College of Law, Tallahassee, Florida
by Akbar Ali
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U.S. News & World Report ranked FSU 53rd among law schools in the nation in 2008, making it consistently ranked as a top-tier law school. Its environmental law program was ranked 12th in the nation and the best among law schools in the Southeast. Its tax law program tied with Columbia University's for the 21st spot on the list of the nation's best programs. Additionally, the school has been listed among the "Top Ten Law Schools for Hispanics" by Hispanic Business magazine since 2004.
In addition to its J.D. program, the school offers a variety of dual degrees in areas including urban and regional planning (M.S.P./Ph.D.), criminology (M.S./Ph.D.), economics (M.S./Ph.D.), political science (M.S./Ph.D.), and business (M.B.A./Ph.D.). Externships are widely available and can be performed at various locations, including all major cities in Florida as well as London, Washington, DC, and even The Hague. These are popular because they allow law students a chance to spend a semester outside of Tallahassee while developing their legal acumen.
The school is also widely noted for the expertise of its faculty. According to the Social Sciences Research Network, its faculty scholarship is among the top 25 most downloaded by American law students. The professors at FSU have a long history of publishing influential articles in leading journals in the fields of tax law, intellectual property law, bioethics, endangered species, and environmental law. Professor Sandy D'Alemberte holds the unique distinction of having been president of both the American Bar Association and the National Judicature Society.
FSU is home to four law journals: the Florida State University Law Review, the Florida State Business Law Review, the Journal of Transitional Law and Policy, and the highly esteemed Journal of Land Use and Environmental Law. Collectively, these journals publish articles on an expansive array of topics, including international law, human rights, business law, U.S. foreign policy, and environmental law. The Florida State University Law Review is published four times annually and is regarded as one of the top student-edited law reviews in the nation.
According to its website, the school receives 15 applications for each available seat in its entering classes. The average LSAT score for the 2007 entering class is 160, and the average GPA is 3.5. Virtually all (more than 99%) of its graduates go on to find employment within nine months of graduation. Many serve in federal and state government positions, although a majority transition into private practice, joining firms in every major American metropolis, including New York, Chicago, Miami, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC. FSU currently stands as the top law school in Florida in student job placement.
Notable alumni include ABC sports commentator Terry Bowden, St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, CNBC financial analyst Eric Gustafson, Senator Mel Martinez, and current U.S. Representative Kathy Castor.