Florida State University College of Law
The information on this page was provided by the law school.
Official Guide to ABA-Approved JD Programs
Florida State University College of Law is Florida’s best and one of the nation’s best in terms of students gaining employment after law school. From incoming orientation through graduation and beyond, we strategize your job search process with you because preparing our graduates to succeed in their careers is the most important thing we do.
The College of Law alumni network is a primary reason why our graduates fare so well in the legal job market. Our 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 lunches, coming to campus or engaging virtually. Many host receptions in their communities to help students network. Almost 1,000 alumni have specifically volunteered to serve as Career Mentors, helping our students with job placement in Florida and around the world.
Florida State’s location in Tallahassee also gives students an advantage in the job market. Tallahassee is home to 1,000-plus law firms, state and federal courts, numerous state agencies, the Governor’s Office, and the Florida Legislature. Access to these employers for part-time work gives our students many opportunities to gain experience in areas of the law that interest them and to increase their credentials. This experience helps them get jobs around the world.
As a Florida State law student, you will have access to extensive clinical offerings. Our externship program offers students options in a wide variety of substantive areas and locations. These opportunities allow students to work alongside attorneys in Tallahassee, throughout Florida and the U.S., and even internationally.
As a Florida State law student, you also will have access to our outstanding faculty and career professionals in our Career Services and Professional Development Office, who are dedicated to helping students find jobs. Many of our professors have worked at prestigious national law firms. We have a faculty that is very much at “the cutting edge.” They are productive and successful, and want you to be, too. Our students like their experiences at our law school and the careers we help them launch.
The JD Program
The College of Law's three-year curriculum for the Juris Doctor degree begins with traditional courses and expands to include the latest in theoretical and interdisciplinary analyses.
The first-year curriculum provides the foundation in history, doctrine, process and analysis that students need to fully appreciate more specialized courses offered later in law school. In the second and third years of law school, our program is almost entirely elective. It includes a wide range of courses and approaches. Some of our classes are purely theoretical and doctrinal. Some focus on particular industries, such as health, pharmaceuticals, and entertainment and sports law. We also offer many opportunities for experiential learning and other courses designed to enable students to be sophisticated entrants into the worlds of business, government and law practice.
In addition to our especially strong programs in business, environmental law and international law, we have one of the best criminal law programs in the region. Students can also take advantage of one of nine joint-degree programs, offered in cooperation with other colleges, schools and departments at Florida State University.
We have live-client clinics in family law, children’s advocacy, and law and business. We also have extensive externship offerings throughout Florida and elsewhere.
Finally, our co-curricular organizations provide students a wealth of ways to earn credit for “hands-on” legal activities. Our Mock Trial and Moot Court programs prepare students to be trial and appellate advocates, and our three student-run scholarly journals give students additional opportunity to hone their research and writing skills.
Hands-On Legal Experience and Special Programs
Florida State University College of Law is located in the heart of downtown Tallahassee—the capital of the nation’s third largest state—across the street from the Florida Supreme Court and one block from the Florida Capitol. Few other law schools in the nation can compete in terms of location. The unique legal opportunities that accompany being located in a state capital are invaluable. The experiences that FSU Law students have in Tallahassee and around the globe translate into careers all over the world for our graduates.
Our students have many opportunities to apply what they learn in the classroom in the real world. Florida State’s clinical programs and capital location in Tallahassee provide students a plethora of options to gain the legal experience that employers desire and that students can apply anywhere in the world. Our law school is within walking distance of the state Capitol, the Florida Supreme Court, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida, and a number of government agencies. Students have a wide variety of externships, internships, clerkships, live-client clinics, and cocurricular opportunities from which to choose. Students often utilize the law school’s strong alumni network to obtain work experience and career advice.
The law school’s 50,000-square-foot Advocacy Center is invaluable to students preparing for externships and cocurricular advocacy competitions. The building houses five courtrooms—four with jury boxes—of different sizes and configurations.
Whether students gain experience through part-time employment, clinical programs or cocurricular organizations, the many opportunities at the law school and in Tallahassee are a tremendous advantage. During the summer, many students also work in major cities throughout Florida and the nation.
The law school offers one of the most extensive clinical externship programs in the United States. Students earn academic credit while working under the supervision of practicing attorneys. Our program, which has been referred to as a model for the nation, places students in offices throughout Florida and elsewhere—with far more placement options than many law schools. While many are in Tallahassee—so students can take in-person classes and work simultaneously—we also have placements in cities including Washington, DC; Miami; New York City; Atlanta; London; and Seattle. Students can choose from externships in the following areas of law:
- Appellate Advocacy
- Civil Rights & Social Justice
- Corporate Counsel
- Environmental and Land Use
- Judicial Clerk
- Labor and Employment
- Legal Services and Public Interest
Many of our externships involve the practice of law, which requires students to be certified by the Florida Supreme Court. This certification is beneficial during and after law school. Because our programs provide more academic credit than those at most other law schools, students are more engaged in actual law practice and gain more valuable experience that will benefit them upon graduation.
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 clinic teaches students basic bargaining, drafting, risk-assessment, and legal ethics skills necessary to be an effective and creative transactional lawyer. Students conduct a broad range of legal services while working with clients.
Founded in 1991, the Public Interest Law Center trains second- and third-year law students in legal advocacy, with an emphasis on mentoring, small group discussions, and role playing. Students are certified by the Florida Supreme Court to practice under the supervision of attorneys. They interview clients, conduct discovery, draft pleadings, and represent clients in a variety of legal forums.
Through its live-client clinics and projects, the Public Interest Law Center provides students with practical skills training and management skills that they will continue to use as practicing attorneys. Students also gain a sense of professional responsibility and invaluable work experience. Florida State’s program is unique among law school clinical programs because of the wide variety of legal services provided. The center’s work on children in prison has been cited by the United States Supreme Court and featured by national and international media.
JD students can take advantage of 9 joint-degree programs, offered in cooperation with other colleges, schools, and departments at Florida State University. The most popular of these is the joint JD/MBA program. Programs include
- Oceanography: Aquatic Environmental Science and Law
- Business and Law
- Information and Law
- Information Technology and Law
- International Affairs and Law
- Public Administration and Law
- Social Work and Law
- Sport Management and Law
- Urban and Regional Planning and Law
The College of Law study abroad program is designed to enhance the legal education of students, help prepare them for practice in the international law area, and provide students the opportunity to appreciate other cultures.
Students can choose to spend a summer at the FSU Summer Program in Law at Oxford, devote a semester of study abroad in one of the exchange programs in The Netherlands or Australia, or pursue an international externship for a semester.
In addition to our FSU sponsored Summer Program in Law at Oxford, students can take advantage of the following International Exchange Programs:
- Erasmus University, The Netherlands
- Griffith University, Australia
- The University of Groningen, The Netherlands
Students at the College of Law are committed to achieving excellence in law school, and their contributions are critical to the school's intellectual and social life. The numerous student-run organizations and journals attest to their drive, energy and ambition. Students can participate in more than 35 student and service organizations.
The College of Law also has several co-curricular organizations including the Florida State University Law Review, the Journal of Land Use and Environmental Law, the Journal of Transnational Law and Policy as well as Moot Court and Trial Team programs.
Physical Facilities and Research Center
The physical facilities of Florida State University College of Law consist of the Main Classroom Building; the connected Research Center; the Village Green, which is comprised of four restored houses; and the Advocacy Center. The 50,000-square-foot Advocacy Center is devoted to using the second and third years of law school to better prepare students for immediate entry into the legal profession. It houses five courtrooms for advocacy training, four with jury boxes, as well as offices for the faculty and students serving clients in the Public Interest Law Center.
Florida State University College of Law students have 24/7 access to the Research Center. The distinctive feature of the Research Center is that its faculty proactively trains students and other faculty members to produce highly sophisticated, cost-effective legal research. For example, it offers specialized courses in research relating to environmental law, economics, business and tax law, and international law. The law school’s Research Center has been significantly remodeled during the past few years to be more user-friendly.
Career Placement and Bar Passage
Florida State-educated lawyers can be found in almost every US state and around the world. Our 10,000-plus alumni are extraordinarily supportive of our school and students. One measure of the level of graduate engagement is a law school’s alumni giving rate—ours is among the top 10 best in the nation. Alumni who are financially supportive tend to also provide support in other ways.
Alumni provide a vital network to help students find employment. They are generous with their time and donate countless hours to helping students perfect their job search skills and learn about practicing law. Alumni in private firms, the judiciary, government service, and nontraditional legal careers regularly visit campus to talk with students about their specific fields of practice, answer students’ questions, and conduct mock interviews. They also host networking meetings with students in their cities. Alumni also provide students clerking and full-time employment opportunities. In addition to visiting campus to interview students, alumni interview students via video conference.
Our engaged and helpful alumni are the principal reason why Florida State law graduates have success in the legal job market.
The law school provides assistance to law students, graduates, and legal employers through our Career Services and Professional Development Office. Our students have access to a list of about 1,000 alumni who have volunteered to serve them as Career Mentors. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the law school’s on-campus interviewing programs and individual career counseling services. A variety of seminars and workshops on career options, résumé writing, and interviewing skills are also available.
Florida State’s graduates continue to excel on the Florida Bar Examination. Our bar passage rate on the most recent administration of the exam was 84.4 percent. By contrast, the overall passing rate for first-time test takers was 71.7 percent. Graduates who take the exam in jurisdictions outside of Florida do equally well.
Tuition and Aid
Tuition & Fees
As a state university, our tuition and fees are established by the Florida Legislature and are subject to change at any time. Please note that Florida State University College of Law does not have a tuition guarantee policy. Florida residents benefit from a competitive in-state tuition rate and most non-residents are eligible to reclassify as Florida residents for tuition purposes after their 1L year.
College of Law first-year scholarships are awarded to students on the basis of merit, considering both the LSAT/GRE score AND cumulative GPA. The majority of our entering students receive first-year scholarships.
Admitted students are automatically considered and are notified upon admissions if they are awarded a scholarship. All first-year scholarships are for three years. Scholarship awards, or a lack of scholarship award, is non-negotiable.
Second- and third-year students may apply for a variety of scholarships each spring. Most scholarships disburse during the fall and spring semesters, with limited exceptions for summer disbursements.
In addition to our scholarship assistance program, students at the College of Law finance their legal education in large part through the Federal Direct Loan program, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Education. Specifically, these loans include the Federal Stafford Unsubsidized Loan and the Graduate Student PLUS Loan.
Federal loans typically have lower interest rates, multiple repayment options, longer repayment periods, and other protections. Also, their credit requirements are less stringent than private loans.
The Florida State University now processes all federal loans through the Federal Direct Loan program. Current students must be registered for at least 6 credit hours to be eligible for student loans.
Admission Decisions: Beyond the Numbers
Applications are evaluated from October through August by the admissions committee. Decisions are made on a rolling basis and priority consideration is given to the strongest applications submitted by the priority deadline of March 15th. Applications completed after March 15th but by the final deadline of July 31st may not receive a timely decision.
To determine whether or not your application is complete, applicants should regularly check their online status checker. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure the application is complete by the posted deadline.
Petitioning for Reconsideration
Applicants who have been denied admission can request reconsideration only in situations where the applicant has new, significant information that was not available at the time of the original application or during the timeframe in which your application was under review by the Admissions Committee. Examples of significant information include: an improved LSAT score or GRE score, a significant increase in grade point average.
A written request must include an explanation of the new information as well as valid reasons warranting reconsideration. The request must be e-mailed within 30 days of the date of denial to the Admissions Committee with “Request for Reconsideration” in the subject line.
The Admissions Committee's decision on a petition for reconsideration is final. Further petitions will not be accepted.