The highly regarded University of Florida Fredric G. Levin College of Law (Florida Law) is considered one of the best public law schools in the country. Named for a former student, the law school is considered one of the best tax law schools in the country as well as the highest-ranked of Florida’s 11 accredited law schools. The school was renovated just before its centennial anniversary in 2009 and now houses its own courtroom space along with renovated, technology-equipped classrooms and expanded student spaces. During the renovation, the law library was also renovated and renamed after former US Senator Lawton Chiles. The law school is located on the main campus of the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida.
The required courses for first-year law students at Florida Law include core courses in the basics of legal education: civil procedure, contracts, constitutional law, criminal law, property, and torts. Students also receive instruction in legal writing, legal research, and a course in the profession of lawyering. First-year students also take a class in appellate advocacy which introduces them to brief writing as well as oral advocacy in a moot court setting.
After their first year, Florida Law students are only required to take two additional classes–one in professional responsibility and one focused on the drafting of legal documents. Second-year students, however, are given priority in registering for additional core courses that build on the first-year curriculum. Additionally, in their final two years, students can follow one of the 17 “roadmaps” designed by Flordia Law to prepare students for certain practice areas in their future careers. Florida Law also offers five more defined “concentrations” which focus on areas where Florida Law faculty has particular expertise and provides students with a complete background on a practice area such as family or environmental law.
Prior to graduation, all Florida Law students must complete 88 hours of coursework and complete both an upper-level writing assignment and at least six hours of experiential education.
The Levin College of Law offers several additional programs most of which focus on the school’s renowned tax program. The school offers a Master of Law (LL.M) in both taxation and international taxation. Both programs are designed to be completed with one year of residential coursework with some of the most highly regarded tax professionals in the country. For students who wish to continue their education, Florida Law offers the only Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) in taxation degree in the country. The S.J.D. program is intended to allow graduate students to explore an area of scholarly significance in the field of tax law.
Florida Law also offers a Master of Law (LL.M) degree for international students who have already earned a primary law degree. This program requires 26 hours of residential coursework and is intended to provide foreign-trained lawyers with a firm ground in the American legal system. The program does require English fluency.
Career and Career Placement
Recent graduate statistics demonstrate that Florida Law graduates are overwhelmingly employed or in additional graduate educational programs within 10 months of graduation. Upwards of 95% of students accepted positions that either required a law license or that preferred a Juris Doctor degree. The most common jobs for recent graduates were either in small law firms of 2-10 attorneys or in government positions (both representing 23% of all job placements). While law firms were the most common career path, a number of students pursued careers in the business sector (5%). Graduates were mostly employed in the state of Florida with nearby Georgia being the second most popular choice.
The Office of Career Placement and Development at the Levin College of Law has a full-time staff of five professionals who provide students with a range of career services. Florida Law hosts one of the largest on-campus interview programs each fall for its students. This process is the primary placement program for both careers and summer employment opportunities. The office also maintains a “Resume Book” that contains resumes that the career placement staff can provide to the wide range of employers who seek out job candidates. Florida Law also offers a mentor program where practicing attorneys offer guidance and expertise to students.
Experiential Learning/Distance Education
Florida Law has one of the most complete offerings for experiential education in the country. Primarily, students are able to earn experiential education credits through the school’s clinical and field placement program. In both programs, students work under the supervision of faculty to address real clients in actual legal situations. The school houses six legal clinics and offers field placements with local district attorneys and public defenders. Students can also opt to participate in the law school’s pro bono program or spend a semester in practice either in another jurisdiction or abroad. Finally, students begin learning practical skills in their first-year curriculum with classes that build critical writing, research, and analytical skills.
The Levin College of Law requires residency for its Juris Doctor and graduate programs.
Recognizing the increasing demands of the legal profession, Florida Law provides students with a host of services to enrich their coursework with wellness programs, mindfulness activities, and social organizations to build long term professional and personal relationships. As part of the robust campus of the University of Florida, students at the Levin College of Law enjoy access to one of the largest public universities in the country and all of their facilities including access to sporting and entertainment events.
The city of Gainesville, Florida is located in the central part of the state. The university occupies a central role in the town’s life which is full of restaurants, nightlife, and sporting events. Housing is abundant and affordable throughout the city. Gainesville is also a short drive from the metropolitan area of Jacksonville as well as the amusement parks of Orlando.