In the News
- Created: Friday, 06 March 2015 15:30
By Ian R. Leavengood, Esq.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – U.S. News and World Report released today its annual evaluation of the country’s top graduate programs, again ranking the University of Florida Levin College of Law the state’s best law school, a place it has held every year save one since the ranking originated. U.S. News ranked UF Law 24th among public law schools and tied for 47th overall, up two spots over last year. It ranked UF Law’s Graduate Tax Program first among public schools and tied with Georgetown for second overall, while the Environmental and Land Use Law Program was ranked seventh among public schools and 16th overall.
“Rankings like this back up our belief that UF Law continues to be one of legal education’s best values,” said UF Law Interim Dean George Dawson. “Based on American Bar Association data, we’re among the three most affordable law schools in the U.S. News top 50, when taking tuition and cost of living into account.”
Dawson added that while rankings should be considered along with many other factors in determining true institutional value, they can offer insight into specific aspects of each school.
“For example, reputational scores are considered by many to be one of the most important statistics and can have considerable impact on a graduate’s success,” said Dawson. “UF Law’s reputational scores in U.S. News rankings remain the highest for any Florida school and among some of the highest in the country, particularly among public schools. UF Law was ranked by its peers 15th among public schools and 35th overall, and assessed by lawyers and judges 18th among public schools and 40th overall.”
Employment statistics were up for the school this year, with 72.9 percent of its graduates employed within nine months of graduation in full-time jobs where bar passage is required or a J.D. is an advantage, according to UF Law Assistant Dean for Career Development Robert Birrenkott. This number does not include the large number of UF Law graduates enrolled in advanced law degree programs, such as the LL.M. in Taxation.
“We are very pleased more UF Law graduates are employed in firms with 51-100 attorneys than any other law school in the country, and nearly an equal number of graduates work in firms with 2-10 attorneys as firms with over 50 attorneys,” said Birrenkott. “We also have a similar number of graduates who choose to work in government and public interest legal positions. Our graduates are evenly dispersed among urban employment centers across the state and 11.8 percent of graduates were employed outside of the state. In sum, our graduates find quality jobs in a wide range of legal practice settings that complement their individual goals.”
UF Law is particularly proud of the quality of its graduates. The school places first in Florida, fourth among all public schools, and eighth overall in “output,” i.e. the caliber of a school’s graduates, according to Super Lawyers Magazine. It was fourth among all public law schools (eighth overall) for the number of degrees granted to sitting federal judges as of 2014, according to Federal Judicial Center data; and more than 250 graduates serve as state appellate and trial judges in Florida and many serve in those roles in other states. No other law school has produced as many presidents of the American Bar Association since 1973.
UF Law has one of the largest private endowments of any public law school, and enjoys the support of more than 20,000 dedicated, powerful and engaged Gator law alumni. Their support has enabled the law school to provide state-of-the-art facilities and strong program support to its students. The school is now finalizing a major update of an academic strategic plan expected to further enhance its graduates’ ability to succeed in a tight legal market, and hopes to announce a new dean this spring.
“This is an exciting time to be part of the University of Florida,” concluded Dawson.