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UF Law again ranked as Florida's only top tier law school

US News & World Report U.S. News & World Report rankings of the nation’s top graduate schools released today once again place the University of Florida Levin College of Law as Florida’s only top tier law school.* UF Law is 47th overall, and 24th among all public law schools. Its Graduate Tax Program is 3rd overall and continues to rank 1st among publics. Its Environmental Law Program is tied for 7th among public universities and 16th overall.

Peer and lawyer/judge assessment scores place UF Law in the top 40 on both counts: 38th overall and 17th among publics in peer assessment, and 39th overall and 18th among publics in lawyer/judge assessment. Assessment scores are often regarded as the most accurate rankings categories, since they do not rely on self-reported financial and placement data that may be subject to manipulation and are unverifiable.

"Compared to last year, the college rose in both assessment scores and our internal calculations showed improvement in nearly all areas covered by the U.S. News rankings formula," said UF Law Dean Robert Jerry. "I emphasize, however, that any improvements are due to our ongoing efforts to become an even better law school, and not in response to external rankings."

"I reiterate each year my concerns about the validity of rankings, but I have also always said we ignore them at our peril," said Jerry. "I am pleased that the U.S. News ranking reflects our longstanding status as the state’s premier law school."

The University of Florida Levin College of Law was also ranked first in Florida, eighth overall and fourth among public schools by Super Lawyers in 2009 in the first national ranking of law schools to consider "output," i.e. the caliber of a school's graduates.

"Our school has been preparing its graduates for significant leadership roles for more than 100 years," said Jerry. "Our 18,000-plus alumni include numerous leaders in law, business, government, public service and education at the state and national level. No other law school has produced as many presidents of the American Bar Association in the past four decades — five including 2010-11 president Steve Zack."

UF Law graduates also are represented by the majority of The Florida Bar presidents, including its immediate past president, John G. White III, and president-elect, Mayanne Downs; four governors of Florida; and hundreds of state senators and representatives and Florida Cabinet members. Nine graduates became college presidents, including at UF. More than a dozen have served as deans of law schools. It ranked fourth among public law schools in 2008 (eighth overall) in the number of its graduates serving as federal district and circuit court judges; more than 250 graduates serve as state appellate and trial judges in Florida, and many serve in those roles in other states as well.

The school also boasts an impressive list of distinguished visitors to campus, including five Supreme Court Justices in the last five years. A series of major renovation and new construction projects in recent years has transformed the college’s physical space and placed it at the forefront of major law schools providing students with state-of-the-art facilities.

A major $25 million expansion and renovation project that concluded in 2005 made the UF Law library the largest in the Southeast and among the top 20 in the country, and added two “towers” with state-of-the-art classroom space. The first phase of construction on the 20,000 square-foot Martin H. Levin Advocacy Center was completed in time to host the October 2009 oral arguments for the First District Court of Appeals. The facility houses a fully functional trial and appellate courtroom with a 100-seat gallery, bench for seven judges, judge’s chambers, jury box, deliberation room and attorney’s tables. Construction on the second floor is expected to begin in fall 2010, with completion expected in spring 2011.

*The top tier has traditionally been defined as the top 50, second tier 51-100, and so on. This year, on the U.S. News website, the two top tiers are listed together as the top 100, and “Tier 3” begins with 150.