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UF Law rises in U.S. News environmental, tax and dispute resolution specialty rankings

U.S. News & World Report has released its annual rankings of the nation's graduate schools. The 2012 rankings place the University of Florida Levin College of Law in a tie for 24th among public law schools and 47th overall.

The UF Law Graduate Tax Program continues to rank first among publics and was second overall this year. Its Environmental Law Program rose to sixth among publics and 13th overall.

The law school's growing strength in the area of dispute resolution was recognized with a specialty area ranking of seventh among publics and 19th overall. UF Law continues to be rated highly in terms of reputation — tying at 17th among publics and 38th overall in peer assessment, and 17th among publics and 39th overall in lawyer/judge assessment.

"UF Law tax faculty have ranked in the top three in the U.S. News specialty tax area for as long as they have published the list," said Associate Dean for Graduate Tax Mike Friel. "It is gratifying to know we remain listed as the top public school and second overall, and credit the scholarship and reputation of our outstanding faculty for this distinction."

UF Law Environmental and Land Use Law Program Director Alyson Flournoy said, "We're pleased to be in the company of highly regarded programs such as Vermont, Lewis & Clark, California-Berkeley, Stanford, Georgetown and Maryland, to name just a few."

Robin Davis, director of the UF Law Institute for Dispute Resolution, said, "I'm happy to see us ranked highly in the specialty rankings in dispute resolution, an area that is steadily increasing in emphasis and importance to the legal profession and to institutions in general, including here at the University of Florida."

UF Law Dean Robert Jerry sounded a note of caution about the report.

"We are, of course, pleased with this recognition of our strong tax, environmental and dispute resolution programs, and that we continue to be ranked as a top-tier school, with a peer reputation ranking in the 30s. However, I am on record every year, regardless of how well we do, in stating my belief that rankings such as these are not a true reflection of institutional quality," Jerry said.

"We carefully track our own progress, and we know that we are very good and getting better every year in the things that matter — including class credentials, our reputation in the legal and academic communities, employment and graduate study opportunities, and bar passage rates," Jerry said. "Couple that with our long history of producing national leaders, including current ABA President Stephen Zack, and it's easy to see why we are widely regarded as one of the nation's best values in legal education."