Dean’s Message

Published: April 14th, 2003

Category: News Briefs

Two recent surveys — Leiter and U.S. News & World Report — confirm the UF College of Law’s status as a top law school in America and among the very best in the Southeast. This is good news, though I have always felt — and still do — that we are underrated in national rankings. I am optimistic, however, that the synergy created by our hiring this year of an extraordinary group of new faculty, the continuing excellence of our current faculty, and the possibilities soon to be presented by new, state-of-the-art facilities will help our reputation catch up to our reality. For now — thanks to your combined efforts and the superior quality of our faculty and student body — we are firmly in the top tier and getting better each year. To summarize: • Brian Leiter of the University of Texas has posted the 2003-04 Ranking of Law Faculty Quality online at rankings/rankings03.html. It rates law schools according to “faculty quality,” as measured by a survey of 150 leading legal academics (including UF law professors Christopher Slobogin and Barbara Bennett Woodhouse). The Levin College of Law is listed among five other “runners-up to the top 40.” • Our U.S. News numbers continue to improve. We were ranked 13th in selectivity (acceptance rate) — the fourth most selective public law school nationwide — 23rd in GPA, 39th both in student/faculty ratio and peer reputation, and 45th overall. • U.S. News ranks us first in diversity among other top tier schools — 15th overall — in the Southeast, and 30th in the nation. • In the eight states comprising the Southeast, law schools ranked in the top 50 both in Leiter and U.S. News are UF and North Carolina — the only two public institutions — Tulane, Vanderbilt, Duke and Emory. Rankings of educational institutions are not always reliable, regardless of formulas used, but they do help measure our progress. They also point to areas where we need to work harder, such as in our bar passage rate. Efforts to improve other statistics — our student/faculty ratio, expenditures for students and “at graduation” hiring rate — are underway. The first two should improve with additional faculty hires and more resources. Lower numbers in the third are primarily due to the UF College of Law being one of the few schools in the country with two graduating classes, since employment figures for December graduating classes typically don’t catch up to those for fall graduates until 6-9 months after graduation. Our strategic plan calls for eliminating the spring class after 2005, which should dramatically improve this rating. The bottom line is that the Levin College of Law is firmly in the top 25 percent of the nation’s 185 ABA-accredited law schools, and at the very top in the Southeast. We are proud of this accomplishment and national recognition of the quality of our diverse student body and effectiveness of our faculty and programs. It assures us that we are progressing toward our goal of becoming one of the nation’s top 10 public colleges of law, and helps us focus on what we need to do to make this happen. Finally, please note that rankings are not the only indicators of our progress and success. Applications are up, students and faculty are excelling at national levels, and our alumni are more active than ever before in their support. We all can take pride in these accomplishments, and what they promise for the future. — Dean Jon Mills

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