UF Law up in U.S. News Ranking

Published: March 18th, 2013

Category: Feature

IMG_9349editBy Debra Amirin

The University of Florida Levin College of Law is up in U.S. News & World Report rankings released March 12. Among the nation’s 201 public and private ABA-accredited JD-awarding law schools, UF’s law school is 23rd among public schools and 46th overall.

The publication places the school in two top specialty program rankings: first among public law schools and third overall in tax, and fifth among publics and 12th overall in environmental law. UF Law also continues to be highly rated in terms of reputation – 10th among publics and 26th overall in the assessment of practicing lawyers and judges, and 15th among publics and 35th overall in the assessment of academics.

“We are pleased that we continue to be one of the best values available in legal education,” said UF Law Dean Robert Jerry, referring to UF Law’s high placement for quality and equally low placement for cost among all U.S. law schools. “We’re among the three most affordable law schools in the US News top 50, when taking tuition and cost of living into account.

“At the same time, I caution every year that U.S. News and other rankings need to be considered in context and weighed along with other factors in evaluating institutional quality and fit, particularly when one considers the many factors not reflected in this ranking that make UF Law a leading law school,” Jerry said. “For example, we have a proven track record in providing leaders for the profession at both the national and state levels, and the prominence of our alumni in the federal and state judiciaries also sends a strong statement about our quality.”

In other national rankings, UF Law was fourth among public law schools in 2011 (eighth among all law schools in the nation) 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. A 2012 Journal of Legal Education article titled “Where Do Partners Come From?” surveyed the National Law Journal 100 law firms and found that UF Law ranked 11th among publics and 29th overall in the number of alumni graduating from 1986 to the present serving as partners. A ranking by Super Lawyers magazine placed UF Law first in Florida, fourth among public schools, and eighth overall in “output,” i.e. the caliber of a school’s graduates. A 2012 article from Legal Metrics ranking law schools based on the number of arguments by their alumni before the U.S. Supreme Court since 2000 placed UF Law in the top 10 nationally.

“That a large number of law schools hire our graduates as law professors is also a sign of the college’s strength,” said Jerry.

A study published in the August 2011 Journal of Legal Education ranked UF Law in the top 33 (17 percent) of law schools nationwide, and as high as 22nd (11 percent) in one calculation, for the impact of its faculty on the law.

UF Law is also one of the top 10 law schools in the nation for Hispanics, according to Hispanic Business Review (seven times in nine years), and was ranked in 2012 as one of the top six schools for blacks in the South by On Being a Black Lawyer magazine.

It is unusual for a school to be so affordable, successful in both academia and the profession, and highly rated in such diverse areas.

“Thanks to our exceptional faculty and outstanding graduates, the UF Law Graduate Tax Program has ranked at the top of the U.S. News specialty tax area for as long as they have published the list, and remains the No.1 public school in this area,” said Associate Dean for Graduate Tax Mike Friel. “We are always gratified to see the program’s quality recognized in this way.”

ELUL Program Director Mary Jane Angelo said, “We are proud that UF’s Environmental and Land Use Law Program continues to be distinguished as a top program in this critical area. We have a large and dynamic program, and the faculty and students work very hard through projects like our annual Public Interest Environmental Conference, which attracted 250 participants to Gainesville this year, to make a genuine impact on current environmental issues.”

Jerry concluded, “The University of Florida is a quality school that cares about our students and offers them multiple paths to career satisfaction and success. We have state-of-the-art facilities and a beautiful campus, and we are part of one of the best and most comprehensive universities in the nation. The loyalty and influence of the Gator Nation’s law alumni cannot be overstated. Rankings like those published in the Journal of Legal Education and elsewhere offer interesting information for prospective students to consider and can help guide us in our continuing efforts to improve, but should be used as only one data point among many.”