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Florida International University College of Law
Published October 2009, last updated November 2012.
Florida International University was established by the state legislature in 2000. The school received provisional ABA approval in 2004 and was fully accredited two years later. FIU offers both full- and part-time J.D. programs and is ranked No. 113 in the latest U.S. News list and No. 60 among part-time schools.
Admissions and tuition
For the full-time incoming class of 2015, the median LSAT was 156 and the median GPA was 3.61. The part-time program's medians were 153 and 3.24.
In 2012, 2,686 applicants applied and only 595 were accepted, resulting in a competitive acceptance rate of 22.15 percent. For the part-time program, FIU accepted 14.1% of its applicants in 2011. Ultimately, the University welcomed 121 day students and 35 evening students in 2012.
In-state tuition is just under $18,500 a year for the full-time program and more than $12,500 for the part-time program. Nonresidents tuition runs over $32,700 a year for the full-time program and about $22,000 a year for part-time enrollment. Florida residency was once easy to obtain in one year, but new rules have made this process much harder. Despite the school's relatively low cost, U.S. News reports that among those 2011 graduates who borrowed money, the average indebtedness was almost $72,000.
FIU’s first-year classes typically consist of 80 students. The law school has 41 faculty members, 156 first-year students, and an overall student-to-faculty ratio of 14.4 to 1. First-year students are required to take courses in torts, contracts, constitutional law, legal skills property, civil procedure, criminal law and international comparative law. Students have reported to TLS that FIU curves harshly to weed out weaker students. Due to this tough curve, 11 percent of students do not return after their first year. The students who make it through have said that they are impressed with FIU’s faculty, classes and collegial atmosphere.
The Princeton Review currently ranks FIU as the second-best environment for minority students and third for most diverse faculty.
Quality of life
The College of Law’s facilities are new, with a recently remodeled library. As the campus is near South Beach, Miami Beach, and Coconut Grove, students find plenty of fine restaurants, beaches and bars to frequent. The law school is diverse and has a minority enrollment of 63 percent. It has also been recognized by Hispanic Business Magazine for its diversity. Housing is reported to be plentiful on and off campus.
Employment prospects and bar passage
According to Law School Transparency, 60.7% of the FIU class of 2011 found full-time, long-term legal employment. For the class of 2010, the school reported to U.S. News that 90.1% of graduates were employment nine months after graduation. The school does not release much specific employment information; notably, it appears not to release salary information for its graduates. As of 2009, the median private-sector salary for FIU graduates was $54,000, and the median public-sector salary was $42,000. Almost all employed FIU graduates practice in Florida.
In the July 2012 administration of the Florida bar exam, 80.3% of FIU grads passed on their first try. That's almost two percentage points lower than the average for Florida law schools (82.0%), but about the same as the average for all law schools (80.2%).
U.S. News & World Report ranking: 113
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