The Florida International University College of Law is the law school of Florida International University, located in Miami, Florida in the United States. The law school is accredited by the American Bar Association, and is the only public law school in Southern Florida.

Four times in its history, the FIU College of Law has ranked first in the state of Florida with the state's highest bar-passing rates (February 2005, February 2007, February 2009 and July 2011). In 2007, the school also ranked first in Florida in the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam with a 96% passage rate.

According to FIU's 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 55.4% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation, excluding solo practitioners.


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Florida International University worked towards the creation of a public law school in South Florida for many years, beginning with the 1986 appointment of Modesto A. Maidique as University president. Maidique met resistance from the Florida Board of Regents, which had a number of graduates of other Florida law schools, and opposed the opening of any new public law schools in the state. The establishment of this institution was finally realized in 2000, when Governor Jeb Bush pushed the project through the state legislature, along with the re-establishment of a law school at Florida A & M University.

Shortly thereafter, the College of Law hired Leonard Strickman as its inaugural Dean. Strickman, a Yale Law School graduate, had previously served as Dean of the Northern Illinois University College of Law and the University of Arkansas School of Law, and had been a member of the ABA Accreditation Committee during the 1990s, and had chaired 15 ABA accreditation site visits.

The College of Law is one of the university's 26 schools and colleges and was founded in 2000. It later opened its doors in August 2002 and received provisional accreditation from the American Bar Association in August 2004, and was granted full accreditation on December 1, 2006. The inaugural class graduated on May 22, 2005.

FIU, preparing for only its second graduation in Spring 2006, had passing scores from 19 of 22 students who took the Bar exam in February 2006. The state average â€" including graduates from all 10 Florida law schools and out-of-state graduates who took the Florida test â€" was 73.2 percent.

On February 10, 2007, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an Associate Justice for the United States Supreme Court, headed the Dedication of the new law school building. She formally dedicated the building and delivered a keynote address along with other dignitaries. The Rafael Diaz-Balart Hall Dedication took take place at the FIU Arena and was preceded and followed by tours of the new law school building.

In May 2009, the institution announced that United States Attorney R. Alexander Acosta had been selected to replace Strickman as Dean, with the latter's retirement from the position.


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The 2015 U.S. News & World Report's "Best Law School Rankings" ranked the FIU College of Law at 102 in the United States. This represents an increase of more than 49 spots since 2009.

FIU is currently the fourth-highest ranked law school in Florida behind only Florida State University College of Law, University of Florida's Fredric G. Levin College of Law, and University of Miami School of Law. The magazine also ranked FIU at 53 in the U.S. for its part-time law programs.

In October 2010, the FIU College of Law was ranked Top 10 Best Value school in the nation by The National Jurist.

In April 2007, it was revealed that FIU Law graduates passed the February 2007 Florida bar exam with a 94 percent passing rate, the highest in the state of Florida.

In March 2007, the FIU College of Law received its first national ranking in U.S. News & World Report. FIU was ranked in the third tier of the four tiers of law school, marking the first time in several decades that a new law school has been so highly ranked.


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According to FIU's official 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 55.4% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation, excluding solo practitioners. FIU's Law School Transparency under-employment score is 15.1%, indicating the percentage of the Class of 2013 unemployed, pursuing an additional degree, or working in a non-professional, short-term, or part-time job nine months after graduation.



The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition) at FIU for the 2013-2014 academic year is $21,345. The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $64,035.

Bar Passage

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The FIU College of Law has ranked 1st in the state of Florida with the state's highest bar-passing rates (February 2005, February 2007, February 2009 and July 2011), and 1st in Florida in the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam at 96% in 2007.

Florida Bar Exam
passing rates

Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination
passing rates

Admissions and Tuition

The College of Law only admits students during the fall to its full-time day program or its part-time evening program. Admissions is done on a rolling basis.

For Fall 2010, 2,565 students applied for admissions into the FIU College of Law, 492 were accepted, and 118 enrolled for the day program and 49 for the evening program. The Fall 2012 entering class had a median LSAT score of 155 (out of a possible 180 points) and a 3.60 GPA (on a 4.0 scale). 59% of students were ethnic minorities, and 52% were women. The average age is 25 for the day program and 28 for the evening program.

Annual tuition for in-state students in the day program is $18,463 and $12,508 for those in the evening program. Annual tuition for out-of-state students in the day program is $27,987.90 and $19,591.53 for those in the evening program.

Post Graduation Employment

For the class of 2012, 69% of graduates obtained bar-passage-required jobs. Fifty-seven percent of graduates were able to secure full-time, long-term, bar-passage-required employment.

Joint-degree and specialty programs

Joint-degree programs

  • JD/M.B.A. (Master of Business Administration)
  • JD/M.A.L.A.C.S. (Master of Latin American and Caribbean Studies)
  • JD/M.P.A. (Master of Public Administration)
  • JD/M.S.E.S. (Master of Science in Environmental Studies)
  • JD/M.S.W. (Master of Social Work)
  • JD/M.S.Psych. (Master of Science in Psychology)
  • JD/M.I.B. (Master of International Business)
  • JD/M.S.C.J.A. (Master of Science in Criminal Justice Administration)

Specialty programs

  • International and Comparative Law Program
  • Legal Skills and Values Board
  • Board of Advocates
  • Community Service Board
  • Trial Advocacy Program

Faculty and administration


  • R. Alexander Acosta, Dean


The FIU College of Law has about 30 full-time faculty members (including the Dean and the Associate Dean for Academics, both of whom teach on an occasional basis), and also has various visiting professors who teach subjects within their areas of expertise.

Founding Faculty

The founding faculty are the professors who came to the University before it was opened to students. Under Strickman's guidance (and with the added incentive of South Florida's temperate climate), the College of Law recruited a highly experienced founding faculty that included:

  • Thomas E. Baker, professor of Constitutional law
  • Jorge Esquirol, professor of International law, who had previously been Director of Academic Affairs in the Harvard Law School Graduate Program.
  • Elizabeth Price Foley, professor of Civil procedure and Constitutional law.
  • Aya Gruber, professor of Criminal law, who had assisted Alan Dershowitz during the O.J. Simpson case before becoming a public defender in Washington, D.C.
  • Mathew C. Mirow, professor of Property law and legal historian
  • Ediberto Roman, professor of Contract law, and author of numerous articles and a book on the disenfranchisement of residents of the United States' inhabited Insular possessions

In addition, Professor John Stack already a long-time professor of political science at FIU before the foundation of the law school, and director of the Jack D. Gordon Public Policy Institute, became a jointly-appointed faculty member in the College of Law and the Political Science department.

Notable Faculty

While many members of the College of Law faculty are known and well-published within the legal community, several are particularly notable.

  • Stanley Fish was hired to a five year contract, as the Davidson-Kahn Distinguished University Professor of Humanities and Law in June 2005.
  • Jerry W. Markham authored textbooks on various topics, and one of the most thorough and extensive treatises on the history of securities regulation, before coming to FIU. He teaches in the areas of business organizations, banking, securities, international litigation, and international business transactions.
  • Henry Latimer, also a visiting professor who taught Alternative Dispute Resolution, was formerly a judge, and was in line to become the first African-American president of the Florida Bar Association when he was killed in a car accident in the Spring of 2005.

Notable Adjunct Faculty

  • Judge Adalberto Jordan of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • Judge Angel A. Cortiñas of the Florida Third District Court of Appeal
  • Former Judge Juan Ramirez, Jr. of the Florida Third District Court of Appeal
  • Judge Robert N. Scola, Jr. of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida


The Florida International University College of Law opened with a class of 67 full-time and 60 part-time students. LSAT and GPA scores placed the inaugural class around the middle of Florida's 11 law schools. The first graduate was Rosann Spiegel, also a previous FIU alumnus, who finished the program a semester ahead of schedule. Spiegel graduated in December 2004 and passed the February 2005 bar examination - briefly making FIU the only law school in the country with a 100% bar passage rate.

In January 2010, FIU College of Law students placed first among the Southeastern States Regional American Bar Association negotiation competition. Students also placed second in the Zehmer Mock Trial Competition and second on the brief at the Skadden Arps International FDI moot competition.

The student body has also formed a Law Review and a Moot Court team, as well as a Student Bar Association and other student organizations, such as a chapter of the Federalist Society, a student newspaper called "Ipsissima Verba", and a Sports and Entertainment Law Society (SELS). Currently, the institution has about 450 students, including part-time and full-time first, second, and third year students. Eventually, the school is projected to have a capacity of about 600 students at a time.

FIU Law Review

Established in 2004, The FIU Law Review is the law school's official student law review, and is published twice annually (Fall and Spring). As the first journal in FIU College of Law history, the FIU Law Review is committed to facilitating the College’s growth and impact in the legal community. Recently, the Law Review held a symposium on immigration.


The FIU College of Law is unique among American law schools in that it requires all students to take a course entitled An Introduction to International and Comparative Law during their first year. Other required first year courses are more typical - Constitutional law, Torts, and Contracts in the first semester, Criminal law, Civil Procedure, and Property in the second, and legal writing classes (called Legal Skills and Values, or simply LSV) throughout. However, each of the substantive classes also dedicates a portion of its discussion to international and comparative issues in that area of law.

Upper level requirements also include an additional course relating to international law, an additional LSV class, a writing seminar, and a course in Professional Responsibility.

Clinical Programs

The FIU College of Law offers six in-house clinics:

  • The Carlos A. Costa Immigration and Human Rights Clinic
  • The Community Development Clinic
  • Consumer Bankruptcy Clinic
  • Family Law and Education Advocacy Clinic
  • The H.E.L.P. (Health, Ethics, Law and Policy) Clinic, and the Education Advocacy Clinic.
  • The Immigrant Children’s Justice Clinic
  • The Investor Advocacy Clinic


The Florida International University College of Law operates out of the Rafael Díaz-Ballart Hall, designed by renowned architect Robert A. M. Stern. A groundbreaking ceremony was held for the law school's building on May 22, 2005 (the same day as the inaugural commencement). $34 million was budgeted for the construction of the facility. The new building is also on the University Park campus, across from the FIU Arena and adjacent to the Recreation Center and a 1,000-car parking garage.

On-campus housing is available for graduate students in the College of Law at the University Park Towers and the University Park Apartments through the graduate housing community.


External links

  • Official website

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