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College of Law

Florida State University


2004 Press Releases

College of Law is one of the top 10 law schools for Hispanics

Aug 01, 2004

TALLAHASSEEHispanic Business Magazine has ranked Florida State University College of Law among the Top 10 law schools in the nation for Hispanics. An article about the rankings appears in the September 2004 issue.

For the academic year 2003-2004, Hispanics made up over 10 percent of the school’s 742-member student body and received 11 percent of the 253 law degrees awarded to the class of 2004.

The magazine surveyed 174 American Bar Association accredited law schools and ranked them based on the percentage of Hispanic students enrolled, the percentage of full-time Hispanic faculty, services for Hispanic students, Hispanic student recruitment efforts and retention rates, quality of education, and reputation. Reputation was based on the U.S. News & World Report ranking of the institutions’ programs in the magazine’s Best Graduate Schools, 2003 Edition.

FSU’s law school was ranked 10th by the magazine, with the University of Texas at Austin ranked first, the University of Miami ranked second and the University of Florida ranked third.

Hispanic Business Magazine says the Top 10 ranking reflects a “strengthening commitment to diversity at institutions that are playing an increasingly critical role in advancing the U.S. Hispanic economy.”

“The commitment on our part is a shared commitment of students, faculty and alumni,” says law school dean Don Weidner. Weidner points to alum Lourdes Bernal-Dixon as being instrumental in bringing the school’s success to the magazine’s attention.

Bernal-Dixon, a 2000 graduate and an associate with the Tampa law firm of Kubicki Draper, P.A., says that Florida State’s Top 10 ranking is well-deserved.

“Throughout the time I was at Florida State law school, it was clear that everyone from peer advisors to professors were committed to our success,” says Bernal-Dixon, a Cuban-American, who received her undergraduate degree from Florida International University in Miami.

She says she chose to attend Florida State over the other four Florida law schools that accepted her because of its “we’re-all-in-this-together mentality” and welcoming atmosphere, in which other students embraced her Hispanic heritage. “Those qualities especially impressed me in light of the law school's reputation for having an excellent law program and alumni who are respected as exceptionally wellqualified attorneys.”

The College of Law has several initiatives to recruit a diverse student body. One is the Summer for Undergraduates Program, developed to provide an introduction to the study of law to students from groups historically under-represented in the legal profession. The program, which is permanently endowed by College of Law alum Wayne Hogan, is designed to help students acquire skills that will benefit them as undergraduates and in law school and to encourage them to pursue careers in the legal profession. The college recently completed its 13th year of this program, which serves as a model for law schools across the country.

In addition to hosting a number of programs and events geared toward recruiting talented Hispanic students, the College of Law also strives to provide a supportive environment for its current law students, many of whom work closely with the Admissions Office as school ambassadors and pre-law advisors. Student organizations such as the Spanish American Law Students Association, Latino Graduate Student Association, Cuban-American Student Association, Puerto Rican Student Association, and Colombian Student Association provide cultural outlets, mentoring opportunities and peer support for Hispanic/Latino students.

Other law schools in the Top 10 include: St. Mary’s University, San Antonio, Texas; Stanford University, Stanford, California; Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles; University of Arizona, Tucson; Southwestern University, Los Angeles; Southwestern University, Los Angeles; and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. 

​August 2004