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College of Law

Florida State University


2011 Press Releases

Weidner named one of nine transformative law deans

Aug 01, 2011

TALLAHASSEE — Florida State University College of Law Dean Donald J. Weidner is one of the last decade’s nine transformative law school deans, according to influential legal blogger and University of Chicago Law School Professor Brian Leiter. The criterion for inclusion on Leiter’s list is changing an institution, especially its intellectual identity and scholarly profile.

Leiter states that Weidner “has been a successful fundraiser and skilled navigator of Florida's choppy political waters, at the same time presiding over some of the best faculty hiring by any regional law school in the country, as reflected in periodic raids of FSU by top 10 law schools. Yet even with occasional losses, Dean Weidner has sustained the scholarly momentum of the law school.”

“I am delighted that the intellectual strength and productivity of our faculty have again been recognized as both nationally significant and durable,” said Weidner.

Florida State’s law school was for the first time this year rated in the nation’s Top 50 by U.S. News & World Report, which also rated the school’s environmental law program the nation’s sixth best. The school’s alumni giving rate is the nation’s 10th best.

The eight other deans deemed transformative by Leiter are: Michael Fitts (University of Pennsylvania), Heidi Hurd (University of Illinois), Elena Kagan (Harvard University), Kenneth Randall (University of Alabama), Daniel Rodriguez (University of San Diego), Kent Syverud (Vanderbilt University), David Van Zandt (Northwestern University) and Patricia White (Arizona State University).

For more information, visit Brian Leiter's Law School Reports at

​August 2011