« on: April 14, 2016, 07:23:40 AM »
Thank you for the reply Loki! I want to note that I am planning on staying in Florida, but I want to consider my options in case I ever decided to move back home to Tennessee. You mentioned Stetson being great for litigation and oral advocacy, how does Miami compare in those areas? Also, if I chose to relocate from South FL at some point to North Florida is Miami still competitive in that region. Even with Stetson's scholarship I will more than likely be looking at six figures of debt regardless. Again, thank you for the in depth response.
The answers to your questions are both simple, and complicated. Florida is a single legal market, in the same sense that, say, California is a single market. But the market contains multitudes.
So let's discuss, first, the out-of-state thing. I wouldn't factor that in. But, to the extent you wish to consider it, UM (Miami) travels out of state better than Stetson. Why? Because UM is a private school that attracts a lot of undergrads from out-of-state, because it has a well-known football team, and because the law school (as well) attracts a fair number of out-of-state individuals. Stetson has good reputation in Florida, but not much of one outside of it. That said, if you work in Florida and then wish to go back, you'll have to make your own connections, etc. (And remember that the Florida bar, currently, has no reciprocity with any other state).
Next, there are markets. First, there's the "urban" markets- generally delineated as South Florida (which can be further sub-divided into Miami, F. Lau., "Broward", and W. Palm Beach), Tampa Bay (Tampa/St. Pete), Orlando, Jax, and Tallahassee. Then the state can otherwise be divided into South, Central, and North (incl. panhandle, which is basically Alabama).
Either UM or ST can get you a job state-wide. But UM has much, much better connections in the South Florida market, and Stetson has much better connections in the Central Florida market (esp. Tampa Bay, and Orlando to a lesser extent when looking at urban areas). Think of it partly as a function of proximity - you tend to make your connections where you are.
Either place can get you a job anywhere - an easy example would be applying for a state judicial clerkship, or doing work in Tallahassee.
Now, all that being said; I need to reiterate that if you have not been to these two areas, you probably should visit prior to making a decision if you are torn. There's a saying in Florida that when you travel south in Florida, you're really going north. Miami (and South Florida) is a wonderful, vibrant, international city that people tend to have strong reactions to (one way or the other). Kind of like Los Angeles. Tampa, on the other hand, is a more standard southern city with a lot of northern transplants (small downtown, sprawling suburbs) that also is close to some really nice gulf beaches.
Wrapping up- cost is a heck of a thing. That should play a large factor in your decision, esp. if you're planning on going into criminal work (although you will get loan forgiveness ... um, eventually). You can always see if you can get more money!