Law School Discussion

Which florida school?


  • ****
  • 543
  • Exterminate all rational thought.
    • View Profile
Not a gator troll
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2006, 01:56:07 PM »
Which Florida school.... now there's a question.

I will preface this with my usual advice. Before picking a law school, you are best served by identifying your needs. What are you looking for in the law school you want? Once you get out of the T14, this is what you need to identify. There is no universal best answer- there is only what is best for you.

Do you need to live near a beach? Then you should go to Miami or FSU. So you want to live in a major urban area? Miami. Small city? Gainesville. In-between? FSU. Want to see politics up close? FSU. Want to practice your spanish skills and plan on doing some bilingual law? Miami. Want to lower your debt level? UF or FSU, unless there's a scholarship involved. I don't know much about Stetson, although I've heard their trial law program is very well respected.

And so on...

But let's say money is not an object, and you have no sense of self, and you just think, "Hey, I'd like to go to school in Florida!" How do you rank them?

hype thinks UF is all rerp, and on his visit, they had an attitude that you should feel blessed just to go there. Well, there's a reason for this. UF has traditionally been the crown jewel of the Florida University system, and the law school is the most prestigious one in Florida. Is it the 'best' one? Define 'best'. The argument about being too far away from a major metro area to get a job in Gainesville doesn't hold water- while it means that summer internships may require a move (as is the case with many schools), UF is much close to the growth markets of Orlando, Jacksonville, and Tampa than Miami is. But that's really a distinction without a difference.

You ask how to rank the schools. I think that the rankings in USNWR accurately depict the pecking order in the state. This is not the difference between Hah-vahd and Suffolk in the Boston area... but they're a little farther apart than BU and BC. Define what you want, then choose the school that tbest matches your desires. In my case, I only applied to UF, because I knew that it was the only school in Florida I'd be happy at. You couldn't pay me to live in Miami, and Tallahassee has always seemed like a cross between Albany and an ambien.

They are all, however, fine schools, and if you do well, you'll do okay in post-graduation employment.

Unless, of course, you're a UF graduate interviewing with an FSU graduate after the Gators just shellacked the 'Noles. Then you're on your own.

Re: Which florida school?
« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2006, 02:14:32 PM »
Unless, of course, you're a UF graduate interviewing with an FSU graduate after the Gators just shellacked the 'Noles. Then you're on your own.



  • ****
  • 223
    • View Profile
Re: Which florida school?
« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2006, 03:35:49 PM »
Unless, of course, you're a UF graduate interviewing with an FSU graduate after the Gators just shellacked the 'Noles. Then you're on your own.


hahahaha. the one reason i didn't apply to fsu (besides that tallahassee has a funny smell to it) is because i am a gator grad, and i just can't see myself living in the enemy's quarters, much less giving them my $$! go gators.

Re: Not a gator troll
« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2006, 04:26:04 PM »
You couldn't pay me to live in Miami

I've heard several ppl say this.  Why isnt Miami an attractive destination?  My brother, who lives in Melbourne, FL, says the same thing, but part of his reason stems from racism (says he doesnt want to live in a cheap quarters with immigrants) and a dislike for living in a major city.

Re: Which florida school?
« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2006, 04:43:08 PM »
Floridians generally have a low opinion of Miami, even people who live in Miami. First of all, the majority of people living in Miami speak Spanish as a first language. The people I know who live/work in Miami use Spanish in their jobs. The sole reason why I wouldn't live there is that I do not have the Spanish proficiency I think I'd need to be successful there. It also has a reputation for having lots of drug-related crime and gangs. I think Tampa usually ranks as having more crime, but everyone still acts like Miami is much worse. I am not sure why.


  • ****
  • 543
  • Exterminate all rational thought.
    • View Profile
Close parsing + Miami
« Reply #15 on: March 31, 2006, 05:05:38 PM »
Second things first....

Katia- as for the 'sense of self' comment, I thought the placement after the preceding paragraph would explain it, but here goes:
For those of you know what you're looking for in a school, you can choose which school in Florida meets your needs fairly easily. UF, FSU, and Miami are sufficiently different.
For those who just 'want to go to a school in Florida' and have no criteria (aka have no idea what they want in a school, therefore no sense of self), I was breaking down the relative merits irrespective of individual preferences.
Since I was accepted at UF, and will likely be going there this fall, then from your reading, I guess that I have no sense of self. Would that make me selfless? Senseless? A graduate of the University of Georgia? What does it all mean?!?!

hype- why I could not be paid to live in Miami, a list by Loki....
1. While I lived in (and loved) Boston, Miami is another beast entirely. Too big. Too urban. Too much city in the city. And no public transportation to get around. I like my New England and NorthEast cities... Miami? Not so much.
2. Cost- Well, I guess if you *paid* me to live there, this would be less of an issue, but it's expensive to live anywhere decent, and if you don't live somewhere decent, you have to deal with...
3. Crime- Okay, it's not as bad as it was in the 80s and 90s. But it's still bad. There are still offramps that you do not want to accidentally take. Miami makes Boston and New York City look like Mayberry.
4. Beaches- I'm not much of a beach person. When I want to go, Gainesville is close enough to the beach. But I don't need to go every day, or even every week, which is one of the few great things about Miami.
5. Hurricanes- They're getting worse. Just in case, I want to be a little bit in-land. Have you been in a hurricane? I've been through three... and each one had been weakened severely by the time it got to me. Not fun. The odds are low, but I prefer no odds (Gainesville got hit by one two years ago, but because it was inland, it mainly knocked down trees and caused some flooding- and it was the first real one in decades) to low odds.
6. Trees- I like 'em. Not just palm trees.
7. Tacky, tacky, tacky. Miami is capital U-gly. There are people there wearing things they shouldn't be let out of the house in. Some of the old architecture is nice, but most of it is Baroque-Garish, or worse, Industrial-Nasty.
8. Ever driven alligator alley? 'Nuff said. Most boring road way east of the Mississippi.
9. Don Johnson doesn't hang out there anymore. I still get that synthesizer music echoing in my head when I go through the area.

Most joking aside, it's just not for *me*. But it is for many other people- that's why it's a big city. Like many big cities, if you have a lot of money, it's really cool, if you have no money, it really sucks, and if you're in between, well, you probably live in the suburbs. It's just not a place I would chose to live (mainly for 1, 3, 6, and 7). Many others would thrive there. I also have young children, so I have the added concern of looking for a school system... and while Gainesville doesn't have the best in the nation, it has ones that are much better than Miami's (in the areas that I can afford to live).

I've visited Miami many times (my brother went to school in Boca Raton). There's some nice stuff down there. Great to visit, but I wouldn't want tot live there.

Re: Which florida school?
« Reply #16 on: April 01, 2006, 10:11:47 AM »
Why does everyone always bring up hurricanes with the Miami Hurricanes?  But seriously though, I dont think hurricanes are that big of a deal.  Ive lived on an outer banks island in NC since '89, so ive dealt with my fair share of hurricanes.  We never left our house for one yet, though there hasnt been anything tooo major.  Its usu front row or poorly located houses that get hit the worst.  (I guess a house on an island isnt exactly positioned great, but im generally speaking here).

I agree with the traffic part.  The lack of public transit is one thing that turned me off about the city too. (for this, nyc and dc cant be beat imo).

loki, you keep bringing up this sense of self stuff.  I applied to all 3 fl schools b/c I figured i had more options of more city-like options near the beach than in other states in the SE.  I grew up near the beach and I want to live near one when I get older too. 

The main distinction b/n the schools I know is that FSU prolly does better for the gulf coast area, but I dont know what the diff b/n the gulf and the atlantic.  (Never been to the gulf).  From visiting the schools, FSU also seemed the most southern of the bunch.  The biggest turn-off about FSU was that the class I sat in on had a about 5 ppl come in late and the last one was about 20 mins late.  Also one student also asked a question saying, "I dont do math well."  Although seemingly trivial, I would prefer against the "I dont do math" mentality... I was a math major for crying out loud.

From my visit to UF, i thot the students had a sense of arrogance about themselves.  Its not obvious, but subtle, almost translating as confidence.  They just act like theyll get the best FL jobs w/o a doubt. They didnt even try to sell me with any hard facts about their employment.  I questioned its location away from any employment opportunities and they said dont worry about it, just sub-lease and work whereever you get a summer position.  Plenty of ppl do it and its not a big problem.  This is my biggest concern about UF, but the more I read into summer employment, the less I worry about this issue.  Students seemed the most focused here of the bunch.  I actually arrived a couple mins late to the class I was to sit in on and ppl didnt look too thrilled about such tardiness.  (I thought this was a plus.)

UMiami was the most diverse.  FSU might have better stats in this area, but UMiami is by wins the battle.  Think international and ppl from various locations in the nation(UMiami) v. a bunch of minority Floridians (FSU).  Seemed the most competitive out of the bunch, but still not that bad.  I think the cost breeds it.  Students still dont seem too worried about the debt issue when asked.  A lot of the 0Ls seem more interested in partying and going to the beach here, which made me think that focus is lacking from many.  Sure, going to the beach and having a chance to party is fun and all, but it shouldnt be the main issues 0Ls are concerned with imo.

I didnt like UF so much when first comparing them, but the more research I do about it, the more it becomes obvious why so many view it as the best.  Im gradually being won over tho and I think my deposit will be in the mail when it comes down to it.

Re: Which florida school?
« Reply #17 on: April 01, 2006, 10:20:10 AM »
toomuchhype- what you said about the arrogance of UF is correct. It's pretty much like that at all levels. I was initially going to apply to UF for my in-state school, but because FSU really sold itself to me and I hate Gainesville, I decided to apply to FSU instead. The school just expects that people know it's the best in the state and that anyone who would choose to go elsewhere is just an idiot. I had the same problem with UF at the UG level as well. It seems like it uses the mentality that since the smartest people in the state go there, it's automatically the best school. Right now, FSU's student body is not significantly different numerically from UF's student body. 


  • ****
  • 543
  • Exterminate all rational thought.
    • View Profile
Averages can be misleading
« Reply #18 on: April 01, 2006, 10:57:07 AM »
Read this knowing the following:

I spent this morning, after the mail carrier came and delivered my UF acceptance package, and in between changing diapers, doing the following-
1. Looking into my housing options.
2. Looking into my financing options.
3. Filling out my Application for Need-Based Scholarships and Grant Assitance. This was fun. On the form, it says it is due APRIL 1st. The web seite says not to do it until you've received your acceptance. I receivied my acceptance today *cough* April 1st.
4. Realizing I no longer have any proof I had an MMR vaccine, and daydreaming about long needles.
So, it looks like I'll be at UF.

Why are UF students so arrogant? Well, because the school *is* the best. Look at the quality of the overall University. Where is cutting-edge science being done? Where are professors publishing in academic journals? What University is making a difference not just in Florida, but in the world at large? I've seen countless 'experts' on subjects that were UF professors. I've never seen one that was an FSU professor. Add to that the UF honors program also draws the truly high achievers in the state, and you get a reason why they are the best University. As for the 25th - 75th percentile LSAT scores, those can be a little misleading, as UF also has a lot more truly high achievers and is thus more selective at the high end.
Last Cycle:
LSAT 170+
UF: 32/33
FSU: 12/13
(analysis: more high LSAT apps to UF, looks like the schools dinged the same person)
UF: 331/651 (50.8%)
FSU: 344/427 (80.6%)
(analysis: more high LSAT apps to UF, and UF is much more selective at the high end)

And what about Gatorade??????

You can never define a University as 'best'. A student's experience, academic and otherwise, may be superior at FSU than it is at UF. A school is what you make of it. You may not get into a class with those famous professors at UF, or you might get a TA. But in the breadth of classes offered, in the overall rigor of the academics at the high end, and in the quality of the student body (again, at the high end), UF has an advantage.

None of this excuses the arrogance. I know from arrogance. Living in Boston, I knew, and worked with, Harvard grads and undergrads*. Some were really cool, nice people. Others suffered from acute Harvard-itis, which is the inability to keep yourself from dragging your alma mater into every conversation. You know the ones at the party- the ones who keep trying to steer the converstion until they can say, "Oh, I went to Harvard." What they forget is that your school doesn't make you- you make you. So it is with UF. If you go to UF so you can drink all day, and then drink all night, well, you have no right to feel superior to anyone else, for any reason. It goes along with my basic belief that it's a bad idea to be an obnoxious (rhymes with flick).

Pretentious is as pretentious does. Has nothing to do with your school.

*MIT ones as well, but they weren't showoffs. They just liked their toys.

Re: Which florida school?
« Reply #19 on: April 01, 2006, 11:09:22 AM »
My 2 cents

I am from Florida. I did undergrad at UF and know people attending and who have graduated from all 4 law schools.

First Stetson is below the other 3. For the most part it will only get you a job in Tampa and some in Orlando. I wouldn't recommend going there if you have other options.

As far as the other three there is no major difference. We aren't talking the difference between Harvard and a tier 3 school here. It depends on where you want to live. The only major difference being that FSU limits you most to northern Florida and southern Alabama areas. UM represents South Florida the best and places best in the Northeast out of the three. UF gives you good opportunities all over Florida and a bit in Atlanta.

However, UF has the lowest employment rate at graduation which is only 65%. This is below UM and FSU. To me this is a pretty startling number. The jobs attained by graduation are obviously the best jobs. Anything after that is the leftover positions which means low pay and undesirable areas.  My friends at UF told me that if you aren't in the top quarter to top third then you have a lot of work to do in attaining a great job. My friend graduated top 10% and had only 4 OCI interviews. My other friend graduated top 1/3 and had none. UF also has the lowest starting salary of the 3.  So based on reputation UF I would say seems a little overated when you look closer. Id imagine FSU and UM arent too much better, but the main point is that there isn't much difference between the schools and I would go where you feel comfortable.  This is why if you can get into a top 10 school go no matter what. All my friends at top schools got top jobs no matter where their ranking. I realize this might not be an option but when people choose lower schools with money over top  ivy schools they are making a big mistake

Also at FSU and UM i know alot of people work during their 2nd and 3rd years of law school because there is a huge legal market in Miami and a decent one in Tallahasee. Student can work to help pay their tuition while networking and getting jobs with those firms if they do a good job. This I think helps explain a little why UM and FSU have higher employment rates at graduation.  In Gaineville, these opportunities are scarce and the opportunity to work and gain experience during the year is almost nonexistent. Unless you want to end up getting a job at a small firm in Gainesville.

Anyways I just think these are some things to consider as I believe all of the schools have their positives and negatives but neither is that much better then the rest.

Oh and for undergrad I would rank it this way: UF and UM, FSU, and then Stetson
UF is by far the best undergrad for state. With UM the best private and closely behind if not even with UF now for undergrad. However UM has more of a northeastern feel, with UF all in staters.