College of Law ranks first in nation for Hispanic community

Allison Galea/ Contributing Writer

The University law school recently ranked as the best law school in the nation for Hispanics by, beating out other Florida schools like the University of Miami and Florida State University.

This ranking shows how the FIU College of Law services the Hispanic community more than other law schools that are much older and well-known.

The FIU law school has only been around since 2001, as opposed to the FSU College of Law, founded in 1966, and the UM School of Law, founded in 1926. It is also the only public law school in South Florida.

Melissa Gonzalez, a freshman finance major and pre-law student is proud of the University and thinks that rankings like this one help get the FIU name out more.

“It definitely shows the growth of FIU and our continued pursuit of making a name for ourselves,” she said.

Alexander Acosta became the second dean of the FIU law school in 2009, and said that the progression with these rankings over the years is a significant feat for the program.

“We made the top 10 a few years ago. Then we were second or third, and now we are number one,” he said.“For a law school that has only graduated ten classes to be the best in the entire country, with respect to Hispanic students, is truly indicative of our future.”

He attributes this success to various factors, including the small class sizes within the college. This allows professors to build strong bonds with their students, as well as conduct in-depth discussions on subject matter.

The faculty, of which about 22 percent are Hispanic, have also proved to be an invaluable asset to the school and its recent ranking. The faculty members within the college are very well accomplished: Numerous have been published in the Yale University, Harvard University and New York University press.

While they show to be successful leaders of the classroom, Acosta also said that what really makes them special is how much they care about their students.

Reaching high rankings is no easy task for such a young program. The law program originally ranked, according to U.S. News & World Report,  in the bottom quartile and has recently risen to among the top 100 schools in the nation for overall quality.

The hispanic business media company ranked the top five schools in the nation based on the percentage of Hispanics enrolled, graduating from programs, as well as the percentage of Hispanic faculty employed.

The University not only has the most Hispanics enrolled, making up about 46 percent of the total enrollment, but it also holds a higher retention rate and therefore the most graduates. In comparison, 22 percent of UM law students are Hispanic and only about 9 percent in FSU Law.

It won’t stop there, Acosta said.

“[We] have to keep working harder, [we] have to stay on the cutting edge, [and we] have to stay one step ahead of everyone else,” he said.

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