6. Ave Maria School of Law (Naples, FL)
Ave Maria School of Law graduates have an overall pass rate of around 74% on the bar exam; over half are gainfully employed within 10 months of graduation. A couple of interesting facts: the law school was originally located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the late Supreme Court Justice, Antonin Scalia, assisted in developing its curriculum. The school was relocated to Naples in 2009 and has been thriving ever since, as indicated by its graduates’ success rates.
It is the only school on this list rooted in the Catholic intellectual tradition, boldly proclaiming itself to be “Catholic. Conservative. Competitive.” Alongside coursework in Tort, Criminal Law, and Contracts, first-year students are required to take a course entitled “The Moral Foundations of the Law.”
Students can hone their lawyering skills and develop their resumes through moot court, externships, and the Clinical Program. Existing clinics are the Estate Planning and General Practice Clinic and Patent Law Clinic.
Ave Maria offers an invaluable educational and professional development experience within the framework of Catholic values.
5. Stetson University College of Law (Gulfport, FL)
With a post-graduation employment rate that breaks into the 90’s and top programs in Trial Advocacy and Legal Writing, Stetson Law is one of the top schools in Florida and in the country. It is also one of the very few schools in the country where every student is guaranteed an externship. With these highlights, it is no wonder why Stetson Law breaks into the top 5 on this list.
Stetson Law Trial and Moot Court teams have won dozens of national competitions and championships. The school encompasses several institutes and centers, including the one-of-a-kind Institute for Caribbean Law and Policy and its numerous initiatives. Its world-class faculty have made appearances on Netflix and Apple TV documentaries and have published work in top journals.
Admission to Stetson Law is quite selective, with less than half of applicants gaining admission in recent years.
4. Florida International University College of Law (Miami, FL)
FIU College of Law is the only public school in South Florida, ranking high in overall bar exam passing rates. The passing rate for the class of 2019 was an outstanding 94.8%. Approximately 75% of the class of 2018 obtained full-time employment after graduation.
In addition to a Clinical Program and a variety of externships, FIU Law offers third and fourth-year students a Semester-In-Practice Practicum. For an entire semester, students work full time at a private firm, a non-profit agency, corporation, or government agency. Through the practicum, students have an opportunity to put their classroom learning into practice and develop their skills as prospective lawyers.
The school is located in Miami’s vibrant metropolis, where professional development opportunities and multi-cultural experiences abound.
FIU is one of the most selective schools on this list; in 2020, only 33% of applicants were admitted.