Stetson University College of Law
Academics & Programs: Stetson University College of Law in Florida offers “a good mix of practicality and theory.” Points of pride here include a serious first-year emphasis on research and writing. “The pace and the intensity of it are not matched by other schools,” declares a 1L. There’s a “wide variety of” “excellent” internships and clinics as well, and pro bono opportunities abound.” While four certificate programs are available (in advocacy, elder law, international law, and environmental law), advocacy is far and away the principal focus here. Students gloat that Stetson is home to “the best trial advocacy school in the country.” “Every week, a different trial team is out competing and winning something.” “For a litigator who wants to practice in Florida, or an appellate practitioner who wants access to judicial internships in the area,” counsels a 2L, “Stetson is ideal.” “You will know your way around a courtroom long before graduating.” However, some students say that this school overemphasizes litigation, despite a variety electives, including state-specific topics such as Florida Criminal Procedure and Florida Civil Procedure. Students also note that Stetson isn’t cheap. “I had considered transferring just to save money,” admits a 3L, “but I had such a great environment at Stetson. I couldn’t leave.”
There are quite a few adjunct professors who teach one or two classes per year while maintaining their practice as attorneys or judges. Some full-time professors “can make a semester seem unbearable,” but by and large, the faculty at Stetson Law is “caring,” “very dedicated,” “and eager to make your learning experience successful.” Professors are “knowledgeable in both their areas of expertise and general law and life.” They’re also “available and approachable.” Students brag that Stetson has “one the most accessible faculties imaginable.” “Despite their busy schedules, they always make time for students and are happy to do so,” relates a 3L. Some members of the administration “go to great lengths to get to know students on a personal basis.” Others are “arrogant [and] incompetent” and “seem to manage to screw over their students on biweekly basis.”
On the employment front, “One of the biggest assets is that Stetson is the only law school in the Tampa Bay Area.” Students tell us that Stetson has an excellent reputation locally. “Judges rave about Stetson’s professionalism,” asserts a 3L. The name carries some weight throughout the Sunshine State as well, though “There just are not too many firms that are recruiting” on campus. Views concerning Career Services are conflicting. Some students call the staff “outstanding.” Others gripe that Career Services “has little connection with practicing alumni in the area and is not very organized overall.”
Campus Life/Facilities: The facilities here are generally impressive. “The campus is exclusively a law school,” and the hacienda-style architecture creates a kind of “old resort” vibe, which “takes away some of the sting of having to go to class.” “The school has plenty of room, with large classrooms that are modern and comfortable and several gorgeous, usable courtrooms on campus.” Library resources are “very impressive,” and “the librarians are the best around.” A 2L likens them to “fairy godmothers of legal research.” Technology is a bit of sore spot, though. The server “seems to be down once a week,” and “There are constant problems” with various gadgetry. Also, bring a sweater because “the air-conditioning is freezing cold.”
Students tell us that there’s “a family-like atmosphere” here. “Stetson is very open,” relates a 1L. “There is a great sense of community between the students, faculty, and staff.” The academic atmosphere is amicable. “Students are generally very helpful to each other, and the environment is friendly and noncompetitive for the most part. Competition is healthy rather than cutthroat or underhanded.” When students aren’t hitting the books, it’s easy “to get involved in organizations,” and everyone here is pretty social. Students also say that they’re situated in an ideal place to learn the law. “You cannot beat the location,” wagers a 1L. Obviously, this is a “year round warm place,” which has numerous advantages. Stetson’s “affordable, tranquil” suburban environs make for an ideal atmosphere to work, study, and play. World class beaches are a short drive away. The reasonably lively city of St. Petersburg is also close, and the broader Tampa Bay Area is a growing, bustling region of close to three million people.”
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