Florida State has a good blend of theory vs. practical study. Many of the full professors teach theory, while the adjuncts usually teach the black letter law. The best professors here have a good balance of both, such as Professor Curtis Bridgeman's Contracts class and Professor Alces's Corporations class.Quality of Life
Tallahassee's cost of living is much less than other cities in Florida such as Miami, Orlando, and Tampa. It is a great college town. Just be aware that the environment here is not like the rest of Florida. Tallahassee and the panhandle of Florida in general is part of the deep south, and the atmosphere is more like Georgia or Alabama. It can get cold in the winter, but the Spanish Moss in the trees is beautiful.Admissions
The admissions process seemed pretty standard compared with the other law schools to which I applied. If I remember correctly, I had to write an essay about why I wanted to attend law school.
Not much Socratic method. Professors always available.Quality of Life
Very friendly peers. Not overly competitive.Level
Most of the classes are taught using the Socratic method, which is much better than being lectured at. The grading has run into a few problems during my 1L year. The administration was duped by one of the three sections into giving that entire section the option to take a "pass" instead of their grade because the exam was "unfair." What the administration failed to understand is that the exam was "unfair" for the entire section--no one had an advantage over the rest. Instead of having one section of unhappy students, the administration chose to give them a benefit at the expense of the other 2/3 of the class.Quality of Life
The cost of the education and of living is quite low for FSU. The school is relatively safe, though a TV has been stolen a time or two from the student lounge. They have corrected that problem by adding a security guard and more key card access. People seem to be relatively happy. Students enjoy the nightlife quite often.Admissions
It seemed to be a standard application process. The LSAT score range is fairly high. They seem to offer a lot of scholarships for the incoming class, but they do not take the undergraduate education you received into consideration when comparing GPAs. Most schools probably do not, though, since the ranking system is not concerned with that aspect when considering the quality of student accepted to the school.Level
I just completed my first year, and I can provide several observations. My entering class was about 200 people. There were three sections, each about 65 people in size.
Quality of classes: very strong faculty conducted the first year courses. Mostly young professors, many professors new to teaching, but very engaging and helpful.
Theory v. practical study: Half and half. I don't vibe well with theory classes, so I appreciated my practical classes more.
Socratic: not really an issue. Some teachers really subscribe to the method and enforce it, trying to be intimidating with it. They insist you do the readings each night and plan to hold you to that, going so far as to make a spectacle of people who don't read if they are called on. Others don't really care and move on to someone else if you're unprepared.
Advising: never really used them, so can't comment.
Competitiveness: Only an issue at the very top of the class (where, ironically, it really doesn't matter if you're #2 or #3 in the class). Most students are more than willing to share notes, outlines, study together, or do anything else to assist each other. It's really a "we're in this together" atmosphere.
Grading: Your standard law school curve. Our curve is set between a 79-81, which is a B. Half the class gets above that, half below. About 5-15 kids from each class (out of 65 in our section) got As.Quality of Life
Cost of living is very low. I pay $500/month in rent at a condo about 25 minutes from campus. The commute is the only negative aspect (because of the traffic). Printing is NOT free (which is a major complaint). Library is fine, although not always aesthetically pleasing. However, there are often private study rooms available, if that's your thing. In terms of functionality, it's fine. Dining, I make my own lunch and whatnot. Everything else is good.Admissions
The application process was fairly standard. The school required and LSAT score, a GPA, letters of recommendation, a personal statement, etc. What was very unique, however, was the speed at which I was accepted. My application was complete in Mid-October of my application year. I was accepted around one week later. Furthermore, the financial aid department was very helpful and accessible during the application process.Level
Most first year professors use the Socratic method. I truly enjoyed all of my professors and my classes (so far). I have also had a remarkable amount of research opportunities, but those come if your first year grades are good. I believe grading is fair. The workload is intense.Quality of Life
Tallahassee is a great place-some people don't like it because it is a smaller community, but if you enjoy the outdoors at all you will love it. It is relatively safe and the people are friendly.Admissions
The application was fairly typical, and FSU was very fast on getting back to me. Right after I was accepted, I received information about rolling scholarship applications, and FSU informed me of my award quickly. I knew of my admission and my award by late December, but I did apply early.Level
Highly Socratic, theoretical. Lots of competitiveness. Amazing Oxford study abroad program.Quality of Life
A few tv thefts in the lounge prompted higher security measures. Cost of living is average in a college town, library is adequate.Admissions
General admissions process, focused on LSAT and GPA. Essays were generic, along the lines of "what can you bring to the school." I was able to obtain a scholarship easily, but continuing student scholarships are generally around $500, almost not worth the effort of applyingLevel
Socratic method is on the way out, and where it is used, the aim isn't to embarrass the student. the teacher will typically ask a student several questions, then move onto another and this continues all class. One of the best things about the school is that it is competitive, but not cut throat; students are willing to help each other out--people share notes and outlines.Quality of Life
Get all the benefits of a large university, but we have our own campus so we can escape from the undergrads.
There is a mixof emphasis on practical and theoretical study. If you are more "academically-minded" as opposed to practice oriented you can find the professors and other students who share your mind-set. Class sizes are great (1L sections of 70-80) though the really popular professors will sometimes have upper-level classes over 100. Most of my upper-levels averaged around 30 students. Regardless of the class size, professors make themselves very available. A lot of schools will say they have an open-door policy but FSU truly does. There is a great rapport between studens and faculty and I think that community feel carries over to the students in so far as FSU is not a "cut-throat" place. Grading is largely fair with a C+ curve and the workload is demanding but manageable.Admissions
Admissions was a breeze in that the admissions office was very helpful and responded quickly to any questions I had. Additionally, FSU quickly notified me of my having received a scholarship (as opposed to many schools which leave you waiting). For those who receive a scholarship for 1L only, there are a number of upper-level scholarships available as well.
Small classes after first year and good mix of theory nad practical. Excellent internship opportunitiesAdmissions
LSAT, GPA, essaysGraduation Year