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FSU Law School ranked No. 1 in Florida, Black Law Students Association sweeps regional competitions

Business Insider has ranked Florida State University College of Law as Florida's No. 1 law school and No. 32 nationally on the publication's "50 Best Law Schools in America" list. Florida State is the only Florida law school in the top 50.

The ranking is based on the results of a survey of legal industry professionals, acceptance rates reported by U.S. News & World Report and postgraduate employment rates reported by the American Bar Association. Survey participants were asked to "select the top 10 law schools in terms of how well they prepare students to land their ideal job."

"We are thrilled that, like several other national publications, Business Insider has rated us the No. 1 law school in Florida," said Donald J. Weidner, dean of the College of Law. "This ranking is especially gratifying because it is based in large part on how well we prepare our students and on their successes in landing the jobs they want."

The college's Black Law Students Association also enjoyed success last week, winning two major advocacy competitions and a Chapter of the Year award at the Southern Region Black Law Students Association Regional Convention held Jan. 21-25 in Columbia, S.C.

Florida State's BLSA won first place in the Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition. In the 13-team competition, FSU's team beat teams from Emory University, University of Alabama and University of North Carolina in head-to-head rounds.

FSU's Black Law Students Association: Top Row (L-R): Coleman, McBurrows, Gilot, Collier. Bottom Row (L-R): Ellis, Byrd, Colbert, BLSA President Chandrese Colebrooke, Alford, Fuller.

Winning team members were third-year student Kevin Alford from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., first-year student Lauryn Collier from Charlotte, N.C., first-year student Matletha Fuller from South Bay, Fla., and second-year student Samuel Gilot from Miami, Fla. The team was coached by Florida State law alumna C. Erica White ('01), who is chief attorney at the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Gilot also earned the competition's overall best advocate title.

One of 19 teams competing, Florida State's BLSA also won first place in the Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition, an appellate advocacy competition. Other law schools participating included Emory University, University of Alabama and University of Florida. Judges for the competition's final round included the chief justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court.

Winning team members were third-year student Jason Byrd from Jacksonville, Fla., and second-year student Christina Colbert from Daytona Beach, Fla. Judge Simone Marstiller, of Florida's First District Court of Appeal, and Florida State law alumna Karla D. Ellis ('96), who is an attorney at the Florida Supreme Court, served as coaches for the team. Marstiller and Ellis also coached Florida State's team that won the award for best brief in the competition and placed third overall. The students on that team were second-year student Derrick McBurrows from Monticello, Fla., and third-year student Joseph Coleman from Naples, Fla. Coleman also earned the competition's overall best oralist award.

Florida State's BLSA also received the Chapter of the Year award for chapters of medium size. The award is based heavily on an organization's community service and educational outreach activities. This is the fourth time in six years that Florida State has won the regional title.

"The continued success of BLSA on the regional and national stages is an important part of the fabric of our institution," Weidner said. "We are all so proud of the student advocates, their dedicated coaches and the BLSA organization as a whole."

Florida State's BLSA will compete for the related national awards in March at the National Black Law Students Association Annual Convention in Portland, Ore.

By Christi Morgan
29 January 2015

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