The FIU College of Law offers a contemporary, approach to educating lawyers that builds on the rich traditions of the past while taking into account modern perspectives. The law constantly evolves, but eternal truths about justice and the importance of law as the foundation for a free and just society remain absolute. FIU Law meets the challenges of the changing needs of our complex society while instilling in our students the values which will help them seek justice for all citizens. FIU Law not only prepares students for traditional law practice, but also fosters understanding of disparate cultures and points of view.
When the College of Law of Florida International University opened in August 2002, we fulfilled the need for high-quality, affordable legal education in South Florida, one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse metropolitan areas in the nation. We are committed to training professionals representative of an increasingly diverse population who are also dedicated to serving the community by providing an array of legal services to those unable to afford legal representation.
Under the leadership of Founding Dean, now Dean Emeritus, Leonard Strickman, FIU Law recruited an outstanding faculty, including several “Best Teacher of the Year” award recipients and two who held endowed professorships at their prior law schools. These experienced, respected faculty hold law degrees from Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Northwestern, Georgetown, and other prestigious institutions. They have designed a rigorous curriculum that emphasizes preparation of our students for ethical and professional practice of law and community service.
The College of Law made spectacular progress in building a first-rate academic program and was provisionally accredited by the American Bar Association in 2004 and fully accredited in 2006, the quickest possible time in which a law school may achieve full accreditation under ABA rules. An essential element in completing the accreditation process was the completion of the new, state-of-the-art College of Law building.
On February 10, 2007, the College of Law officially dedicated the new building to Rafael Diaz-Balart, in honor of Congressmen Mario Diaz-Balart’s grandfather. During his tenure in the Florida Legislature, state Sen. Mario Diaz-Balart sponsored the bill that resulted in the establishment of the FIU College of Law. Rafael Diaz-Balart Hall was designed by the internationally-prominent architect Robert A.M. Stern, Dean of the School of Architecture at Yale University. The new, 153,000-square-foot facility is both a stunning architectural landmark and a practical educational space. Its open, airy design incorporates two spacious interior courtyards, an atrium and reading room that utilize natural light, an auditorium, a legal clinic and two teaching courtrooms.
Since our doors opened in 2002, FIU Law has graduated over 900 students. Our graduates have consistently posted outstanding Florida Bar results. Our students regularly excel in national and international competitions and, this year, won the 16th Annual National White Collar Crime Mock Trial Invitational, sponsored by Georgetown Law and the Georgetown University Law Center Barristers’ Council, and took second in the Hon. E. Earle Zehmer Memorial Mock Trial Competition sponsored by the Florida Justice Association.
Under the leadership of its second dean, R. Alexander Acosta, FIU Law is rapidly becoming one of the nation’s most respected law schools. We now rank 105 in U.S. News and World Report, raising more than 44 spots since 2009. Last year marked our 10th anniversary. “I am proud of what this law school, its faculty and students have achieved in such a short time. As South Florida’s only public law school, our students receive a superb legal education without the crushing debt burden too often faced by law students at other schools. This community should be proud of FIU Law’s accomplishments, the standards we have set and the graduates we produce.” Dean R. Alexander Acosta
Our future is bright.