Pensacola has one law school at the University of West Florida. However, students wishing to stay within the state have the option of applying to Florida State University's law college in Tallahassee. The closest out-of-state options are in neighboring Alabama and Louisiana. Faulkner University in Montgomery, Alabama, and Tulane in New Orleans both offer law degrees.
University of West Florida
The department of justice studies offers two undergraduate bachelor's programs in criminal justice and legal studies and a graduate degree program leading to a Master of Science in administration – criminal justice. The graduate course is taught online. The criminal justice course is recommended for occupations associated with the criminal justice system and the legal studies for paralegals and legal assistants. Anyone considering law school can take the pre-law legal studies course.
Florida Sate University
Based in Tallahassee, a two-hour drive from Pensacola, about 3,000 applicants to FSU's law school compete for 300 spots annually. Tallahassee, the state's capital, has an abundance of law firms, offering students in the area good employment prospects as well as internship opportunities. The school also offers students the opportunity to take externship programs in Washington and London. As part of the academic program, students can specialize in legal areas of specific interest to Florida, such as natural resources and land use law.
The law school at Faulkner University in Montgomery is 164 miles from Pensacola. Also known as Jones Law or JLS, Thomas Goode Jones School of Law at Faulkner has earned a reputation for its academic program and bar exam pass rate with 94 percent of students passing the first time. The school specializes in commercial and constitutional law, as well as civil procedure and alternative dispute resolution. However, the college does have a strong Christian ethos, which may not appeal to all students.
Tulane University Law School
Tulane's law school is the 12th oldest in the United States and its history, combined with its location in New Orleans appeals to some 2,600 applicants annually. The school is about 200 miles from Pensacola and offers a three-year program with internship opportunities and programs in maritime, environmental and sports law. One drawback, the tuition, which was $37,000 a year as of 2010. Financial aid is available.
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