Jacksonville University, northeast Florida’s preeminent private university, announced plans today to establish a College of Law in downtown Jacksonville, supported by private funding and a $5 million commitment of public investment from Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry.
As the state’s first new law school in more than 20 years, the Jacksonville University College of Law will launch classes in the fall of 2022 with an expected inaugural class of 20-30 students and a projected total enrollment of 150 students in Fall 2024. The College of Law will offer a three-year Juris Doctor degree program that is designed to prepare graduates for the Florida Bar exam, filling a crucial gap in legal education and services in the city.
“We are proud to partner once again with Mayor Curry and the City of Jacksonville to propel northeast Florida toward a stronger future,” said Jacksonville University President Tim Cost. “We thank them and our partners for their support. We believe this is the role of a responsive and agile university in a city like ours – to move decisively on opportunities that lift the entire community and to forge partnerships that serve the greater good.”
Speaking alongside President Cost at City Hall today, Mayor Lenny Curry emphasized the need for a quality law school in the city. “Jacksonville is currently the largest city in the U.S. that does not have a law school,” said Mayor Lenny Curry. “Too often, our citizens must choose to leave
Jacksonville to pursue a legal education. This College of Law will offer a prime opportunity for current residents and serve as a magnet to attract talent back into our city and our downtown.”
The Jacksonville University College of Law will offer students an exceptional academic experience with world-class resources, real-world learning opportunities, and small classes that allow for individualized support and mentorship. Students will take courses at the university’s Downtown Jacksonville location in the VyStar Tower, which offers connectivity to the region’s top legal resources. The Duval County Courthouse and its extensive legal library are within a 10-minute walk, as are numerous legal organizations where students will secure externships and mentorship opportunities.
With continuing projected job growth statewide in the legal field, there is increasing demand for individuals with a Juris Doctor. Florida is the third most populous state in the U.S., but is ranked 24th in lawyers per capita. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are roughly 1.5 jobs for every lawyer in the state.
All applicants will be considered for merit scholarships, up to $14,400 per year, based on their transcripts from previous institutions and LSAT scores. No additional application is needed for merit scholarship consideration.
The field of law connects well to core disciplines such as business, healthcare, technology, communications and public policy, which are all established, highly-regarded programs offered at Jacksonville University. Students will have the unique opportunity to leverage the University’s interdisciplinary offerings to pursue a graduate degree concurrently with the Juris Doctor degree.
“Jacksonville University believes in building connections, not barriers,” said President Cost. “We will encourage students to link their law education to course concentrations in a strong selection of in-demand fields across the breadth of our university. With 10 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs holding a J.D. degree, we believe that Jacksonville University College of Law graduates will be prepared and positioned to run global companies in the future.”
The College of Law is Jacksonville University’s fifth college and fifth doctoral program. It fulfills a lifelong dream of Jacksonville University’s founder, The Honorable William J. Porter, who established Porter University in 1934, later to become Jacksonville University, with the vision of educating and graduating top-notch lawyers in Jacksonville.
“Jacksonville University continually earns the support of the community and its alumni base which will ensure the success and prominence of the university’s law school graduates. I look forward to soon welcoming these students to the Bar,” said Michelle Barnett, partner of Alexander, DeGance, Barnett, and immediate past president of the Jacksonville Bar Association.
Consistent with accreditation protocol dictated by the American Bar Association (ABA), the Jacksonville University College of Law will start classes in 2022 and will begin the accreditation process in the spring of 2023 with the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admission to the ABA. In the last decade, Jacksonville University has received full accreditation for over 30 programs and is fully accredited through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The University holds nine accreditations from national organizations serving business, healthcare, the arts, nursing and orthodontics.
The University’s goal and highest priority is to achieve conditional approval of accreditation by the time our first class of students graduates in 2024. The University makes no representation to any applicant that it will receive approval from the Council before the graduation of any matriculating student.
The University is now accepting applications for the College of Law. A virtual information session will take place March 24 at 6 p.m. For more information and to apply, visit www.ju.edu/law.