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College of Law Named Most Diverse Law School

May 7, 2010

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.
– The Florida A&M University (FAMU) College of Law was recognized by U.S. News & World Report for having the most diverse law school in the nation - for the second consecutive year.

FAMU earned the outright No. 1 spot with a diversity ranking of 0.66.  FAMU tied for top honors with Texas Southern University the previous year, and U.S. News also recognized FAMU as the most diverse law school for the 2006-2007 academic year.

“As part of our mission we strive to increase the representation of minorities within the legal profession and to maintain a leadership position in racial diversity,” said FAMU College of Law Dean LeRoy Pernell.  “We are very proud that for the second consecutive year this ranking acknowledges our sincere efforts to fulfill this key element of our mission.”

According to U.S. News & World Report, to identify law schools where students are most likely to encounter classmates from different racial or ethnic groups, U.S. News has created a diversity index based on the total proportion of minority students—not including international students—and the mix of racial and ethnic groups on campus.

The index is calculated using demographic data reflecting each law school's student body during the 2009-2010 academic year, including both full- and part-time students. The groups that form the basis for the calculations are African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, and non-Hispanic whites. The formula produces a diversity index that ranges from 0.0 to 1.0. The closer a school’s number is to 1.0, the more diverse is the student population. Law schools that enroll a large proportion of students from one ethnic group, even if it is a minority group, do not score high in this index.

To be included in the ranking, a law school must be accredited by the American Bar Association. The FAMU College of Law received full accreditation from the ABA in July 2009, and was provisionally accredited from 2004 to 2009. Because student-body ethnic diversity data are not consistently compiled and reported as yet for other types of graduate schools, U.S. News & World Report has prepared a diversity table only for law schools.

The FAMU College of Law was founded in 1949 on the main campus in Tallahassee.  After graduating 57 lawyers, the law school was closed by the state of Florida in 1968. The Florida Legislature voted to reopen the law school in 2000 and Orlando was selected as the location. The re-established FAMU College of Law opened its doors in 2002 and is now housed in a state-of-the-art facility in downtown Orlando’s Parramore neighborhood.  The FAMU College of Law received full accreditation from the American Bar Association in July 2009, and is ranked number one in the nation for Diversity by U.S. News & World Report.

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