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Stetson University College of Law

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Parent endowment
US$47.6 million


Total enrollment
1,135 (2011)


Parent organization
Stetson University

School type

Gulfport, Florida, US

Undergraduate tuition and fees
35,146 USD (2011)

+1 727-562-7800

Pro Deo et Veritate

Stetson University College of Law

Christopher M. Pietruszkiewicz

1401 61st St S, Gulfport, FL 33707, USA

Notable alumni
Gus Bilirakis, Pam Bondi, Elizabeth A Kovachevich, Frederick B Karl, James D Whitte

Stetson University, Florida State University, Fredric G Levin College o, Florida Coastal School of, Pennsylvania State University


Welcome to stetson university college of law

Stetson University College of Law, founded in 1900 and part of Stetson University, is Florida's first law school. Located in Gulfport, Florida (moving to the city in 1954 from its original location in DeLand, Florida). The law school occupies a historic 1920s resort hotel, the Rolyat Hotel, designed by Richard Kiehnel. The College of Law is accredited by the American Bar Association and has been a member of the Association of American Law Schools since 1931. The college also has a campus in Tampa, Florida which shares space with a working court, Florida's Second District Court of Appeal.


Stetson university college of law


Stetson offers J.D. Certificates of Concentration in Advocacy, Elder Law, Environmental Law, International Law and Social Justice; J.D./M.B.A., J.D./Grado (Spanish law degree), J.D./M.I.C.L., and J.D./M.P.H. dual-degree programs; LL.M. in International Law, LL.M. in Elder Law and LL.M. in Advocacy. The college is home to the National Clearinghouse for Science, Technology and the Law and has Centers for Excellence in Advocacy, Elder Law, Higher Education Law and Policy, and International Law. The Stetson Law Review was the Headquarters for the National Conference of Law Reviews from 2003–2008. The Journal of International Wildlife Law and Policy and the Journal of International Aging Law and Policy are produced in conjunction with the school.

Stetson University is ranked #74 in the National Jurist's rankings of the top 80 law schools in the United States. It is ranked tied for 105th among law schools nationally by US News & World Report, the school is ranked first in trial advocacy, second in legal writing, and 29th in part-time law. The July 2015 pass rate for the Florida bar examination was 75.1%.

Law libraries

In order to obtain, and maintain, accreditation through the American Bar Association (ABA), law schools must meet certain standards set by the ABA. The Council and Accreditation Committee of the American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar is the accrediting agency for law schools. Among the standards evaluated is the requirement that law schools have a law library. The standards also establish the requirements relative to the administration of the law library, the law library director, personnel, services, and the collection the library shall hold. As such, Stetson University College of Law maintains a main library on the Gulfport campus—the Dolly & Homer Hand Law Library—and a satellite library at the Tampa Law Center.

History of Stetson's law libraries

As the Board of Trustees authorized the establishment of the Stetson University College of Law in 1899, creating a law library immediately became a concern. To create a core collection for the law library, book and monetary donations were sought and obtained from Florida attorneys. By its opening in October 1900, the College of Law had a law library and the 1991 annual report indicated that the library donation goals had been met.

Upon the law school’s move from DeLand to Gulfport in 1954, the library collection also had to be moved. The new house for the law library consisted of “several small cubicles” and at the time “all the law books ‘fit into one moving van.’” The collection contained less than 18,000 books. In 1955, an anonymous donor pledged $250,000 to assist in paying for the creation of a new law library and classroom building. Within one year, the law school was able to raise the money to match the anonymous donation and met its $750,000 goal. It became known that the anonymous donor was Charles A. Dana and the Charles A. Dana Foundation. Construction on the new Charles A. Dana Library began in 1957. Students and staff transferred the small law library collection from the original location on the Gulfport campus to the new library in less than thirty minutes. This new library included space to expand the collection (housing for 70,000 volumes) and study space for 100 students. In 1958, the Charles A. Dana Law Library opened. The dedication of the library, made in the presence of Charles A. Dana, included a convocation by Florida’s Governor, LeRoy Collins. The Charles A. Dana Foundation provided a gift in 1971 for the purpose of doubling the law library’s size. The school completed the expansion in 1973 and provided space for 275 students and 160,000 volumes. During this time, the Charles A. Dana Library also became “the first law library in Florida to be a depositary for Federal Government documents.” By 1981, the library’s collection contained more than 165,182 volumes.

By the mid-1990s, Stetson University College of Law “had been put on notice years earlier that its library was on shaky grounds regarding ABA requirements, and that the problems were of such magnitude that a new structure might have to be built.” Some individuals did not believe a new library was warranted as they doubted the future of libraries, but Dean Moody proceeded with the planning stated by her predecessor Dean Bruce Jacob, Emeritus Law Librarian Lamar Woodard, and architect Canerday. In 1998, the new facility, named Stetson Law Library and Information Center, was completed. The new facility provided 58,000 square-feet and had ample accommodation for the current collection (350,000 volumes), as well as “government documents, and other traditional resource materials.” United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spoke at the new library’s dedication on September 5, 1998. C-Span provided video coverage of Justice Ginsburg's speech.

In 2004, Stetson University College of Law opened its Tampa Law Center with a satellite library. In 2010, Stetson University College of Law renamed the Stetson Law Library and Information Center for philanthropists Frances R. “Dolly” and Homer Hand. The renaming occurred as part of the College of Law’s celebration of its 110 years in existence. Dolly Hand spoke at the naming ceremony, which was captured on video.

Dolly & Homer Hand Law Library (formerly the Stetson Law Library and Information Center)

The Dolly & Homer Hand Law Library is situated on the Gulfport campus. When constructed in the late 1990s, the new library was built in the Mediterranean Revival design style to maintain consistency with the style of the buildings comprising the Gulfport campus, which were originally the Rolyat Hotel. Located across the street from the original campus buildings, the Dolly & Homer Hand Law Library contains a collection of approximately 400,000 volumes. The current collection “is above the median size of academic law libraries in the United States.” The three-story building offers Internet access, 35 study rooms (ranging in size), and more than 600 seats at individual carrels, tables, and lounge areas.

The library provides services for students, faculty, staff, alumni, attorneys, and the public. Students have 24/7 access to the Dolly & Homer Hand Law Library through use of their swipe cards. The law library employs seven professional librarians and seven additional staff members, the Systems Administrator and the Access Management & Services Team.

In addition to its traditional collection of statutes, case reporters, journals, and treatises (both physical and electronic access), the Dolly & Homer Hand Law Library and its librarians also provide LibGuides on a variety of topics, tutorials on researching a variety of sources and using electronic databases, and digital archives including the Harold L. Sebring Collection, the Florida Military Academy Collection and the Hotel Rolyat Collection.

Tampa Law Center Satellite Library

Situated near downtown Tampa, the satellite library has two-floors consisting of approximately 200 seats and 15 study rooms. The satellite library provides a core collection of materials and Internet access. The satellite library also provides services to students, faculty, staff, alumni, attorneys and the public; however, such services are available subject to more limited hours of operation.

Student life

Stetson fielded the 2009 American Association for Justice National Champion Trial Team, placing first out of 248 squads from 147 law schools. Stetson has won the AAJ National Championship four times. The Stetson Law School team was the 2004–2005 world champions at the 12th Annual Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot Competition, the first US law school to win since 1996, receiving the Frederic Eisemann Award (i.e., the prevailing team in orals) for winning. Stetson defeated the University of Vienna for the gold. The Stetson Law School team were also the 2013 National Champions at the 63rd annual National Moot Court Championship hosted by the New York City Bar, placing first out of 260 teams.


According to Stetson Law's official 2014 ABA-required disclosures and the NALP Summary report, 62.2% of the Class of 2014 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation. About 27 students from this graduating class obtained law teaching positions.


The estimated total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at Stetson University College of Law for the 2015–2016 academic year is $57,640.

Notable alumni

  • Gus Bilirakis (1989) – Florida House of Representatives (1998); United States House of Representatives (2006)
  • Pam Bondi (1990) – Attorney General of Florida
  • Susan C. Bucklew (1977) – District Judge for the US District Court for the Middle District of Florida
  • Craig Crawford (1981) – television political commentator, writer, and columnist for the Congressional Quarterly
  • Richard E. Doran – Attorney General of Florida under Jeb Bush
  • David W. Dyer – United States District Judge for the Southern District of Florida; Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit; Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • Roy Geiger – United States Marine Corps General; during World War II, became the first Marine to lead an army
  • Joe Hendricks – United States House of Representatives (1937-1949)
  • Carol W. Hunstein (1976) – Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court
  • Bruce Jacob – Florida Assistant Attorney General during the early 1960s and argued the case for the respondent, Louis Wainwright, in the landmark case Gideon v. Wainwright; Wainwright lost
  • Craig T. James – United States House of Representatives (1989-1993)
  • Frederick B. Karl (1949) – Florida Supreme Court Justice
  • Elizabeth A. Kovachevich (1961) – District Judge for the US District Court for the Middle District of Florida
  • Carl M. Kuttler, Jr. (1965) – President of St. Petersburg College, 1978–2009
  • Kenneth Marra (1977) – Federal judge, United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida
  • Rich McKay (1984) – President and general manager of the Atlanta Falcons (2004)
  • E. Clay Shaw Jr. (1966) – represented South Florida in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1981–2007
  • David Sholtz – twenty-sixth Governor of Florida (1933–1937)
  • James C. Smith – Attorney General of Florida
  • Roy Speer – co-founder of the Home Shopping Network
  • Louie Willard Strum – Florida Supreme Court Justice
  • Elwyn Thomas – Florida Supreme Court Justice
  • James D. Whittemore (1977) – District Judge for the US District Court for the Middle District of Florida
  • Emmett Wilson – United States House of Representatives (1913-1917)
  • Notable faculty

  • Bruce Jacob (see alumni)
  • Ellen Podgor – expert on white-collar crime
  • Harold Sebring – former chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court; a judge at the Nuremberg War Trials; Dean of Stetson Law (1955–1968)
  • References

    Stetson University College of Law Wikipedia

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