The Levin College of Law is a law school in Gainesville, Florida. It was started in 1909, making it the second oldest school in the state. Of the law schools in the United States, it is ranked among the 21st best. Besides its ranking, alumni from this College generally land jobs faster. Based on a study in 2017, 86.4% of students secured jobs within a short time. Based on these odds, you would be lucky to join the school. Are you curious to learn more about this College? If so, here are 20 things you should know about the Levin College of Law below.
20. The College Conducts Mock Trials
A mock trial is a competition whereby students have to simulate a trial. First, the school decides the plot of the case. Students then have an opportunity to play the roles of attorneys, defendants, plaintiffs, and witnesses. The lecturer then plays the part of the judge.
19. It Has Six Moot Court Teams
When you participate in the mock trials, you will have an opportunity to choose one from the six teams. Each team deals with different cases. Some of the cases you will encounter include: fiduciary duties, corporate governance, international law, and so on. Here are the teams the College has:
- The Jessup Moot Court Team
- The International Commercial Arbitration Moot Court Team
- The Florida Moot Court Team
- The Environmental Moot Court Team
- The Tax Moot Court Team
- The Corporate & Securities Moot Court Team
18. It Received $40 Million From Fredric G. Levin’s Estate in 2021
Fredric was an alumnus of this school. Although he passed on in 2021, the school was able to receive $40 million from his estate. The school promised to use the donation to fund career preparation programs, pay for students’ sponsorships, expand academic and clinical programs, and enroll diverse and qualified students.
17. Fredric Had Donated Some Money to the College in 1999
In 1999, he donated $10 million to the College. At that time, it was a lot of money. In fact, that was the highest cash donation the institution ever received. Additionally, it was the second-largest amount of money donated to any institution of higher learning.
16. The Levin College of Law Had Been Renamed
Before, the school was called the University of Florida. The management changed its name after Fredric’s donation in 1999. They did not know how to repay him, so they felt naming the school in its honor was a fitting reward for him. Fredric was overjoyed when the management renamed the school after him. His joy was in knowing that his former classmates may visit the school with their children and see his name on it.
15. They Annually Participate in National Pro Bono Week
Before students can earn as attorneys, they begin by working pro bono in the College. Doing pro bono can be challenging for students. Obviously, there is the fact that they are not getting paid. Also, they may feel like their efforts are not being acknowledged. Fortunately, the National Pro Bono Week event will put a smile on their faces. The event honors students who offer their services pro bono. Besides celebrating their efforts, they also train them how to be good lawyers.
14. They Once Discouraged Students From Filling a Controversial Form
The controversial form that the students were supposed to fill out was the Viewpoint Diversity Survey. Florida introduced a law whereby students would have to fill in this form when they join campus. The form was meant to enquire college students about their political views. The College felt that students could be mistreated due to their political leanings. For instance, a lecturer can deliberately fail a student due to their different political affiliations.
13. Rhonda Peoples-Waters Was From This College
Rhonda became the first black woman to be appointed the county judge of Florida in 2022. Before, she was a legal analyst at News4JAX. She has also worked as an assistant public defender and attorney. Rhonda had applied for the role eighteen times and got rejected seventeen times. She attributed her success to her hard work and determination. Her historical win also means the College wins since they educated her.
12. It Desegregated in 1958
Until the 1950s, racial segregation was normalized. During that era, there were schools for white students and black students. It was therefore unthinkable for a black student to attend a white school. Finally, in 1958 the College went against the grain by enrolling its first African American student, George Starke. George’s problems did not end once he joined the school. Some people in the school still treated him differently because of his race. Also, the situation became worse for him since he was the only student in the College. As a result, he received unnecessary attention from people due to his race. After three semesters, he felt he could no longer study in the College. He dropped out of the College to take a job in Wall Street.
11. It Faced Another Racial Conflict with Virgil D. Hawkins and Other African-Americans
The College refused to enroll Virgil because of his race in 1949. At that time, he was with five other black people, who were also denied entry into the school. Virgil would later challenge the College’s decision for nine years. Virgil forwarded his case to the United States Supreme Court. The court ruled in his favor by asking the school to admit him. But unfortunately, the Florida Supreme Court overturned the Supreme Court’s decision. He later withdrew his application from the school and dedicated his life to challenging segregation in schools.
10. The College Received a Transformational Gift From Richard P. Cole
The law school received a transformational gift of $20 million from their alumnus, Richard P. Cole. This transformational gift was meant to fund the health law program in the College. Besides supporting the health law program, the donation was given in honor of Richard’s father, Robert B. Cole. Robert graduated from this College in 1935. He would go on to become the founding chairman of Baptist Health of South Florida. During his tenure, he introduced the Health Law Endowment in his workplace. The law supported the teaching of health law in colleges.
9. It Formed a Consortium for Racial Justice
The College identified systemic racism within the legal system. To fight racism within the legal system, it partnered with twelve other law schools to form a consortium called the Florida Law Schools’ Consortium for Racial Justice. When they formed the consortium, they invited second-year and third-year students to participate in it. The students were supposed to conduct research and compile reports on any race-driven topic.
8. Students From the College Fought for a Professor’s Right to Teach Racial Justice Online
Michelle Jacobs, the law professor, was supposed to teach two classes to her students online. The classes she was supposed to teach were Critical Race Theory and Criminal Procedure: Police and Police Practices. Abruptly, the College canceled her class. The professor had to email her students about the cancellation of the class, much to the chagrin of her students. This move forced one of the students to write to the school’s dean on the matter. Other students gathered in front of the school to protest.
7. The President of the College Resigned
The college president, Kent Fuchs, decided to resign from his position to become a professor in 2022. However, he decided to finish the rest of the year until they found a president for 2023. He announced his retirement after the College was under some legal trouble. The College had barred many professors from testifying against the state. Such a move can easily be interpreted as interfering with the case.
6. Stephan Mickle Was the First African-American to Earn an Undergraduate Degree From the School
When he became the first black student to earn a degree from the school, he accomplished a lot of things during his career journey. After he graduated from the College, he knew that he could inspire other African-Americans to join the school. Therefore, in 1962, he decided to integrate the university. Another significant achievement he made was in 1972. He became the first black man to set up a law practice in Gainesville.
5. Fredric Levin Died of COVID-19
The school’s philanthropist was quite a fighter. First, in 2016 he was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. The cancer was so lethal that it caused his brain to develop a tumor. His doctors first removed his tumor before treating him for his lung cancer. Miraculously, he survived. However, he wouldn’t be lucky in 2021. He contracted COVID-19. At that time, he was asymptomatic for 10 days. He passed on five days later.
4. The College Sought to Popularize Artificial Intelligence (AI)
In 2020, the institution believed people could incorporate AI into their legal careers. The school, therefore, invited four artists and creative technologists to spearhead AI research within the institution.
3. They Conduct Alumni Awards
When you graduate from College, you will hardly hear from them. However, that is not the case with this university. The university can watch from afar the conduct of their former students. When they demonstrate great behavior, the school awards them. The school has four different classes of awards:
- Award for Outstanding Public Service- honor alumni for their outstanding contributions to critical social, economic or public needs
- Outstanding Alumnus Award- honors individuals who follow the UF Law ethos of excellence
- Outstanding Young Alumnus Award- honors alumni (graduates of less than 10 years) who follow the UF Law ethos of excellence
- UF Law Distinguished Service Award- honor alumni who have contributed outstanding service over an extended period
2. An Alumnus From the School Sought to Remove Online Mugshots
The alumnus, Blake Mathesie, helped draft a law to that effect. He was passionate about this law because he was once a victim. In 2019, he was arrested for a crime he did not commit. When his mugshot was circulated, he knew how hard it would be to convince people he was innocent. Even if he would be proved innocent, it would still take time for people to change their minds about the accused person. The law was to target websites that post mugshots, but not media houses.
1. It Has a Football Stadium Called “The Swamp”
The College is one of the few ones with a huge football stadium large enough to accommodate 90000 fans. For a long time, the stadium was home to the Florida Gators football team. Since gators sometimes reside in swamps, that is how the stadium likely got its name.
It is remarkable how students from this College have gone on to facilitate change in their country. Some former students started their first law practice, became the first black woman county judge, wrote laws to remove online mugshots, and the list is endless. The passion of the alumni to stand for justice can be traced to the segregation era. Some of the black students tried to challenge the segregation taking place in the school. Eventually, the school tried to fight segregation by admitting some black students, even though their efforts bore no fruits. With such a history of people fighting for fairness, it is possible the school instilled this zeal in its students.