Following a multi-year study, the School of Law's Board of Governors decided to relocate the School of Law from Ann Arbor, Michigan to southwest, Florida, starting with the fall 2009 1L class. The Law School occupies the 12-acre "Vineyards Campus," which is located northeast of incorporated Naples, within minutes of legal employers in Naples and seven miles from the Gulf of Mexico
The Law School's location in southwest Florida enhances the institution's ability to fulfill its distinctive mission as a Catholic Law School dedicated to professional excellence. Indeed, as the Law School charts the next decade and beyond, there are a number of ambitious plans and goals that include the expansion of the faculty, the addition of a study-abroad program, a continuing commitment to strong clinical programs that serve both students and the residents of the region, and the possible addition of a graduate program in law.
Southwest Florida provides law students with a wide variety of opportunities for gaining practical legal experience with courts and law firms in Naples and nearby Fort Myers. Additionally, students enrolled in the Law School's clinical programs are able to serve the indigent population in the largely agricultural town of Immokalee. With no other law school serving this region - a region expected to double its population in the next two decades - legal employers in the area continue to appreciate the resources made possible by the Florida Gulf Coast's Law School - Ave Maria School of Law.
"I believe that the School's location affords our students a wide range of opportunities for in-depth practical legal experience and skills training. Our externship program can flourish within a welcoming legal community, our clinical programs can grow and diversify as they serve those in need in southwest Florida, and our skills programs can be strengthened by involving the wealth of legal talent to be found in the surrounding communities."
~Eugene R. Milhizer,
President, Dean and Professor of Law