Studying law in New York City offers access to some of the finest law firms and courts worldwide. New York also hosts an active legal community that provides an ideal learning and networking opportunity.
Selecting an ideal school is essential to becoming a lawyer, so applicants should carefully weigh factors like rankings, bar passage rates, and specialty programs before deciding.
1. New York University School of Law
New York University School of Law is an excellent option for future lawyers seeking an academic path. Offering JD, LLM, and JSD degrees and advanced programs and certificates from its renowned faculty of historians, philosophers, political scientists, and economists.
This law school boasts one of the highest student-to-faculty ratios among top law schools nationwide. It is renowned for its clinical training, tax law, international law, and intellectual property law programs, as well as its strong emphasis on practical work – offering internships, summer fellowships, and international moot court competitions to its students.
NYU Law’s curriculum and program offerings are continually being enhanced to ensure its students are prepared for legal practice in the 21st century. Recent additions include foreign study programs in Buenos Aires and Paris; a public policy advocacy clinic focused on climate change in Washington, DC; and expanded coursework covering cybersecurity law, legal ethics, and social entrepreneurship.
Due to NYU Law’s outstanding teaching and research, students enjoy unparalleled flexibility to explore their intellectual interests through its various courses. Master of Laws program participants, for example, can choose from over 200 courses offered and draw from 95 full-time faculty members’ diverse research interests while still concentrating on career goals. Furthermore, NYU allows its law students to transform a typical course project into a comprehensive research thesis to graduate with distinction.
2. City University of New York School of Law
CUNY Law is the sole public law school in New York City, with an established history of prioritizing public interest legal work. It has received praise from Carnegie Foundation and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg for its community service and pro bono work commitments. Furthermore, CUNY Law’s rigorous academic curriculum and emphasis on experiential learning distinguish it among top law schools nationwide.
Queens-based CUNY Law offers full-time Juris Doctor (JD) and Master of Laws (LLM) degrees that take three and two years, respectively. CUNY’s innovative curriculum integrates theory with practice through doctrinal courses and a robust clinical program; its dynamic teaching method, diverse student body, and distinguished faculty create an environment focused on social change.
At CUNY Law, the student-to-staff ratio is just over one to five, providing each student with personalized attention. Their admissions process is comprehensive, considering academic performance, LSAT scores, personal statements, letters of recommendation, resumes, and outside activities as part of an applicant’s review process. Furthermore, background work experience and dedication to public interest law are also considered.
Students attending CUNY have access to all that New York has to offer. Their campus sits at the heart of vibrant neighborhoods, with numerous opportunities for pro bono work and community service projects nearby. Their commitment to social justice can be seen through 30+ student clubs promoting equity, inclusion, and legal scholarship advancement. CUNY Law also hosts its highly acclaimed Law Review, which has articles widely read by lawyers and scholars worldwide.
3. Stony Brook University School of Law
If you want a career in law, choosing the appropriate school is critical for success. Consider factors like academic reputation, employment outcomes, and specialized programs when making your selection decision, as well as the cost of attendance and financial aid options, before making your final choice.
Stony Brook University School of Law stands out as one of New York’s premier law schools, with its rigorous curriculum producing many distinguished alumni. Additionally, its outstanding clinical program allows students to complete placements in state and federal courthouses, government agencies, and private firms; its graduates typically boast high bar passage rates and are frequently sought out by Big Law firms for employment opportunities.
Applicants need a high LSAT score at this highly selective law school to be accepted. Tuition costs may also be increased; however, the generous scholarship program helps offset these costs. In addition, this college provides several specialized programs, including international and comparative law; intellectual property law; litigation and dispute resolution; and international relations programs.
This school is ideal for anyone interested in international law or business. It offers public solid interest orientation, leading to its students regularly working at government agencies and large law firms. Furthermore, as part of the Law Schools of the Future consortium, it allows exchange and internship programs. In contrast, the Hauser Global Law School Program will enable them to study abroad in multiple European and Asian countries – with graduates often going on to careers such as lawyers, professors, judicial clerks, and high-level policy positions within government organizations.
4. Columbia University School of Law
Columbia Law School emphasizes practical law experience through clinics, externships, simulation courses, policy labs, and moot courts. Furthermore, students are encouraged to think critically about the law’s effects on individual lives, judicial institutions, and international affairs – an AIDS Law Clinic launched during an outbreak that enormously positively impacted individuals living with HIV/AIDS and their communities.
Students rate Columbia’s faculty highly and find exceptional opportunities for academic research, including access to numerous journals. Many centers and programs offer everything from legal theory and European legal studies to corporate law and the art law – not to mention intellectual property and transactional law studies as well as labor and environmental law programs – making Columbia one of the top places to learn these subjects.
Students form an intimate community at law school. Numerous student organizations, journals, and events support one another as they navigate the rigors of law school studies. Bright Horizons Family Solutions even provides childcare assistance of up to 60 hours annually!
Columbia Law School currently boasts an average LSAT score of 174, and the median undergraduate GPA is 3.84; however, those with strong LSAT scores and academic credentials stand a good chance of admission if they apply early. Their admissions office typically makes decisions by November 15, and interviews occur between December and February. In addition, Columbia offers an Early Decision option, which gives you an answer in late November.
5. Fordham University School of Law
Fordham University Law School is one of the country’s premier legal educational institutions, boasting programs combining intellectual rigor with legal practice and ethics to prepare its students for legal practice in real-world environments. Fordham also provides opportunities for its students to study law abroad in some of the world’s most dynamic regions while offering 15 legal clinics specializing in criminal defense, family advocacy, entrepreneurship, and immigration law for hands-on experience.
Fordham graduates earn an LL.M degree, which can be completed full-time in two semesters or part-time over four years. Students can select their curriculum from Fordham Law’s extensive course selection or follow one of several predesigned concentrations, such as business law, international law, or litigation. Fordham also offers a Master of Fashion Law program and the Feerick Center for Social Justice, which connects student volunteers with low-income New Yorkers who need legal help but cannot afford legal help.
Fordham Law School boasts an expansive curriculum and extracurricular program, including an active mock trial team and competitive moot court program. Furthermore, its central Manhattan location gives students easy access to some of Manhattan’s most significant cultural and culinary offerings. Central Park is only two blocks away, providing students with unparalleled educational and life experiences.
Fordham University recently reported that 95% of their graduating class had found employment or pursued further education within ten months of graduation. Nearly half sought positions at large law firms, while approximately 10% chose occupations with government or non-profit organizations. Fordham offers many opportunities for students to gain work experience through externships and three focused internship programs in areas like New York City Council Litigation, Housing Litigation, and Government Civil Litigation.