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City University of New York (School of Law)

As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has said, CUNY School of Law is "an institution of incomparable value" in legal education. With a unique mission - to train its graduates for excellent public service and public interest practice - the Law School's history, since its founding in 1983 demonstrates its success in fulfilling that mission through the awards and recognition it has gathered, but especially through the enormous contributions its students and graduates have made to increasing access to justice and using law to create a more just and equitable world. Responding to the profession's concerns about legal education, CUNY integrates lawyering skills with the best of traditional academics, and offers supervised live client representation to every third year student through its nationally ranked clinical program. Proudly honored as the most diverse law school in the country, the Law School offers a number of special programs that further the justice mission, while drawing on the extensive resources of The City University of New York, the largest urban university in the United States. Faculty, staff and administrators, themselves drawn from public service, public interest practice, work collegially with students and graduates to assure success in their aspirations for justice. CUNY School of Law opened its doors in September, 1983, with a unique mission - to train lawyers for public service and public interest practice, and to recruit and train lawyers from historically underserved communities. Our motto, "Law in the Service of Human Needs," reflects that continuing commitment. The Law School was fully accredited by the American Bar Association Council on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar in 1993, and has graduated more than 2,000 lawyers who work in legal services organizations, non-for-profits, grass roots organizations, state and city legislatures, the courts and the courtrooms, in firms large and small, and wherever it is necessary to provide access to justice. CUNY is one of only two public law schools in New York State - the other is SUNY Buffalo - and receives its primary funding from the state legislature. Over its now 22 years of operation, it has garnered many awards, including the Society of American Law Teachers Award for Excellence in Teaching, and awards from the Student Division of the American Bar Association, the National Association of Public Interest Law, and the New York State Bar Association. Charles J. Ogletree, Jr., the Jesse Climenko Professor of Law and Faculty Director of Clinical Programs at the Harvard Law School, said, "With all due respect to my legal institution and others, in my view CUNY Law School is the premier legal institution in the country and the world for training lawyers who are committed and dedicated to the public interest." CUNY School of Law is the only law school that, from inception, has defined its mission as training law students for public interest and public service. Designed to prepare our students to practice our motto, "Law in the Service of Human Needs," our unique and integrated curriculum has made us a national leader in progressive legal education with the highest placement rate of graduates in public interest and public service careers. The basic premise of the Law School's program is that theory cannot be separated from practice, abstract knowledge of doctrine from practical skill, and understanding the professional role from professional experience. Our curriculum integrates practical experience, professional responsibility, and lawyering skills with doctrinal study at every level. Forming the core of our lawyering curriculum are the skills recognized by the profession in its 1992 report from the ABA Taskforce on Law Schools and the Profession (commonly known as the MacCrate Report) as essential to successful law practice-problem solving, legal analysis and reasoning, legal research, factual investigation, communication (legal writing, oral argument), counseling, negotiation, litigation and alternative dispute-resolution procedures, organization and management of legal work, and recognizing and resolving ethical dilemmas. We teach lawyering and practice skills through all three years of law school: first-year students acquire clinical experience through simulation exercises conducted in a required year-long Lawyering Seminar; second-year students take an advanced one-semester Lawyering Seminar in a public interest law area of their choice; third-year students earn 12-16 credits in either a field placement program or a live-client clinic. The Law School's curriculum also draws heavily upon the strengths of traditional legal education. Our required first- and second-year courses cover the standard doctrinal areas and insure the development of facility in legal synthesis, issue spotting, and rule application central to traditional legal education. While mastering the contours and hierarchy of the rules in these core doctrinal areas, students are taught to use theoretical perspective to deconstruct and leverage doctrine, to use social, economic, and political context to enrich understanding, and to maintain a sharp focus on the justice implications of the law they are learning. Our curriculum pushes beyond the traditional separation of substantive law courses into narrowly-defined subjects. Attorneys are seldom presented with legal problems neatly compartmentalized into analytically distinct subject headings. Accordingly, our curriculum bridges these gaps, producing law graduates able to address the many-sided problems that confront attorneys-and their clients-in real life. Thus, students study Torts, Criminal Law, Civil Procedure, and Family Law in separate courses, but draw on all four substantive areas in Lawyering Seminar as they work on a case involving municipal liability, the responsibility of the police, and allegations of elder abuse. Because collaboration is both an important practice skill and a valuable learning mode, the Law School encourages students to work together and provides opportunities and frameworks to develop collaborative skills and practices. This approach has the effect of altering the traditional hierarchical structure and atmosphere of legal education. Students collaborate in virtually all of their work, so the cutthroat competition rampant at most law schools is entirely absent. The Law School's small size and favorable faculty-student ratio foster a supportive learning environment designed to maximize continuing individual and professional development. We view examinations as the servant, not the master of learning, so our curriculum relies heavily upon writing exercises and simulation work to evaluate student performance and progress. Lawyering Seminar teachers "supervising" their students' work on simulated cases expect the "lawyers-in-training" to work together to problem-solve, brainstorm, and evaluate strategies. This approach not only fosters a collaborative spirit, but also creates opportunities for students to experience the challenges and exhilaration of developing an individual sense of role and responsibility as lawyer. A public interest focus and theoretical perspective are integrated across the curriculum, consciously enhancing our students' capacity for active and responsible choices about the effect of their work as lawyers in society. Our students learn to reflect on and learn from their own experiences, to recognize the law's relationship to the social, economic, and political context in which it operates, and to be lawyers who will practice law with a concern for the social responsibilities of the legal profession. The mission of the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law, the only publicly-supported law school in New York City and one of only two in the State, is to educate students for the practice of law with special emphasis on public service and public interest law. We seek to enhance the diversity of the bar and to meet previously unmet legal needs, to recruit students from and train lawyers for historically underserved communities, and to educate all our students about the diverse and special legal needs of communities through our City and State. We seek to make legal education available to a broad variety of applicants based on an evaluation of the whole person, her/his background, prior academic and other work experience, dedication to public interest, and the degree to which these factors inspire confidence that s/he can successfully complete the Law School program and become an excellent lawyer. Responding to the profession's expressed dissatisfaction with legal education's failure to prepare graduates for the practice of law, we are committed to a curriculum which integrates theory and doctrinal knowledge with core lawyering skills. We work to incorporate the best of traditional legal pedagogy with an innovative program based on the theory of experiential learning which prepares students for the profession through the use of simulations, experience in practice settings, and live-client clinics, incorporating issues of professional responsibility and integrating doctrine with legal theory and a practice perspective throughout the curriculum. Our goal is to graduate ethical lawyers who have the capacity to reflect on the work they do and the effect it has both on the profession and society. We seek to keep abreast of technological advances, and to give students and graduates the tools they need to employ and adapt to the rapid changes in technology and information which will enable their success as practitioners in the twenty-first century. We strive for excellence in teaching and the production of scholarship in a variety of forms which furthers public interest law, the development and use of pedagogies which prepare students to meet the needs of individual clients and communities, and which addresses and moves forward the debates on professionalism, access to the legal system for all, and the centrality of justice to law and legal education. Recognizing the importance of law and legal discourse to other disciplines and to academic pursuits, generally, and simultaneously embracing interdisciplinary work which better prepares our students for the complexities of practice, we seek to become an integral part of the greater University and its academic, intellectual and service pursuits. We are committed to creating a community with our students which extends beyond their formal education and encourages, resources, and supports our graduates in public service, public interest and community-based practice. We strive for excellence in the pursuit of inclusion and justice. CUNY School of Law students are amazingly diverse, as well as passionate about using the law to increase justice. They come from almost every state and many foreign countries; almost half are non-majority, a third are immigrants or first generation, substantially more than half are women; gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students find a critical mass and a comfortable and welcoming environment. Students range in age from 20 to 60, with the majority coming to law school after significant public interest or public service work, including the Peace Corps., Americorps, the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, the Jewish Volunteer Corps, Teach for New York, AFL-CIO Union Summer, etc. Their prior careers are enormously varied - filmmaker, union organizer, artist, nurse, domestic violence advocate, police officer, university professor, special ed teacher, farmer, journalist, doctor, musician, stage manager, dancer, and HIV service provider, to name only a few - and they bring unparalleled richness to the classroom and to connections and friendships that last a professional lifetime. CUNY graduates are everywhere - working in criminal defense and in law enforcement, in state and local government agencies, and at the International Criminal Court and the United Nations, in trade unions and representing undocumented workers, at legal services offices, domestic violence organizations and in private law firms, large and small. They work in the court system, as law clerks to federal, state and city judges and are beginning to take their places in the judiciary - on the New York Supreme Court, the Family Court, the Civil Court of the City of New York, and the Housing Court. They care about each other, about our students and the Law School, and about making the world a better place. They are our best resource and our greatest source of pride.

School name:City University of New YorkSchool of Law
Address:65-21 Main Street, Flushing
Zip & city:NY 11367 New York

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