Founded in 1901 by Norman Heffley and William Payson, Brooklyn Law School is an institution with a rich and diverse history. Known for its excellence in academics, it was first operated by the University of the State of New York and later by St. Lawrence University; the latter institution closed it after financial difficulties during the Second World War, though alumni saved it from ruin and ensured that it would thereafter function as its own autonomous institution.
It generated controversy in its early days as one of the first law schools to open up admission to minorities and women, a fact that is fondly and proudly remembered by school faculty, students and alumni to this day.
The school is located in the heart of Downtown Brooklyn, not far from the Brooklyn Bridge and hence Manhattan beyond, making it an excellent campus choice that is very popular with students.
There is a strong reputation for academic excellence at this law school, which receives its full accreditation from the American Bar Association (Section on Legal Education and Admission to the Bar’s Council, to be precise). The school’s curriculum, quite demanding no doubt, is approved by the Department of Education of the State of New York, and the school also happens to be a full member of the Association of American Law Schools.
As is common with most law schools, first year students have a fairly standard and set curriculum before them that focuses on the foundations of law, legal writing, contract law, etc. In order to keep students engaged and moving forward in the fist year, which is considered by many the most difficult due to the transition, there is an Academic Success Program that offers extra support and the option of getting an early start in one’s studies during the summer months. After the first year has been overcome, students will find much more flexibility and a greater number of electives to be chosen from during their second and third years of studies.
A large portion of their academic reputation is due to the impressive array of clinical programs and externship opportunities, many of which rely on the school’s proximity to countless state and federal courts, government agencies, private law offices, and so on. Through such programs, students attain a higher than average level of real-world experience involving real clients and real legal cases than is common at law schools in the US. Finally, the availability of study abroad options in countries such as Germany and China make this law school a very attractive choice.
The admissions process is quite selective, due to the relatively limited size of its facilities and staff and the incredibly high number of applicants for each academic term. Of approximately 4,000 people that apply to study on a full-time basis at each year, little more than 1,000 are actually accepted and of that only some actually end up going on to study at the school. Not surprisingly, the average undergrad GPA is fairly high, usually above the 3.4 mark, while the average LSAT score is about 160. Students that significantly exceed these levels are likely to qualify for and receive scholarships or grants to study here.
The school requires that applicants be older than 18 years of age and must possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university; furthermore, the abstract requirement of “good moral character” is demanded by the school in order to be admitted. Finally, the school seeks to promote diversity in all its forms through its admissions practices and therefore applicants that can prove that they will enrich the school’s student body in a significant way will have an edge when applying for admission.
Many students enrolled here receive some form of financial aid to help fund their education. There are many merit-based scholarships offered by this institution and students are encouraged to take a look at their requirements and apply. Need-grants area available as well, which can offset the cost of tuition from $1,000.00 to $18,000 per year. Public-service grants are provided so students can work during the summer in a government agency, public interest, or non-profit. Finally, federal loans are available to students who qualify.
The student body is highly diverse. Various student organizations and clubs thrive on and off the campus, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Brooklyn Law School Investment Club, the Tax Law Association and the Secular Society, among many others.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Justine Ventimiglia graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Michigan – Dearborn. Currently residing in a 1950’s modest ranch in Metro Detroit, she enjoys researching and writing about Mid Century Modern furniture and decor as she works on restoring her home and documenting the process.