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CUNY School of Law

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Students may take relevant courses in other programs and apply credit toward the J.D.; a maximum of 6 credits may be applied.

Students must take 12 credits in their area of concentration. The CUNY School of Law offers concentrations in criminal law, environmental law, family law, international law, juvenile law, labor law, litigation, health, mediation, domestic violence, elder law, immigration, human rights, civil rights, and community economic development. In addition, all students must enroll in a clinic (12 to 16 credits) or a concentration (12 credit internship). Current clinic offerings include Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Elder Law, Battered Women’s Rights, Defender, International Women’s Human Rights, Mediation, and Community Economic Development. Each first-year student takes 2 4-credit Lawyering Seminars. Limited to 24 students, these seminars imbed lawyering skills such as legal analysis, legal research, legal writing, interviewing, counseling, and negotiating in doctrine taught in first-year courses. Second-year students choose a Lawyering Seminar in an area of interest. Recent Lawyering Seminar offerings include Trial Advocacy, Civil Pre-Trial Process, Mediation, Criminal Defense, Juvenile Rights, Nonprofit Representation, Economic Justice, Community Economic Development, and Writing from a Judicial Perspective. In addition, at least 4 upper-division classes are taught in a 20:1 ratio. Internships are available in connection with the concentration program in placements related to specially-designed courses. Current areas are civil rights/discrimination and health law. Students spend 2 full days in the field and 8 hours in class. Field work is connected to concentrations and to a 3-credit summary school coursePublic Interest/Public Service. Special lecture series are sponsored by various student organizations. A professional skills center and a writing center are available to support students. Special offerings are also available to 2nd and 3rd semester students who are experiencing difficulty. The most widely taken electives are NY Practice, Criminal Procedure, and Business Associations.

To earn the J.D., candidates must complete 91 total credits, of which 60 are for required courses. They must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.3 in the required courses. The following first-year courses are required of all students: Civil Procedure I, Law and a Market Economy I and II: Contracts, Law and Family Relations, Lawyering Seminar: Work of a Lawyer I and II, Legal Research I and II, Liberty, Equality, and Due Process, and Responsibility for Injurious Conduct I and II: Torts and Criminal Law. Required upper-level courses consist of a clinic or concentration, Constitutional Structures and the Law, Law and a Market Economy III: Property, Lawyering and the Public Interest I: Evidence, Lawyering Seminar III, and Public Institutions and Law. All students must take clinical courses. The required orientation program for first-year students is a 1-week academic, skills, and social program, including court visits.

In order to graduate, candidates must have a GPA of 2.3, have completed the upper-division writing requirement, and clinic/concentration.


In the fall 2007 first-year class, 2599 applied, 572 were accepted, and 143 enrolled. Seven transfers enrolled. The median LSAT percentile of the most recent first-year class was 53; the median GPA was 3.14 on a scale of 4.0. The lowest LSAT percentile accepted was 26; the highest was 97.

Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and take the LSAT. The most important admission factors include academic achievement and letter of recommendation. No specific undergraduate courses are required. Candidates are not interviewed.

The application deadline for fall entry is March 17. Applicants should submit an application form, LSAT results, transcripts, a personal statement, a nonrefundable application fee of $50, 2 letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and the LSDAS. Notification of the admissions decision begins in January. The latest acceptable LSAT test date for fall entry is February. The law school uses the LSDAS.

Financial Aid

About 80% of current law students receive some form of aid. The average annual amount of aid from all sources combined, including scholarships, loans, and work contracts, is $26,303; maximum, $43,706. Awards are based on merit. Required financial statement is the FAFSA. The aid application deadline for fall entry is May 1. Special funds for minority or disadvantaged students include the Professional Opportunity Scholarship, CLEO, and various other scholarships. First-year students are notified about their financial aid application on a rolling basis.


About 65% of the student body are women; 33%, minorities; 8%, African American; 16%, Asian American; and 9%, Hispanic. The majority of students come from New York (80%). The average age of entering students is 26; age range is 21 to 56. About 17% of students enter directly from undergraduate school and 9% have a graduate degree. About 1% drop out after the first year for academic or personal reasons; 99% remain to receive a law degree.

Students edit theNew York City Law Review, and participate in the annual Moot Court Competition, Phillip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, and the John J. Gibbons Criminal Procedure Competition. They also participate in the Immigration Law Moot Court Competition, the annual Domenick L. Gabrielli National Family Moot Court Competition, the annual Nassau Academy of Law Moot Court Competition. Student Organizations, local chapters of national associations, and campus organizations include the Labor Coalition for Workers’ Rights and Economic Justice, Domestic Violence Coalition, Mississippi Project, National Lawyers Guild, American Civil Liberties Union, Black Law Students Association, Public Interest Law Organization, and OUTLaws.

The law school operates on a traditional semester basis. There is no part-time program. New students are admitted in the fall. There is an 8-week summer session. Transferable summer courses are offered.

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