Named for one of the most important jurists of the 20th century, the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University is one of the many law schools in New York City as well as one of its newest. In just over 50 years–the school opened its doors in 1976–Cardozo Law has risen to one of the top law schools in the country. The school currently has one of the best dispute resolution programs as well as highly regarded concentrations in tax and music law. The campus of Cardozo Law is located in lower Manhattan in New York City only a few shorts blocks from NYU’s law school in the heart of famed Greenwich Village. Cardozo Law has a larger than average student body, admitting over 330 new students each fall.
The Cardozo Law curriculum requires 84 hours of coursework of which 30 are completed in the first year of study. First-year students take two balanced semesters grounded in the core courses of American jurisprudence: civil procedure, constitutional law, contracts, criminal law, property, and torts. These core classes are complemented by a two semester course that grounds students in the basics of legal research and writing. In their first semester, student also take a course in elements of the law.
During the final two years of study, students at Cardozo Law are free to chart their own curriculum or focus on one the school’s defined concentrations. Students must take a course in professional responsibility as well as an advanced research seminar. The school’s concentrations combine traditional coursework with experiential education to prepare students for a particular career path. Of note is Cardozo Law’s top ten dispute resolution program which draws students from all over the world.
The Benjamin Cardozo School of Law offers four degrees in addition to their Juris Doctor program. Each program is targeted at particular students in various stages of their legal education or careers. For international students who wish to study law in the United States, Cardozo Law offers a Master of Law (LL.M) program that covers the basics of American jurisprudence and satisfy the bar exam requirements in the state of New York. The school also offers an LL.M for graduates of an American law school in order to concentrate on a particular practice area. Cardozo Law’s LL.M concentrations in tax law and dispute resolution are considered one of the best in the country.
The Doctor of the Science of Law (J.S.D.) program is a 3-year research based program for candidates who intend to publish a dissertation on an area of academic and legal interest. Students work closely with faculty who oversee the dissertation process.
For non-attorneys, Cardozo Law has an online only Master of the Science of Law (M.S.L.) degree. The program generally takes one year and is intended to provide non-attorneys with a solid grounding in the intersection of the legal system with their main career.
Career and Career Placement
Over 85% of graduates from the most recent classes at Cardozo Law were employed within 10 months of completing their Juris Doctor. All of these were in professional careers that either required a law license or preferred a Juris Doctor degree. The range of career choices from graduates is remarkable. The most common career path was private practice with small law firms as the most common choice. Graduates opted work in a government office as frequently as others chose to pursue a position in a 500+ attorney law firm. The business industry was also a notable path for many graduates. Almost the entirety of the graduating class remained in New York or the surrounding area.
Cardozo Law’s Office of Career Services (OCS) staff of three counselors are all former attorneys who leverage the school’s passionate alumni base of 14,000 graduates along with the school’s reputation for educating some of the most well-trained lawyers in the country to place students in a range of careers. Cardozo Law’s reputation in the entertainment industry and in dispute resolution has led to a wider range of post-law school careers for graduates. The OCS works with every student to provide a range of career services.
Experiential Learning/Distance Education
Cardozo Law is considered a leader in practical, skill-based learning. Students can participate in one of the school’s 12 legal clinics that cover some of the most unique areas of law including Indie Film law and start-up law for tech companies. All 12 clinics provide legal representation to clients allowing students to gain hands-on experience in their chosen practice areas. In these in-house clinics, students are supervised by faculty experts.
As an alternative, students can opt for a clinical experience in one of Cardozo Law’s 17 field clinics which place students in law offices around New York City and the surrounding area. In field clinics, students also gain the opportunity to work with real clients to address legal challenges in their prospective fields.
In addition to their clinical programs, Cardozo Law also offers over 100 semester long externships each year. During the externship, students work in a government office in a variety of legal roles. Students also gain academic credit for these externships.
Cardozo Law also offers over 25 simulation and skill-based courses every semester including intensive in both trial advocacy and mediation. The school also builds critical writing skills through the Lawyering & Legal Writing Center which begins working with students in their first year and continues throughout their time at Cardozo Law.
What sets Cardozo Law apart from other New York City law schools is its rich, diverse student body. Hailing from all over the world, the students at Cardozo Law see diversity and inclusion as their greatest strength as they prepare for the diverse practice of law. This commitment to diversity is reflected in the broad selection of student organizations that ground the school body to the surrounding community and build lifelong relationships between students.
The law school sits in the heart of lower Manhattan in famed Greenwich Village. Students can opt for housing in New York or choose to live in the school’s own nearby apartment building. The law school is situated in the 11 story Brookdale building offering students one of the most unique experiences. Outside the building, students enjoy all the buzz one of the world’s most famous cities.