Fordham University’s history dates long before the law school opened in 1961. The University dated back to the mid 19th century and was housed in multiple locations throughout New York City until its present home in the Lincoln Center in Manhattan. One of six law schools in the New York City metropolitan area, Fordham University School of Law is consistently ranked as one of the top 30 law schools in the country and is renowned for both its clinical programs and its award-winning pro bono programs. Fordham has established a reputation for educating excellent litigators and has produced a number of judges and prosecutors in the New York City court system. Aside from its notable jurist, Fordham Law has also produced entertainers such as CNN’s Christopher Cuomo and John Mara, the president of the New York Giants. Fordham Law is also one of the first law schools to create a part-time program to meet the need of the Manhattan community.
First-year, full-time students at Fordham Law must complete six core courses: Civil Procedure Contracts, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Property, and Torts. Students also complete a course covering the regulatory and legislative process as well as an introductory course on legal writing and research. Part-time students (either day or evening students) must complete these courses in their first two years as Fordham Law.
The only other required courses prior to graduation are corporations and professional responsibility. Otherwise, upper-level students are free to choose their own curriculum from Fordham’s Law extensive course selections or, instead, follow one of the predesigned concentrations in business, intellectual property, international law, litigation, or public interest. Given Fordham Law’s reputation for producing excellent practicing attorneys, these concentrations demonstrate mastery of coursework in a particular field. Students are also required to complete six hours of practical skill-based coursework of which are either satisfied by clinical work, field placement, or a legal simulation.
Along with the Juris Doctor Program, Fordham Law offers two master’s degrees and an additional doctoral program targeted at legal scholars. The first master’s program is a traditional one-year Masters of Law (LL.M) program which focuses on nine different practice areas with a focus on international legal principles and specialization. The nine areas of specialization cover many of the basic areas of legal practice as well as innovative programs in fashion law and alternative dispute resolution.
The second master’s program offered at Fordham Law is designed for non-lawyers who need a solid foundation in the principles of the American legal system in two fields of study. Professionals earn their Masters of the Study of Law (MSL) degree in either the field of fashion law or corporate compliance.
The final degree offered at Fordham Law is the Master of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) This degree is designed for students who wish to pursue a career in legal academics. Students earn the degree through advanced coursework that builds on their LL.M studies while also completing a dissertation under supervision of the faculty.
Career and Career Placement
For the most recent graduating class, Fordham Law reported that almost 95% of its graduates were either employed or pursuing further graduate education within 10 months of graduation. Of those who accepted positions, over 96% were in careers that either required bar passage or preferred a Juris Doctor degree. The most common career choice–slightly less than 30% of graduates–was an associate position in a large law firm although graduates also sought positions in small to medium-sized law firms. True to its reputation, over 10% of students pursued roles in the public interest sector or government positions. As expected, Fordham Law graduates overwhelmingly practice in New York and the surrounding area.
Fordham Law’s Career Planning Center engages students as early as October of their first year and continues offering guidance throughout the entirety of their legal careers. With a staff of 13, the Career Planning Center is one of the largest in the country and has five dedicated career counselors plus a consultant focused primarily on alumni. The CPC also has dedicated programs targeted at the public interest sector and judicial clerkships.
Experiential Learning/Distance Education
Fordham Law provides students with a bevy of opportunities to gain practical laywering skills through its acclaimed clinical program, a trial advocacy program, externships, and its pro bono program. Fordham Law’s clinical program is renowned for training lawyers in real world experiences. With 18 different legal clinics, students build practical skills working with real clients within the New York City court system. Similarly, in the pro bono program, third-year students dedicate their final semesters to serving indigent clients in the city. The externship program places students in a government office to gain practical skills in various agencies. Finally, Fordham Law offers a range of courses and trial advocacy programs that build real-world skills.
Although Fordham Law does require residential coursework to earn a Juris Doctor degree, it does offer a part-time evening program for students who also have careers.
Located in the heart of New York City, Fordham Law school offers its students a wealth of resources including disability and wellness services, a host of student organizations and competition teams, and support for the New York Bar exam. The law school building is located on 62nd street just two blocks from Central Park and provides students with a number of student spaces, classrooms, and a tea shop. There is limited on-campus housing as well as housing throughout New York City.
As an integral part of Manhattan, Fordham Law is surrounded by one of the best cities in the world. Students at Fordham Law enjoy the world class culinary and nearby theater district. Central Park is only two blocks from the law school campus.