The New York Law School (NYLS) is a private, independent law school that has operated in New York since the latter part of the 19th century. The school’s history was rooted in a dispute over the methodology for teaching law students which led several professors to form the school in lower Manhattan. The school quickly became one of the largest law schools in the country but was later forced to close for both World Wars. Since reopening, NYLS has moved its main campus onto Broadway and now offers full-time, part-time as well as a two-year honors program. The law school has produced 27 U.S. Congressman, numerous New York Supreme Court Justices, and Elmer Rice–the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright.
The Juris Doctor program at NYLS begins with a first-year curriculum that combines traditional academic courses–civil procedure, contracts, criminal law, property, and torts–along with practice-based courses in the foundations of the study of law and professionalism as well as legal practice and methodology. In their second year, students are required to take two semesters of constitutional law, a course in professional responsibility, as well as a course in either corporations or evidence. In their final years, students complete additional “gateway” courses that help prepare them for the bar exam. All students also complete a course preparing them for the multi-state portion of the bar exam; students who are struggling academically also complete additional bar exam preparation courses. All students must also satisfy the requirement for experiential learning and complete a major writing project.
In deciding their electives, students may opt for a general practice path where they choose their own electives or follow one of NYLS’ professional pathways that suggest academic and skill-based courses to ensure a student is ready to practice in a particular field of law. NYLS also offers an extensive course catalog that allows students to cover almost every practice area.
NYLS is also home to 13 legal centers that concentrate academic scholarship and expert practice skills in specific areas of the law. These centers allow students to work alongside faculty to advance the law both in the courts and the legislative arena.
In addition to its J.D. program, NYLS also offers a graduate program–the Master of Laws (LL.M)–in taxation. The LL.M degree requires students to have previously earned their J.D. Students study the basics of taxation in the course of 24 hours of residential coursework. The LL.M program allows for students to complete the program either on a full-time or a part-time basis.
Even though NYLS is an independent law school, they still offer students the opportunity to earn two degrees in a joint degree program as part of a partnership with two other New York schools. NYLS offers a joint J.D. and M.B.A. program in conjunction with the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College of the City University of New York. NYLS also offers a joint J.D. and M.A. in Forensic Psychology with John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York. Joint degree programs allow students to combine their legal studies with coursework from another professional program which allows them to complete both programs in less time. Students must be admitted to both programs separately before enrolling in either joint degree program.
NYLS offers a robust summer school program that affords students the opportunity to complete additional courses and, therefore, allows for an early completion date. The summer program runs for roughly two months through June and July.
Career and Career Placement
Over 88% of all graduates of NYLS are employed within 10 months of graduation in careers that either requires a law license or prefer a Juris Doctor degree. While almost half of students opted for law firm work, the other majority of NYLS students chose careers in a variety of legal sectors. Over 20% of graduates pursued careers in either government offices or in the public interest sector. Careers in the business industry also accounted for nearly 20% of graduates. In terms of law firm work, small law firms were the most popular choice although nearly 10% of graduates secured positions in large law firms of 500 or more attorneys. Almost all graduates chose to begin their careers in either New York or New Jersey.
The Career Planning Office (CPO) at the New York Law School takes a measured approach to building students’ professional careers. In their first year, students are introduced to the professional side of legal education through a series of programs and coursework. Students engage in self-assessment tests to measure their strengths and interests in certain practice areas. Students begin the process of one-on-one counseling with the CPO staff as they build their resumes and identify their career interests. In their second year, students begin to marry their career goals with their academics as they choose pathways and elective courses. In their final year, students prepare their “exit strategy” with career counselors as they begin their transition into their legal practice and move into the professional world.
Experiential Learning/Distance Education
All students at NYLS are offered a wide array of experiential opportunities to build critical skills to complement their academic lessons. Through its in-house clinics and partnerships with law offices around the city, NYLS now offers over 20 legal clinics where students learn the fundamentals of practicing law. The clinical experience affords students the opportunity to work with actual clients under the close supervision of practicing faculty members. Students may also gain practical experience through an externship with a New York City judge. These externships last for a semester as students work in the city court system under the supervision of an elected judge. Similar to an externship, students may choose for a field placement. All field placements are paired with a seminar course, allowing students to transfer the classroom studies into the practice of law. Finally, NYLS offers students a number of simulation courses that replicate real-world legal problems and allows students to solve them under the supervision of faculty experts.
The NYLS does not offer an online program but does allow students to enroll in its part-time evening program. Part-time student complete the required coursework in four years instead of three.
Situated in the heart of New York City’s lower Manhattan, the New York Law School reflects all the diversity of America’s most important city. This diversity is reflected in the student body that celebrates its diverse backgrounds and viewpoints through a robust student organization system. Unlike many schools in Manhattan, NYLS also offers limited, affordable housing to students in the nearby Brooklyn Heights neighborhood. Housing, in general, is available throughout the metropolitan area as NYLS is conveniently located near several subway stops.
NYLS students are immersed in the bustling environment of lower Manhattan. Wall Street and the financial district are just minutes away from campus. Greenwich Village and Soho–two of New York’s legendary neighborhoods–are a short walk from campus as well.