CUNY School of Law is the premier public interest law school in the country. Our mission is to graduate outstanding public interest attorneys and to enhance the diversity of the legal profession. Our motto, "Law in the Service of Human Needs," infuses everything we do.
At its founding in 1983, CUNY Law pioneered an innovative, public interest curriculum that integrates lawyering skills with traditional doctrinal study. Twenty-five years later, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching praised CUNY for being one of the best law schools in the country in preparing students for practice through instruction in legal doctrine, critical theory, lawyering skills, and professional ethics.
CUNY School of Law consistently ranks among the top 10 law schools in the country in clinical training. With a student-faculty ratio of 12 to1, CUNY Law has been a model for other law schools for its clinical practice. All third-year students at CUNY Law represent clients under the supervision of attorneys at one of the largest law firms in Queens – Main Street Legal Services, Inc. – situated right on the Law School campus.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg praises CUNY as "an institution of incomparable value." She has noted the school's leadership for "innovations and tireless advancement of public interest law." According to the National Association for Law Placement Directory, CUNY Law sends a higher share of its students into public interest and public service law practice -- 65 percent -- than any other law school in the nation. CUNY School of Law enrolls an unusually diverse student body. Among its 2007 entering class, 43 percent are students of color. Meanwhile, tenured or tenure-track faculty are 35 percent of color, too; The Princeton Review ranks CUNY Law as having the fourth most diverse law faculty in the nation. It has also ranked the School as the most welcoming law school in the nation to older students.
The Law School's unique and integrated curriculum has made it a national leader in progressive legal education. The curriculum engages students in a thoughtful combination of rigorous coursework in traditional substantive areas and a lawyering program that teaches the skills recognized by the American Bar Association as necessary for competent practice (problem solving, legal analysis and reasoning, legal research, factual investigation, communication, including legal writing and oral argument; counseling, negotiation, litigation and alternative dispute resolution procedures, organization and management of legal work, and recognition and resolution of ethical dilemmas). The basic premise of the curriculum is that theory cannot be separated from practice, abstract knowledge of doctrine from practical skill, and understanding professional responsibility from professional experience.
The CUNY Law faculty is an extraordinary and diverse group of public interest and public service practitioners and scholars. Their extensive practical experience adds great depth to the classroom and creates internship and employment opportunities for students, while they produce cutting edge, engaged scholarship in areas as diverse as capital punishment, domestic violence, indigenous land rights, cross cultural lawyering, GLBT rights, aging, ecology and international human rights. Working as colleagues, faculty and students are on a first name basis; the faculty's highest priority is training and graduating excellent public interest lawyers.
The CUNY School of Law is located in Queens, New York just minutes from Manhattan across the East River. Queens, one of the five boroughs of the City of New York, has a population of 2.2 million people representing all parts of the world. According to a U.S. News and World Report survey, it is the most diverse borough in the country.
Queens was the site of the 1939 and 1964 World’s Fairs and is home today to cultural institutions such as the New York Hall of Science, the Queens Botanical Garden, the Queens Museum of Art, and Queens Theater in the Park, all located in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Queens has some of the best eating in the world, largely because the world has come to Queens - immigrants have brought the best of the world's cooking to our borough. Queens also is home to the New York Mets, who play their home games at Shea Stadium (with a new stadium under construction).