When one pictures the world of high-powered lawyers guiding businesses through complex contracts or sentinels of justice defending the weak, one city leaps to mind: New York. Unsurprisingly, the big apple is home to some of the most dynamic and well-regarded law schools in the country, with several other equally impressive institutions found nearby.
In fact, anyone planning on studying law in New York may find themselves quickly overwhelmed by the choices. Not only does each institution benefit from access to world leaders, multinational corporations, and pressing social needs, but they all claim an impressive list of alumni and resources. These schools prepare students for everything from traditional subjects, such as family law and civil litigation, to niche issues, such as fashion industry and film law, to even cutting-edge technology, such as data mining and blockchain. No matter what type of law you plan to practice, you’ll find a New York school ready to give you the proper tools.
With so many options, how can anyone decide on the best school?
That’s where College Gazette comes in. Following the rankings determined by U.S. News & World Report, this article outlines the most attractive qualities of the ten best law schools the Empire State has to offer. Whether you plan to work for a Fortune 500 company or fight for social justice or run for higher office, you’ll find a New York school to help you on your way.
10. Syracuse University College of Law (Syracuse, NY)
Most of the schools on this list will boast impressive alumni. But Syracuse University College of Law may have them all beat with their most famous graduate, U.S. President Joe Biden. The President is just one of many legislators who studied at SUCL, who counts among its graduates judges, representatives, and civil defenders.
But SUCL has no intention of resting on the successes of its famous alumni. The school continues innovating with its acclaimed national security law program, offered through SU’s Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism.
For those not drawn to public service, SUCL also offers certifications in corporate and property law, as well as family law and estate planning. Whatever track students choose, they will be well-prepared for success. In 2017, 95.59% of students who took the bar exam passed, with 81.57% passing on their first attempt.
9. CUNY School of Law (Queens, NY)
As part of New York City’s renowned public interest university, the CUNY School of Law strives to meet its motto: “Law in the Service of Human Needs.” Since its founding in 1983, CUNY Law has equipped its students with the practical tools they need to practice law in a wide range of subjects. Divided into a series of practice clinics, CUNY Law directs students through rigorous training in subjects such as economic justice, disability and aging justice, and worker’s rights.
The school particularly prides itself on its justice initiatives, through which students do pro-bono work to serve their community. These programs include the Community Legal Resource Network, which supports alumni and recent grades as they gain in-court training helping those who cannot afford representation, and the Center for Latinx Rights and Equality, which addresses challenges facing the city’s Latinx population.
8. University at Buffalo School of Law (Buffalo, NY)
The only law school in the official State University of New York system, the University of Buffalo School of Law is ranked in the nation’s top 100 law schools by U.S. News & World Report and within the top 50, according to Forbes and the New Yorker.
The school has earned those accolades thanks to its commitment to building a community of practicing lawyers and students, building on the foundations set by alumni while constantly pushing forward to meet new challenges.
Some of the most essential resources offered by UB Law are the three law journals published at the school, including the student-run Buffalo Law Review. Edited by 3L J.D. candidates, the Buffalo Law Review gives students practical experience working with cutting-edge research into the most pressing legal questions of our time.
7. Brooklyn Law School (Brooklyn, NY)
Like all of the schools in this article, the Brooklyn Law School ranks high in general lists, including the Leiter Report placing the school’s faculty #30 for scholarly excellence in 2017 and the New York Law Journal ranking it the #2 Best Overall Law School in 2017 and 2018. But Brooklyn Law also receives attention for its work in the entertainment industry, receiving high marks from Billboard Magazine and the Hollywood Reporter.
Such high praise comes thanks to the work of Brooklyn Law’s best-known alumni working in the news and entertainment industries, including Fox News anchor Geraldo Riviera and Allen Grubman, who has represented Bruce Springsteen and Mariah Carey.
But Brooklyn Law’s achievements aren’t all glitz and glamour. The school also features leading science-based initiatives, such as the Center Law and Language Cognition and the Center for Health, Science, and Public Policy.