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The University at Buffalo Law School the State University of New York (SUNY)
Published September 2008, last updated November 2011
The University at Buffalo Law School is the only law school in the State University of New York (SUNY) system. Since 1887, UB Law has prepared lawyers to practice in New York City, Washington D.C. and other major cities across the country and around the world. Our Legal Skills Program, a cornerstone of the Law School, teaches students to be practice ready from day one - ready to file a brief, select a jury or litigate in a court room. The University at Buffalo campus provides its 30,000 students access to the vast resources in our world class undergraduate and graduate fields of study that include medicine, engineering, pharmaceutical sciences and business management. Each year, UB Law graduates over 200 lawyers that are ready to practice law in fields such as corporate law, tax law, public service, criminal law, and intellectual property. Over 95% of University at Buffalo Law School graduates are placed in positions upon or within months of their graduation with debt obligations well below the national average.
Located in Amherst, New York – a suburb of Buffalo – the Law School has a small-school feel with all the advantages of a large university, including access to other professional and graduate departments, Division I sports, a fine arts center, a concert hall, and numerous other academic, social and cultural opportunities. The greater Buffalo area offers a wide variety of social and cultural activities such as downhill skiing, water sports, professional sports, a world-class symphony orchestra, professional theaters, night life and access to Canada, all within minutes of the Law School. You can live comfortably, not to mention affordably, in Buffalo, the second largest city in New York.(back to top)
The Law School provides a flexible curriculum that affords students a broad range of curricular options, practical coursework, and special programs. UB Law's curriculum emphasizes the study of law as well as the practical application of law that prepares students to practice their profession upon graduation. UB Law offers a large number of interdisciplinary courses and programs in a variety of concentrations that include Family Law, Finance Transactions, Tax Law, Environmental Law, Civil Litigation, Criminal Law, International Law, and Technology and Intellectual Property.
Instruction is offered in two semesters from early September to May, including a January bridge term, and a summer session from mid-May to mid-July. Six full-time semesters or five-full time semesters plus two summer sessions are required for graduation.
In addition to standard first-year subjects – contracts, torts, civil procedure, criminal law, property, constitution law, and research and writing – the first year includes instruction in legal profession and ethics. These courses afford an introduction to the social and economic context of the legal system and to legal institutions and processes.
Beyond the first year, students are required to complete 60 semester credit hours, including at least one seminar. The upper-division program is wholly elective. Second- and third-year students may choose from a full spectrum of survey and advanced courses covering the main fields of public and private practice, a very rich selection of seminars and small group courses in special or emerging areas of law study and research, and clinics and simulations devoted to professional skills training.
The Law School also offers a LLM degree in Criminal Law and a General LLM for international and domestic students. For international students, there are special courses designed to introduce them to American law and to prepare them for the New York State bar exam. All students benefit from a small group personalized approach that allows them to design their own curriculum.
Dual Degree Programs – The State University of New York at Buffalo is New York State's largest campus in its university system. In addition to having New York State's only university law school, the campus also includes nationally recognized schools such as its School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Access to these and many other graduate and professional schools within the campus provides our students extensive dual-degree programs, which permits students to earn credit toward a master's or PhD degree jointly with the JD. In recent years, the most active dual-degree programs have been with political science, management, philosophy, public health, legal information management and analysis, social work, sociology, and economics.(back to top)
The University at Buffalo Law School's Legal Skills initiative is the cornerstone of the school's curriculum. The initiative focuses on developing and producing practice ready lawyers who are able to meet the challenges of the legal profession. A key component of the initiative is the Legal Analysis, Writing and Research (LAWR) program. The three semesters of required LAWR coursework allows every student to receive the necessary training in these skills broken up in manageable segments. "Legal analysis and legal writing are the two fundamental skills of any lawyer," Said Professor Charles Patrick Ewing, Vice Dean for Legal Skills. "This enables us to not only give students more training in these skills, but to give it to them in pieces that they are more able to deal with at their level. We don't have to rush students to get all this in."
Another integral part of the Legal Skills Initiative is the Trial Technique Program which includes the Buffalo-Niagara Trial Tournament, Trial Teams and Trial Technique classes. Each year UB Law hosts The Buffalo Niagara Trial Tournament that draws over 125 students from over 30 law schools around the nation. The tournament, held in the Buffalo City Court building, allows students to argue fictitious cases in front of practicing lawyers and judges. UB Law Trial Teams travel across the country to trial competitions in Michigan, New York City, Georgia, and California and to the National Trial Competition in Syracuse, New York. In recent years UB Law's Trial Team has won more awards than any other school at the American Bar Association regional competition. UB Law's Trial Technique classes culminate each semester with a mock trial in a downtown Buffalo courtroom.(back to top)
Clinical Programs – Skills training in the clinical program is coordinated with substantive law courses to give students a theoretical understanding of practical issues. Students serve clients and conduct research and fieldwork in areas such as economic development, affordable housing, mediation, family violence, elder law, and environmental and development law.
Research Centers – The Law School's research centers provide multiple perspectives on the law. The Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy serves as a focal point for interdisciplinary research and teaching. As the focal point for human rights work at the UB Law, the Buffalo Human Rights Center (BHRC) fosters coursework, research, scholarship and practical experience in the field of human rights. The Edwin F. Jaeckle Center (for state and Local Democracy) supports a balanced academic program of theoretical study of democratic processes and the education of lawyers for public service. The Center for the Study of Business Transactions, a joint venture of the Law School and the UB School of Management, sponsors a variety of courses, research opportunities, and distinguished speakers. Through one of the country's most extensive and diverse criminal law curricula of lecture courses, seminars, and hands-on courses, the Criminal Law Concentration allows students to acquire a wide variety of skills in the practical and theoretical aspects of modern criminal law.
The Law, Religion and Culture Program focuses on the multi-disciplinary and cross-cultural study of the intersection of law, religion, society and culture. The Canada-United States Legal Studies Centre integrates Canadian legal issues into the Law School by coordinating its activities with those of research groups, faculty initiatives, and student organizations. Finally, the UB Law Program for Excellence in Family Law integrates teaching, research, policy, and practice to provide students with the skills and experience needed to practice family law.
Bridge Term – Second- and third-year students can enroll in up to three one-credit bridge courses taught by experienced lawyers and judges, giving students a window into current issues in practice.
New York City Program in Finance and Law – Provides University at Buffalo Law students with an introduction to New York City's financial markets and a gateway to its highly competitive financial-sector job market. Each Year, approximately 25 students are selected to participate in this unique program, which is located in New York City.(back to top)
Each year The University at Buffalo Law School admits just over 200 first-year students. All first year students start in the Fall semester. Transfer and visiting students can start in either the Fall or Spring semesters. The application priority deadline is March 1. LSAT and LSAC Credential Assembly Service are required.
Although UB Law has a limited number of seats for each incoming class they do consider qualitative factors in addition to the traditional quantitative factors (GPA and LSAT). They recognize that quantitative factors may not always accurately reflect a student's potential for law school success and therefore our Admissions Committee pays close attention to the qualitative factors presented in an application. These factors include, but are not limited to, academic achievement, personal statements, character traits, writing ability, recommendations, and work experience. If an application reveals that the applicant has been educationally, socially, economically, or otherwise disadvantaged, the Admissions Committee will review the application for signs of achievement that should lead to success in law school.(back to top)
Law School Culture and Student Activities
University at Buffalo Law School students experience a relaxed, friendly and collaborative atmosphere amongst their colleagues. Students enjoy working together to get the most out of their legal education while meeting the demands to launch a successful career in law. There are ample extracurricular activities for student involvement. The Student Bar Association, an elected representative body, oversees all law school student organizations. The Moot Court Board sponsors mock appellate practice competitions, the Opinion is the student newspaper, the Buffalo Law Review is a professional journal edited by students, and there are specialty journals in environmental law, affordable housing and community development law, intellectual property, criminal law, human rights law, and social policy concerning women.(back to top)
Library and Physical Facilities
The Law School is housed in John Lord O'Brian Hall, a seven-story building which includes a state-of-the-art courtroom that provides students with an opportunity to watch judges and lawyers in action. The library is the core of the Law school, occupying six of the seven floors including a law student only reading room with space for 84 law students.
Like the Law School, the law library is committed to providing students with exceptional research and writing instructors. This enables first year law students to gain one-on-one instruction in various research methods.
The Law School recently unveiled a newly renovated student lounge and classrooms. Enhancements to the school include a new entrance and reception with an open seating area as well as updates to the student lounge and classrooms. State-of-the-art technology has been implemented throughout the school providing internet access and other resources to provide faculty and students the necessary tools to educate and learn.(back to top)
Expenses and Financial Aid
UB is able to offer a state-subsidized tuition to New York residents and a reasonable out-of-state tuition charge.
In-state tuition -- $19,020 Out-of-state -- $32,020 Estimated additional expenses -- $19,912 (Tuition and living expenses subject to change without notice.)
This results in overall educational expenses that are less than half the cost of many law schools. Dean's tuition waivers and limited scholarships are available to students demonstrating high academic achievement, and state aid is offered on a need basis to qualified students. Additional alumni-sponsored scholarships are offered to second- and third-year students.(back to top)
Each semester over 50 law school students are placed in supervised externships and another 20 or more students are placed in judicial clerkships. Externships and judicial clerkships provide law students with unique legal and public service experience as they work in a variety of government and non-profit organizations, and get credit for doing so. By working at the externship host offices, students learn how to work with a client and address the client's specific needs and goals – something that's difficult to teach in a classroom. Students also get a sense of how the legal and public policy systems work, and are exposed to many types of interesting and exciting jobs that perhaps they never knew existed.
Students help judges, attorneys, and legislators with pressing legal questions that arise in ongoing cases, in the development of public policy or legislation, and in response to citizen inquiries or problems. Students may, for example, attend court, draft an opinion for a judge, or write legislation for a member of Congress.
New semester-long opportunities continue to be added to a list of options that includes dozens of possible judicial clerkships, legislative externships, and other non-profit and government work. Most are in Western New York, however, our summer externships allow students to work in Rochester, Philadelphia, New York City, Chicago, Seattle, and overseas.(back to top)
The ultimate goal of nearly every law student is establishing their career upon graduation. Ninety-five percent of the University at Buffalo Law School graduates find positions or enter advanced degree programs within months of their graduation. UB Law's Career Services Office (CSO) provides job search and resume services for third-year and LLM students, as well as helping first- and second-year students conduct their summer job searches.
As New York State's Law School many UB Law graduates find employment in New York City and Buffalo, however, a number of our graduates find positions in other regions of the country including the northeast (Washington, DC), southeast (Florida, Georgia, North Carolina) and west (California, Arizona).
For more information about career services, contact the office: telephone (716) 645-2056; fax (716) 645-7336; email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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