|Rankings and Top 100 Profiles 3rd and 4th Tier Profiles Dean Interviews Discuss Your School TLS Stats TLS Programs International Profiles Law School Articles|
New York Law School
Published February 2010, last updated June 2013.
Attending any law school and incurring massive debt is a decision that you should consider carefully. For that reason, New York Law School (NYLS), located in New York City's TriBeCa neighborhood, is a school that applicants should stay away from. The tuition is outrageously high ($47,600 for full-time students and $36,700 for part-time students), and the job prospects are mediocre at best. Only the absolute top students from the school get well-paying jobs, and unless you are willing to gamble your financial freedom and future on placing in the top 10% or better of your law school class (there's a 90% chance you won't), you are much better off attending a school with better employment statistics.
There's no way around it: Barring extraordinary circumstances, the point of betting three years and over $250,000 to go to law school is to get a job as a lawyer. Unfortunately, the odds are against New York Law School graduates. According to Law School Transparency, for the class of 2012, an abysmal 39.4% of graduates were employed in long-term, full-time legal jobs nine months after graduation. Of the law schools that place significantly in New York state, this is the second-lowest employment rate (only Western New England is worse, at 33%), and it is the lowest among schools in the state of New York.
Prospective students would be well advised to explore the LST data before applying to NYLS. To his credit, Dean Anthony Crowell has told TLS that "[t]ransparency, metrics, and accountability are fundamental tenets of my management style" and said he would work with LST to make sure 0Ls have all the information they need before committing substantial time and money to an NYLS J.D.
Here are some highlights of the most recent LST data: Less than 0.5% of the class of 2012 obtained coveted federal judicial clerkships. Less than 5% were employed at large firms (more than 100 attorneys). Out of a total of 601 graduates, 104 students worked full time in long-term jobs with law firms of between two and 10 attorneys (142 total in those firms). Despite the school's claim that New York City government offices line up to hire NYLS grads, less than 9% were employed in long-term, full-time public service jobs, including non-government public interest. Of the class of 2011, 38.6% were employed and reported a salary. The median salary of those who did report one was a mere $58,000, which doesn't go very far in New York. Excluding public-sector workers, the median was slightly higher, at $62,450 (this represents about a quarter of the class). For comparison, you'd have to pay back $3,179 a month on a 10-year repayment plan to pay for NYLS at sticker.
Following is a sample of what NYLS students have told TLS about employment prospects in the past:
Another student said:
Tuition and fees
As mentioned above, the tuition for New York Law School is very high. Full-time students end up paying $47,600 per year in tuition alone, and part-time students pay $36,700. The school estimates that, adding on New York City's expensive cost of living, full-time students will end up paying around $72,816 annually. Part-time students pay only slightly less at $61,616. For a full-time three-year stint at NYLS, that's over $218,000, before interest. With interest, that sum will end up costing over $266,000, or $3,179 a month on a 10-year loan repayment plan.
And what does one get for investing more than a quarter-million dollars? A 39.4% chance at a full-time, long-term legal job, and less than a 5% chance at a large-firm (more than 100 attorneys) job.
The school does offer some financial aid to students, but it is usually not enough to make a significant difference in students' debt. According to U.S. News, the median grant for full-time students is only $10,000.
Even if NYLS offers you a scholarship, that does not mean it is guaranteed for three years. In fact, for the class entering in 2011, almost half of those entering with scholarships had them reduced or rescinded. Those who finish in the top 15% of the class after 1L year are invited to the John Marshall Harlan Scholars Program, which basically means a spot on the New York Law School Law Review and a $15,000 merit scholarship.
Acceptance to New York Law School is somewhat competitive. In the school's most recent ABA data (2012), the school received 4,520 applications (3,685 full-time and 835 part-time) and made 2,100 offers (1,821 full-time and 279 part-time). This is an overall acceptance rate of 46.5%, with a full-time acceptance rate of 49.4% and a part-time acceptance rate of 33.4%. A total of 641 students matriculated (520 full-time and 121 part-time).
Applying to NYLS is free.
Personal statements and resumesNYLS requires a resume and at least one letter of recommendation. The school does not require any essays or personal statements.
When to apply
Applications open on Sept. 1, and the first round closes April 1. The school says it will consider further (non-priority) applications until late May or so. Those set on attending NYLS (ideally, those who plan to go to law school for free and who have jobs already lined up for after graduation) ought to take the LSAT in the fall and apply as early as possible.
New York Law School gives a tremendous amount of information about its waitlist process. In essence, if you find yourself on the waitlist, you should be prepared for a long wait. Often, the school doesn't look at the waitlist until June, and it says, “[A]greeing to be on our wait list will require tremendous patience on your part.”
Transferring to NYLS is very similar to the normal application process. Transfer students are required to “have completed one academic year and be in good standing to be considered,” and can apply at three different points in the year. For fall (August) admission, prospective students must submit their applications by July 1, and applications must be submitted by Nov. 15 for spring (January) admission. Finally, for summer (May) admission, transfer students must apply by May 1. One must submit a complete LSAC application, a law school transcript, a resume, between one and three letters of recommendation, and a few other materials in order to be accepted.
Law school culture
Unsurprisingly, there is plenty to do in the area around New York Law School. The school is located in TriBeCa (Triangle below Canal Street), a neighborhood in Lower Manhattan. In their scarce free time, students can visit nearby SoHo, Chinatown, or any of the other exciting areas in Manhattan. If they want to remain closer to home, Washington Market Park, located in TriBeCa, is a vibrant place to have fun. Students can play basketball and tennis, and they can enjoy the park's community garden, where residents grow flowers and other plants for the enjoyment of all. Other local festivities include the TriBeCa Film Festival and the TriBeCa Open Artist Studio Tour, and new students can take the TriBeCa Walking Tour to get an idea of the different attractions in the area.
Transportation in the area should be relatively effortless. Taxis, buses, and the city's subway system should make any part of New York City readily available. For most students, bringing a car to the school is a bad idea. Either you will have to move your car constantly from spot to spot, or pay an absurd amount of money per month to park in a garage.
While there are a small number of crimes committed on campus and in the surrounding area each year, in general New York Law Students should feel safe. Information about the school's safety policies can be found here, and the school's latest Campus Security Report can be found here. Many buildings on campus have electronic card access systems, and those who live in the school's Residence Hall (discussed more thoroughly below) will be happy to know that there is a security guard stationed there 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
For those who want to live with other New York Law School students, the school has a Residence Hall located in Manhattan. As expected, the rent is quite high, at $1,390 to $1,900 per month per person. The leasing term is approximately 12 months, and students can live in two- or three-bedroom apartments.
Students' views on campus facilities tend to be negative. One former student wrote:
While this student might be exaggerating, it seems to be the case that the school's facilities are less than stellar.
Student bodyThe school's student body is quite diverse, with an even distribution of men and women, a sizable number of minorities, and an age range that encompasses both young and old. There are also plenty of student organizationsgeared toward specific groups; some examples include the Black Law Students Association, the Italian Law Students Association, the Jewish Law Students Association, and the Muslim Law Students Association. Despite these organizations, graduates report that there is not much cohesion on campus. One person wrote:
Another graduate has a slightly better (but still less than outstanding) perspective on the student body:
One graduate had an interesting remark to make about the student body; he said that “a lot” of students actually come from wealthy backgrounds:
At NYLS, the entire first year of study and part of the second are composed of required courses, including the typical Contracts, Torts, Property, Civil Procedure, Criminal Law, and Constitutional Law (two semesters). In addition, first- and second-year students are required to enroll in a number of other courses: Evidence, two units of Legal Practice, Professional Responsibility, and Legislation and Regulation. Students must also fulfill a writing requirement, which means a substantial paper, a moot court brief, or a law review note. As with most schools, the full-time (day) program takes three years to complete, and the part-time (evening) program takes four years.
Students placing in the bottom half of their class must take remedial courses designed to help boost NYLS's bar passage rates. The exact courses that must be taken depend on whether the student is in the bottom 50% or the bottom 25% of the class. The bottom third of each first-year section must participate in the Comprehensive Curriculum Program, explained below.
1Ls placing in the top 15% of their section after a year will be invited to join the school's “Harlan Scholars” honors program. This program entails a number of benefits, some of which include maintaining one's scholarship (or gaining a scholarship if one does not have one), affiliation with one of the school's academic centers (discussed below), and special recognition on one's final transcript. Students who participate in the program must also join the New York Law Review, also discussed in more detail below. The school hopes that the program will allow students to “focus their law school studies, gaining depth and substantive expertise beyond a broad understanding of the law.”
Comprehensive Curriculum Program
One somewhat unusual aspect of New York Law School is its Comprehensive Curriculum Program (CCP). This program is designed to help those near the bottom of their classes prepare for and pass the bar. Part of the CCP is making students take certain courses; instead of being free to take easier electives like Sports Law, they are required to take difficult courses such as Corporations and Wills and Trusts.
Students are placed in the program after their first semester if they place in the bottom third of their sections. It is very difficult to break out of the CCP once you have been placed in it. One student explained:
He further clarified:
Another disadvantage of this program is that it does not allow students to participate in law review or moot court until the completion of their second year. Students in the CCP wouldn't have much of a shot of getting accepted to the law review anyway (because of their low grades), but preventing them from even trying to join means that they are guaranteed to be at a distinct disadvantage come job-searching time.
If one places at the very bottom of one's section (bottom 10%), one is required to reduce one's credits per semester. Instead of the normal 15 credits, students take a maximum of 12 credits and stay an extra semester. Because the students take fewer courses per semester but stay longer, they end up paying the same amount as students not in the program. In addition, a student reports that if one stays for this extra semester, one no longer has a class ranking. This can be problematic for employers, since class rank is one of the primary measures used to judge a job applicant. That said, these students are at the bottom of their class, so it is difficult to tell how much having their ranking would actually help them.
It should be noted that part-time students also participate in the CCP. The program is roughly the same as for full-time students, with the exception that part-time students are not required to spend an extra semester at NYLS regardless of their GPAs. However, they are “allowed to slow their progress through law school if they choose.” Students who participate in the CCP might be able to pass the bar, but their chances of finding a decent job are negligible. If you are placed in this program, it is almost undoubtedly better to count your losses and drop out of law school. Taking on tens of thousands of dollars in debt when you are near the bottom of your class at one of the worst schools in a saturated market is unlikely to be worth it.
One student wrote about professors at NYLS:
The same student also commented about obtaining recommendations: “Professors do not write recommendations for LL.M. programs after saying they would, simply going, 'Oops!' This leaves the student relying on that recommendation completely out of luck.” This does not paint a pleasant picture of professors at NYLS.
This sentiment certainly does not apply to all professors at the school; some are undoubtedly excellent teachers. However, even one instance of this kind of behavior can certainly sour the image of the school.
There are many different programs and centers on campus that promote research in many different areas of the law. They include: the Center on Business Law and Policy, the Diane Abbey Law Center for Children and Families, the Center on Financial Services Law, the Institute for Information Law and Policy, the Center for International Law, the Justice Action Center, the Center for New York Law, the Center for Professional Values and Practice, the Center for Real Estate Studies, the Advanced Communications Law & Policy Institute, the Center for Patent Innovations, the Media Center, and the Lawyering Skills Center.
Public interest and clinicsNYLS added 13 clinics in 2013, and the new dean, Anthony Crowell, has made it a priority to give students more opportunities to get real-life experience and fulfill their 50-hour pro bono requirement for admission to the New York bar. The clinics are open to 2Ls and 3Ls, and eight are open to evening students.
If students are interested in getting some hands-on experience with editing legal articles, they can join the school's law review. The New York Law School Law Review is the only legal publication at the school, so students interested in a particular area of law (intellectual property, gender studies, etc.) might be disappointed with the lack of specialized articles to work on. Nonetheless, it is certainly a good idea for students to join the journal if they can, as it will make their job prospects better and will give them an opportunity to network.
Students can gain membership in two different ways. First, if you have high enough grades, you're accepted to the law review automatically. However, students can also apply to join via the school's annual write-on competition.
New York Law School is not a good choice for most applicants. The cost of attendance is extremely high, the school has overly strict GPA requirements on its scholarships, and the job prospects for most graduates are dismal. In 2009, Richard Matasar, a former dean of New York Law School, described exploitative nature of some law schools:
New York Law School is a prime example of the type of institution that Dean Matasar is talking about. Under Dean Crowell's tenure, things may get better, especially given his laudable commitment to transparency. Regardless, 0Ls should keep in mind that talk is cheap; what matters is outcomes. Right now, NYLS is not a smart bet on the only outcome you should care about: a legal job.
New York Law School
U.S. News ranking: Unranked
Mercer University Law School
Stetson University School of Law
Chapman University School of Law
Cleveland State University, Marshall College of Law
Creighton University School of Law
UNH School of Law
Quinnipiac University School of Law
The University of St. Thomas School of Law
University of Wyoming, College of Law
William Mitchell College of Law
Florida International University College of Law
Florida Coastal School of Law
CUNY School of Law
Campbell University School of Law
Barry University School of Law
Oklahoma City University School of Law
Regent University School of Law
South Texas College of Law
Touro College – Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center
Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law
The University of Dayton School of Law
University of the District of Columbia - David A. Clarke School of Law
University of Detroit Mercy School of Law
University of North Dakota School of Law
Mississippi College School of Law
John Marshall Law School (Chicago)
Albany Law School
Appalachian School of Law
Ave Maria School of Law
Southern University Law Center
Southwestern Law School
St. Mary's University School of Law
St. Thomas University School of Law
Texas Wesleyan University School of Law
Thomas Jefferson School of Law
Howard University Law School
Texas Tech Law School
New York Law School
The University of Missouri – Kansas City
Northern Kentucky University – Salmon P. Chase College of Law
California Western School of Law
Pace University School of Law
University of Memphis – Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law
University of Montana School of Law
North Carolina Central University
University of South Dakota School of Law
Thomas Cooley School of Law
New England Law | Boston
Drake University School of Law
University of Akron School of Law
Vermont Law School
University of Mississippi School of Law
Loyola University New Orleans College of Law
University of Toledo (OH)
Wayne State University Law School
University of Idaho College of Law
Gonzaga Law School
The University of Maine School of Law
Golden Gate Law School
Pacific McGeorge School of Law
University of San Francisco School of Law
St. Louis University School of Law
Seattle University School of Law
DePaul University College of Law
Hofstra Law School