Public interest law is the strength and focus of the CUNY School of Law so it made sense to officials there that when it came time to expand, the new location would remain in Queens.
“Queens has the great advantage of being one of the most diverse areas in the country, which reflects our mission to diversify the legal profession,” says law school dean Michelle J. Anderson, adding that no other borough was considered when the decision was made to move from a former public junior high school in Flushing to Long Island City. “And as a school that trains public interest lawyers, we needed to be closer to the center of the public interest legal community in New York City.”
Ranked among the top 10 public interest law schools in the country, CUNY Law, established in 1983, adds to the continued rebirth of Long Island City. The vibrant, urban artistic community, and close proximity to several subway and bus lines and the Long Island Railroad, made it an ideal location for the only publicly supported law school in the city. CUNY law also has the distinction of having one of the most diverse student bodies in the nation as 44 percent of its student body is of color.
The new facility at 2 Court Square provides nearly 70,000 more square feet of space than its previous location. It will be used for more classrooms, study areas, lounges and a Moot Court room. Much attention was given to student needs as the new facility also features a child care center, spacious kitchen areas, group study rooms and individual study spaces.
The new building is LEED Gold Certified, making CUNY Law one of the “greenest” law schools in the country, says Anderson. Ninety percent of the structural steel used to build it was from post-consumer recycled materials. The building recycles rainwater in a 20,000-gallon storm water retention system. It also runs on wind power, and was built from recycled material. The structure is also designed to distribute sunlight and outdoor views throughout the building.
“We train lawyers to make a difference in their communities. So supporting environmentally friendly practices that promote the health and well-being of our community and conserve resources illustrates our commitment to our motto, ‘Law in the service of human needs,’” says Anderson.