October 7, 2009
Students are giving the faculty at CUNY School of Law and the Law School itself high marks for its professors. Specifically, The Princeton Review just released its 2010 rankings and CUNY Law was featured in the top ten in the following categories: Best Professors, Most Chosen by Older Students, Most Diverse Faculty, Most Liberal Students.
CUNY Law is also consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report as offering one of the top ten clinical programs in the country and the School has also been recognized by National Jurist/PreLaw Magazine as one of the top 10 public interest law schools nationwide. In addition, CUNY Law School is heralded by the Carnegie Foundation for its integration of theory and practice.
CUNY Law Students surveyed for the Princeton Review Ranking Say…
Designed to be the anti-law school, the incredibly affordable, CUNY-Queens is “full of school spirit, clinical training, and no page ripping out of library books.” Working under the mission “law in the service of human needs,” the school is “genuinely committed to the struggle for justice,” and tends to attract a different type of law student; unlike a lot of New York law schools, the vast majority of the “dedicated” and “idealistic” students here go on to careers in public interest.
This mission creates a law school experience like no other-students are encouraging to one another and help each other to thrive, and everyone involved with the school wishes success on each new class. “Put it this way, I have a number of my professors’ cell phone numbers, I call them by their first names, and our janitors come to our graduation because they are proud of us,” says a 3L.
The curriculum here provides a well-rounded education of law and case-teaching method, along with policy and legal theory, enabling students to do more progressive work in the legal field. There is no grading curve, classes stress doctrinal work and advocacy, seminars teach practical skills with lawyering, and the research requirements prepare students for internships/careers.
Legal clinics offer myriad of practical experience, particularly in the third year. Professors are “diverse, engaged and receptive to students,” and many “have amazing histories of advocacy work,” with backgrounds in feminist organizing work, gay rights, environmental justice, reproductive rights and “everything else fun and liberal.” There can be a touch of disorganization and bureaucracy in the administration, but it’s kept to a minimum, and administrators “can be great if you find them on a good day.”
The law school building is actually an old middle school in a somewhat remote part of New York City, so the “facilities definitely leave something to be desired” (though there are plans for a future relocation), but all classrooms are equipped with at least one computer and a SmartBoard for easy note taking, and outside of the classroom, discussions are continued “on the course websites that each professor dedicate to maintain.”
In the end, it’s the complete commitment from faculty, staff, and students to the school’s mission that wins students over, and the comfortable, supportive environment created when surrounded by people with similar motives. “No one here is trying to be an ambulance chaser or a barracuda or any of the other stereotypes of lawyers. Everyone here is genuinely interested in being a champion for a cause and the cause is people who genuinely need the law on their side,” says a proud student.