The course of study required of all students for graduation includes:
- Passing grades in all required courses;
- Successful participation in a clinic;
- Good academic standing; and
- Successful completion of 86 credits.
To be in good standing a student must have a grade point average of 2.5 or above. For purposes of academic standing, a student's semester average, not cumulative average, is employed.
The full-time first-year program totals 30 credit hours. Thus, to meet graduation requirements, you need to take and pass a minimum of 56 credits during your subsequent years.
Upper-level Required Courses
The following classes must be completed before enrolling in a clinic:
- Evidence and Lawyering in the Public Interest (Fall only, 4 cr.)
- Constitutional Structures (Fall only, 3 cr.)
- Property: Law and the Market Economy III (Fall or Spring, 4 cr.)
- Administrative Law: Public Institutions (Fall or Spring, 3 cr.)
- A Lawyering Seminar III (Spring, 4 cr.)
Each year, we offer between six and eight Lawyering Seminar III classes, each focusing on a different aspect or area of public interest practice. Second year students receive information about the Lawyering Seminar III offerings in the Fall. Part-time students can take Lawyering Seminar III in their fourth or sixth semester. Successful completion of Lawyering Seminar III is a prerequisite to enrolling in a clinic.
All students are required to enroll in a clinic before graduation. Some of the clinics are one-semester 10 or 12-credit courses; others are two-semester courses counting for 8 credits in each semester. The practice clinics are one-semester 12-credit courses. The clinical offerings vary slightly from year to year. Second year students receive information about the clinic and concentration offerings in the Spring. Part-time students can take a clinic in their fifth or seventh semester. Successful completion of Lawyering Seminar III is a prerequisite to enrolling in a clinic.
Other Upper-level Required Courses
- Professional Responsibility (2cr.),
- Mastery and Application of Core Doctrine (Spring, 4cr.) (generally taken the semester before graduation)
General Program Planning Information
Following your first year of law school, you need to decide:
- The timing (Fall or Spring) of your enrollment in Public Institutions and Property;
- which Lawyering Seminar III best meets your educational and career objectives;
- which clinic to take;
- what elective courses to take and which semesters to take them;
- how many total credit hours to take in each semester.
Meeting with your academic advisor about your course selections can help to ensure that your course of study prepares you for the particular area of practice you plan to pursue and for the bar exam. Your advisor can help you to choose wisely from among the available lawyering seminars and clinics, and to help you make your elective choices.
Choosing wisely can result in an academic program that enhances your academic experience, your employment opportunities, and your success on the bar exam. We recommend that you consider the following criteria in developing your program: courses that provide you with the doctrinal coverage necessary for the bar exam; courses that enhance the skills you need for the bar exam and for practice; courses that prepare you for the particular area of practice you plan to pursue; courses that enrich and round out your law studies, especially courses that will better prepare you for public interest practice; and courses that appeal to your interests and background and that will enable you to connect intellectually and emotionally to the study and practice of law.
Recommendations for the Bar Exam
Those of you who plan to take the New York bar exam should include most of the following electives in your academic program: Advanced Evidence (2 cr.), Criminal Procedure I (3 cr.) and II (2 cr.), Federal Courts (3 cr.) First Amendment (4 cr.), Business Associations (3cr.), New York Domestic Relations Law (3 cr.), New York Practice (3-4cr.), Real Estate (3cr.), UCC Survey (3cr.), and Wills and Trusts (3cr.).
Real Estate is only open to students who have passed Property. Students who wish to take Wills and Trusts must have taken Property prior to enrolling, or be taking Property during the same semester as they take Wills and Trusts.
We design the class schedules on the assumption that full-time students will take Criminal Procedure, Business Associations and/or UCC Survey in their second year, and that part-time students will take those courses either in their second or third years. Full-time students can take those courses as third-year students, but they are often scheduled against other recommended electives that can only be taken by 3Ls. Part-time students can take those courses in their fourth year, but they may be scheduled against recommended electives taken by 4L part-time students.
Second Year Specific Program Instructions
Two of your required courses - Property and Public Institutions - are offered both Fall and Spring. We expect most second year students to take one of these two courses in the Fall and one in the Spring. During the registration process, you will be asked to indicate your preference about the timing of these courses.
There are a few courses that have prerequisites. If you plan to take these courses, the timing of your electives becomes an important concern. If you plan to pursue a career in criminal law, you should seriously consider timing your program so that you are eligible for the Defenders' Clinic. The Defenders' Clinic enrollment is limited to students who have applied for, been accepted into, and passed the Criminal Defense Lawyering Seminar III. (In other words, all students who pass the Criminal Defense Lawyering Seminar are automatically enrolled in the Defenders' Clinic.) Only those students who have taken and passed Criminal Procedure I or II can apply to take the Criminal Defense Lawyering Seminar III.
The Mediation Clinic also has a prerequisite. In order to be eligible you must take the Mediation Lawyering Seminar III.
For those of you who came to law school with a clear idea of the area of law in which you want to practice, it makes sense to take one course in that area in your second year. Some courses are only offered once a year; others are only offered once every two years. International Law, Labor Law, Environmental Law, Rights of Low Wage Workers and Immigration Law are all typically offered once a year, generally in the Fall. Those of you planning to do community-based small firm practice should consider taking Property in your second Fall so that you can take Real Estate or Wills in the Spring and be well prepared to obtain an internship in a small firm during one of your law school summers.
The Credit/ No Credit Option
After completing the first year, a student may elect to take up to 4 elective courses including ISD, Moot Court and Law Review for Credit/No Credit. Courses transferred from other law schools are not counted in the limit of four. To elect the credit/no credit option, the student must notify the Office of Registration and Records Management no later than the date designated by the Academic Calendar for each semester. Faculty will grade all students using the regular grading system. The Office of Registration and Records Management will enter the grade of "Credit" for all students who receive the grade of C+ or better and the grade of “NCL” for students who receive the grade of C or lower.
Credits earned in a Credit/No Credit course count toward the 86 credits required for graduation. The Credit/NCL policy will require a C+ to secure a Credit, and students will not be allowed to take courses Credit/NCL if they are on probation. A student taking a course for Credit/NCL who receives a C+ and above will receive a Credit for the class and no grade from that class will affect the student’s GPA. A student taking a course for Credit/NCL who receives a grade below C+ will receive 1.00 point which will be computed as a component of the student’s GPA. Once a student has elected the Credit/NCL option that election cannot be undone for any purpose. After the deadline to elect Credit/NCL option has passed, the student is deemed to have elected to take the course for a letter grade.
Assess your total workload for the semester to determine whether electing the "Credit/NCL" option for a particular course is likely to enhance the picture presented on your transcript or to detract from it. If "Credit/NCL" in one course gives you the space you need to do very well in all your other courses, this is certainly a relevant consideration. On the other hand, if you are likely to do well anyway, you may want to take the class for credit. Think about whether there is a particular semester in which you will have a very heavy workload - either in courses, extracurricular activities, job search activities or in outside employment. You may want to be sure to save your Credit/NCL option for that semester. If you are considering electing Credit/NCL for a bar-related course, you may want to think about whether you will be motivated enough to have your work in that course translate into adequate preparation for the bar exam.