Admissions Policy

The mandate of CUNY School of Law - to serve human needs through law - derives from the New York State Legislature's findings that the City University of New York must be responsive to the needs of its urban setting and is of vital importance as a vehicle for the upward mobility of the disadvantaged in the City of New York. Service of human needs through law affects our admissions process as much as it affects our curriculum. We evaluate applicants according to four criteria:

1. We seek people who are able to complete the program successfully.

The Law School's program is intensive and intellectually demanding. Thus, we look for demonstration of strong academic ability, including skill in analysis, problem solving, and research. To this end we look at past academic performance and scores on the Law School Admission Test, and to other demonstrations of academic promise. Work completed since college, other demanding intellectual activities, extraordinary letters of recommendation and anything else that candidates bring to our attention in the application are carefully taken into account.

2. We look for indications that the candidate has a special affinity for our particular program.

Assessment of academic ability alone does not dominate the application process. We try to assess some of the less tangible qualities that make an outstanding lawyer, including judgment, energy, initiative and the ability to work both collaboratively and independently. Past work or extracurricular experience, the individual's reasons for wanting to attend CUNY School of Law, and experiences that demonstrate a commitment to public service or that suggest an openness to a practice that captures the spirit of the Law School's mission are all factors that are considered.

3. We try to select a diverse group of students.

Our students must be genuinely representative of the remarkable diversity of the City which the Law School serves. We actively recruit, among others, students who are members of populations that have traditionally been underserved by the law and underrepresented by the profession.

4. We seek students who have some demonstrated connection to the State and particularly the City, because we are an institution funded by the taxpayers of the State of New York.

That connection may be manifested by residence, work experience, educational experience, other service to the State and City, or a demonstrated special concern for the solution of urban problems.

We receive many more qualified applications than we can accept. The admissions process is therefore highly selective and successful candidates are people who, in the opinion of the Admissions Committee, manifest unusual strength in more than one of these four areas.


Minimum Student Capacities

CUNY School of Law pioneered the model of integrating a lawyering curriculum with traditional doctrinal studies. The Minimum Student Capacities listed below are the minimum standards for successful participation in our educational program. CUNY School of Law is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to all qualified students to meet these goals.

  1. Engage in an appropriate and professional process to complete assignments.
  2. Demonstrate appropriate development of professional judgment, including accurate and timely completion of class responsibilities.
  3. Learn by engaging in self-criticism and constructively incorporating criticism from faculty, colleagues, supervisors, clients, staff and other professionals.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to integrate knowledge to establish appropriate critical judgment when acting in the role of lawyer.
  5. Demonstrate the ability to consider diverse opinions and work effectively and productively in groups.
  6. Effectively communicate with and maintain effective, professional relationships with faculty, colleagues, supervisors, clients, staff and other professionals.
  7. Possess the emotional and physical stability to function effectively under stress and adapt to changing environments inherent in classroom and practice setting.

To qualify as a student at CUNY School of Law, individuals must meet both our academic standards and our Minimum Student Capacities, with or without reasonable accommodations. For further information regarding services and resources for students with disabilities, please contact the Office of Student Affairs at 718-340-4207.