BY: Elise Hanks Billing | DATE: Apr 03, 2023

The City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law has officially opened its brand new state-of-the-art Trial Courtroom, providing students with access to innovative technology and exceptional training facilities. On Thursday, March 30th, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Jr., presided over the ceremonial ribbon cutting, joined by CUNY Law Dean Sudha Setty and Professor Merrick Rossein, one of the faculty champions of this project, among others.

Prof. Merrick Rossein, Borough President Richards, Jr., and Dean Sudha Setty preside over the ribbon cutting for the new Trial Courtroom

Prof. Merrick Rossein, Borough President Richards, Jr., and Dean Sudha Setty preside over the ribbon cutting for the new, cutting-edge Trial Courtroom at CUNY Law


The new facility features cutting-edge amenities, including high-definition cameras, computer monitors, ceiling recording devices, microphones, public seating, and a fully ADA-compliant courtroom and judicial bench, among others. Dean Setty addressed the crowd of advocates, judges, government officials, and administrators, many of whom were CUNY Law alumni.

“We are excited that this moment has arrived such that we can make this courtroom available to our students and to the greater Queens community. This modern courtroom will enable us to simulate jury trials and other courtroom scenarios that students need exposure to in order to hone their trial skills as they learn how to advocate for and stand with people from Queens and throughout New York. We also hope it’s one part of helping prospective students and others learn that CUNY Law is an amazing place to be a student and to become a lawyer.”


The Trial Courtroom, one of the school’s most significant infrastructural investments in recent years, received its initial funding from the Borough of Queens President’s Office in 2014. To keep up with technological advances, CUNY Law later secured additional funding from both CUNY Central and the Queens Borough President’s Office, resulting in a $1.2 million investment in the project as of February 8, 2022.

According to Borough President Richards, the courtroom represents much more than a significant financial investment:

“This Law School is producing the next generation of legal minds right here in Queens—many of whom are from Queens—this is a training ground for you to defend those in communities who are largely underserved and underrepresented. Today is much bigger than funding this courtroom. It’s about preparing you to fight for justice.”


The Trial Courtroom is expected to become a critical resource for CUNY Law students, with dozens of students expected to use it each semester. The Law School currently teaches three sections of trial advocacy seminars, and it is anticipated that first-year lawyering seminars taken by all first-year students will have the opportunity to use the room for particular assignments. Additionally, students from Queens high schools and CUNY colleges will be introduced to the law and the idea of pursuing a legal education by participating as jurors in mock trials held in the courtroom.

Professor Rossein also shared plans to reach out to CUNY colleges and Queens high schools with law programs and mock trial teams to provide them with the opportunity to practice in the courtroom. This initiative will not only benefit the students in these programs but also provide CUNY Law with a valuable opportunity to engage with the wider community and encourage future legal professionals.

The opening of the Trial Courtroom represents the culmination of years of hard work, dedication, and advocacy, and is a critical signal to students pursuing public education throughout New York City that they are the future. The courtroom provides students with access to innovative technology and exceptional training facilities, offering an engaging learning experience essential to CUNY Law students. As we look ahead, we are excited to see the impact that this investment will have on advancing justice for all.