When you think of a top law school, one of the first things that come to mind is New York City. It’s also home to some of the most prestigious law schools in the world. These are not your typical Ivy League and Catholic institutions.
Instead, these are small mostly regional private colleges with tight admission rules and a focus on undergraduate education. They have something special going on — they are educating future lawyers. The best way to learn about these law schools is to visit them firsthand.
You will see firsthand what it takes to be a student at one of these law schools. Here are the Top Law Schools In New York list, in no particular order.
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Columbia University Law School
After being shut down in 1929, the Columbia University Law School was one of the top New York law schools. In its early years, it was known as the “Grand Old Man” of New York City’s legal profession. It was a part of the City University of New York, which was then the largest law school in the United States.
In its early years, law school was all about preparing future lawyers for practice in the city. But in the late 50s and early 60s, the school also became an integral part of the New York City criminal-defense system. To this day, the school is known for its strict rules, standardized test scores and robust application process.
It’s also home to the only three law schools in the country with “Claudine” in their name: the University of New York’s at CUNY’s Bronx Law School, the University of South Carolina’s at South Carolina’s University Law Center and the New York University School of Law.
New York University School of Law
At the time, the New York University School of Law was one of the top law schools in the United States. It was also home to the first co-ed training program for lawyers called the Law Library of New York. This law school was also known for its strict rules and strict application process.
It had the only co-ed program in the country, which set it apart from many other American law schools. New York University also had the only full-time, tenured professorship, which was the gold standard in the early 50s. But in the 80s and 90s, the New York University School of Law became known for its low bar exam scores and stringent application process.
Those in the top 1 percent of the application pool were admitted, while the rest faced stringent selection criteria. Today, the school is still one of the top law schools in the United States, and it’s also one of only three law schools to retain the mention (along with USC and Fordham).
Tuck School of Urban Constitutional Law
An urban law school, Tuck School of Urban Constitutional Law is a real college-of-law type school. Its students are often from upper-middle class or upper-archived areas of the city. They are also often bright and hardworking, with a solid work ethic.
In its early years, the school was known for its low test scores, but in the 80s and 90s, it became known for its high academic performance. Today, it’s also known for its strict application process, rigorous disciplinary policies and high graduation rate.
Even though it’s located in the Big Apple, the Tuck also has a very local flavor. The majority of the students are from the 10 largest cities in New York City, so you’ll often see students talking to each other in accented language.
George Washington University School of Law
As one of the top law schools in the country, George Washington University School of Law also makes an appearance on this list. But as a “Journey to Law” book, it’s a bit more advanced than the others.
It’s also home to the only two co-ed programs in the country: the Geoffrey S. Kastenler Dual Enrollment Program at GW and the George Washington University-Stony Brook University M.A. in Law and Policy Studies. This law school also became known for its high test scores, but in the 90s it also saw its application process expand.
The class of 2000 was the first class to be admitted to the Dual Enrollment Program, which made the school open to all students. Today, the program is still at the top of its hallowed path, but it’s an up-and-coming law school.
Columbia-Stony Brook University M.A. in Law and Policy Studies
After being shut down in 1999, the Columbia-Stony Brook University M.A. in Law and Policy Studies is one of the top law schools lists for New York City. But unlike many of the other law schools on this list, it wasn’t taken as a full load.
The university was a launchpad for the M.A. program, which is still the most-applied program in the country. Many of the first-generation college students attend the school, where they are mentored by former Attorneys General of New York City, Janet Reno, Michael Mukasey and Amy C. Ryan. Although this is a small school, its cadence is very set.
The law school is also known for an extremely high percentage of successful applications, particularly in the first round.
New York University School of Law –Tigard OR Campus
The most famous law school in the country, New York University School of Law, was shut down in the early 2000s and its campus was transferred to New York City. At the time, the school was one of the top law schools in the U.S. and a top 50 law school worldwide.
But in the late ’90s, the doors to the school were shut and the students were transformed into a city-that-donates school. The Tigard OR campus was chosen as the new home when it was decided that a private law school would host law school courses. Today, the school still hosts law school courses, but it’s no longer the “city that gives” them away.
Fordham University –New York City’s “City That Hires” Lawyers
The tradition of hiring the best and the brightest lawyers in the world is a part of the history of Fordham, the nation’s largest private university. But in the late 90s, when it became the first law school to become co-educational, it also became the first of several private law schools to do so.
Today, Fordham is one of the most recognizable law schools in the world, and it’s also one of the most selective. The school also became fully co-educational in the early 2000s, and it’s still doing that today. The litigation and cultural studies programs were added, and the school is now called Fordham University.