Brooklyn Law School

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Brooklyn Law School
Brooklyn Law School 2.jpg
Students in front of Brooklyn Law School's main building, at 250 Joralemon Street,
Brooklyn, New York
Established 1901
Type Private
Endowment $115 million[1]
President Joan G. Wexler
Dean Nicholas Allard
Students 1,376 (1,204 full-time, 172 part-time; as of 2012)[5]
Location Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn, New York, USA
Campus Urban
Website www.brooklaw.edu
Brooklyn Law School Seal

Brooklyn Law School (BLS) is a law school founded in 1901. It is located in Brooklyn Heights, New York City, in the United States, and has approximately 1,400 students.

The Dean of Brooklyn Law School is Nicholas Allard, who assumed the role in 2012. Brooklyn Law School’s faculty includes 64 full-time professors, 6 emeriti faculty, and a number of adjunct faculty, many of whom are preeminent legal scholars.

Brooklyn Law School has produced a number of luminaries, including New York City Mayor David Dinkins, US Senator Norm Coleman, Judges Frank Altimari (US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit) and Jack Weinstein (US Eastern District of New York), attorneys Stephen Dannhauser (Chairman, Weil, Gotshal & Manges), Myron Trepper (co-Chairman, Willkie Farr & Gallagher), and Allen Grubman (entertainment lawyer), CEOs Barry Salzberg (Deloitte) and Marty Bandier (Sony/ATV Music Publishing), and billionaire real estate developers Leon Charney and Larry Silverstein. Alumni have relocated to 49 states and over 25 countries after graduation.[2] In 2013, 94% of the law school's first-time test takers passed the bar exam, placing the law school third-best among New York's 15 law schools.[3][4] Of the law school's 478 graduates in 2013, nine months after graduation all were employed other than 39 who were seeking employment, and 5 who were not seeking employment (the employment status of 8 was unknown); 316 had secured jobs practicing law, and 74 had taken a J.D. advantage position.[5]

History[edit]

The origins of Brooklyn Law School can be traced back to the Pratt Institute in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, when in the 1890s the school established its Department of Commerce.[6] Because of the overwhelming popularity of the Department of Commerce, the department broke off from the main Institute and formed its own school, under the guidance of Norman P. Heffley, personal secretary to Charles Pratt.[7][8] The Heffley School of Commerce, formed from Pratt’s Department of Commerce, originally shared facilities with Pratt.[9] In 1901 William Payson Richardson and Norman P. Heffley, reorganized the Heffley School to become Brooklyn Law School, becoming the first law school on Long Island.[10] Using space provided by Heffley’s business school, the law school opened September 30, 1901, with five faculty members (including Richardson as dean and Heffley as president), and two special lecturers.

The year began with five students, and ended with 28.[10] In late 1901, the Board of Regents of the State of New York granted a charter to the Law School. The Law School became fully accredited by the American Bar Association through the Council of its Section on Legal Education and Admission to the Bar, and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. The Law School’s curriculum is registered with and approved by the New York State Education Department.[10]

From its earliest days, Brooklyn Law School opened its door to minorities, women, and immigrants, and it offered night classes for those with full-time jobs. Dean Richardson also allowed students who had difficulty paying tuition to remain enrolled on credit. The school moved twice between 1901 and 1928, when it finally moved into the first building designed and built specifically for it on Pearl Street in downtown Brooklyn. Though the school lacked a campus, dormitories, and a cafeteria, students could engage in a wide range of extracurricular activities.

World War II struck Brooklyn Law School especially hard, and by 1943 enrollment was down to 174 students. St. Lawrence University, which until then operated Brooklyn Law School and conferred its degrees, decided to shut down the school. Prominent alumni were galvanized into action, and negotiated the repurchase of the school’s assets, ensuring that Brooklyn Law School would operate as an independent institution.[10]

Rankings[edit]

  • The 2008 Leiter Report ranked Brooklyn 25th, in the "Most 'Prestigious' Law Firm Placement" category.[11]
  • The 2009 Leiter Report ranked Brooklyn Law School 39th nationwide in Student Quality, based on its 2008 entering class.[12]
  • In the 2008–09 term, six alumni clerked with federal circuit judges, placing BLS 19th in the country, according to the 2009 Leiter Report. Three worked for judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, two for the Eleventh Circuit, and one for the Third Circuit.[13]
  • The 2012 Leiter Report ranked Brooklyn Law 41st in the Top 70 Law Faculties in scholarly impact.[14]
  • The 2013 edition of U.S. News ranked Brooklyn Law School 80th, in its list of top 100 law schools.[2]

Bar passage rate and career prospects[edit]

In 2013, 94% of the law school's first-time test takers passed the New York bar exam, third-best among New York's 15 law schools.[15][16]

In 2012, five Brooklyn Law School graduates filed a class action lawsuit, which was dismissed the following year, alleging consumer fraud and common law fraud.[17] As part of a series of identical lawsuits against law schools nationwide, the complaint alleged that the law school administration incorrectly reported employment and salary information for the purpose of enticing students to attend the law school.[17] Prior to the lawsuit, Brooklyn Law School had claimed that 95% or more of graduates found employment within 9 months of graduation, without always distinguishing between full-time, part-time, and non-JD-required employment (which breakdown ABA/NALP rules did not require at the time of the statistics at issue in the suit, but which breakdown has been required since 2012).[17] In April 2013, NY State Supreme Court Justice David Schmidt dismissed the lawsuit, finding that the school’s disclaimers on its employment and salary data warned graduates that their own post-grad earnings may not measure up to the data.[18]

Of the law school's 478 graduates in 2013, nine months after graduation all were employed other than 39 who were seeking employment, and 5 who were not seeking employment (the employment status of 8 was unknown); 316 had secured jobs practicing law, and 74 had taken a J.D. advantage position.[19]

Location and facilities[edit]

Entrance to Feil Hall, 205 State Street

Brooklyn Law School’s academic and administrative buildings and ten student residences are located in Brooklyn Heights Historical District, where many federal and state courts and corporate and public interest law offices are located.

Brooklyn Law School’s main academic building at 250 Joralemon Street houses classrooms, faculty offices, a conference center, dining hall, and a four-story law library with 550,000 volumes. The office building across the street at One Boerum Place houses many of the law school’s clinics, its student journals, the bookstore, and administrative offices.

Brooklyn Law School guarantees housing in its residences to all entering students. The largest residence is Feil Hall, a 21-story building at 205 State Street. Designed by noted architect Robert A. M. Stern, Dean of the Yale School of Architecture, it accommodates about 360 students in 239 furnished apartments of varying sizes, and includes a conference center and café.

All the student residences are within a short walk of the main building. In addition to Feil Hall, the law school owns and operates two other residences in the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood, and a combination of brownstones and apartment buildings, that house approximately 550 students and faculty.

Faculty[edit]

Brooklyn Law School students with Prof. Dean outside the main building

Brooklyn Law School’s faculty includes 64 full-time professors, 6 emeriti faculty, and a number of adjunct faculty.[20] The Law School draws on a large body of practitioners, public officials, and judges as adjunct faculty to teach specialized courses in many areas of law, including international sales law, securities law, real estate development, trial advocacy, business crimes, corporate litigation, sports law, and border and homeland security law. In addition, in any given semester, visiting professors come from all over the world to teach at the school.

The Law School is home to several well-known scholars, including torts expert Aaron Twerski, who holds the Irwin and Jill Cohen Professor of Law Chair, and Rose L. Hoffer Professor of Law Elizabeth Schneider, an expert on gender, law, and civil procedure. Both were highly ranked in Brian Leiter’s survey of “Most Cited Law Professors by Specialty."[21]

Other notable professors include Roberta Karmel, a former Commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission and columnist for The New York Law Journal, and Susan Herman, president of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). In recent years, the Law School has hired a number of new junior faculty members whose work draws on a variety of influences to contribute scholarship in areas as diverse as copyfraud, law and religion, international business law, land use planning, and the secondary mortgage market.

Journals and competitions[edit]

Journals[edit]

The Law School publishes four student-edited law journals: the Brooklyn Law Review, Brooklyn Journal of International Law, the Journal of Law and Policy, and the Brooklyn Journal of Corporate, Financial, and Commercial Law. Over 290 second and third-year students have the opportunity to write for one of the journals.[22]

All four student journals select new members based on writing ability and academic achievement. Each journal selects members by membership competition submissions and grades received during the first year of law school. Each journal requires that its members be in the top 75% of their class.

Moot Court[edit]

The Law School has both trial and appellate advocacy moot court divisions. Each year it enters approximately 30 teams in national moot court competitions. These competitions span all areas of the law, including family law, criminal procedure, white-collar crime, and international law.

In 2011, BLS took home top international, national, and regional titles. Its teams won first place in the Irving R. Kaufman Memorial Moot Court Competition, and were first place Champions in the Domenick L. Gabrielli National Family Law Competition. They were also Semi-Finalists in the New York Region of the New York City Bar National Moot Court Competition, Semi-Finalists in the Phillip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition (students won Third Best Brief and Sixth Best Oralist), Semi-Finalists in the National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition (students won Best Oralists in the Preliminary Rounds), Semi-Finalists in the Evan A. Evans Constitutional Law Moot Court Competition, Semi-Finalists for the Navy JAG Corps Moot Court Competition, and Semi-Finalists in the Duberstein Bankruptcy Moot Court Competition.[23]

Jerome Prince Evidence Competition[edit]

Each year Brooklyn Law School hosts the Jerome Prince Memorial Evidence Competition, a national moot court competition. Named in honor of the late BLS Dean and renowned evidence scholar, the competition draws over 30 law school teams from across the country. Many students from the Moot Court Honor Society are involved in the coordination of the Prince Competition, and a few students have an opportunity to work with faculty members to research and write the problem – an issue at the forefront of evidentiary law – that is used in the Competition.

Academic offerings[edit]

Brooklyn Law School offers students over 190 courses and seminars in the law.

Centers[edit]

Brooklyn Law School's main building at 250 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn, New York. The 1994 new classical Fell Hall tower by architect Robert A. M. Stern to the right.

Each BLS center focuses on a specific area of the law and hosts lectures, symposia, forums, and round-table discussions that address emerging issues.

  • Center for the Study of Business Law and Regulation: Unites the Law School’s existing diverse business and commercial law programs by providing a forum for scholarship that offers new perspectives on and solutions to real world business law and regulatory issues.
  • Dennis J. Block Center for the Study of International Business Law: Established by the Law School to study and shape international business law and policy.[24]
  • Center for Law Language and Cognition: Explores how developments in the cognitive sciences – including psychology, neuroscience and linguistics – have implications for the law at both theoretical and practical levels.[25]
  • Center for Health, Science and Public Policy: Offers students substantive knowledge and practical skills related to health and science law.[26]

Clinics[edit]

Brooklyn Law School's administrative building located at One Boerum Place, near the Fulton Mall

In 2009, BLS' clinical program was ranked 28th in the nation. In 2010, The National Jurist ranked BLS fourth in the country for its public service work, largely influenced by its clinical program. The clinics specialize in the areas of bankruptcy, securities arbitration, immigration, criminal law, real estate practice, intellectual property, and mediation. Students represent individual clients, groups, and businesses and appear in state, federal, and administrative courts, on both the trial and appellate levels. Approximately 75% of full-time students participate in at least one in-house clinic or externship prior to graduation. The Law School’s prominent clinics include:

  • The Brooklyn Law Incubator and Policy Clinic, (BLIP),[27] functions like a law firm that represents Internet, new media, communications, and other tech entrepreneurs and innovators on both business and policy advocacy. Students work with clients on transactional, litigation, policy, and other advocacy projects and interact and strategize with members of the entrepreneurial, technology and financial communities, as well as with legislators, regulators and other policymakers.
  • Capital Defender and Federal Habeas Clinic affords students the opportunity to represent death row inmates (post-conviction) in other states and defendants in New York who have filed federal habeas corpus petitions. The work consists of filing petitions in the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Community Development Clinic provides opportunities for students to represent community development corporations, cultural institutions, affordable housing providers, and small businesses that serve under-represented communities.

Fellowship programs[edit]

Brooklyn Law School offers several paid fellowships for students seeking to further enrich their legal interests.

  • International Human Rights Fellowship: Select students engage in a concentrated study in the field of international human rights and perform international human rights work abroad.
  • Center for Health Science and Public Policy Fellowship: Students who have demonstrated academic or professional achievement in the areas of health, public health, science, and biotechnology undertake a major research project on a legal or policy issue related to these fields.
  • International Business Law Fellowship: Students who plan to pursue careers in the field of international business law participate in programs hosted by the Dennis J. Block Center for the Study of International Business Law, as well as a variety of mentoring and enrichment experiences.[28]
  • Sparer Public Interest Law Fellowship: Students chosen for this nationally recognized program are placed at public interest organizations across the United States and abroad.[28]
  • Trade Secret Institute Fellowship: Fellows in this program are responsible for identifying key cases to include in the Trade Secrets Institute database through research on doctrinal issues related to trade secrets.
  • Students work with faculty and alumni who are Zaretsky committee members to develop program content and materials for the annual Zaretsky Roundtable, a discussion on cutting-edge commercial and bankruptcy law topics.[29]

LL.M. Degree program[edit]

Brooklyn Law School offers an LL.M. program for foreign-trained lawyers. The program facilitates specialized study in three subject areas: business law, intellectual property law, and refugee and immigration law.[30]

Joint Degree programs[edit]

Brooklyn Law School offers five joint degree programs:[31]

  • J.D./Master of Business Administration: Brooklyn Law School and Baruch College jointly sponsor a program leading to the degrees of Juris Doctor (J.D.) and a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) in Business Administration and Policy.
  • J.D./Master in City and Regional Planning: Brooklyn Law School and Pratt Institute jointly sponsor a program leading to the degrees of Juris Doctor (J.D.) and Master of Science (M.S.) in City and Regional Planning.
  • J.D./Master in Urban Planning: Brooklyn Law School and Hunter College's Graduate Program in the Department of Urban Planning (Urban Affairs and Planning) jointly sponsor a program leading to the degrees of Juris Doctor (J.D.) and Master of Urban Planning (M.U.P.).
  • J.D./Master in Library and Information Science: Brooklyn Law School and the Graduate School of Information and Library Science of Pratt Institute jointly sponsor a program leading to the degrees of Juris Doctor (J.D.) and Master of Science in Library and Information Science (M.S.L.I.S.).
  • LL.M./Master in Library and Information Science: Brooklyn Law School and Pratt Institute jointly sponsor a dual degree program for those who have already earned a J.D. The program leads to a M.S.L.I.S. and LL.M. in Information Law and Society.

Certificate programs[edit]

Brooklyn Law School offers five certificate programs:[32]

  • Certificate in Business Law
  • Certificate in Criminal Law
  • Certificate in IP, Media, and Information Law
  • Certificate in International Law
  • Certificate in Real Estate

Public Service programs[edit]

Brooklyn Law School has created one of the nation’s leading public service programs.[33] Brooklyn Law School has a robust public service community that is championed by its dedicated Public Service Office. The Office is an invaluable resource, providing individual counseling and information on summer and academic year externships, steering students toward pro bono opportunities, and helping students apply for postgraduate fellowships as well as employment opportunities.

Study abroad[edit]

Summer abroad[edit]

Brooklyn Law School, in conjunction with Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, sponsors two summer abroad programs each year. Students study international and comparative law for two or three weeks in one of two locations: Beijing or Bologna.[34]

  • The Beijing Program is hosted at China’s University of International Business and Economics (UIBE). The program offers students the opportunity to study international bankruptcy and Chinese law. Courses are taught in English by faculty from BLS and Loyola, with lectures by members of UBIE’s Law Faculty. The program also allows time for visits to local cultural and legal institutions and for meeting Chinese law students.
  • The Bologna Program is hosted by the University of Bologna. Founded in the 11th century, it is the oldest university in Europe, and a center of law study since the Middle Ages. Courses in international business law and comparative topics are taught by faculty from American and European law schools.

Semester abroad[edit]

  • Exchange Program with Bucerius Law School in Hamburg, Germany

Each year, the Law School selects two students to attend Bucerius Law School during the fall semester while two Bucerius students study at Brooklyn Law School. The Bucerius Law School Program in International and Comparative Business Law is designed to develop and expand students' understanding of the forces that shape international business law and offers a unique opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge of German, European, and international law. Courses are taught in English by a combination of American law school professors and international professors of law.[34]

  • Exchange Program with University of Essex in Colchester, England

The University of Essex[35] exchange program allows two Brooklyn Law School students every semester to study at the University of Essex while two English students are chosen to study at the Law School for a full academic year. The focus of the program is on international human rights and European Union law.

  • Exchange Program with University College Cork in Cork, Ireland

Brooklyn Law School's exchange program with University College Cork (UCC) gives two Brooklyn Law School students each semester the opportunity to study at UCC, a college founded in 1845 with a Law Faculty that is the largest department in the University. Two Cork students spend an academic year at the Law School. Brooklyn Law School students have the ability to learn many legal subjects from an Irish law perspective, as well as many topics from an international and comparative stance.

  • Exchange Program with Hong Kong University in Hong Kong, China

Two Brooklyn Law School students have the option of studying in Hong Kong for a semester in exchange for two Hong Kong University[36] students attending Brooklyn Law School for the year. Due to China's rapid social and economic development and Hong Kong's location in the Pacific Rim, the program courses focus mostly on Chinese commercial law, human-rights law and international corporate and financial law. Except for some courses offered in the LL.M. program (e.g., Chinese Law), the course instruction is in English.

  • Exchange Program with Universidad Torcuato Di Tello in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Brooklyn Law School recently added this program to allow students to study law in Spanish from a Civil Law system perspective. The program highlights courses in tax law, law and economics, business law, law and finance, criminal law, and law and public policy.

  • Exchange Program with Tel Aviv University in Tel Aviv, Israel

Two Brooklyn Law School students in their second year also have the new opportunity to attend Tel Aviv University, home of the Cegla Center for Interdisciplinary Research of the Law, in the Spring semester. Students will be able to take a variety of courses touching upon international and comparative law, as well as the option to study Hebrew.

Student organizations[edit]

Brooklyn Law School’s numerous student led organizations reflect the diversity of the student body. Student organizations include:

  • Alternative Dispute Resolution Society (ADR)
  • American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
  • Art Law Association (ALA)
  • Asian Pacific American Law Students Association (APALSA)
  • Basketball Association
  • Black Law Students Association (BLSA)
  • The BLS Advocate
  • BLS Softball Organization
  • Brooklyn Chess Society (BCS)
  • Brooklyn Entertainment and Sports Law Society (BESLS)
  • Brooklyn Law Immigration Society (BLIS)
  • Brooklyn Law School Democrats
  • Brooklyn Law Students for the Public Interest (BLSPI)
  • Business Law Association (BLA)
  • Christian Legal Society (CLS)
  • Civil Legal Advice and Resource Office Student Action Group (CLARO/SAG)
  • Delta Theta Phi (DTP)
  • Eastern European Law Students Association (EELSA)
  • Education Law and Policy Society (Ed Law)
  • Environmental Law Society (ELS)
  • Fair Hearings Representation and Assistance Project (FHRAP)
  • Federalist Society
  • Foreclosure Legal Assistance Group (FLAG)
  • Health Law and Policy Association (HLPA)
  • Homeless Appellants' Rights Project (HARP)
  • Immigration Court Observation Project
  • Intellectual Property Law Association (IPLA)
  • International Law Society (ILS)
  • Irish Law Students Association
  • Italian American Law Students Association (IALSA)
  • Jewish Law Students Association (JLSA)
  • Latin American Law Students Association (LALSA)
  • Law Students for Reproductive Justice
  • Law Students for Veterans’ Rights
  • Legal Association for Women (LAW)
  • LL.M. Association of Brooklyn Law School (LLMA)
  • Motivating Youth Through Legal Education (MYLE)
  • Muslim Law Student Association (MLSA)
  • National Lawyers Guild (NLG)
  • National Security Law Society
  • OUTLaws
  • Parents Association
  • Phi Delta Phi
  • Philosophy & Linguistics Society (PLS)
  • South Asian Law Students Association (SALSA)
  • Student Animal Legal Defense Fund (SALDF)
  • Student Bar Association (SBA)
  • Student Criminal Law Society (SCLS)
  • Suspension Representation Project (SRP)
  • Tax Law Association
  • Thrift Club
  • Unemployment Action Center (UAC)
  • Yearbook Committee

Former Deans[edit]

  • William P. Richardson (1901–45)
  • William B. Carswell (1945–53)
  • Jerome Prince (1953–71)
  • Raymond E. Lisle (1971–77)
  • I. Leo Glasser (1977–81)
  • David G. Trager (1983–93)
  • Joan G. Wexler (1994–2010)
  • Michael Gerber (interim dean; 2010–12)
  • Nicholas Allard (2012–present)

Notable alumni[edit]

Academia[edit]

Business[edit]

Government[edit]

Senators[edit]

Senator Norm Coleman

Representatives[edit]

Mayors[edit]

State Senators[edit]

State Assemblymen[edit]

Borough Presidents[edit]

Other[edit]

Judges[edit]

U.S. Court of Appeals[edit]

U.S. District Court[edit]

State[edit]

U.S. Court of International Trade[edit]

Media & entertainment[edit]

Private practice[edit]

Sports[edit]

Other[edit]

Employment[edit]

Of the law school's 478 graduates in 2013, nine months after graduation all were employed other than 39 who were seeking employment, and 5 who were not seeking employment (the employment status of 8 was unknown); 316 had secured jobs practicing law, and 74 had taken a J.D. advantage position.[155] Brooklyn Law School's Law School Transparency under-employment score was 22%, indicating the percentage of the Class of 2013 unemployed, pursuing an additional degree, or working in a non-professional, short-term, or part-time job nine months after graduation.[156]

Costs[edit]

The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at Brooklyn Law School for the 2013-14 academic year was $78,604.[157] The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years was $311,810.[158]

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External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°41′31″N 73°59′23″W / 40.6920°N 73.9897°W / 40.6920; -73.9897