New York Law School

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Not to be confused with New York University School of Law.
New York Law School
New York Law School main entrance.jpg
Motto We are New York's law school.[1]
Type Private
Established June 11, 1891
Endowment $241,522,413[2]
Dean Anthony W. Crowell[3]
Academic staff
Full time, 77; Adjunct, 103 [4]
Students 1,200 J.D. students; 95 advanced-degree students
Location Lower Manhattan, New York, United States
Campus Urban

New York Law School is an ABA-accredited private law school that was founded in 1891 in the Tribeca neighborhood of Lower Manhattan in New York City.

The current Dean of New York Law School is Anthony W. Crowell.[5] New York Law School’s faculty includes 77 full-time and 103 adjunct professors.


Early years[edit]

Deans of NYLS
George Chase 1891–1918
School closed for World War I 1918–1919
George Chase 1919–1924
Robert D. Petty 1924–1932
George C. Smith 1932–1936
Alfred E. Hinrichs 1936–1938
Edmund H. H. Caddy 1938–1941
School closed for World War II 1941–1947
Edmund H. H. Caddy 1947–1950
Alison Reppy 1950–1958
Daniel Gutman 1958–1968
Charles W. Froessel 1968–1969
Walter A. Rafalko 1969–1973
E. Donald Shapiro 1973–1983
James F. Simon 1983–1992
Harry Wellington 1992–2000
Richard A. Matasar 2000–2011
Anthony Crowell 2012–Present

During the winter of 1890, a dispute arose at Columbia Law School over an attempt to introduce the Case Method of study. The Case Method had been pioneered at Harvard Law School by Christopher Columbus Langdell. The dean and founder of Columbia Law School, Theodore Dwight, opposed this method, preferring the traditional method of having students read treatises rather than court decisions. Because of this disagreement, Dwight and a number of other faculty and students of Columbia Law School left and founded their own law school in Lower Manhattan the following year.

On June 11, 1891, New York Law School was chartered by the State of New York, and the school began operation shortly thereafter. By this time, Theodore Dwight was in poor health, and was not able to be actively involved with the Law School, so the position of dean went to one of the other professors from Columbia Law School, George Chase. New York Law School held its first classes on October 1, 1891, in the Equitable Building at 120 Broadway, in Lower Manhattan's Financial District.[6]

In 1892, after only a year in operation, it was the second-largest law school in the United States. Steady increases in enrollment caused the Law School to acquire new facilities in 1899, at 35 Nassau Street,[7] only blocks away from the Law School's previous location; and by 1904, the Law School had become the largest law school in the United States. Continuous growth led the Law School to acquire a building of its own in 1908, at 172 Fulton Street, in the Financial District. New York Law School would remain at this site until 1918, when it closed briefly for World War I.[8]

Interwar period[edit]

When New York Law School reopened in 1919, it was located in another building at 215 West 23rd Street, in Midtown.[9] However, George Chase contracted an illness that resulted in him running New York Law School for the last three years of his life from his bed; he died in 1924.[10] New York Law School continued without Chase, seeing its enrollment peak in the mid-1920s, but it saw a steady decline after that. At the onset of the Great Depression, the Law School began seeing a serious decline in enrollment, which forced the Law School to accept a much lower quality of students than they had previously accepted. With much fewer and poorer performing students, the Law School moved to smaller facilities at 253 Broadway, just opposite City Hall.[11] In 1936, the Law School moved to another location at 63 Park Row, on the opposite side of City Hall Park; it also became coeducational that same year. However, as enrollment was still declining, both because of the Great Depression and because of the military draft started in 1940, and the school closed in 1941. The remaining students that were still enrolled finished their studies at St. John's University School of Law, in Brooklyn.[12]


After reopening in 1947, the Law School started a new program that was influenced by a committee of alumni headed by New York State Supreme Court Justice Albert Cohn. The Law School resumed operations in a building at 244 William Street. In 1954, New York Law School was accredited by the American Bar Association, and in 1962, moved to facilities at 57 Worth Street, in Tribeca.


In 1973, E. Donald Shapiro became the dean of the Law School, and reformed the curriculum, expanding it to include many more classes to train students for more than simply passing the Bar Examination. These reforms, combined with the addition of new Joint Degree Programs with City College of New York in 1975 and Manhattanville College in 1978, helped the Law School to recruit new students. Dean Shapiro's reform of the curriculum was behind New York Law School gaining membership to the Association of American Law Schools in 1974. That year, the New York State Department of Education changed its view of the Law School, which in 1973 it had criticized in a report as the worst school in the state, proclaiming that the Law School had started to undergo a "renaissance."[13]

The buildings of the Law School underwent renovation during the leadership of Dean James F. Simon, from 1983 to 1992. Under Simon's successor, Dean Harry H. Wellington, who served in that position until 2000, the curriculum was revised to put greater emphasis on the practical skills of a professional attorney.

57 Worth Street building.

21st century[edit]

In late June 2006, under the leadership of Dean Richard A. Matasar, New York Law School sold its Bernard H. Mendik building at 240 Church Street. This sale enabled the school to move forward with the sale of $135 million in insured bonds, which were issued through the New York City Industrial Development Agency. The school's securities were given an A3 credit rating by Moody's and an A-minus rating by S&P, both reflective of the school's stable market position and solid financial condition. The proceeds from the building sale have been allocated to the school's endowment, which is now among the top 10 of all American law schools.[14]

WSTM Mark Frank 0050.jpg

The Law School opened its first dormitory in the East Village in 2005, and in August 2006, it broke ground on the $190 million expansion and renovation program that transformed its TriBeCa campus into a cohesive architectural complex that nearly doubled the school's current size. The centerpiece of the expansion is a new glass-enclosed, 235,000-square-foot (21,800 m2), nine-level building—five stories above ground and four below, which integrates the Law School's existing buildings. The new facility opened in July 2009, followed by the complete renovation of the Law School's existing buildings in the spring of 2010.

On December 16, 2008, in connection with the Bernard Madoff scandal, New York Law School filed a lawsuit against J. Ezra Merkin, Ascot Partners, and Merkin's auditor BDO Seidman, LLP, after losing its $3 million investment in Ascot. The lawsuit charged Merkin with recklessness, gross negligence and breach of fiduciary duties.[15]

In May 2012, Anthony W. Crowell became the 16th Dean and President of New York Law School.[16] In April 2013, New York Law School announced an expansion of its clinical and experiential learning programs, doubling the number offered from 13 to 26.[17] In July 2013, Dean Crowell announced the Law School's Strategic Plan, focusing on five areas: academic excellence and innovation; career success; intellectual life; community engagement; and operations.[18] In September 2013, New York Law School announced that it would offer a two-year J.D. honors program, beginning in January 2015, which will cost no more than two-thirds of a traditional J.D. program at the Law School.[19] In October 2013, in recognition of the two-year program and other innovations, Crain's New York Business included Dean Crowell in its list of “People to Watch in Higher Education.” [20]

Government leaders and judges from the United States often speak at or visit the Law School. These have included former President Jimmy Carter; Justices of the Supreme Court Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Harry A. Blackmun, William J. Brennan Jr., Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Sandra Day O’Connor; former New York State Governor Mario Cuomo; former New York City Mayors Edward Koch, David Dinkins, Rudolph Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg; Drew S. Days III, U.S. Solicitor General; Thomas Pickering, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations; and Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo of the International Criminal Court. In May 2011, Newark, New Jersey, Mayor Cory Booker gave the commencement address. In October 2011, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke. In March 2012, then-U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, now Secretary of State John Kerry gave the 2012 Sidney Shainwald Public Interest Lecture.

Rankings and reputation[edit]


The estimated total cost of attendance (including tuition, fees, and living expenses) at New York Law School for the 2013-2014 academic year is $72,831.[21] The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $273,904.[22]

According to U.S. News & World Report, the average indebtedness of 2013 graduates who incurred law school debt was $164,739 (not including undergraduate debt), and 84% of 2013 graduates took on debt.[23]


The 2016 edition of U.S. News and World Report, released in March 2015, ranked New York Law School at 127 in its list of U.S. law schools. That edition recognized the School for its clinical programs, part-time evening division, and diversity.[24] NYLS was also recognized by National Jurist for its practical training programs in March 2014.[25] In December 2013, Hispanic Outlook magazine named NYLS to its list of Top 25 Law Schools with Majority/Minority Hispanic Enrollment and its list of Top 25 Law Schools Granting Most Degrees to Hispanics.[26] NYLS was also recognized in the top third of law schools for scholarly impact in a study by professors at the University of St. Thomas School of Law, using methodology developed by Brian Leiter of the University of Chicago Law School.[27]

  • New York Law School's Clinical Year was recognized by The National Jurist as one of the 15 most innovative clinics in the nation in January 2015.[28]
  • New York Law School was recognized by The National Jurist as one of the best schools in the country for practical training in March 2014.[29]
  • Hispanic Outlook Magazine named New York Law School to its list of Top 25 Law Schools with Majority/Minority Hispanic Enrollment and its list of Top 25 Law Schools Granting Most Degrees to Hispanics in December 2013. Source: Hispanic Outlook, December 23, 2013.[30]
  • New York Law School was ranked in the top third of law schools for scholarly impact in a study by professors at the University of St. Thomas School of Law, using methodology developed by Brian Leiter of the University of Chicago Law School.[31]


In August 2011, a group of former NYLS students filed a $225 million lawsuit accusing the school of inflating their graduates' employment statistics. The plaintiffs alleged NYLS violated General Business Law § 349 and committed fraud and negligent misrepresentation by publishing misleading employment and salary data in student recruitment literature.[32] In March 2012, New York State Supreme Court Justice Melvin L. Schweitzer dismissed the case. While he conceded the school did not use the most transparent data in their recruitment materials, he wrote: "In this court’s view, the issues posed by this case exemplify the adage that not every ailment afflicting society may be redressed by a lawsuit."[33]


New York Law School has three divisions:

  • Full Time Day
  • Part Time Evening
  • Two-Year J.D. Honors Program

It offers the following degrees:

The School's curriculum focuses on integrating the study of theory and practice and on including the perspectives of legal practitioners. The Law School's skills-based curriculum offers clinics, simulation courses, externships, project-based learning courses, and a new first-year Legal Practice program to carry out that goal.

New York Law School operates on the standard semester basis. 86 credits are required for graduation, 38 of which are for required courses. The first and second years have mandatory studies, and the third year is all elective courses. Students must maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA for all courses. The required courses include: Civil Procedure; Contracts; Constitutional Law; Criminal Law; Evidence; Property; Torts; and Legislation and Regulation. Students must also complete two courses emphasizing the development of professional legal skills: a two-semester course on Legal Practice; and a one-semester course on Professional Responsibility. More than 250 electives allow students to customize their programs.

The areas of concentration offered for study by New York Law School are Civil Liberties, Constitutional Law, Corporate and Securities Law, Criminal Law, International Law, Information and Media Law, Labor and Employment Law, Professional Values and Practice, Real Estate Law and Taxation. New York Law School has eight clinics: Civil Rights, Criminal Defense (in both Richmond and Kings Counties), Criminal Prosecution, Elder Law, Mediation, Securities Arbitration, and Wills. Simulation courses offered include: Advanced Appellate Advocacy; Advocacy of Criminal Cases; Alternative Dispute Resolution; Negotiating, Counseling, and Interviewing (NCI); Trial Advocacy; and The Role of the Government Attorney.

Academic centers[edit]

The faculty has established eight academic centers which provide specialized study and offer prime opportunities for exchange between the students, faculty, and expert practitioners. These eight academic centers engage many students in advanced research through the John Marshall Harlan Scholars Program, an academic honors program designed for students with the strongest academic credentials.

Center for Business and Financial Law

The Center for Business and Financial Law provides students with skills training in all aspects of corporate, commercial, and financial law. Through cutting-edge courses, events, projects, and research, the Center brings together academics, practitioners, and students to addess the challenges that animate business and finance.

C.V. Starr Center for International Law

New York Law School, aided by a grant from the C.V. Starr Foundation, created the C.V. Starr Center for International Law. The Center supports teaching and research in all areas of international law but concentrates on the law of international trade and finance, deriving much of its strength from interaction with New York's business, commercial, financial, and legal communities. The Center organizes symposia events to engage students and faculty in discussions of important and timely issues with experts and practitioners in the field. For professional development, the Center offers extensive resources for studying and researching careers in international law.

The Center publishes an academic newsletter. The International Review is the only academic newsletter published by an ABA-accredited law school that reports on a broad range of contemporary international and comparative law issues.

Center for New York City Law

The Center for New York City Law is the only program of its kind in the country. Its objectives are to gather and disseminate information about New York City's laws, rules, and procedures; to sponsor publications, symposia, and conferences on topics related to governing the city; and to suggest reforms to make city government more effective and efficient. The Center's bimonthly publication, City Law, tracks New York City's rules and regulations, how they are enforced, and court challenges to them. Its Web site, Center for New York City Law, contains a searchable library of more than 40,000 administrative decisions of New York City agencies. The Center publishes three newsletters: CityLaw, CityLand and CityReg.

Center for Professional Values and Practice

The School's Center for Professional Values and Practice provides a vehicle through which to examine the role of the legal profession and approaches to law practice. The Center's work supports the development of lawyering skills and reflective professionalism, including consideration of how these have evolved over the decades, even as business and ethical pressures have intensified and become more complex, and the roles of lawyers in society have multiplied.

Center for Real Estate Studies

The Center for Real Estate Studies at New York Law School provides students with an opportunity to study both the private practice and public regulation of real estate. Launched in 2007, the Center offers an extensive selection of classroom courses, advanced seminars, and independent study projects, as well as externships in governmental offices and real estate firms. It also sponsors conferences, symposia, and continuing legal education programs on a broad spectrum of issues.

Institute for Information Law & Policy

The Institute for Information Law & Policy is New York Law School's home for the study of information, communication and law in the global digital age. The goal of the Institute is to apply the theory and technology of communications and information to strengthening democratic institutions and the rule of law as technology evolves. Through its curriculum, ongoing conference and speaker series and a variety of original projects, the Institute investigates the emerging field of information law, which encompasses intellectual property, privacy, free speech, information access, communications, and all areas of law pertaining to information and communication practices.

The Center puts on the State of Play conference series which deals with the intersection of virtual worlds, games and the law.

Impact Center for Public Interest Law

The Impact Center for Public Interest Law is the Center housing all of the law school’s important public interest work. The Center is committed to leveraging the power of law and legal education to advance social justice, enrich the professional development of NYLS students, and have a positive impact on the role of public interest law. The Impact Center’s initiatives address critical topics such as racial justice, voting rights, public school education, family law, immigration, and criminal justice. The Center develops robust student and faculty opportunities in public interest law—amicus brief writing, legislative analysis and advocacy, policy research, and community education and litigation—as well as connections within the larger public interest community.

In 2014, the School's Justice Action Center was relaunched as the Impact Center for Public Interest Law. Ever since New York Law School alumnus Senator Robert F. Wagner—the "legislative pilot of the New Deal"—wrote and led the fight to enact the National Labor Relations Act, New York Law School has remained on the cutting edge of labor and employment law and public policy. In the tradition of Senator Wagner, New York Law School's Impact Center seeks to advance and influence law and public policy with an action-oriented, public-interested agenda.[34]

Diane Abbey Law Institute for Children and Families

The Diane Abbey Law Institute for Children and Families exists to ensure that children and the families who care for them receive the legal assistance they need to remain safe and secure, and to thrive. Founded in 2009, the Institute offers a comprehensive curriculum aimed at creating excellent practitioners able to represent children and families in all aspects of family law. The Institute approach is holistic and interdisciplinary, recognizing that assisting families requires a basic understanding not merely of law, but also social work, psychology, and other fields. Institute members engage in volunteer externships, work with alumni mentors, and complete capstone projects that make concrete contributions to the lives of families in need.

Safe Passage Project

At the Safe Passage Project, professors, attorneys, and law students work together to provide pro bono legal representation to immigrant children who enter the United States alone, seeking refuge from the abuse and violence that pervades their countries of origin. The majority are in removal (deportation) proceedings in New York’s Immigration Court.[34]


According to New York Law School's official 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 44% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation.[35] New York Law School's Law School Transparency under-employment score is 31.7%, 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.[36]

ABA Employment Summary for 2013 Graduates[37]
Employment Status Percentage
Employed – Bar Passage Required (Full-Time, Long-Term)
Employed – Bar Passage Required (Part-Time and/or Short-Term)
Employed – J.D. Advantage
Employed – Professional Position
Employed – Non-Professional Position
Employed – Undeterminable
Pursuing Graduate Degree Full Time
Unemployed – Start Date Deferred
Unemployed – Not Seeking
Unemployed – Seeking
Employment Status Unknown
Total of 562 Graduates

Notable faculty[edit]



Present Full Time
Present Adjunct

Notable alumni[edit]

In addition to more than 100 sitting judges and many partners of prominent law firms, New York Law School graduates have achieved success working in business, education, and the arts.






  • Tom Carr, Seattle City Attorney and Boulder City Attorney
  • Bainbridge Colby, United States Secretary of State under President Woodrow Wilson (1920–1921).
  • Grenville T. Emmet, United States Ambassador to the Netherlands (1934–1937) and Austria (1937).
  • James W. Gerard, U.S. Ambassador to Germany during World War I, and New York Supreme Court justice.
  • Seymour Glanzer, First Chief of the Anti-Fraud Section of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington, D.C., and one of three original prosecutors in the Watergate Scandal.
  • David N. Kelley, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York (2003–2005).
  • Dan Oates, Police Chief, Aurora Colorado.
  • Ferdinand Pecora, appointed Chief Counsel to the U.S. Senate's Committee on Banking and Currency following the 1932 election of Franklin D. Roosevelt. He led Senate hearings, known as the Pecora Commission into the causes of the Wall Street Crash of 1929 which launched a major reform of the American financial system, that resulted in the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Became one of the first members of the Securities Exchange Commission.
  • Dan Oates, Chief of Police, Miami Beach Police Department.




See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mike Stetz, National Jurist, After the Fire, November 2013
  2. ^ 2012 Financial Statement, New York Law School Financial Statements As of June 30, 2012 and 2011 Together with Auditor's Report, page 2 (2012 investments)
  3. ^ New York Law School Fact Sheet
  4. ^ New York Law School Fact Sheet
  5. ^ Eva Saviano, Crain's New York Business, [1] Corporate Ladder: Anthony W. Crowell, Dean and President of New York Law School], March 2012
  6. ^ "In and About the City: New York Law School Opened. The Offspring of the Trouble at Columbia a Great Success," New York Times, October 2, 1891.
  7. ^ Adelphi University Display Ad 16 – No Title, New York Times, June 1, 1900.
  8. ^ "New Building for New York Law School: Eleven Story Building to be Ready Next Spring-Banking Floor and Business Offices," New York Times, July 21, 1907.
  9. ^ Display Ad 133 – No Title, New York Times, August 17, 1919.
  10. ^ "George Chase Dies, Law School Dean," New York Times, January 9, 1924.
  11. ^ Adelphi University Display Ad 95 – No Title, New York Times, September 16, 1934.
  12. ^ "N. Y. Law School to Close in Fall: Institution, Founded in 1891 After Columbia Split, to be Absorbed by St. John's" New York Times, September 12, 1941.
  13. ^ "Law School is Fighting Its Way Back," New York Times, February 1, 1977.
  14. ^ New York Law School Launches $190 Million Expansion and Renovation of Tribeca Campus
  15. ^ "Merkin, Ascot Fund Sued Over Madoff Investments". Cable News Network. December 18, 2008. [dead link]
  16. ^ [2]
  17. ^ New York Law School Undertakes Historic Expansion Of Its Clinical And Experiential Learning Programs April 9, 2013
  18. ^ NYLS Strategy July 2013
  19. ^ New York Law School Announces Two-Year Honors Program September 5, 2013
  20. ^ Crain's New York Business People to Watch in Higher Education, October 13, 2013
  21. ^ "Tuition and Financial Aid". 
  22. ^ "New York Law School Profile". 
  23. ^
  24. ^ - New York Law School - Best Law Schools - Education - US News and World Report.
  25. ^ Mike Stetz, National Jurist [3] Best Schools for Practical Training, March 2014
  26. ^ Hispanic Outlook Magazine [4], December 2013
  27. ^ Gregory Sisk, Brian Leiter's Law School Rankings, [5] Top 70 Law Faculties in Scholarly Impact, July 2012
  28. ^ [6]
  29. ^ [7]
  30. ^ [8]
  31. ^ [9]
  32. ^ "Gomez-Jimenez v NYLS Opinion of the Court". 
  33. ^ "9 Graduates Lose Case Against New York Law School". 
  34. ^ a b New York Law School [10] The Impact Center for Public Interest Law Launches at New York Law School, October 27, 2014
  35. ^ "Class of 2013 Employment Statistics". 
  36. ^ "New York Law School Profile". 
  37. ^ "Employment Summary for 2013 Graduates" (PDF). 
  38. ^ Bianco, Anthony (March 30, 1998). "Joe Plumeri: The Apostle of Life Insurance". Business Week. Retrieved July 15, 2010. 
  39. ^ Franklin William Fort, Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Accessed August 22, 2007.
  40. ^ Charles Francis Xavier O'Brien, Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Accessed August 16, 2007.
  41. ^ Assemblyman Guy F. Talarico, New Jersey Legislature, backed up by the Internet Archive as of February 25, 1998. Accessed June 13, 2010.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°43′02.5″N 74°00′23″W / 40.717361°N 74.00639°W / 40.717361; -74.00639