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Section I—Academic Requirements

The Academic Affairs Office oversees the Law School’s academic program and implements academic policy. We work with students to develop individualized programs, within the constraints of our curricular and academic policies, that will maximize each student’s professional development and goals. Academic counseling is available at any point during the year.

To schedule an appointment or to check on the status of an academic matter, please call (718) 340-4370. You may use email as appropriate to ask a specific question, to seek advice, or to provide information that would enable us to be better prepared for meeting with you.

The Law School’s academic program retains the strengths of traditional legal education while making significant innovations. Our central purpose is to create an educational program that honors students’ aspirations toward a legal career built on a commitment to justice, fairness, and equality. These principles form the basis of the Law School’s motto, “Law in the Service of Human Needs.”

The faculty has designed a curriculum responsive to these concerns. While our curriculum includes the core doctrine taught at law schools around the country, it is different in two significant respects. First, it pays far greater attention to theory and to practice, integrating them into the substantive courses. Second, the method and content of our courses are designed to train lawyers who aspire to serve the public interest through a practice in public service, in public interest firms, or in community-based law offices and advocacy centers.

To earn the Juris Doctor degree from the CUNY School of Law a student must pass all required courses, earn 86 credits, be in good academic standing, and comply with the attendance, residency, and other requirements described in this Handbook.

The Law School’s pedagogical philosophy derives from these premises:

  • the development of professional skills, ethics, and habits requires opportunities for guided experiential learning that create opportunities for students to be in role as lawyer and the opportunity to do the work of a lawyer in supervised clinical or meaningful externship setting;

  • the development of strong active learning and critical thinking skills involves a multi-dimensional cognitive process;

  • identifying, developing, and using conceptual frameworks and theory as integral to learning the law and good lawyering;

  • teachers should make conscious choices about goals, teaching methods, and evaluations that are designed to maximize opportunities for learning and to provide a fair assessment of a student’s progress towards mastery of the skills, understanding, and knowledge necessary for competent legal practice; and

  • academic support and opportunities for individual assistance should be available to complement classroom and peer-learning opportunities.

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