NYU has a coordinated clinical curriculum that allows students to progress through a series of learning experiences, starting in the first year with the Lawyering Program, and continuing throughout the remaining two years with simulation courses and fieldwork clinics. Four hundred students participate in fieldwork clinics each year—that’s almost half of the upper-year JD student body.
The Lawyering Program complements traditional first-year law classes by providing students with closely structured, collaborative exercises that illustrate how law is used in the real world. Taken by all first-year students, the program involves a series of exercises in which students analyze legal questions, develop facts, interview and counsel clients, and engage in written and oral advocacy. The program gives students insight into how legal principles play out in practice and exposes them to the elements of professional excellence.
The clinical program is designed to offer students a wide variety of experiences. Students perform all the tasks lawyers handle, including counseling clients, interviewing witnesses, negotiating with opposing counsel, and arguing motions. They also gain insight into legal issues by participating in seminar discussions and simulation exercises. There are 41 clinics, so students can tackle a wide range of complex legal issues, from immigrants facing deportation and juveniles accused of serious crimes to defendants facing the death penalty.
In litigation clinics, students represent clients in court under the supervision of a faculty member. In such clinics, students handle all aspects of a case and, if a case goes to trial, the witness examinations and arguments to a judge or jury. Students can also work in the legislative or administrative arenas, work with community groups on systemic reform, or engage in mediation or other forms of alternative dispute resolution. They can choose between clinics that focus on legal cases or other forms of advocacy in the United States, or those that focus on international human rights issues.
LLM students also have the option of taking a clinic during their studies at NYU Law. In particular, the Comparative Criminal Justice Clinic, Global Justice Clinic, and International Environmental Law Clinic welcome applications from LLM students. More
NYU Law has one of the largest clinical faculties in the country, and that has allowed us to staff most of our fieldwork clinics with full-time, tenured, and tenure-track clinical faculty who supervise students directly. A very low teacher-student ratio ensures that the faculty can devote enough time to supervising all aspects of students’ work on cases and other fieldwork projects.