New York Law School, best for public interest employment and top school for family law, human rights, and criminal law

NYLS Named a Top School for Public Service, Family Law, and Human Rights Law

New York Law School, best for public interest employment and top school for family law, human rights, and criminal law

As students return to the classroom for a new academic year, preLaw magazine has published their annual back-to-school issue with key information for future law students. New York Law School (NYLS) is proud to be recognized in several key areas in this latest issue. 

Best Schools for Public Service—Government and Criminal Law 

preLaw featured NYLS among their best schools for public service, highlighting the School’s stellar government and criminal law programs and graduate employment record. NYLS has a proud tradition of civic leadership, and our prime location, steps from local, state, and federal courts and government centers, enables the School to create programs and opportunities that continue to propel new generations of law students to meaningful public service careers. 

The Wilf Impact Center for Public Interest Law houses many of the School’s nationally-recognized public interest programs. Programs like the Racial Justice Project engage students in protecting Americans’ constitutional and civil rights of people through impact litigation, legal advocacy, and more. The 21st Century Policing Project (P21) invites students to work with law enforcement departments and municipalities around the country to implement police reforms, and the Criminal Justice Institute prepares law students to lead on defining challenges of today as it brings together practitioners and legal scholars from different sectors to address issues in ways that reduce both crime and incarceration.

NYLS’s one-of-a-kind Center for New York City Law seeks to make the City’s government and decisions more fair, comprehensible, and open to the public and regularly hosts symposia and dialogues featuring state and local leaders, like the popular CityLaw Breakfasts, which are open to the public and attended by hundreds of influential lawyers, policy experts, and public servants.

The School also offers a broad array of other public service-related programming, coursework, and clinics. Benefitting from NYLS’s robust public service network, students have a number of prestigious externship opportunities such as the new Gotham Honors Externship—a hands-on complement to conventional public law courses that connects academic learning to practice by placing students in one of New York City’s fast-paced, mission-critical agencies or firms—and the D.C. Honors Externship Program—which offers students a vital legal experience in the political epicenter of the country. NYLS’s two Criminal Prosecution Clinics partner with the Manhattan and Brooklyn District Attorney’s Offices, and students work with law enforcement, victims, and witnesses to prosecute misdemeanor cases. The Criminal Defense Clinic partners with The Legal Aid Society, and students represent low-income defendants in misdemeanor cases from arraignment through trial. NYLS also offers innovative courses like Policing the Police, Restorative Justice, and State and Local Government that encourage students to think critically about current systems of government and criminal justice and engage with the relevant issues in the field.

Students pursuing careers in government, criminal law, and other public interest roles additionally benefit from specialized academic and career advising through the Office of Public Interest and Pro Bono Initiatives. And with the experience they gain and the connections they make at NYLS, graduates go on to lead the way in public service positions at all levels of government.

Top Grades in Child and Family Law

Given NYLS’s established history of leadership in child and family law, it’s no surprise that preLaw awarded NYLS an “A+” in the field. 

The School’s programming promotes greater access to justice, contributes to meaningful legal scholarship, and supports a pipeline of skilled, compassionate family law lawyers. The long-respected Diane Abbey Law Institute for Children and Families, part of the Wilf Impact Center, provides ample opportunities for students interested in family law issues to engage in policy research and advocacy, individual client representation, and scholarship. Established during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Education Law and Policy Institute also enables law students to help New York City’s most vulnerable children by working to advance education equity and access through direct representation, advocacy, and policy reform. 

Through the institutes as well as through exceptional clinics like the Family Law Clinic or the Juvenile Rights Law Clinic, students work with faculty and practitioners to serve children and families in need in a variety of pro bono settings. Law students even have the opportunity to contribute on a national level to family law scholarship by participating in Family Law Quarterly, the scholarly journal published by the Family Law Section of the American Bar Association in collaboration with NYLS.

Hands-On in Human Rights Law

preLaw magazine also gave NYLS an “A” grade in human rights law, an area where NYLS excels. Notably, preLaw highlighted the work of the Post-Conviction Innocence Clinic and two students who secured the release of a man who had maintained his innocence for more than 20 years. 

NYLS clinics and programs engage students directly with a range of human rights issues. The Asylum Clinic works with international refugees fleeing to the United States to escape persecution in their home countries, and has achieved remarkable successes for its clients. 

The School’s Center for International Law organizes lectures, forums, and student projects on current events in human rights law and international law, including recent events on the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the international law of occupation. NYLS also regularly hosts important conferences addressing human rights issues such as the Annual Asylum and Immigration Law Conference, which partnered with leading asylum and immigration to conduct trainings on best practices in the field and panels addressing current issues, and the Reclaiming Disability Justice Symposium, which brought together community members, advocates, and activists to discuss the origins and further the goals of disability justice.